Friday, December 01, 2006

Waiting for Miracles

You'll need to be a Salon subscriber to read the whole thing, but Walter Shapiro has this to say today:
Bush, at his Thursday press conference in Jordan with a still petulant Maliki, memorably commented that "this business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it all."

Hard though it may be to type these words, Bush is right. Barring the kind of light-up-the-sky miracle that inspires the creation of a major new religion, there will be nothing graceful about the route home from the rout in Iraq. No regional conference nor redeployment strategy is likely to be any more effective than Hadley's dreams of transforming Maliki into a competent leader. (There was something inherently comic about a Bush administration memo complaining that a foreign leader is the captive of "a small circle" of advisors who are "coloring his actions and his interpretations of reality.")

Like so much else, the route out of Iraq will be dictated not by American self-interest (how to preserve our influence and prestige) or moralism (how to lessen the suffering of the Iraqi people), but domestic politics. The expectation is that Bush has to disengage from Iraq over the next year or so to prevent the Republican Party from suffering a 2008 political defeat so severe that it will make the recent congressional elections look like "morning in America" by comparison.

3 Comments:

Blogger Jamal Alsaffar said...

The only issue I have with Bush's statement (and Shapiro to the extent that he adopts it) is that I don't know that anyone has suggested there is a "graceful" way to get out. I think Bush is playing politics with this statement--setting up a strawman opponent who thinks that a graceful plan exists. Most if not all recognize that whatever is done--whether it is phased withdrawal or other form of conditioned based withdrawal--will be neither graceful nor easy.

Bush is playing semantical games as usual. Believe me that his use of this phrase is politically calculated. Knowing that the war is now, in great measure, a democrat problem to solve, the slogan creating has begun in earnest. What better way than to simplify the problem, as usual, into a black and white proposition?

Iraq is the greatest foreign policy nightmare of our generation and perhaps for many generations to follow. There is no graceful way to get out of that.

4:23 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

I'm not sure Shapiro disagrees with you. It's definitely not a pro-Bush-Iraq-policy piece. This is why I probably shouldn't post excerpts from things that not everyone can read in their entirety. Damn subscriptions!!

4:44 PM  
Blogger Jamal Alsaffar said...

I assumed it wasn't a pro-Bush policy piece. Is that possible to do now? Even the reliable hacks are jumping ship. I think perhaps Shapiro was just using Bush's words as a jumping off point to state the obvious--no graceful way out. I just think it's extremely important to be vigilant about our President's use of words as an attempt to pivot himself out of political problems. Granted, he's failing miserably at even that. But nonetheless...

3:25 PM  

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