Saturday :: Mar 20, 2004

Bush's Weekly Radio Address

by Mary

One year ago, George W Bush was thrilled to set the dogs of war loose on Iraq. And he is still proud of what he has wrought. So it is not surprising he used his Weekly Radio Address to celebrate his action. Here is some of what he had to say (annotated for context).

Good morning. One year ago this week, ground forces of a strong coalition entered Iraq to liberate that country from the rule of a tyrant. For the Iraqi people, it was the beginning of their deliverance. For the world, it was the moment when years of demands and pledges turned to decisive action.

Bush really likes decisive action. In fact, last year, most of the world was saying, what's the rush? What happens if you give the inspectors another few weeks? In hindsight it is easy to see that if they waited a couple more weeks, their careful stack of lies would crumble under the weight of truth as witnessed by the fact that people were starting to realize how shaky their imminent threat justification was.

The liberation of Iraq was good for the Iraqi people, good for America, and good for the world.

NY Times (3/19/2004): In the short run, the invasion of Iraq and the toppling of its leader have done virtually nothing to stop terrorism. In Iraq, as in Spain, Turkey, Indonesia and other countries, terrorist attacks have continued since the capture of Mr. Hussein. On Wednesday, and again yesterday, Americans saw on television news the flames and casualties from bombings in Baghdad and Basra by forces opposed to the American-led occupation, which have become more deadly and more sophisticated in response to every change in tactics by American soldiers. Indeed, the war in Iraq has diverted scarce resources from the war against terrorism in Afghanistan and other places.

The fall of the Iraqi dictator has removed a source of violence, aggression, and instability from the Middle East.

Salon: "We are sleeping lions. We're waiting to eat Americans": Though some aspects of life have improved in Iraq, overall it's hard to feel optimistic. With the recent bombings and the targeted attacks against Westerners (Happy invasion anniversary!), this has been a particularly hard week. I spent part of today entangled in a fraught meeting about security concerns with some fellow journalists. These are all people who, like me, have tended to feel safe in Baghdad. But the last few days have us all a bit wigged out and we are carefully reassessing our security situation.

The worst regime in the region was given way to what will soon be among the best.

Salon: Welcome to the Quagmire: Today, a year after the invasion, the dream of a democratic Iraq sits on a foundation that is fractured by rivalries, conflicts and schisms. Will Iraq be a secular state or governed by Islamic law? Will it have a strong central government or a loose federalism? Will women retain their legal rights or face fundamentalist patriarchy? Will the ethnic Kurds become semi-autonomous and gain a consolidated Kurdish super-province?

Any one of those questions, by itself, could be enough to tear the country apart.

The demands of the United Nations were enforced, not ignored with impunity. Years of illicit weapons development by the dictator have come to an end.

David Kay: "Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here," he told the open-mouthed senators. It was a mea culpa - he had been convinced since his days as a UN inspector that Saddam Hussein was concealing a potentially devastating arsenal - but it was much more than that.

..."It's about confronting and coming clean with the American people, not just slipping a phrase into the state of the union speech. He should say: 'We were mistaken and I am determined to find out why'."

The Iraqi people are now receiving aid, instead of suffering under sanctions.

Salon: "We are sleeping lions. We're waiting to eat Americans": But despite the American investment in Iraq, the needs remain overwhelming. Last June, I visited Yarmuk Hospital, one of the largest public hospitals in Baghdad. The hospital was in a dire state, deficient in medicines, machines, staffing -- in other words, everything. I returned to Yarmuk last week in the hope of seeing changes. Just inside the hospital, I met with Dr. Mariwan Hweel Saka and asked what, if any, improvements had been made. "Honestly," he said, "regarding the hospital, we are in the same position." He told me that, months earlier, American representatives from the Coalition Provisional Authority had come to inspect the hospital. They promised that Yarmuk would be the best hospital in not just Iraq but all of the Middle East. But nothing had changed and, except for journalists, he hadn't seen any Americans since that day.

And men and women across the Middle East, looking to Iraq, are getting a glimpse of what life in a free country can be like.

Baghdad Burning: And where are we now? Well, our governmental facilities have been burned to the ground by a combination of 'liberators' and 'Free Iraqi Fighters'; 50% of the working population is jobless and hungry; summer is looming close and our electrical situation is a joke; the streets are dirty and overflowing with sewage; our jails are fuller than ever with thousands of innocent people; we've seen more explosions, tanks, fighter planes and troops in the last year than almost a decade of war with Iran brought; our homes are being raided and our cars are stopped in the streets for inspections… journalists are being killed 'accidentally' and the seeds of a civil war are being sown by those who find it most useful; the hospitals overflow with patients but are short on just about everything else- medical supplies, medicine and doctors; and all the while, the oil is flowing.

It must be nice to be George W. Bush where you have no doubts about your decisions and no need to regret your actions.

Mary :: 8:33 PM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!