Image and video link courtesy of Crooks and Liars
A new year, and Keith is back among us.
Finally tonight, a Special Comment about "Sacrifice."
If in your presence an individual tried to sacrifice an American serviceman or woman, would you intervene?
Would you at least protest?
What if he had already sacrificed 3,003 of them?
What if he had already sacrificed 3,003 of them — and was then to announce his intention to sacrifice hundreds, maybe thousands, more? This is where we stand tonight with the BBC report of President Bush's "new Iraq strategy" and his impending speech to the nation, which it quotes a senior American official, will be about troop increases and "sacrifice."
The President has delayed, dawdled, and deferred for the month since the release of the Iraq Study Group.
He has seemingly heard out everybody… and listened to none of them. If the BBC is right — and we can only pray it is not — he has settled on the only solution all the true experts agree, cannot possibly work: more American personnel in Iraq, not as trainers for Iraqi troops, but as part of some flabby plan for "sacrifice."
And that’s only the start of his piece.
And with the BBC piece as a backdrop, tomorrow’s Times of London confirms that Bush will escalate so that he avoids, at least in his own mind, another Vietnam, by listening to one man above all others.
Those close to the discussions say the President is leaning against the recommendation of the Iraq Study Group, headed by James Baker, his father’s Secretary of State, for a steady drawdown of US troops. Instead, advisers say, he favours a “surge” of American forces of perhaps 30,000 or more troops in addition to the 140,000 there, with the aim of restoring order in Baghdad especially. Senior military commanders have been sceptical. General John Abizaid, head of US Central Command, has publicly expressed doubts, and will be stepping down shortly. General George Casey, the commander of US forces in Iraq, is also known to be cautious — he too may soon leave his job. So entrenched have been the military doubts that one adviser said that there had been no serious discussion of the “surge” strategy until it was proposed by an outside group of military thinkers about a month ago.
And Mr Bush has been influenced heavily in his thinking, it seems, by Henry Kissinger, the Secretary of State to Mr Ford and Richard Nixon. According to Bob Woodward’s book, State of Denial, in 2005 Mr Kissinger sent Mr Bush a copy of his famous 1969 “salted peanut” memo to Mr Nixon. In it the Secretary of State warned against troop withdrawals from Vietnam, saying that they would become to the American people like salted peanuts — “the more US troops come home, the more will be demanded”.
Bush seems to have an easier time dealing with our troops when they are reduced to "peanuts" or "commas", or simply numbers.