Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Bipartisan Project

In case anyone thinks that anyone in either of the Major Brand Parties, having any realistic shot at the presidency, has been made queasy about Our Glorious World-Molding Imperial Project, check this out. Here we have a cuddly darling of the Donkey Caucus, "Uncle" Joe Lieberman, airing his views on the proper course of action. Chiming in is the Doubled-Letter Queen of Progressive Elephants, Condoleezza Rice. Big surprise: they disagree about essentially nothing.

Lieberman, a senior Democrat from Connecticut, said Iraqis are striving to "put the nightmare of Saddam Hussein behind them," but still need U.S. help.

"They are making progress, but they are not where they need to be yet and that's what we have to help them to do before we can leave," he said.

"The cost of successfully completing our mission here will be large in terms of American lives lost and money spent, but the cost of failure here would be catastrophic for us in the U.S. and for the Iraqis, of course -- and I believe for the entire Middle East.

"And that's why we are going to continue to be here until we get to the point where the Iraqis can take it forward on their own, and I think we are making progress in that direction."

Which mission is that, Senator? Which of the interminable reasons that Dear Leader gave for the destruction of Iraq must be successfully fulfilled, and how is that fulfillment to be defined? Well, Kosher Joe isn't specific ... but he does give us a hint: the business about "the entire Middle East." In his world, it seems that those damn dirty Ay-rabs are just going to have to face the fact that what's good for the Likud Party will be defined, at the point of the U.S. sword, as being good for them, too.

And then there's the ever-astute "Condi," who's clearly been to Dilbert's Pointy-Haired Boss Management School:

"I suspect that the American forces are not going to be needed in the numbers that they are there for that much longer," Rice said in an interview with CNN's John King.

U.S. forces in Iraq number about 155,000. The base level for American troops is 138,000, but the force was boosted to provide additional security for next month's Iraqi elections.

Gee, how much time is "not that much longer," Mizzz Rice? I mean, one could describe the entirety of recorded human history as "not that long" by geological time scales. How many decades are we talking about? Could you be a little more numerically specific?

Rice told CNN that Casey and the Iraqi government "are working from goals that they would like to train 'X' number of Iraqi forces by 'Y' time frame."

"They do have those metrics, and they review them every day, and from time to time, the president gets a chance to review them," Rice said. "But again, the numbers will not tell the whole story. The issue is, what are the Iraqis capable of doing, and they are capable of doing more and more."

Well, what the hell ... we didn't get numbers, but at least we got some Idiot Algebra, plus some high-grade management gibberish (metrics ... metrics ... I love it!). One thing's for sure: we got a whole barrelful of Stay the Course.

I don't want to sound overly pessimistic, though, on the day before Thanksgiving. I'm pretty sure U.S. forces won't be in Mesopotamia another decade. I mean, consider: in 1967, you didn't hear Lyndon Johnson or his minions talking about cutting losses and leaving; but the last helicopter left Saigon only eight years later. I don't know if the Iraqis are as tough as the Vietnamese were, or not; but even if they aren't, quite, I can at least hope that Mr. and Mrs. America aren't going to sign up for a draft and 58,000 killed. I can at least hope.


Grace said...

high-grade management gibberish

Both Rice and Rumsfeld are so schooled in the rhetoric of high-grade management gibberish that they cannot utter a simple declarative sentence -- you know, subject-verb-object. They both resort to the triple-passive voice and multi-conditional verb tenses. The goal, as always, is to obfuscate. The objective is, as always, to appear to be accessible to the press without actually saying anything.

And both Rice and Rumsfeld are numero-phobes. Unless injected with neuromuscular-relaxing agents, neither one will ever use hard and fast numbers.

Why the Bush administration thinks this is a winning strategy I don't know. It can buy some time, but at some point the citizenry gets cranky about not getting straight answers.

Bartleby said...

From George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language":

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging, and sheer cloudy vagueness.

Really, Orwell was an amazing person. He certainly foresaw our supervisors -- in detail.