Friday, January 12, 2007



I wasn't going to say anything. I was going to let everyone else deal with it, because, well, everyone else is dealing with it and I really don't have anything different to say about it. But then I realized that this is a blog, where one is almost required to say things that largely repeat what everyone else is saying. So here we are.

King George unveiled his new Iraq strategy on Wednesday night. It was in the works for months, as he and his staff and his advisors and his generals and his cleaning crew worked overtime to be innovative and insightful and to come up with a new approach, a winning strategy that would wrap things up and let us — and Iraq — get on with the real business of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

You can see CNN's highlights of the plan, along with a not-to-be-missed picture of Dubya. Or you can see the transcript of what he said. Or you can just look at my summary; my apologies for any oversimplification here. It goes something like this:

Good evening, America. I'm here to... my advisors... I wanna... it's... I'm 'own tell y'all about my new ten-point plan for... my strategy, my new strategy. We worked hard on this, and it's, it's hard work. Things are pretty messed up, and it's, I take full responsibility, not that that makes the slightest bit of difference to anyone. But here's our new ten-point plan.
  1. Send in more troops.

[Sound of paper ruffling.]

I'm, I'm looking for...

[aside to advisor] Where's point two here? [whispering] No point two? That's it, it's just one? But I... [more whispering] OK, I see. [back to the cameras]

They tell me it's not ten. I got the, the, uh, dewey decimal wrong. One, it's one. Send in more troops. Well, uh, and we're gonna talk to them, send over diplomats too. Troops and diplomats. That's my new strategy.

Thank you, and God bless.

This is what took them months to devise? This is what we waited months for them to announce?

Well, on yesterday's county news program on cable TV, their un-scientific “click on our web site to vote” poll was “Do you agree with President Bush's plan to send more U.S. troops to Iraq?” When I saw the news last evening, “no” was running at 68%. And Congress seems to be at about the same percentage.

But that's his new strategy. Great.

Somehow, this seems the right time to tell a joke, which was going around a few years ago. In the joke, Georgie was visiting a school, stopping in when the class was learning about tragedy in literature. The teacher asked if the president would take over the class for a few minutes, and so he did. “Who,” he asked, “can give me an example of ‘tragedy’?” One kid tries: “A car is driving, and it goes off the road and rolls over, and the family is killed.”

“That's a good try, son. It's not quite right, though. That's an ‘accident’, but it's not a ‘tragedy’. Would someone else like to try?” Another kid raises her hand and gives it a go: “A school bus is driving, and it's full of kids, and it goes off the road and rolls over, and all the kids are killed!”

“That's even closer, but it's still not quite right. That isn't a ‘tragedy’, it's a ‘great loss’. Someone else?” We get one more try: “You're in Air Force One, with Mr Cheney and Mr Ashcroft and Mr Rumsfeld and them [it's an old joke, remember]. And a terrorist fires a rocket-propelled grenade and shoots you down and you crash and all of you are killed.”

“Excellent, son, that's a perfect example of a ‘tragedy’. Can you tell me how you knew that was right?”

“Well,” said the boy, “it was obviously not an accident. And it's certainly no great loss.”

1 comment:

scouter573 said...

This strikes me as a case of compromise. The discussions in the press seem to focus on two options. One option is to increase massively the military presence, squash the bad guys, and achieve a military victory. This option would require - I'm guessing - a doubling of troop levels to levels approaching 300,000. The other option is to declare victory, hand the reins of government to the Iraqis, and bring the American troops home. This option would require - I'm guessing - bringing all the troops home.

President Bush proposes a middle way, a compromise - he's sending 20,000 troops (or so). One set of critics thinks this is too few troops (see above). Another set of critics thinks it is too many (see above). Almost everyone agrees this can't possibly be enough to make any difference - it can only provide more (American) targets.

Thus, I stand corrected - sometimes "compromise" is a bad word.