At What Price Victory?

The Bush administration's constant spin that everything happening in Iraq is "proof" of progress is part of the reason they are having so much trouble keeping the USS Dubya "Victory Ship" afloat. You can only claim vaporous progress for just so long before people actually want to see something tangible. The American people have finally lifted the rock that is the Iraq war and haven't found anything underneath but mud and creepy-crawlies - and especially not a hidden key to open the door out of the wretched place.

Here is some of the "progress" the administration seems to be so proud of:

Teaching the Lessons of Democracy - Since WMD wasn't found and the Bushies had a change of heart about nation building, they've made quite a big deal of their commitment to building a democracy in Iraq. We don't think anyone thinks this isn't a good thing, but many Americans have significant doubt about whether that is a) our nation's job, b) something the US is capable of, or c) the sanity of many of the methods we've used.

For example, we've taught Iraqis about the value of a free press by buying puff pieces in newspapers while we crowed about how many newspapers had sprung up since the removal of the more repressive regime. It's little wonder there are so many - over 100 by several counts - we've been funding them like one of our own multinational corporations.

Torture Begets Torture - Despite the repeated "read my lips" denials from the White House, the Iraqis have apparently learned that doing it yourself, instead of by proxy, is so much more fulfilling.

No wonder. They learned from the best. Starting with Alberto Gonzales' assertion that the Geneva Conventions were too messy and "quaint" be followed, the torture spin machine has been in hyperdrive.

According to the administration, Abu Grahaib was merely an anomaly that involved no one above the rank of sergeant and a learning-challenged woman who likes to pose for pictures and smokes a lot. Repeated additional examples of torture were dismissed as untrue or merely isolated incidents rather than something more systematic. Meanwhile, the Big Dick, working directly against the advice of a respected Republican war hero and former POW, is still doggedly battling to retain the right to torture as he sees fit.

The Rule of Law - Many Republicans, who quite rightfully spouted off about the rule of law during the Clinton impeachment, now seem to have laryngitis. Keeping people detained for years without counsel, formal charges, or access to the information that is arrayed against them seems just hunky dory to many conservatives. As an added bonus, we've tried to wiggle around those constitutional "niceties" by swapping prisoners between countries like a wild game of three card monte. We were apparently so proud of our mastery of democracy that we neglected to tell the countries we were doing this in a single word about it.

The administration's love for our Constitution was further illustrated when they pushed for passage of the Orwellian Patriot Act. In fact, so proud that former AG John "I Couldn't Win an Election Against a Dead Man" Ashcroft saw fit to make near-daily speeches about its importance and repeatedly act against his assurances that it would be used for nothing other than 911-related investigations. Some in Congress are still concerned about the serious erosion of civil rights that has taken place, but it appears we may never be able to rollback the clock on this "Executive Activism".

But rest assured that all is under control and rolling steadily toward victory. According to the neo-conmen in the administration, we can expect to look forward to further "progress" in the months ahead. The job of building a competent Iraqi army and police presence is coming along swimingly. A further round of elections will cement the wonderful working relationship between Sunnis and Shiities. And, if none of that works, soomeone will step in front of the cameras and cry.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Sunday, December 04, 2005

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