“We are prevailing,” the war prez told the nation. He was talking about his war in Iraq, of course. If you don’t believe him, perhaps this will convince you: “We are helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We are advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are removing a source of violence and instability and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren.” Do you believe him now?
In case you still don’t, British reporter Patrick Cockburn of The Independent in London offered this in an interview this morning on Democracy Now!: “You just have to get off the plane in Baghdad to realize this place is in chaos. It’s the most dangerous place in the world.”
His more detailed description, “Iraq: A bloody mess,” appeared yesterday before the speech. It began:
A year ago the supposed handover of power by the US occupation authority to an Iraqi interim government led by Iyad Allawi was billed as a turning point in the violent history of post-Saddam Iraq.
It has turned out to be no such thing. Most of Iraq is today a bloody no-man’s land beset by ruthless insurgents, savage bandit gangs, trigger-happy US patrols and marauding government forces.
The news now from Iraq is only depressing. All the roads leading out of the capital are cut. Iraqi security and US troops can only get through in heavily armed convoys. There is a wave of assassinations of senior Iraqi officers based on chillingly accurate intelligence.
Wait, there’s more:
The sense of fear in Baghdad is difficult to convey. Petrol is such a necessity because people need to pick up their children from school because they are terrified of them being kidnapped. Parents mob the doors of schools and swiftly become hysterical if they cannot find their children. Doctors are fleeing the country because so many have been held for ransom, some tortured and killed because their families could not raise the money.
Homes in Baghdad are currently getting between six and eight hours’ electricity a day. Nothing has improved at the power stations since the hand-over of security a year ago. In a city where the temperature yesterday was 40C, people swelter without air conditioning because the omnipresent small generators do not produce enough current to keep them going. In recent weeks there has also been a chronic shortage of water.
Compare that with what the war prez said: “We are improving roads and schools and health clinics.” And with this bromidic claim: “We’re working to improve basic services like sanitation, electricity and water. And together with our allies, we will help the new Iraqi government deliver a better life for its citizens.”
If the war prez had been honest with us, he would have said: “We are not prevailing. … We are not helping Iraqis become an ally in the war on terror. We are helping Iraqis become an enemy in the war on terror. We are not advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are installing a source of violence and instability and laying the foundation of chaos for everyone.” But we know the prez has not been honest. We know why, too. He is arrogant, unable to admit his mistakes, and unwilling to accept advice from anyone but his closed circle of kiss-up, kick-down loyalists.
And how about the conclusion to his speech? It was yet another of his inimitable Bushisms: “Our enemies are brutal, but they are no match for the United States of America …” Does he rewrite his own speeches? This one had that personal touch.