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Bush's Mess-opotamia

The president's press conference was one big Real-Men-Stay-the-Course regurgitation, as if retooling our grand strategy.
 
 
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Let's start with the presidential quote that made the headlines: "We're not leaving (Iraq) so long as I'm the president."   Translation: The next president -- beginning in 2009 -- will have to clean up Bush's Messopotamia.  

Leaving Iraq "would be a huge mistake," says the Prez.  Mistake, as in the "mistaken" WMD intelligence and the fairy-tale greeted-as-liberators forecast?  

Thirteen years of sanctions before the 2003 invasion killed 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of 5 -- not because Saddam bought all guns and no butter with black-market oil money. Starvation wasn't the primary cause of sanction deaths. The primary cause of death was due to water-borne diseases brought on by U.S. bombing of water-treatment plants in Gulf War I. When asked about that, Madeleine Albright responded on 60 Minutes: "We think the price is worth it." Think the Iraqis forgot about that?  

Shi'ite Muslims (who dominate Iranian politics and also, thanks to tough talkin' No. 43, the U.S.-installed "democratic" government in Iraq) have extremely long memories and take martyrdom very seriously.  

You recall those news images of Shi'ite men running through the streets of Iraq slicin' and dicin' themselves.  

After the Prophet Muhammed's death, Shi'ites followed his adopted son, Ali. The Sunnis, which the majority of Muslims are today, were down with the Caliphate. In 680 A.D., the Shi'ites revolted and were mercilessly crushed in the battle of Karbala. Ali's family was brutally murdered.  

That may seem like a horrible thing to you, but Shi'ites see it as good thing, a martyr's sacrifice. The Shi'ite view of the battle of Karbala is similar to how Christians see the crucifixion of Jesus. And that's what all the self-flagellation is about. Sunnis acknowledge the Day of Ashura with prayer and fasting.  

This is part of the very complex Iraq that we "liberated," which Osama must still be gloating over. Can't you see him laughing and saying: I didn't have to remove the most secular Arab government in the Middle East. Bush did it for me! And then those who really believe in an Islamic theocracy will take control.  

Leaving Iraq "would send a signal to reformers across the region. It would say we've abandoned our desire to change the conditions that create terror," the president said.   Again. Is anyone in War-shington reading military history? Short of genocide, there is NO military solution to guerrilla insurgencies! America: Are you ready to commit genocide? And since when does genocide "change the conditions that create terror"?   The president also said if the U.S. were to leave Iraq now "the terrorists will follow us here."  

Hello? The "terrorists" have already been here. And why is the president still linking Iraq with the "war on terror"? The neocon answer is: Iraq is one front in the global war on terror. We're fighting them over there instead of over here.  

You think the Iraqis and the non-Iraqi jihadists Bush invited to "bring it on" didn't fully expect "shock and awe" after Sept. 11? You think the quick march to Baghdad with the Iraqi military not putting up a conventional fight, leading us into not a pro-Saddam but an anti-U.S. guerrilla insurgency wasn't part of the "enemy's" plan?  

It's right out of Sun Tzu's Art of War: "Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him...If he is superior in strength, evade him...Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant."  

You know what's scarier than snakes on a plane? What if 9/11 wasn't the Big Payback but the Big Set Up?  

Basically, the president's press conference was one big Real-Men-Stay-the-Course regurgitation -- as if retooling our grand strategy, redeploying forces and refocusing on international law enforcement (like the kind that foiled that alleged terrorist plot in London) is the same thing as throwing in the towel. Can you say false dichotomy?

Earth to Bush administration: never mind the Left Behind series. Start reading Sun Tzu: "to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself."

Ready. Break. DEFENSE!

Sean Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff reporter and a syndicated columnist.