Tonight President Bush will unveil a clear strategy for the war in Iraq and do so in such a way as to put to rest suspicions that the administration in fact has no plan and never did. His speech will detail exactly what the goals are and how he plans to achieve them.
Really? Of course not.
Does anyone doubt that what we get will actually be just more of the same -- with a fresh coat of paint?
If you could distill this administration down to one a single thing it would be this: a complete inability -- indeed a pathological aversion -- to changing course, even when the current course is taking you over the cliff.
Combine that with rank incompetence and you’ve got quite a potent -- and deadly -- combo.
Unfortunately for the Bush administration, the latest front in the war in Iraq is the American psyche. Contrary to Bush’s latest rationale for the war (the only one left to him after all the others evaporated), America has always been less about spreading freedom across the globe and more about avoiding foreign entanglements. Here is the money quote from George Washington’s farewell speech:
Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?
And now Bush and his war have run smack into that bedrock American creed.
But Bush’s response -- the same as his response to everything -- is simply to repeat the same things louder and louder, as if the problem is that we didn’t hear him the first five thousand times.
The president’s real problem is not that he hasn’t been heard but that the facts are too overwhelming and devastating to be drowned out by his rhetoric. In fact, 57 percent of Americans now believe the administration intentionally mislead us into war.
And tonight, Bush’s fanatical belief that you don’t let little things like facts get in the way will be triumphantly -- and, let’s hope, transparently -- on display.
But what the American people really want is the just opposite -- for the president’s rhetoric to, at long last, start reflecting the disturbing reality that is becoming clearer for all to see.
So what will we hear tonight? The White House playbook is so limited at this point, it’s not hard to guess.
And while I’m not in favor of excessive drinking (though it’s an understandable reaction to hearing Bush speak), here is a Presidential Speech Drinking Game for those who are so inclined... Down a glass of your favorite adult beverage any time you hear the president say:
“Strategy for victory.” (Bottoms Up Bonus: “clear strategy for victory.”)
Something about our troops being the “finest in the world”.
“No artificial timetable”.
That we’re training “more and more Iraqi security forces every day.”
“Freedom.” (Bottoms Up Bonus: “They hate freedom.”)
War being “tough.”
The conflation of Afghanistan and Iraq - the war in Iraq with the war on terror (Bottoms Up Bonus: “shared murderous ideology”)
That the terrorists are trying to “shake our will.”
That we have to “complete our mission.”
The odds are very high that you’ll be three-sheets-to-the-wind long before the speech is done. But you won’t know one damn thing more about how we’re going to get out of this mess.