Today’s New York Times reveals that George W. Bush is deeply disappointed that the Iraqi people have “not shown greater support for the American mission.”
One person who attended a meeting of Bush’s “war cabinet” on Monday commented on Bush’s reaction: “I sensed a frustration with the lack of progress on the bigger picture of Iraq generally — that we continue to lose a lot of lives, it continues to sap our budget. The president wants the people in Iraq to get more on board to bring success.”
I recall those halcyon days of early 2001, when neoconservative whiz kid David Brooks gurgled about how wonderful it would be to have a president who had a Masters of Business Administration – and from Harvard, no less. Bush’s reaction to Iraq is vintage MBA: If only these people would get “on board”…
One professor who attended (and who is getting money from the U.S. State Department) said that Bush expressed the view that “the Shia-led government needs to clearly and publicly express the same appreciation for United States efforts and sacrifices as they do in private.”
Perhaps Bush believes that America’s problems in Iraq would be solved if there more Iraqi government officials were assassinated.
Bush was apparently especially upset that a recent rally in support of Hezbollah in Baghdad drew 10,000 people. One person at the meeting commented that Bush “was frustrated about why 10,000 Shiites would go into the streets and demonstrate against the United States.”
Maybe Bush was confounded that Iraqis are too stupid to recognize that America’s ally, Israel, was using U.S. bombs to kill Lebanese civilians solely in the cause of Bush’s “forward strategy of freedom.”
In unrelated news elsewhere in today’s NY Times, the civilian death toll in Iraq in July set a record and experts fear that “the country is already embroiled in a civil war.”
I think the Iraqis would show more gratitude if we slaughtered more of them.
Snark aside, bush’s reaction would be laugh out loud funny if it weren’t so danm tragic.
“the country is already embroiled in a civil war”…and I’d wager that Bush will take sides – probably the Sunni and Kurdish side – as he grows increasingly frustrated that his democracy plan is being opposed by the Shia in the region.
Wouldn’t that be something, another Sunni autocratic government in Iraq (or portions of it). Didn’t they used to have something like that under some really bad, bad man?
Wes, I expect the next couple years’ developments in Iraq are going to be hell on American idealists — or at least those who idealize US government power.
But they can rest easy knowing that, regardless of how great the debacle becomes, the media will almost certainly brush it under the rug pretty quickly. And people will forget and then swallow the hokum of the next con artist to capture the presidency.
3500 dead civilians in Iraq last month alone compared to 1000 civilians and soldiers in Lebanon and Israel combined. The US Press portrays one as a “crisis” with round the clock coverage while the other receives little in-depth coverage at all except on madhouse yellovision shows like Chris Matthews. Yet, these are our troops involved.
The US press is still cowering in fear of pissing off the Government, particularly the Bush people. What are they waiting on, Bush’s approval rating to drop down into the teens like Cheney’s?
They appear already to have taken sides with the recent raid on Shi’ite militia. You raise a very good point here and we need to keep an eye on such developments.
I don’t know why most of the media is still bootlicking the Bush team.
Maybe old habits are hard to break. Or maybe docility has become the most important trait to succeed in Washington (along with nice hair).
You and I would be jealous of the hair thing.
Nah, jealousy’s a waste of time.
Remember, too, that many of the DC media stars are charter members of the 45-pound Bench Press Club (the weight of an unloaded Olympic bar).
Regarding the US backing the Sunni/Kurdish factions is not a novel thing. This is the modus operandi of US foreign intervention since the Philippine/American war. As a Southerner, I would argue that this M.O. got its start on the domestic front during Reconstruction with the wholesale removal of State legislators and the replacement with Radical Republicans, not to mention the Freedman’s Bureau, etc. — One only need to look at the Shah of Iran, the House of Saud, the regime in Jordan, the creation of the State of Israel, etc. to see that we put our men in places of power in the Middle East.
This is what is meant by the American euphemism, “regional stability”: allegiance to Washington and sweetheart deals for oil companies. Venture outside of this paradigm at your own risk.
Only one quibble.
