13.12.06

Bush, with the blood of 100s of thousands dripping from his fangs, looks for more bodies to sacrifice for his legacy

TomPaine.com - Bush v. The Two Majorities:
Ignoring all sense, the president is trying to cobble together, brick by brick, an Iraqi government that is able and willing to do what Maliki’s regime can’t or won’t do: break the back of the Muqtada al-Sadr Mahdi Army and redouble the offensive against the Sunni-led Iraqi resistance. The whole thing is out in public view, and in the worst possible manner: first Bush met with Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, the fanatical cleric who heads the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a militia-based religious party; then he met yesterday with Tariq al-Hashemi, the leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party, the Sunni religious party linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. The two religious leaders, Hakim and Hashemi, are engaged in open plotting to create a new coalition to replace Maliki.

It’s a desperate gamble by Bush, as the clock runs out, to salvage the occupation of Iraq. Both Hakim and Hashemi are tired, worn-out figures, the preferred puppets who’ve been mainstays of every single Iraqi government—transitional, interim and otherwise—that has been installed by the United States since the March 2003 invasion. But a “new” Iraqi government, one made up of reshuffled, washed-and-dried puppets, won’t work this time either.

That’s because vast majorities of both Sunnis and Shiites want the United States to leave Iraq, period. So, any Iraqi government installed by the United States and created under U.S. pressure, and which endorses the continued presence of American troops in Iraq will have zero credibility. The fact that Bush is meeting with the conspirators so openly, amid widespread reports that Bush and Khalilzad are working overtime to assemble the new coalition, dooms it from the start. It’s precisely the mistake that Khalilzad made earlier this year, when he pressured Iraqis to dump former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and install the hapless Maliki in his place. That made Maliki look exactly like what he was: a hand-picked hand puppet. Now it will be worse, in spades.

In the middle of all this maneuvering, during a week in which President Bush has tried to portray himself as consulting with State Department and Pentagon officials, “outside experts,” U.S. military leaders in the field, Khalilzad, and even the hated realists of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group, the president flummoxed his own staff and press aides. First he said that he’d reveal all about his “new” Iraqi policy before Christmas—and then suddenly announced that instead he’d wait until 2007 to tell us what it is. It was a Keystone Cops performance that made him look even more foolish than usual.

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