Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bush and Johnny Mac Talk Iraq

Oh I had to post about this:

> You keep hearing about how "strong" John McCain is on foreign policy and national security, even though no one actually agrees with his foreign policy or national security ideas. The theory is that the experienced, stalwart, military guy is the one you want handling these things.

And then there was this.

That's right folks. John McCain can't tell Sunnis from Shiites.

I know the right will try to play this off as an Alzheimer's moment, but this gaffe was so perfect, so revealing, that I can't let it go.


1). McCain has spent so long dishonestly connecting the words "al Qaeda" and "Iraq," has so ingrained the basic "Call all militants al Qaeda" rule, that he has totally lost all sense of context. For anyone with any kind of interest in the Iraq situation actually mixing up al Qaeda with Shiite "extremists" is impossible... unless of course you're so damn used to applying the phrase "al Qaeda" to all the "bad guys" that you do it reflexively, even when you're, you know, in the Middle East solidifying your image as "strong" on foreign policy.


2). He actually does not know or care about the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite, doesn't know which one Iran is, and doesn't know which one al Qaeda is. Like most hawks of his generation he sees the world as black hats vs. white hats, and is chiefly concerned with identifying Iran and al Qaeda as "bad guys." He's also, evidently, very excited about going to war with Iran.


3). He actually has Alzheimer's.

And frankly? If any of those three things are true, I don't want him to be president.

> Which segues nicely into George W. Bush's "major speech" about Iraq. "Major" in this case apparently meaning less "important" and more "mind-numbing bullshit I say every day."

This, for those of you counting, is the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq fiasco, which lead to some nice passive-aggressive headlines, like CNN's "After Five Years, Bush Says War Must Go On."

Anyway, Bush commemorated the occasion with the same mix of empty distortion, fear mongering, and self delusion we've become used to by now.

But this speech did seem imbued with a certain fire that I'm not used to seeing out of President Shit For Brains. He spent much of the speech on the history of the war, saying "Operation Iraqi Freedom was a remarkable display of military effectiveness," trotting out the terrors of Sadam's regime, lingering on the children's prisons and torture rooms. His political motivations were obvious, but as he spoke he got more animated, more fired up. You could almost see him hitting his stride, feeling righteous. Yes, you could hear him thinking, this was a just cause - it still is one!

It is difficult to be objective about George W. Bush, a man I hate maybe more than God and Grady Little combined. For those of us who have spent these long eight years in an ever-deepening state of rage, cynicism and disbelief, it is tempting to imagine him as an evil mastermind instead of what he is: a dumb ass frat kid who does what he wants and what he's told in equal measure, firm in the sublime (and probably accurate) belief that he'll never have to answer for any of it.

But this speech, to my eyes, looked like a man honestly living in a world of deep self-delusion. It looked and sounded like Bush really believes in the righteous faerie tale Iraq he was describing. Theoretically I can see how, an uninformed person could hear that speech and be drawn into that naive world view, but it almost seemed like Bush was talking for himself here. There was a distinctly combative, almost petulant air about the thing, from a man eternally unable to admit his mistakes. Iraq was noble, it is noble, and we're not leaving, so fucking there!

The good news? No one is buying this bullshit.

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