We Shall Underwhelm

George Bush steps to the podium at the U.S. Naval Academy with a PLAN FOR VICTORY:

Bush at a podium, with posters

Victory where? Well, just check out this original-size crop of the plan’s cover (see also full version, PDF original):
'National Strategy For' in small, small letters; 'Victory in Iraq' in huge letters

I’m not sure what those small letters say, but the big ones are talking about Iraq! You know, where we accomplished our mission:
Bush with 'mission accomplished' banner in background

Wait, though. That photo is from May 1, 2003. This document comes 30 months later. So we accomplished the mission before we had a strategy? Amazing! This government has real accomplishments. Except…

The most remarkable thing about the document President George W. Bush released today, titled National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, is that it was released today (and written not much earlier—it’s authored by the National Security Council and dated November 2005).

It is symptomatic of everything that’s gone wrong with this war that, after two and a half years of fighting it (and four years after starting to plan it), the White House is just now getting around to articulating a strategy for winning it.

To put this in perspective: From December 1941 to August 1945, the U.S. government mobilized an entire nation; manufactured a mighty arsenal; played a huge role in defeating the armies, air forces, and navies of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan; and emerged from battle poised to shape the destiny of half the globe. By comparison, from September 2001 to December 2005, the U.S. government has advanced to the point of describing a path to victory in a country the size of California. [from The Good News—Bush Finally Has a Plan]

And is it any great surprise that this new speech/booklet effort, which works very, very hard to burn the word “VICTORY” into our consciousness, actually avoids defining it at all?

In the speech, Bush says (as he has said many times before), “We will stay as long as necessary to complete the mission.” But what is the mission? At one point he says, “When our mission of training the Iraqi security forces is complete, our troops will return home to a proud nation.” However, a bit later, he says the mission will be complete “when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq’s democracy,” and he adds, “I will settle for nothing less than complete victory.”

So, which is it: Our job is done when the Iraqis can fight the bad guys on their own—or when the bad guys are defeated? Those are two very different standards, involving very different benchmarks of progress. [Ibid.]

No, I thought not.

P.S. Since I’m referencing the subject, I’d also like to mention my 1 May 03 post, “Bush League“, and also one of my personal favorites “SARS Attack!,” with the “suckling” line that still makes me chuckle…

Hit Me With It