Are you sure you don’t want to amend your views on Reconstruction, given the New York Times report today that Bush was reading two books on Lincoln during his recent Texas vacation?
Hopefully Bush will not get any ideas about igniting Atlanta.
It doesn’t surprise me a bit that Dubya would be ‘readin’ up’ on Abe. Most men of Bush’s age start to reflect upon their life and find their roots!
As for Atlanta, he can have it. Should the South ever manage to spit out the Republican teat (and Democratic one, for that matter), we’re going to have build a big moat around places like Atlanta!!
uhm, lets not give them any ideas. thats pretty close to home for me.
Well, I will encourage commentators here not to fixate on whether or not Atlanta should be re-Lincolnized.
As far as Bush reflecting on his roots – I am dubious that anything could make him thoughtful.
Well, at the current rate of murders, in Iraq that is, we’d have the equivalent of around 1,500 a day here in “peace lovin'” USA.
If we had those numbers day in and day out there would be an endless wail of the damned screeching for answers.
Anyone, anyone? Ferris….
I cannot believe those ungrateful Iraqis. After all of the urban renewal we have done for them, and for helping everyone improve their shooting and bombmaking skills, and all we get are a few lousy IEDs.
It seems that we need to impose our good will on Iran, North Korea, Syria, France, Great Britain, Spain, the Tour de France, Russia, Japan, Venezuela, Peru, Connecticut, and some other places I might have left out. I KNOW they would appreciate some good old urban renewal. Or at least, we can blow up things, and then leave it up to whomever to do the rebuilding.
Bill – thanks for the comment.
But if you were a True-Blue Conservative, you would realize that drug abuse is even worse than carpet bombing. Thus, the U.S. has apparently already done so much damage to the Tour de France (if the allegations on Landis juicing up) is true, we can take them off the target list.
On the flipside, if he did actually consume that much whiskey during the weeks of the competition, maybe any official inquiry should balance that against whatever else he ingested.
I am just a simple computer programmer nothing fancy just Character based unix…
I voted for Bush 1 at around the 2nd Iragi War i was dumb founded as to why a secular wiskey guzzling corrupt Sunni dictator was being replaced and the opening the floodgates of
the Shia/Sharia fanatics ???
I was even fired from a hell hole of a job in riverside calif for expressing such views !!!
What I am saying is I am not a poli sci major .. the only thing I have going is I watch history channel and have use logic in
my work ..
But I was able to forsee the Iraqi Quagmire before the start of the Iraqi War !!!
OH I also remember the bumpers stickers “BUY IRAQI WAR BONDS” . during the Iraq/Iran War …
All of the present situation is about “DONT F’ WITH BALANCE OF POWER” !!!!
Are you implying that you would be more likely to understand Bush Iraq policy if you had been a Poli Sci major?
We have a helluva lot more Poli Sci profs and grads than we did 50 years ago, and govt has gotten a lot bigger and more oppressive.
I recall the “Buy Iraqi War Bonds” held up by some of the US hostages during the parade in Washington in early 1981 after they were released from Teheran.
I reckon if you had held up the same sign in 2002, you would be imprisoned, or at least hassled to the Nth.
A most interesting historical analysis. My last name and the geography with which it is usually associated will probably suggest to you the likelihood of any near term agreement between us. 🙂
In any case, I see that the militia involved in the episode in Iraq has been identified as an alleged “death squad”, one now out of the control of the cleric to whom it owed fealty. It’s certainly possible that the attack on it may have been inspired more by legitimate security concerns than our taking sides with the Sunnis against the Shi’ites. I hated to admit that that I may have been too hasty here – long experience with Mr. Bush causes one to expect the most nepharious – but that may be the case.
I see your point if you’re talking about James Russell and Maria Lowell or Lowell, MA, etc. But any quibble along Mason-Dixon line is child’s play compared to the monumental Leviathan now ensconced in that swamp on the Potomac.
Regarding Bush siding with the Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq, I was simply extrapolating from all his problems with the Shia in the entire region, Hezbollah, Iraq, Syria (although the rulers there are Alawites), etc.
Without any personal aspersions, I going to have leave, the Connecticut/Mass – born/educated (Phillips, Yale, Harvard), Bush at the feet of Northeasterners!
