With me so far? Good.
Now that the surge has accomplished approximately none of its goals (at least as they were told to us when Congress approved it), the Bush administration is desperately looking for someone to blame, and they keep changing the definition of success in this war:
Before the surge started:
Surge is not a term I’ve ever used. But the point is you’re trying to add strength to the forces in Iraq so that they’re going to be successful in taking out sectarian violence and also al Qaeda violence, so that you have the conditions under which people can pursue the important business of political reconciliation and economic development.After the surge:
And just like that, creating a viable political environment is no longer a goal of the surge. It probably didn't help that the Iraqi Parliament took August off for vacation.
QUESTION: Is it still administration policy that the U.S. commitment in Iraq is not open-ended?
JOHNDROE: I think the president has made it clear that he would eventually like to see the United States in a different configuration in Iraq. There’s no doubt about that. The surge was designed, as we have said repeatedly, to help bring security to Iraq.
Which brings us to Nouri Al-Maliki. One day the President tells him that he's on thin ice, the next day, he's a guy with a tough job to do. The message is delivered. We brought you into this world, and we can take you out.
And this is where it becomes obvious how screwed up things have become.
One of the top Republican lobbying firms in Washington was paid $300,000 to hype Ayad Allawi as the next Savior of All Iraq. So he gets to write an op-editorial in the Washington Post talking about the failures of the current Iraqi government (which are real), without revealing he has paid American lobbyists to set all of this up for him. His representatives from that firm go on national teevee talking up the failures of the Iraqi government without revealing they are being paid to do so.
Do you get that? In this war for Democracy, we're now fighting to recycle the same old deck of leaders, over and over, until one of them waves their Magic Iraq Wand and fixes everything. We had to send more troops to save Iraq. And once we're there, we can't get them out, because then the other troops might be less safe. We're staying there just to save ourselves so we can stay there.
And just in case you missed the point, this week President Bush compared Iraq to Vietnam, saying that Americans had better learn the lesson of what happens when you end an occupation early. He even compared himself to the bumbling character of Alden Pyle in the Quiet American. This character is the literary embodiment of American imperialistic arrogance, the written example of what happens when people who don't know jack about the world start wars in places they've never been.
Hey, did ya hear that joke? What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? George Bush had a plan to get out of Vietnam.