S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Between a Rock and a Hard Place"

-- an old Texas saying describes a current political reality. One might also say that U.S. President George W. Bush is truly "up against it;" "damned if he does and damned if he doesn't;" or looking at "an irresistible force meeting an immovable object." Today's post looks at the situation in the Middle East in which our current president (OCP) finds himself. Iraq is not being entirely cooperative, Iran is "in his face," Germany disagrees about what to do about it, and more and more mental health medications are required to keep all the troops functional as they fight the wars in the region.

Damned if he does and damned if he doesn't -- The poor guy is lame duck. His approval ratings are at record lows, fellow Texan Scotty McClellan has turned on him, he has diminished status as a world leader, and all he could think of to do was travel outside the country for a while. Looking for sympathy abroad he gave an interview (6/11/08) to UK's The Times saying that he has regrets about his legacy as a man who wanted war. To quote,

President Bush has admitted to The Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a “guy really anxious for war” in Iraq. He said that his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran.

In an exclusive interview, he expressed regret at the bitter divisions over the war and said that he was troubled about how his country had been misunderstood. “I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric.”

Phrases such as “bring them on” or “dead or alive”, he said, “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace”. He said that he found it very painful “to put youngsters in harm’s way”. He added: “I try to meet with as many of the families as I can. And I have an obligation to comfort and console as best as I possibly can. I also have an obligation to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain.”

Up against it with Iran? The risk is that OCP, pressured by Israel, Cheney and the neocons would feel like another war was necessary. During his current European trip, our current president called for, along with Germany, increased sanctions to put pressure on Iran. However, the Iranian president "remains defiant over the country's nuclear plans," according to the Financial Times. McClatchy headlines that a "Strike on Iran's nuclear facilities is under discussion again," presumably with Israel.

Iraq is between a rock and a hard place in triangulating between the U.S. and Iran about the future in the Middle East. Meanwhile, what does Iraq really want? The BBC News has an excellent summary of the current situation between Iran and Iraq.

Up against it with the occupation of Iraq -- Despite administration claims that an agreement will be signed with Iraq by the July 31st deadline, it seems that "U.S. security talks with Iraq [are] in trouble in Baghdad and D.C." To quote:

A proposed U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that would set the conditions for a defense alliance and long-term U.S. troop presence appears increasingly in trouble, facing growing resistance from the Iraqi government, bipartisan opposition in Congress and strong questioning from Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

President Bush is trying to finish the agreement before he leaves office, and senior U.S. officials insist publicly that the negotiations can be completed by a July 31 target date. The U.S. is apparently scaling back some of its demands, including backing off one that particularly incenses Iraqis, blanket immunity for private security contractors.

But meeting the July 31 deadline seems increasing doubtful, and in Baghdad and Washington there is growing speculation that a United Nations mandate for U.S.-led military operations in Iraq may have to be renewed after it expires at the end of 2008.

There is no need for OCP to feel the press of time. He needs to just serve out his term. OCP is used to America's disapproval. His risk of impeachment is nil. The United Nations can extend its authority regarding Iraq, so that the new president can make a rational transition. And Iran and Iraq will develop whatever relationship is in both their best interests. Attaturk at Firedoglake (6/10/08) discussed the concern that the Bush administration might not be able to get a status of forces agreement with Iraq before leaving office. That means that the current U.N. mandate would have to be extended past December. It would also mean, the blogger reminds us, that Iran is the only real winner here. The writer titles his piece, "Everything is proceeding awesomely -- please go shopping." To quote:

...or dumpster diving as the case may be thanks to the also awesome domestic economy we in the Bush Administration have given you.

. . . Not many leaders or enablers can spill so much blood and so much treasure to win a war for another country they dislike even more than the place they invaded.

An irresistible force is meeting an immovable object. The Iraqi government would have to go against Iran to make such an agreement, according to (6/9/08) an article from Aljazeera. Titled, "Khamenei criticises US role in Iraq," the story begins,

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, has advised Iraq's visiting prime minister against signing an agreement with the US keeping foreign troops in the country beyond 2008.

The continued presence of US troops was Iraq's "fundamental problem", Khamenei told Nuri al-Maliki during a meeting on Monday."We are certain that the Iraqi people will pass the difficult circumstances and reach the status they deserve. For sure, the American dreams will not materialise," Khamenei said.

The U.S. military is between a rock and a hard place when it comes to stretching its forces far enough to cover all of our involvement in the Middle East. We see now one of the ways they are managing from Think Progress (6/5/06) - "U.S. Troops are increasingly medicated," written by Amanda. To quote the quote: Time reports on the rising use of prescription drugs amongst U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The current political reality is really sad. George W. Bush should be held accountable for all of his misdeeds, but he will suffer few consequences. I am unable to muster any compassion that he feels misunderstood. OCP not truly "up against it" with Iran. He always has a choice of action. That his reputation means that he is "damned if he does and damned if he doesn't" --too bad. The situation in the Middle East in which our current president (OCP) finds himself, was of the current administration's making. Iraq, occupied, is not being entirely cooperative. Iran is "in his face," but probably only rhetorically at this point in time. As a retired mental practitioner, however, it will be hard for me to let go of my heartbreak about all of the loss of life in the wars, and all of the loss of internal peace for those who so bravely fought this man's war. They did everything he asked of them and more. All of his regrets ring hollow with me now.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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The Future Was Yesterday said...

Great post you ever write bad ones.:)

Scotty McClellan is pushing a "tell all" book at election time. That relegates anything said in the book to sensationalism, if not outright lies. Scotty knows full well he will never talk to a court of law, nor will Bush, so it's talk show hype the book time.

"There is no need for OCP to feel the press of time. He needs to just serve out his term. OCP is used to America's disapproval. His risk of impeachment is nil. "
You are entirely correct, imo. I don't think America yet understands (or is willing to accept?) something: Bush is a Fundamentalist. They absolutely do NOT care what you or I think of them! God is their ONLY judge, and as we have witnessed, Bush has "heard the voice of God" speaking more times than was good for all of us, further "God" always supported Bush's agenda.:) So exists the fantasy world of Fundamentalism. The things that would make you or I hang our head in disgrace, are meaningless to Bush and Cheney. They literally live in a world of their own, complete with a made up God who is always on their side.

Carol Gee said...

Hi Future - Thanks, but I do write some bad ones, too.
I agree that McClellan's book should have have come sooner to be helpful.
Your concluding paragraph is something we far too easily forget. That mindset explains so much of the damage done by OCP and the Veep.
Thanks for your comment, Dan'l, my friend.