One professor who attended said: “the Shia-led government needs to clearly and publicly express the same appreciation for United States efforts and sacrifices as they do in private.”
My Iraqi friends for years have tried to explain to me how they under Saddam grew quite used to say one thing and still believe another. Even within ones own family, having the Mukhabarat everywhere. To save ones own skin for some, to rise in power for another. A form of duplicity as national conscience, they admitted.
It will take a long while for this to fundamentally change. And an occupier who only deals with the local power brokers these more subtle realities of the country are possibly non-existent, until of course these realities slowly settle in, making various decision makers feel increasingly embarrassed with their former assumptions.
Thanks Jim, for the NYT catch and analysis.
All they need to do, really, is to  establish American-style network television throughout the country, and ensure that every family has at least one television set, with good reception; and  help the pharmaceutical companies get established there, so that people can buy all the drugs they see advertised on television. This will get almost everybody on board, or at least, put them all to sleep.
Jan – thanks for the insight.
I think the Bush team is far more concerned about imposing their own reality than about understanding life in Iraq.
It is not like Bush himself has required any blood transfusions after patrolling Baghdad and having bullets and bombs come his way.
Annie – yes, I reckon Bush expected the Iraqis to be as docile as American voters swallowing the latest ludicrous campaign promise.
Do you think broadcast television would suffice to keep them subdued, or do we have to wire all the homes with cable?
I think probably it is good to give people some choices; this perpetuates the belief that they are free.
“Annie – yes, I reckon Bush expected the Iraqis to be as docile as American voters swallowing the latest ludicrous campaign promise.
It is not merely swallowing campaign promises, but the physiological and psychological anesthetic effect of watching television. An easy alternative to thinking, feeling, wondering, challenging, acting. Sleeping and tranquilizing medications keep the conscience at bay… it’s not necessary to have a clean conscience to get a good night’s sleep, or to live with onesself.
Entertainment keeps getting more and more compelling, I think for the majority of people who have a television, even w/o cable. And the more that people feel bewildered, overwhelmed, and afraid, the more likely they are to turn on the tv just to feel better.
If people start getting restless, a good scare in the news is enough to send them back to their favorite tv shows & a nightly dose of ~Lunesta~ which is an illusionary promise of beauty and peace if there ever was one.
People do want to feel good, and safe. TV and legal drugs, provided by the government and those who support the government, are a very effective means of keeping people moderately quiet and non-bothersome, sheep-like, dull-witted, dependent… allowing the people in power to do whatever they want, paid for by… ta-da… us. I think Noam Chomsky calls this approach “Mind Control in a Democratic Society.”
Bush displayed an ignorance of reality which borders pathology. To utter such a rubbish that Iraqis (out of all people!) should express gratitude to Americans for their “mission” in Iraq,is a final proof that we have a moral idiot as a president.
Doesn’t this bloody fool have any notion of what are the consequences of the actions which he approves?
Not a sign that he realises he is fanaticizing more than a billion of
Muslims against all of us. Very soon we’ll be all running for cover (Jews first!)when they stage us the real Armageddon.
In the Balkans there is a saying, “When Lord wants to punish He just takes the mind away”
“Bush displayed an ignorance of reality which borders pathology. To utter such a rubbish that Iraqis (out of all people!) should express gratitude to Americans for their “mission” in Iraq,is a final proof that we have a moral idiot as a president.”
I can go one worse. (neo)Conservative Sean Hannity has expressed on more than one occasion that not only should the Iraqis show gratitude for their “liberation”, but they should provide free oil to the U.S. to help pay for it. 44 yrs old going on ten.
It is fallacy to expect one has privacy on an international phone call via commercial networks. You certainly don’t have that guarantee from the gov’t of the other country, so I don’t know what you achieve by preventing our side from gathering the info. Our govt could just purchase the information from the other govt, or steal it from their systems- that is certainly outside of FISA. Of course this filters all of the information through foreign agents and filters and/or degrades the information.
The argument that other gov’ts should have this information, but ours should not, is what this boils down to.