Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 11:46 pm
|This Is the Way the War Ends…
In Iraq there are no good options, but President Bush's plan to expand the armed forces appears inclined to the worst.
CHRISTOPHER DICKEY of Newsweek
Dec. 21, 2006 - Not so very many years ago, Baghdad thrived with intellectuals and artists, a few of whom survived even during the decades of Saddam Hussein’s single-minded tyranny. The poets considered T.S. Eliot something of a god, and his iconic work, “The Waste Land,” a kind of scripture. They found hope in the notion that love and sacrifice might triumph over the despair and sterile devastation of their own “cracked earth.”
Today, those I knew in Baghdad who remembered Eliot and wrote about him have died or, long since, abandoned a city that has become the epicenter of a widening civil war. But as I watched President George W. Bush give his press conference yesterday, I couldn’t help thinking of another Eliot poem. In “The Hollow Men,” there is that line about “paralysed force, gestures without motion,” and the famous conclusion about the world ending “not with a bang but a whimper.” And there was Bush: trying desperately to contrive some way to claim a triumph in a country he has turned into death’s dream kingdom, pretending to have strategies where none exist, ignoring realities and taking refuge in willful ignorance even as he claimed to feel the pain of the dying.
What Bush appears to be talking about now is essentially an incremental change masquerading as a bid to turn the tide of the conflict. He wants to increase the size of the American armed forces, he said. But when he was asked if he supported a proposed “surge” of 20,000 or more American soldiers on the ground in Baghdad, he equivocated: “I haven't made up my mind yet about more troops.” He is listening to advice, he claimed, and he doesn’t want to give away the big announcements he’s got planned for January: “I'm not going to speculate out loud about what I'm going to tell the nation, when I'm prepared to do so, about the way forward.” Apparently The Decider has decided not to explain to the public what he’s decided until he decides he’s good and ready.
"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac
"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."
~Harry S. Truman