Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Clutching at Straws - Another Historical Rewrite

I watched part of the President's speech today, but I was not really surprised by what I heard.

The President's foreign policy for the past six years has been one of "if I repeat it enough, it will become true." This policy has been applied to his attempts to label his legacy, as well. President Bush invoked Korea and the difficulties Truman faced in 1950, noting that history has been kind to the ex-haberdasher, implying that he is the Truman of the 21st Century.

This is a nice idea, but it's intentionally incomplete. President Truman is remembered fondly in relation to Korea because history proved his claims accurate. North Korea invaded the South with the approval of China and the Soviet Union (indeed there were Soviet pilots in the air over Korea during the war). The U.S. intervened with the approval of the United Nations. The attack was part of a larger plan to spread Communism.

History has not been so kind to the President's rationales for invading Iraq. First off, we were the aggressors in Iraq; we were not defending an attacked state. There were no WMDs being produced, and none found of the vintage claimed. The Saddam-Al Qaeda link was refuted. There were no plans to invade the United States. The Iraqi people did not view us as liberators (at least, not in the long run), and the country was not ready for democracy. In short, the similarities are skin-deep.

The President also made comments referring to the need to fight the terrorists in Iraq, lest we fight them here. This is a rather disingenuous statement, in my opinion. As noted in the preceding paragraph, the ISG and CIA found no link between 9-11 and Saddam Hussein and no terror threat from Iraq, at least, not until we liberated the country and provided what terrorists we now face there. The President also (during the part I watched), while referring to the terrorists, made no mention of the insurgents or the Iraqi military who have been fighting us - just a coincidence, I'm sure. I recognize that it would be ludicrous to think that our President would actually come out and say "I'm responsible for a complete mess in Iraq, but unless we stick to it, it's going to be even worse. I need your help to try to fix what I've broken," but that's exactly what he needs to do. Trying to paint a picture that glosses over his errors in judgment (such as not listening to his Generals, such as Shinseki who stated the need for 5-600,000 troops to secure victory in Iraq) only shows his contempt for the sensibilities of the American People, including the families of the soldiers fighting the insurgency he created.

Like I said, I didn't see the whole speech, so maybe he did throw in a mea culpa, but I somehow doubt it. Instead, he wants to pretend he is what he isn't - a Great Leader, a man with the statement "The buck stops here" on his desk, Harry S Truman. Instead, history is more likely to view him as a different Democrat from the 20th Century - Lyndon Johnson.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In case you didn't know, Prof. Corn is sick and isn't teaching this semester. A Get Well card is available to be signed at Prof. Lewinbuk's office, 621T, in the clear paper holders near her office door.

If you stop by school, you should sign it. It's available until Saturday morning.

Or...if you want, you can always email him. Prof. Lewinbuk said that emails brighten up his day.