"All Must Fight the Murderers"

President Bush went crying back to the UN again today, two years after he defied them and attacked Iraq, alone, without UN support. Sorry, not alone; we did have the coalition of the willing to back us up. Sure, 90% of the troops and cost are coming from us, but it's a coalition to be dealt with. Speaking to the UN, President Bush urged UN backing of our current initiatives in Iraq:

"For decades the circle of liberty and security and development has been expanding in our world. This progress has brought unity to Europe, self-government to Latin America and Asia and new hope to Africa." Bush told the 59th session of the assembly.

"Now we have the historic chance to widen the circle even further, to fight radicalism and terror with justice and dignity, to achieve a true peace, founded on human freedom."

Making his fourth appearance before the General Assembly in the four years he has been in office, Bush said civilized nations had a responsibility to fight terrorism and said no justification existed for terrorist tactics.

"Members of the United Nations, the Russian children did nothing to deserve such awful suffering and fright and death. The people of Madrid and Jerusalem and Istanbul and Baghdad have done nothing to deserve sudden and random murder," Bush said.

"These acts violate the standards of justice in all cultures and the principles of all religions. All civilized nations are in this struggle together, and all must fight the murderers."

"The Security Council promised serious consequences for his defiance. And the commitments we make must have meaning," Bush said.

"When we say serious consequences, for the sake of peace there must be serious consequences. And so a coalition of nations enforced the just demands of the world."

Of course, let's not forget the Security Council said they would have to consider other options before going to war. But ole' Bushie, he just couldn't wait; he had to have his war right then and there. So he went against the wishes of the council, conduction an "illegal" attack on Iraq and it's people. Thousands have been killed. This mission of "peace" has been nothing of the sort.

John Kerry pointed out how futile Bush's efforts are, and how far from reality he has really gone:

"The Security Council promised serious consequences for his defiance. And the commitments we make must have meaning," Bush said.

"When we say serious consequences, for the sake of peace there must be serious consequences. And so a coalition of nations enforced the just demands of the world."

...Kerry defended his 2002 vote to give Bush the authority to use military force, saying it gave the president diplomatic leverage in dealing with Iraq. He contended that once Bush had that authorization, he made a series of decisions "that broke his promises both to the American people and to the Congress."

"No one could have imagined back then that they would discard their own State Department's 11 volumes of plans for what to do; that they would not guard the borders; that they would not guard the ammunition dumps; that they would disband the army; that they would not keep a civil service structure in place; that they would not provide the electricity and provide the jobs and the services.

"This has been incompetently handled, mismanaged every step of the way," Kerry said.

..."We need not to stay the course, but [to] change the course so we can be successful. And the urgency grows with every single day," he said.

...Kerry said Tuesday it was "obvious" that the world is better off with Saddam in captivity. But he added, "That doesn't mean you should take your eye off the ball -- which was Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda -- and rush to war just to get rid of him."

Kerry speaks of changing the course, something he's been hesitant to get into, thus far. He's frequently said that he would have "done things differently", but he's just now starting to get a bit more specific. This Op-Ed piece at the New York Times has some interesting ideas. While claiming that Bush would like to keep the mess in Iraq on the dl for just a few more weeks, as he's trying to do right now. I found it funny, Mr. Allawi actually blamed the media for not covering the war objectively:

It's very important for the people of the world really to know that we are winning, we are making progress in Iraq. We are defeating terrorists. Najaf, Samarra, Mosul, Basra are all live examples that a lot of progress have been made. Unfortunately, the media have not been covering these significant gains in Iraq. And this is all because of the determination of the Iraqi people. The light that they are seeing at the end will -- democracy will prevail, the rule of law will prevail. The issues and culture of human rights will prevail. And the friendship with the United States and with the civilized nations are comfortable there.

So, really, the winning, it's unfortunate, is not being portrayed in the media. This is very unfortunate. I always say that we are welcoming any media who wants to come to Iraq and see for themselves the grounds we are covering and the winning we are doing in Iraq.

I'm sure those press people are just jumping at the chance to get a press pass into that deadly warzone. But, since it's widely regarded that things are going poorly in Iraq, that perhaps we are "losing" the war, what are we to do? Here's Krugman's view, from the NYTimes piece:

But if the chance to install a pro-American government has been lost, what's the alternative? Scaling back our aims. This means accepting the fact that an Iraqi leader, to have legitimacy, must be able to deliver an end to America's military presence. Unless we want this war to go on forever, we will have to abandon the 14 "enduring bases" the Bush administration has been building.

It also means accepting the likelihood that Iraq will not have a strong central government - and that local leaders will end up with a lot of autonomy. This doesn't have to mean creating havens for hostile forces: remember that for a year after Saddam's fall, moderate Shiite clerics effectively governed large areas of Iraq and kept them relatively peaceful. It was the continuing irritant of the U.S. occupation that empowered radicals like Moktada al-Sadr.

The point is that by winding down America's military presence, while promising aid to those who don't harbor anti-American terrorists and retaliation against those who do, the U.S. can probably leave behind an Iraq that isn't an American ally, but isn't a threat either. And that, at this point, is probably the best we can hope for.

Indeed, Paul may have a point. Sometimes it's not about winning, it's how you play the game. If we can somehow restore some sort of order to Iraq, America can save some face and perhaps get back to protecting our own people, here in the States.
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