Monday, May 28, 2007

The Decider's holiday greetings

President Bush, Memorial Day, 2004: “Through our history, America has gone to war reluctantly, because we have known the costs of war...Because of (our slain soldiers’) fierce courage, America is safer, two terror regimes (in Iraq and Afghanistan) are gone forever, and more than 50 million souls now live in freedom.”

Bush, Memorial Day, 2005: “Freedom is on the march and America is more secure.”

Bush, Memorial Day, 2006: "In this place where valor sleeps, we are reminded why America has always gone to war reluctantly, because we know the costs of war."

Staff Sgt. David Safstrom, Delta Company, 82nd Airborne, currently on his third tour in Iraq, quoted today: “What are we doing here? Why are we still here?…We’re helping guys that are trying to kill us. We help them in the day. They turn around at night and try to kill us.”

Sgt. First Class David Moore, a self-described “conservative Texas Republican” who now supports troop withdrawal, quoted today: “In 2003, 2004, 100 percent of the soldiers wanted to be here, to fight this war. Now, 95 percent of my platoon agrees with me.”

Sgt. Kevin O’Flarity, a squad leader, quoted today: “I don’t believe we should be here in the middle of a civil war. We’ve all lost friends over here. Most of us don’t know what we’re fighting for anymore. We’re serving our country and friends, but the only reason we go out every day is for each other. I don’t want any more of my guys to get hurt or die. If it was something I felt righteous about, maybe. But for this country and this conflict, no, it’s not worth it.”

U.S. intelligence assessment, written in January 2003 (two months before the war began), and finally released last Friday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: Any attempt to establish democracy in Iraq would be “a long, difficult, and probably turbulent challenge,” because Iraq’s political culture did “not foster liberalism or democracy.” There was also “no concept of loyal opposition and no history of alternation of power.” As a result, there was “a significant chance that domestic groups would engage in violent conflict with each other unless an occupying force prevented them from doing so.” Also, a U.S. invasion would allow al Qaeda “to establish the presence in Iraq and opportunity to strike at Americans it did not have prior to the invasion.”

Bush, at a press conference last Thursday: “I’m credible, because I read the intelligence.”

Senior Iraqi government official Ali Allawi, in his newly-released book The Occupation of Iraq, which documents the Bush team's ignorance of Iraqi sectarian tribalism: “Bush may well go down in history as presiding over one of America’s great strategic blunders. Thousands of servicemen have been the casualties of a failed policy.”

Bush, Memorial Day, 2007: “Our duty is to ensure that (the war's) outcome justifies the sacrifices made by those who fought and died in it. From their deaths must come a world where the cruel dreams of tyrants and terrorists are frustrated and foiled, where our nation is more secure from attack, and where the gift of liberty is secured for millions who have never known it. This is our country's calling."