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War Promotion in Guise of Bush Criticism

What Bush needs to tell Cindy Sheehan

By Trudy Rubin

Cindy Sheehan is right to be furious.

Camped out in Crawford, Texas, with several other mothers who lost sons in Iraq, Sheehan wants to meet President Bush. She says: ``Our sons made the ultimate sacrifice, and we want answers.''

I understand why Bush doesn't want to meet Sheehan. She wants him to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq. But the president can't pull the troops out. He can't even make the substantial reductions that some of his top brass are predicting for early next year. If he does, he risks disaster for Iraqis while boosting the cause of jihadist terrorists.

And Bush can't afford to tell the mothers why he's caught in this trap.

If Bush met Sheehan, platitudes would not suffice. She would want to know why 140,000 U.S. soldiers are stuck in Iraq more than two years after the fall of Baghdad. She would demand answers that go beyond ``Freedom is on the march.''

The president is not willing to give those frank answers. If he were, here's what he would have to say (translated from Bush-ese):

``Mrs. Sheehan, our troops are mired in Iraq because of errors made by my team. The Pentagon made no plans for the postwar. We sent too few troops to secure Iraq after Saddam fell, despite prewar warnings by top U.S. generals. This created a power vacuum, into which rushed former Baathists who want to restore the old order, along with Iraqi criminals and Arab jihadis.

``I admit we failed to recognize the danger of this power vacuum. We disbanded Iraq's army, rather than let Iraqis revamp it. This required us to build new Iraqi security forces from scratch, a mammoth task that only got going in June 2004.

``Those new Iraqi forces are far, far from ready to fight alone.

``The real truth is we were wrong to think we could build a new Iraqi army like kids build with Legos. Building an army takes more than sending equipment and trainers. We forgot that we were dealing with human beings in a country very different from ours.

``One of our fine retired U.S. generals, Barry McCaffrey, who visited Iraq in May, summed it up just right: `Here's the real shortcoming of the Iraqi forces: Do they collectively believe it's worth fighting and dying for Iraq?' Iraq is so split by religious and ethnic conflicts that many Iraqi soldiers don't know what they're fighting for.

``So we are caught in an awful bind, Mrs. Sheehan. Our military has concluded we can't defeat this insurgency by force. We don't have the manpower or the intelligence resources. We've badly over-stretched our National Guard, along with our Army and Marines.

``But if we leave now, Iraq will disintegrate, maybe into full-scale civil war. The Kurds will take the north. The Shiite majority, who were our tacit allies, will take the south and most of the oil and ally with Iran. Worst of all, the Sunni chunk of the country will become a nightmare zone, where Arab terrorists train for attacks against our Arab allies, their oil wells and Israel.

``The Iraqi terrorist threat that didn't exist before we invaded will truly haunt the region. We will have created a monster.

``And, once more, we will have betrayed the Iraqis. Reagan let Saddam gas the Kurds; my father let Saddam slaughter the Shiites after urging them to rebel. Now I'll be responsible for taking out Iraq's institutions and leaving chaos behind.

``So when can our troops come home, you ask?

``It's up to the Iraqis.

``No, no, I'm not trying to brush you off, Mrs. Sheehan.

``You see, the Iraqis are drafting a constitution that's supposed to be finished. If Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds can only agree on a federal formula for sharing power, they can move forward to elections in December. If key Sunni leaders can be brought into the political process, that will undercut the insurgency, which is largely made up of disgruntled Sunnis.

``Then maybe we can draw down the troops.

``Yes, I know this is expecting a lot. Yes, I know Iraq is on the brink of civil war. I agree I overplayed the chance of democracy in a country with no experience of political give-and-take.

``Gen. McCaffrey had it right when he told columnist Trudy Rubin that `if the (Iraqi) political process doesn't work, we're screwed.'

``We're damned if we leave, and we may be damned if we stay, but we have to stick it out in force until next summer. By then, we'll know if the Iraqis can get their act together. If not, we'll be in big, big trouble.

``Who's to blame, you ask? Why haven't I fired Don Rumsfeld? Why haven't Paul Wolfowitz or Douglas Feith taken any heat for their gross mismanagement of the postwar?

``There's a limit to frankness, Mrs. Sheehan. I sympathize with your loss, but I really have to get back to my vacation. . . .''

TRUDY RUBIN is a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and editorial-board member.


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Little George you conveniently forgot to mention the real reason we are in Iraq. You, little George, wanted to be a heroic war time president which would pump up your political capital to the roof, and you were willing to kill tens of thousands of weomen and children just to further your own selfish political ambitions. Sure, every faction of your pathetic administration had there own reasons for war, expand American empire, oil, control of middle east, oil, and more oil; democracy and freedom for Iraq was just an after thought, to cover your sorry asses when everything went south; which we told you would happen, by the way.

Bring the troops home now, every last one of them, then impeach little George "Shit for Brains" Bush!

... and they won't be any better next summer or the summer after that -- probably much worse.

