(African elephant photo via pochacco20.)
What sort of abysmal failure of a presidency do you have as an elected Republican when William F. Buckley, Jr., writing in the National Review, calls your tenure "grave, possibly beyond the point of rescue?" And then says this:
But beyond affirming executive supremacy in matters of war, what is George Bush going to do? It is simply untrue that we are making decisive progress in Iraq. The indicators rise and fall from day to day, week to week, month to month. In South Vietnam there was an organized enemy. There is clearly organization in the strikes by the terrorists against our forces and against the civil government in Iraq, but whereas in Vietnam we had Hanoi as the operative headquarters of the enemy, we have no equivalent of that in Iraq, and that is a matter of paralyzing importance. All those bombings, explosions, assassinations: we are driven to believe that they are, so to speak, spontaneous.
When the Romans were challenged by Christianity, Rome fell. The generation of Christians moved by their faith overwhelmed the regimented reserves of the Roman state. It was four years ago that Mr. Cheney first observed that there was a real fear that each fallen terrorist leads to the materialization of another terrorist. What can a “surge,” of the kind we are now relying upon, do to cope with endemic disease? The parallel even comes to mind of the eventual collapse of Prohibition, because there wasn’t any way the government could neutralize the appetite for alcohol, or the resourcefulness of the freeman in acquiring it….
The general makes it a point to steer away from the political implications of the struggle, but this cannot be done in the wider arena. There are grounds for wondering whether the Republican party will survive this dilemma.
The rest of the so-called conservative pundit establishment (with the exception of Andrew Sullivan and a very astute reader), is choosing to simply ignore Buckley's column. As if a sort of plugging of the ears and a "la la la la la I can't hear you." will make the entire mess of a Bush Presidency, their lockstep, slavish support for it and all of the attendant accountability for the rubber stamping of every poorly-planned and executed failed decision disappear in a cloud of Republican party pixie dust.
How many times have we heard George Bush say that we are "making progress" in Iraq? Honestly, from the idiocy of the "Mission Accomplished" craptastic photo-op to the "bring it on!" challenge to insurgents and everything since then, I generally just shake my head at the fact that he and the rest of his political minions think that Americans are too stupid to see through their lies and con games. Their disrespect ticks me off, but it is emblematic of their inherent mistrust and disdain for anyone that isn't inside the loyal crony cadre.
But today, this just made me furious:
The number of terrorism incidents in Iraq — and resulting deaths, injuries and kidnappings — skyrocketed from 2005 to 2006, according to statistics released by U.S. counterterrorism officials yesterday.
Of the 14,338 reported terrorist attacks worldwide last year, 45 percent took place in Iraq, and 65 percent of the global fatalities stemming from terrorism occurred in Iraq. In 2005, Iraq accounted for 30 percent of the worldwide terrorist attacks.
The figures, compiled by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and released with the annual State Department Country Reports on Terrorism, showed that the number of incidents in Iraq rose 91 percent, from 3,468 in 2005 to 6,630 in 2006….
Still, the report acknowledged, the invasion "has been used by terrorists as a rallying cry for radicalization and extremist activity that has contributed to instability in neighboring countries." The report also said that since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in the fall of 2002, the country "remains threatened by Taliban insurgents and religious extremists," though "the majority of Afghans believe they are better off than under the Taliban." The number of terrorism incidents in Afghanistan rose 52 percent in 2006 compared with 2005, and the number of people killed, injured or kidnapped nearly doubled.
Is this what Republican progress looks like to George Bush and the Republicans who continue to enable him to plod along in the ditch into which he has driven our military and our nation, pouring money into a sinkhole with no end in sight? With rising American deaths again this month, and far greater Iraqi casualties as well? This blindered view of "success" no matter the facts is what has enabled George Bush to drive us all into the ditch — and the fact that no one in his own party has stood up and said enough and taken his keys away is on their heads. It is no wonder that Buckley has begun to fear collapse of the GOP — from within — for there are no adults left in the Republican leadership, no one who will stand up and put the nation before their party.
And that ought to give pause for a lot of reflection. The Republican party is the party of failure, manipulation and lies. And America knows it. 2008 is fast approaching — how do you think that's going to work come election night? No wonder Sean Hannity smells like fear.
UPDATE: Old Coastie spotted an interesting bit at The Washington Note. Steve Clemons passes along some thoughts from the Nelson Report that are worth reading. To wit:
Sometimes insider gossip seems to confirm what all us outsiders think we're seeing, so, for what it's worth. . .we're hearing that some big money players up from Texas recently paid a visit to their friend in the White House.
The story goes that they got out exactly one question, and the rest of the meeting consisted of The President in an extended whine, a rant, actually, about no one understands him, the critics are all messed up, if only people would see what he's doing things would be OK. . .etc., etc.
This is called a "bunker mentality" and it's not attractive when a friend does it. When the friend is the President of the United States, it can be downright dangerous. Apparently the Texas friends were suitably appalled, hence the story now in circulation….
"You know, if Bush would stop his self-indulgent stubbornness for half a day, he could see plain as day that he has an opportunity to retain American control of the World Bank by easing Wolfie out. If he tries to keep Wolfie in that spot, American control could end.
I really wonder whether his failure to distinguish between necessary toughness and catastrophically shoot-ourselves-(America)-in-our-foot pigheadedness results from biological anomaly. His inability to harvest experience, and so to think and form successful judgments, is just so inexplicable."
Priority numero uno has always been what George Bush wants and damn the consequences. The fact that "loyal Bushies" still do not understand that the man is a selfish prat surrounded by sycophantic enablers, yes men, and power-driven ends justifies the means political operatives, none of which have ever been good for the Republican party's long-term survival, never mattered to them when the money and the power ade was rolling in. The lack of long-term foresight is appalling enough — but the willingness to overlook the lack of any core beliefs other than "my way or the highway" ought to give every thinking American pause before ever voting for another Republican.