Monday, October 31, 2005

There is no spoon

We know, from the arguments presented to support the invasion of Iraq, that the US and UK government's consider reality to be an inconvenience which can be manipulated into more useful forms. Their approach to reality is that it is somehow intangible and can be controlled by statements rather than actions. This is, by any measure, a seriously worrying delusion.

Yesterday, I wrote about the US military figures which show a steady increase in casualties caused by the insurgency over the last 20 months or so. As a contrast to reality, I had intended to quote Dick Cheney from a few months back but didn't get round to it in the end. Here's the quotation in question:
The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.
Dick Cheney, June 2005
Well, Mr Vice President, *I think* you're an idiot who can't tell his arse from his elbow. Last throes? It's normally customary to base your opinions on some sort of supporting evidence rather than just hoping that saying something makes it true. Last night, given the US casualty statistics, I found myself wondering whether Dick stands by that comment. I suspect he'd say the same today but I can't be certain.

Rumsfeld on the other hand, for all his peculiarities, is a different beast altogether. His comments are generally more ambiguous with his meaning implied rather than explicitly stated. Here's a recent Rumsfelt statement on Iraq:
The pressure applied on terrorists and insurgents is having an effect.
Donald Rumsfeld, October 2005
Y'see what he did there? He only implied that the pressure was having a *positive* effect. He's a wily old fox if nothing else. It's his department which produced the figures so he knows that the insurgency is actually causing more casualties as time passes and not less. He knows that to say the pressure is having a positive effect would to bend reality a long way past breaking point. So, he implies it. It's a clever strategy, but it's no less detestable than Cheney's outright denial of the truth.

The reality is that the insurgency in Iraq is getting worse, not better. Even the US military's own statistics support this statement. It is a statement clearly grounded in the harsh reality of daily life in Iraq. Unfortunately, our leaders do not show any sign that they can acknowledge, never mind find solutions for, that reality.

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