Daily Archives: November 3, 2003

CRAWFORD, Tex., Nov. 2 — The political challenge posed to President Bush by the deadly helicopter attack in Iraq on Sunday is this: how to keep public opinion from swinging against him over Iraq while not abandoning his quest to bring a stable democracy to that country.

In other words all those corpses are a Public Relations problem.

That’s what New York Times reporter Richard W. Stevenson is saying to the families of all those servicemen and women — who were on their way home, and not expecting that they would arrive in a coffin. But hey, you volunteered for this gig, so. . .

Americans have been dying for months in Iraq, attacked by an enemy whose nature remains murky.

Yes if Iraq is known for anything it’s murk. So murky in fact that the U.S. has been unable to supply any figure on the thousands killed by it’s world famous “shock and awe” son et lumiere.

But that’s all just so murky, isn’t it?

The downing of the Chinook helicopter, which killed 16 soldiers, brought the insurgency to a new level and suggested its growing effectiveness.

Why “growing”? Opposition to the American invasion has been there all along, picking its teeth in the wings, waiting for what has emerged as no end of opportuniteis to strike atsitting ducks.

Up to now the American people, in their majority, have backed the Iraq campaign, and the Bush administration has vowed repeatedly to stay the course, even through an election year. But administration officials and military commanders have also been dismissive of the insurgency in a way that may now be questioned.

The exceedingly slim “backing” of that much-discussed focus group known as
the American people slips to none on closer poll examination. And no one can safely predict the vows taken by an administration of congenital liars.

On Saturday, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the top American commander in Iraq, said the attacks were “strategically and operationally insignificant.”
Whatever the merits of that claim — and the downing of a helicopter would not seem insignificant — it might be beside the point. The well-armed and apparently coordinated guerrilla attacks on American forces, on Iraqis who are cooperating with them, on international institutions and on ordinary civilians seem to have a common purpose: undermining American resolve and sowing doubt in Iraq and elsewhere.

In short it’s the “Terrorist’s” version of “shock and awe.”

“Terrorist” must be placed in quotes thanks to the fact that BushCo regards anyone who opposes it for any reason whatsoever as a “terrorist.”

Members of the Bin Ladin family and Saudi operatives like Grover Norquist are needless to say exempt from such labelling.

Mr. Bush was informed of the attack on the helicopters while at his ranch here. A White House spokesman, Trent Duffy, later told reporters, “The terrorists seek to kill coalition forces and innocent Iraqis because they want us to run, but our will and our resolve are unshakable.”
However, Kenneth Allard, a former Army colonel who teaches international security at Georgetown University, suggested that the Iraqi attacks would test American determination.
“Every single one of these attacks challenges American will, and American will is the center of gravity in this campaign,” he said.

So we must all pledge not to let such unpleasantness get in the way of our resolve to create further unpleasantness.

Mr. Bush’s handling of Iraq is under intense partisan attack that is likely to intensify as the presidential campaign heats up.
Democrats have been particularly critical of Mr. Bush’s inability to win substantial commitments from allies other than Britain for troop deployments to Iraq, a failure they trace to the administration’s unwillingness to forge a true coalition before the war.

Yes it’s all Partisan Politics, folks. A campaign of blatant lies against a former operative, climaxed by a massive airstrike and “boots on the ground” mop-up operation done in the name of an old-fashioned imperialism that that choses to call itself “Neo-Conservative” is to be brushed aside.

It’s really all about those Mean Democrats doncha know.

Mr. Bush is clearly sensitive to the pressure on him to bring home more American troops as soon as possible; when he was asked at his news conference last week if he could promise to have reduced the number of troops in Iraq a year from now, he dismissed it as a “trick question” and declined to answer.

He’s so sensitive to the “trick” of a softball query of no real import to the gruesomly manifest problem at hand — unjustified warfare.

One Democrat, Gen. Wesley K. Clark, said after the helicopter was downed, “The administration has no answers to the increasingly violent situation in Iraq.” He added, “We need a plan.”
Another candidate, Dennis J. Kucinich, said bluntly, “It is urgent for the United States to go to the U.N. with a new resolution which contains the basis of an exit strategy.”Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, has repeatedly hammered at the war strategy, influencing other candidates.
But Democrats are themselves divided over how to proceed.
Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, told the CBS News program “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the United States should consider temporarily increasing the number of troops it has in Iraq.

Yes those Titanic deck chairs simply scream for re-arranging. Call the Fab Five!

Although his opinion poll numbers are down sharply from their highs of the spring, Mr. Bush remains in a relatively strong political position, and there is no sign of a rupture in public opinion on Iraq.

Translation: He’s got the money and the polls are easily rigged.

Public opinion within Iraq is harder to measure.

When you’re buring the dead, scrounging for food and dodging military patrols one is sorely pressed for the time and effortrequired to answer those pesky survey questions.

With each fresh attack, though, the pressure increases on Mr. Bush to show that he has not just a program but the determination to carry it out.

Who in Sam Hill gives a shit about the Fratboy Coward’s “determination”?


And so, needless to say, does Iraq.

Mr. Allard argued that public opinion in the United States was vulnerable to each episode of bad news.
Similarly, he said, Mr. Bush and his team have yet to convince the Iraqi people that the United States will prevail. “If you’re an Iraqi, the biggest fear in your mind is that Saddam or his cohorts might be back,” Mr. Allard said. “Everything they see now could convince them that the Americans may be faint-hearted. So at the least, they hedge their bets.”

If you’re an Iraqi your biggest fear is that some “Allied” patrol might waste you, or you might get caught in the crossfire between the “Allies” and whatever random cadre of insurgent bandits happens to be in the neighborhood — and that’s not to mention the fear of not being able to find enough food and water to get through the day.

Appearing on the NBC News program “Meet the Press,” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was insistent that the attacks would have no effect on the administration’s determination to see through the job in Iraq. “We can win this war,” he said. “We will win this war. And the president has every intention of staying after the terrorists and the countries that harbor terrorists until we have won this war.”

“You know what it is? Bad sportsmanship,” said the “Deputy Minister of Information” about the terrorist bombings in Brazil a science-fiction fantasy film that’s fast taking on the aspect of a documentary.

But if nothing else, the persistent attacks and casualties have forced the administration to acknowledge the difficulties ahead. At the news conference last week, Mr. Bush repeatedly referred to Iraq as a “dangerous” place, and he all but disowned the “Mission Accomplished” banner that hung behind him on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln when he proclaimed the end of major combat operations in May.

Mission Impossible is more like it.

Administration officials have begun to emphasize that they are pressing hard for Iraqis to take more responsibility for confronting the guerrilla warfare, and that they are speeding plans to train Iraqis to handle security.
“Foreign troops in a country are unnatural,” Mr. Rumsfeld said on “Fox News Sunday,” referring to the presence in Iraq of American and allied troops. “The goal is to keep them there only as long as they’re needed and not one day longer.”

“Imperialism is hard !” Too bad Barbie. You broke it — you pay for it.

But it is not clear how capable the Iraqis will be of stabilizing the country and settling political and religious divisions, especially if the shooting and bombing goes on.

And the corpses pile up.

Iraqi corpses as well as those evidently more photogenic American ones.

Again Brazil comes to mind, specifically the lament of Mrs. Buttle whose husband is snatched away for “questioning” when a computer glitch identifies him as a “terrorist.”

“What have you done with his body?” , Mrs. Buttle screams.

There, there, dear. You should strengthen your resolve. That’s the most important thing these days. There’s a war on you know.

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