07 December 2006

"Success" & "Failure": Words with No Meaning in Washington

This is an extract from The New York Times report on the joint Bush-Blair news conference today at which they addressed the newly released Iraq Study Group Report:

"While the Iraq Study Group’s report described the situation in Iraq as “grave and deteriorating,” the president described it as “unsettling.” But when a British reporter asked him whether his description showed that he was “still in denial about how bad things are in Iraq,” Mr. Bush made his feelings clear.

“Make no mistake about it, I understand how tough it is, sir. I talk to the families” of those who have died. “I also believe we’re going to succeed. I believe we’ll prevail,” he said. “One way to assure failure is just to quit, is not to adjust, and say it’s just not worth it,” he added. “If we were to fail, that failed policy will come to hurt generations of Americans in the future.”

Mr. Blair did not sharply diverge from the president’s analysis. He said the report held important points to pursue: the need for the coalition to bolster the Iraqi government, for regional powers to play a greater role, and for Israeli-Palestinian peace to be actively pursued, to ease one of the most acute irritants in the region.

While the study group’s report held out almost no hope that the coalition could still achieve a military victory, Mr. Bush disagreed.

“I believe we’ll prevail,” he said. Of his talks with Mr. Blair, he said, “We agree that victory in Iraq is important.”"

This exchange prompts me to ask out loud what I think pretty much every time I hear Bush talk about Iraq. Just what would constitute "success"? What would it mean to "prevail"? What would it mean to "fail" - especially given the prospect that he will simply not recognize our current "failed policy"? Has Bush or any of his minions actually thought about what it might mean "to adjust"?

Bush's words are vacuous, simple mantras that he repeats to try to keep his supporters in line. He surely cannot hope to persuade skeptics. And where, by the way, are the press and the democrats as Bush goes on and on and on talking like this. Ask him what he can conceivably be talking about. Please. Someone.

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