Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Misunderestimation of Resolve

I'm frequently surprised by the statements of the Bush administration. I've long struggled to understand why their pronouncements make no sense to me. They seem to be reasonably intelligent people for the most part (politics aside).

But then I remembered the fallout from the release of the Downing Street Memo. Tod Lindberg understood the phrase "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" in a way I found odd. This set off a storm in the blogothingy. It seems that "fixed around" is not defined as fixedly as I'd thought. Perhaps this new found knowledge will make it easier to interpret and understand Bush administration policies.

Well, G.W. Bush has delivered his primetime speech on the continuing war in Iraq. What better opportunity could there be to attempt a suitable translation? My efforts are in [square brackets].

"The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror. This war reached our shores on 11 September 2001… After 11 September, I made a commitment to the American people: this nation will not wait to be attacked again. We will take the fight to the enemy. We will defend our freedom. Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war...

[It’s best not to acknowledge that our troops invaded Iraq without provocation. There is no link between the invasion of Iraq and the 11 September attacks.]

Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women, and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home...

[Since the invasion, insurgents and terrorists have prospered in Iraq. They are killing innocent men, women and children. Remember, no Iraqis were involved in the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.]

We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who exploded car bombs along a busy shopping street in Baghdad - including one outside a mosque. We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who sent a suicide bomber to a teaching hospital in Mosul. And we see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who behead civilian hostages and broadcast their atrocities for the world to see. These are savage acts of violence - but they have not brought the terrorists any closer to achieving their strategic objectives.

[Violence continues to rise.]

The terrorists - both foreign and Iraqi - failed to stop the transfer of sovereignty. They failed to break our coalition and force a mass withdrawal by our allies. They failed to incite an Iraqi civil war. They failed to prevent free elections. They failed to stop the formation of a democratic Iraqi government that represents all of Iraq's diverse population. And they failed to stop Iraqis from signing up in large numbers with the police forces and the army to defend their new democracy....

[Many of the proposed solutions to the insurgency have already been implemented and have done nothing to halt this rise. There is no sign of the violence abating.]

The new Iraqi security forces are proving their courage every day. More than 2,000 members of the Iraqi security forces have given their lives in the line of duty. Thousands more have stepped forward, and are now in training to serve their nation. With each engagement, Iraqi soldiers grow more battle-hardened, and their officers grow more experienced. We have learned that Iraqis are courageous and that they need additional skills. That is why a major part of our mission is to train them so they can do the fighting and our troops can come home...

[This didn’t work in Vietnam and it isn’t likely to work in Iraq. With each engagement the enemy also grows more battle-hardened and more experienced. Two years after the invasion, we’re no closer knowing when the US military will withdraw from Iraq.]

This 4 July, I ask you to find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom - by flying the flag ... sending letters to our troops in the field ... or helping the military family down the street. The Department of Defence has set up a website -

[I am the United States of America. If you criticize me, you criticize the USA.]

...And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our armed forces. We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our nation's uniform.

[Your country needs you… to replace the growing number of soldiers who’ve been killed and wounded in this unprovoked invasion.]
That's about it. There's no mention of WMD (via), no mention of the Downing Street Memo, and no mention of an exit strategy.

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