[url=http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20070322_backward_progress_in_iraq/]Backward ‘Progress’ in Iraq
By Joe Conason
Every dismal anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has come to resemble the last, at least for anyone still listening to George W. Bush. So redundant were the president’s remarks that they scarcely registered on the front pages.
Each year he assures us that we are making progress, even if we don’t seem to have gotten anywhere except deeper into the sectarian quicksand. And each year he promises that we will see more such progress in future months, if only we possess the steely character required to send other people’s children to war.
On the invasion’s first anniversary, he noted, “There are still violent thugs and murderers in Iraq, and we’re dealing with them.” Back then, he mentioned the government’s interception of “a planning document” authored by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which complained: “Our enemy is growing stronger and his intelligence data are increasing day by day—this is suffocation.” Zarqawi was “getting the message,” Bush boasted. Being dead, Zarqawi can no longer get the message, but the war drags on.
On the second anniversary, he said, “Iraq’s progress toward political freedom has opened a new phase of our work there. We are focusing our efforts on training the Iraqi security forces. As they become more self-reliant and take on greater security responsibilities, America and its coalition partners will increasingly assume a supporting role. ... The progress in the past year has been significant and we have a clear path forward.”
On the third anniversary, he conceded that the situation in Iraq might not look so great to the untrained eye. “With continued reports about the tense situation in parts of that country, it may seem difficult at times to understand how we can say that progress is being made.” He quickly pivoted to the “optimistic” outlook, however, “because slowly but surely our strategy is getting results. This month I’m giving a series of speeches to update the American people on that strategy. I’m discussing the progress we are making ... . ”
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