Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A New Phase?

AP - "President Bush intensified diplomatic efforts on Monday to quell rising violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, turning to allies as his national security adviser said the conflict in Iraq had entered "a new phase" requiring changes.

"Obviously everyone would agree things are not proceeding well enough or fast enough," National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters aboard Air Force One as Bush flew eastward. The president was spending Monday night in this tiny Baltic nation ahead of a two-day NATO summit in Riga, Latvia, expected to deal with deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan, where NATO has 32,000 troops. Both Estonia and Latvia are former Soviet republics that are strong allies in the war on terror.

Bush will head to Amman, Jordan, for talks Wednesday and Thursday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and King Abdullah of Jordan. From Air Force One, the president spoke to the leaders of France and Egypt. Addressing the upcoming meetings with al-Maliki, Hadley said, "We're clearly in a new phase characterized by an increase in sectarian violence that requires us to adapt to that new phase." Bush and al-Maliki "need to be talking about how to do that and what steps Iraq needs to take and how we can support" Iraq's leaders, Hadley said."

Even in the face of White House political and economic threats, only 48 of the 192 members of the United Nations were willing to cooperate with any part of the USA-led invasion in March of 2003 and only 8 nations have been willing to provide more than 1,000 troops for any length of time since. The vast majority of the international opposition insisted that the USA put much more time and effort into diplomacy before any military option was exercised. Hmmm… 44 months, over 600,000 Iraqi deaths, and over 3,000 USA troop deaths later: what is GWBush working on? Diplomacy.

Does anyone in here really buy this week’s White House “spin” that the current sectarian violence in Iraq is a “new phase?” Does anyone in here think the current mayhem is anything other than the inevitable consequence of the USA’s invasion, occupation, and superpower status? Does anyone in here believe that the USA will have any success whatsoever in lessening the current level of violence so long as we maintain 150,000+ troops in their country? Seems that by calling the current mess a “new phase,” GWBush can put more emphasis on diplomacy AND continue to pretend that there’s been nothing wrong with what the USA has done in and to Iraq over the past 44 months.

People of character demonstrate their maturity by showing the capacity to acknowledge mistakes and by taking responsibility for them. Admirable national leaders improve the conditions of millions by working with others and collaborating to bring about practical and workable results. The pathetic legacy of GWBush is that he has so thoroughly distanced himself from people of character and admirable national leaders.