Thoughts on Bush's speech last night:
1. Lots of talk about a change of "strategy" but what I get out of it is a) just more guys doing more cordon-and-search (thats tactics, not strategy, nimrod), b) IG held to "benchmarks", whatever the hell these are, and is supposed to "disarm" the militias (Note - pause in posting for hysterical laughter here), and c) 1b for "reconstruction" (because the, umm, 200b we spent before...umm...got lost! Yeah, it got lost. We lost it! Ummm. Damn. Or something...)
2. Apocalyptic talk about dominos and Iran and Syria - and WTF with Patriots in Bahrain??? - if we withdraw. No rational argument for who Saudis "turn to" if we leave. Just scary talk and boogeymen.
3. I meant to keep track of the word "sacrifice", but it never showed up until the end, without any sort of, like, you know, actual "sacrifice". No "Laura and I have both agreed to donate the proceeds of our tax cuts to the boys in the wards at Walter Reed"...or "My new "Buy More Bonds Today! program will ensure our fighting men the tools to finish the job without bankrupting our great nation"...or "my daughters have both volunteered to roll bandages for our heroic wounded"...or "my daughters have both volunteered to be comfort women for the Third Brigade of the 82nd Airborne..."
Oops. Sorry. Got a little carried away there.
3. Is Maliki in his pocket, or what? Pretty blunt talk from the Pres to a "soverign" leader of a "soverign" nation: you be kickin' ass on some Sadr or you my bee-yotch, bee-yotch!
4. "But victory in Iraq will bring something new in the Arab world -- a functioning democracy that polices its territory, upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people." Huffing glue again? Yep.
5. "From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian Territories, millions of ordinary people are sick of the violence, and want a future of peace and opportunity for their children." This is dangerous stuff. Millions of ordinary Arabs just shouted at their TV screen "What about Israel, fuckstick??!!" For him to say stuff like this is to invite scorn and skepticism. He either needs to do something about the Palestinians or STFU.
6. "I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region." WTF!!?? (Shorter version: Game on, mothafukas! Gonna get some Persians!)
Lots of talk about diplomacy. I'll believe that when I see it. Hope somebody from State reminded him that diplomacy ISN'T "repeating what we expect them to do until they run screaming from the room"...
I'm kinda depressed. I didn't expect much, but this is just same shit, different day. No real plan to give the factions some bargaining power, no levers to get the Sunni to come into the tent, or the Shia to work with the Sunni, or the Kurds to give up dreams of independance. More bluff thrown at the Iranians. More booga-booga scare talk about dirty brown beardie-wierdies. More instant, painless war - now with 60% fewer taxes! Sacrifice? Sure, we'll sacrifice - we'll sacrifice YOUR ass!
What the hell am I doing here without a bottle of Laphroig?
One more thought before I start drinking heavily:
The first wave of the surge will probably be the brigade from my old buddies in the Eighty-Deuce now in Kuwait. I love my old Division.
I would gladly jump again with the boys from the 1/505, busted knees and all.
But paratroopers often make REALLY poor counterinsurgents. They are, by inclination and training, extremely aggro and hard men. Just think of two incidents: Derry, 1972 and Fallujah, April 2003.
Common factor? Paras of one sort or another vs. civilian protestors. Not a good mix. I know that we're hard up for bodies, but the paras? Great at direct action, raids and such. Patient, slow-moving, painstaking civil-military operations? Not so good.
Come to think of it, barkeep, make it a triple.