Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Bush Gives Pep Talk to U.S. Forces - Washington Post

"Stay the course"... "stay the course"...
GW Bush goes on with the following fallacious logic:
1. Some US soldiers have died in Iraq
2. Their death can't be in vain
3. Pulling out the troops would mean their sacrifices were in vain
4. This is unacceptable
5. The troops must stay in Iraq until Iraq is... stabilised? peaceful? democratic?

Never mind the following logic would be more pragmatic:
1. Was the war justified?
2. Reply: No clear connections between Saddam's Hussein's regime and terrorist networks. No Weapons of Mass Destruction
3. If the war was not justified, are the Iraqis better off with foreign troops in Iraq?
4. Reply: Life is at least as tough for Iraqis as it was before the invasion. Sectarian violence has led to tens of thousands of civilian death (maybe even hundreds of thousands)
5. From the point of view of the Americans, has the occupation of Iraq improved the outlook
of the "war on terrorism"?
6. Reply: Any real progress has been achieved in other parts of the world where the coordination of police forces has led to the arrest of key terrorist ringleaders. However, the rise of anti-americanism means recruitment is easier for terrorist organizations.
7. Is the war on terrorism "winnable"?
8. To the extent that terrorism is a form of violence and not a coherent organization to dismantle, terrorism is likely to remain a threat in the future. Besides, the use of terrorism as a weapon means humanism (the respect of the dignaty of any human lives) is not widespread enough, therefore the challenge is more an ideological one than a military one.
9. Have the US troops brought democracy?
10. Scandals like the Abu Grahib prisoners abuse, the unlawful situation in Guantanamo, massacres in Iraq have spread the feeling that the US government is not practicing what it preaches. The democratic process in Iraq has been slow at best. By all means, the country remains divided by sectarian bloodsheds.

One good way to make sure that past casualties were not in vain is to prevent any more casualties in the future! Isn't it the role of politicians to prevent more suffering? Where is the evidence that the current policy will lead to less suffering?


Tuesday, July 4, 2006; 12:50 PM


Associated Press Writer

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) -- President Bush, celebrating his fourth July Fourth as a wartime leader, said Tuesday U.S. troops will overcome persistent violence in Iraq and a rekindled insurgency in Afghanistan because the enemy is vulnerable.

"On this day when we give thanks for our freedom, we also give thanks to the men and women who make our freedom possible," Bush told an estimated 3,500 U.S. troops at an outdoor speech at Fort Bragg, home of the 82nd Airborne Division.

"You are serving our country at a time when our country needs you. And because of your courage, every day is Independence Day in America," he said.

Bush said that since the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's leader in Iraq, coalition and U.S. Iraqi forces have launched more than 190 raids on targets throughout the country, captured more than 700 enemy operatives and killed some 60 more. They have captured caches of weapons, and have received intelligence to help capture insurgents, he added.

"At this moment of vulnerability for the enemy," he said, "we will continue to strike their network. We will disrupt their operations, and we will bring their leaders to justice."

The outlook was less optimistic in Baghdad.

Gunmen in camouflaged uniforms kidnapped Iraq's deputy electricity minister, Raed al-Hares, and 11 of his bodyguards in eastern Baghdad. The kidnapping occurred three days after gunmen seized a Sunni female legislator in east Baghdad; she and seven bodyguards are still missing.

Tense conditions also exist currently in Afghanistan, where U.S.-led troops are facing fierce resistance from the Taliban in southern sections of the nation.

Bush paid special recognition to members of the U.S. military services who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003.

"I will make you this promise, I'm not going to allow the sacrifice of 2,527 troops who have died in Iraq to be in vain," Bush said to the crowd of uniformed troops, who responded with a chorus of "Hooah."

Before he spoke, Bush was shown an array of military equipment, including a loudspeaker used by a psychological warfare operations unit, by members of the 82nd Airborne and Army special operations units.

He shook their hands, squeezed their shoulders, patted them on the back. "Good job," he told a helicopter pilot who flew former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from the hole where he was captured to an airfield in Baghdad. The pilot, whose name was not provided for security reasons because he is being redeployed to Iraq, briefed the president on his unusual mission.

Later, in a cafeteria at the base, Bush had lunch with military personnel, making himself a salad and grabbing a piece of fried chicken and some macaroni and cheese.

In his talk, the president did not any changes in troop levels, reiterating his refusal to set "an artificial timetable."

Such a strategy would be "a terrible mistake," Bush said,. saying that it would undermine the fledging Iraqi government. He also said it would undercut the morale of U.S. troops "by sending a message that the mission for which you risked your lives was not worth completing."

Bush planned to watch the Fourth of July national fireworks display from the White House, where he and his family will celebrate his 60th birthday on Thursday.

Among the estimated 150 people who were expected for the Tuesday night fireworks show were Bush friends Brad Freeman, Joe O'Neill, Mike Weiss and Charles Younger, who rode with him to Fort Bragg aboard Air Force One.

AP-ES-07-04-06 1101EDT


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