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Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Break in Our Regular Programming

Here's Molly Ivins wishing for more civility in politics -- and realizing the cost of civility may be her sanity:

Another mission accomplished, by Molly Ivins, Creator's Syndicate: As one on the liberal side of the chorus of moaners about the decline of civility in politics, I feel a certain responsibility when earnest, spaniel-eyed conservatives like David Brooks peer at us hopefully and say, "Well, yes, there was certainly a lot of misinformation about WMD before the war in Iraq, but ... you don't think they, he, actually lied, do you?" Draw I deep the breath of patience. ... "Of course not actually lie, per se, in the strict sense" -- and then I listen to another speech about Iraq by either the president or the vice president and find myself screaming, "Dammit, when will they quit lying?" I realize this is not helping the cause of civility. On the other hand, sanity has its claims, as well.

I have been listening with great attention to the series of speeches Present Bush has lately given on his newly revealed "Plan for Victory." Of course I was pleased to learn we have a plan for a victory, which consists, it turns out, of announcing: "We cannot and will not leave Iraq until victory is achieved. ... We will settle for nothing less than complete victory. ... We will never accept anything less than complete victory." Unfortunately, the White House claims it produced this once supposedly secret plan in 2003, when it is actually a public-relations paper written less than six months ago, which is pretty much the way things go credibility-wise these days. ...

Bush claimed in his Naval Academy speech that 80 Iraqi army and police battalions are fighting alongside American units, while another 40 are taking the lead in fighting. But last summer, military leaders told Congress that three of the 115 Iraqi battalions are capable of fighting without U.S. help, and in October Gen. George Casey, the American commander in Iraq, lowered that to one. ... I mean, we can define "complete victory" down as far as Bush wants, as far as I'm concerned, but this ain't exactly facing reality.

So as not to completely abandon my colleagues still yearning for civility, it is only fair to point out that Bush and even Cheney are making some progress. For one thing, they now acknowledge reconstruction is not going entirely smoothly.... Also, Bush now acknowledges we are fighting more than just terrorists. In fact, most of the people we're fighting are themselves Iraqis who don't like us being there. The fact that their government has asked us to leave is still politely passed over. ... The number of attacks on American and Iraqi troops per day, rather a clear indicator, simply grows steadily worse. Rep. Jack Murtha ... says insurgent incidents over the past year have increased from 150 per week to over 700 per week. Bush's claims on reconstruction are likewise mind-boggling. It's not "fits and starts" -- there are rampant overcharges, corruption, lack of oversight -- it is a zoo. ...

One night in mid-September, George W. stood in New Orleans' Jackson Square... He promised help for housing, education and job training: "The work that has begun in the Gulf Coast region will be one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen. ... I also offer this pledge of the American people: Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives."

Hey, you know, another mission accomplished.

I've tried to maintain civility and not to be overly political here, and I've bitten my tongue more than once. But recent events leave me doing the equivalent of screaming "Dammit, when will they quit lying?" to which I now add Dammit, when will they quit spying? And the dammits about torture being an issue at all continue as well. Why is there even any question about that? I hate being put into this position. I can't even trust that an independent press corps exists anymore, not with all the recent revelations of how the administration is intertwined, tit for tat, with the reporters at major news agencies. I'd rather stick to economics, but with the latest reports I feel I have to speak up - our rights, our freedom, and the integrity of our government are too important to stay silent. Years ago, I never dreamed I'd be asking myself the questions about our government I ask today. I just hope it's not to late to find the answers and fix it.

    Posted by on Saturday, December 17, 2005 at 12:24 PM in Iraq and Afghanistan, Politics | Permalink  TrackBack (1)  Comments (11)

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