BTS -- the point of this whole thread is that Bush CONTINUES to defend exactly what his administration is continuing to do in Iraq. I am not arguing about the initial overthrow of the Baathist regime. I'm arguing about what we're still doing there 5 years later, when our own soldiers do not know why they are there, and the definition of victory is murky or unattainable.
On the point about the troops being misled as to the reason they are there, note this link from 2006: http://wcco.com/intheknow/2.373616.html
In The Know: Misinformation In Iraq
by Don Shelby
(WCCO) There is a lot of talk of misinformation being broadcast about why we are in Iraq. Don Shelby says that's not the half of it.
Let me begin by saying that we support our troops. The sacrifices they, and their families, make to serve in the military are often forgotten by the ungrateful or the mislead.
I am not one of those people, however if a recent poll taken in Iraq by Zogby International is true, the troops themselves are being misled.
According to the poll, approved by the Pentagon, 85 percent of Americans fighting in Iraq think they are there to punish Saddam Hussein for his role in the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
That is demonstrably false.
There is an old argument that soldiers don't need to know why they are fighting, only that they are ordered to do so. We used to say, "Not to reason why, but to do or die."
There may be good reasons to fight in Iraq, but Saddam's connection to Sept. 11 is not one of them.
This year, Florida congressman Robert Wexler pointedly questioned American General David Petraeus about the current goals of the occupation of Iraq. Here is part of Wexler's critique of the general's responses.
I have to say that the opening of Petraeus’s statement caught me immediately :
”It is interest that as I stated have to do with Al Qaeda, a sworn enemy of the United States and the free world, has to do with the possible spread of sectarian conflict in Iraq, conflict that had engulfed that country and had it on the brink of Civil War.”
I wonder if General Petraeus actually realizes that none of these conditions existed prior to this country’s invasion and occupation of that country.
Congressman Wexler does a fine job of critiquing the rest of the general’s response:
” He stated that we were fighting for national interest, including region's "importance to the global economy." (In my mind, a stunning admission of the true motives behind this war.)
He stated that they were trying to achieve a country that is "at peace with itself and its neighbors," "could defend itself" that was "reasonably representative of and broadly responsive to its citizens."
These are not reasonable objectives. Half the countries around the world are not able to defend themselves. Many have internal and external conflict - and few - including our own, are broadly responsive to its citizens.
(I find that last objective sadly ironic, as the Bush Administration, by continuing this misguided war, is broadly unresponsive to American citizens.)
I was out of time before I could ask a follow up… but if you read between the lines, his answer is vast in its scope. Clearly, their goals for Iraq and interpretation of "national interest" are wholly at odds with a swift redeployment of forces.
And I'd say, clearly the administration has keep redefining "progress" in the Iraq situation, in order to promote the image of progress while attempting to keep war critics at bay.