Thursday, October 26, 2006

not encouraging

bush's latest speech about iraq is generating a bit of buzz because it represents a rare presidential acknowledgment that the country is not quite the happy beacon of democracy and stability these days. in a sense the speech was remarkable, especially coming from a guy who, not all that long ago, could not name a single mistake he made as president. even though the list of "developments [that] were not encouraging" (note the passive voice) from yesterday's speech was kind of paltry, at least it's a step.

but look at what he said:
Other developments were not encouraging, such as the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, the fact that we did not find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and the continued loss of some of America's finest sons and daughters.
let's back up for a minute. one of the reasons we invaded iraq was because the iraqi government supposedly had weapons of mass destruction that posed a threat to the security of the united states. as war proponents now point out, it wasn't the only reason for the invasion, but it was a major reason. and the reason was not based on the weapons themselves, but rather the threat they posed to the u.s.

so if the weapons were such a danger to the u.s., the fact that they probably did not exist is a good thing not a bad thing. sure, the lack of WMDs proved to be a political embarrassment for the president, but that isn't the same thing as being a bad thing for the country. on the contrary, if bush really cared most about the security of this country he should be relieved that he was wrong about WMDs in iraq and list that amount the "encouraging developments."

what's disturbing is that president bush cannot seem to distinguish between things that are bad for him politically, and things that are bad for the country as a whole. it's a critical distinction to make. and i think his failure to see the distinction is related to his failure to come up with a mistake 2 years ago. it's really just a symptom of the same basic problem.