Ms Rubin's analysis of the situation and its causes is pretty good, but the "stick it out" conclusion is shaky at best. So far, despite all the so-called "windows of opportunity", "tipping points", etc., the longer the U.S. occupation has continued, the worse the quagmire has become. I see no basis for any conclusion that sticking it out for another year of roadside bombings is likely to change the outcome.

Bring the troops home. Give Iraq back to the Iraqis and let them do with it what they will.

You say continue to support incompetence....that is the problem. They were told not to hit the beehive...they hit the beehive. Now, they don't want to hear...we told you not to hit the beehive... They want us to continue to support them....more needless deaths. Show me someone who can do the job. Clean house. Get these guys ... they don't know how to listen. This what happens when an ideology has no practical application... These are ideologues.

needs to ask Trudy Rubin: "How would you like to have your child (if you have one) be the next person to die for Bush's lies?

And, someone needs to tell McCaffrey that we're already screwed - have been since day one. This thing is lost - just like Nam was lost. "Arvy" is right. We need to get out now, make whatever restitution we can, and leave what's left of Iraq for the Iraqis to do what they can with. That's what happened with Vietnam. They survived, and so did we.
R Ap

As if the coke-damaged brat is the one in charge? PLEASE! Hopefully, everyone here is aware that we've got to shine the light much further down the snake hole to get at the sick creatures who make such decisions. We're getting warm, of course with Cheney (Code name 'Maestro' as he was reportedly in charge of conducting the smokescreen a.k.a. the 'military exercises' the morning of 9/11), but I think the hole goes deeper still and it will take the awakening of millions of us to finally get at the truth.

Thanks to Cindy Sheehan, maybe we're getting close to that day of reckoning.

BTW, if you do some research, you'll find that Hitler was recruited by the Thule society because he was able to whip up a biergarten crowd with his fiery oratory. He proved to be a useful tool for them, especially after he got addicted to Nazi crank. Not to say that that maniac didn't have lots of his own sick ideas.

Do you think that bush has the intelligence to run the most powerful country in the world?? I think not. He is told what to do, it is obvious. We are suppose to be at war. How can a president worry about social security and take a 5 week vacation knowing that is country is suppose to be at war. He was not reelected, he stole the presidency. Bush's boss had stooges rig the votes in Idaho. The facts are endless. Would we ever find the true people pulling the strings of this great country?? I doubt it very much. I can only say thank God for Cindy Sheehan. Hopefully it will start a momentum that even those corrupt powerful people won't beable to stop. I still haven't heard anyone talk about the Euro and really what this war is about. Saddam Hussein was using the Euro to buy oil. Other opec countries were starting to look at it as well e.g. Venezuela because the Euro was increasing in value while the american dollar was loosing value. The first thing bush did was change that...If all the opec countries would follow suit, that would mean the total collapse of the us economy. 18000 US soldiers and 39000 Iraqui lives means very little to these people. Once the Bush's cronies builds that pipeline in Afganistan the US ( Oil COmpanies) will have control over 12 trillion dollars of oil....Why haven't we found Osama Bin Laden?? Look at the whole picture folks and it starts to all make sense.

We went into Iraq with terrible planning for victory OR defeat, but just looking to make a quick profit in both money and base positioning. We said in advance that we would NOT take any of the post-war actions that were probably most necessary, like splitting up parts of the country and giving them to the different factions in exchange for peace (you know, "land for peace", it's being tried everywhere else).

So, my question is this... If we can't leave, because the whole region will be worse for it, whose problem IS that? Ours? How about the UN and the REGION? If this is really such a big problem, then there should be no trouble building a massive multi-nation coalition of TROOPS (not just flags) who will replace our military 1 for 1 as we withdraw until there are non of our boys and girls left. Why? Oh, could it be because they don't feel like dying over there as long as US Corporations with no-bid contracts control every major piece of infrastructure like it was their personal property.

If Saddam was such a threat and Iraq so important to world security, then at the conclusion of hostilities, rather than landing on an air force carrier in a photo-op dress-up moment and declaring "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" there should have been a multi-national conference to determine the future of Iraq. But, of course, that would have meant sharing the spoils of war with others besides the US Corporations that had donated so heavily to Bush/Cheney, and I guess that wasn't in the cards, was it.

If this war is such a darn noble cause, then let's get that draft reinstated and let's get those kids of Republicans in the administration into uniform and onto the front lines. And I'm not just talking about the big names, I'm talking about it being a REQUIREMENT that anybody who has a job in the administration ("There's a lot of senior officials in this administration") must have all their draft-age kids in uniform within 30 days -- NO EXCEPTIONS. Want to see a mass exit from their little play party? That would do it.

But no, instead, they will send Laura into the inner city to convince poor, black, disenfranchised youth that the military is their best hope for success.

Give me a break, please.

Republicans: Stop saying "We don't care." Stop running over the memorials of the fallen soldiers. If you really ARE patriots, then stand up and show it. And puh-lease, stop parroting the words of chickenhawks like Cheney, Bush, Limbaugh and others.

Patriotism is CARING about the troops, not sending them off to die for lies and profits.

Charlie L
Portland, OR

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