Robert Fisk: Bush’s new strategy – the march of folly
So into the graveyard of Iraq, George Bush, commander-in-chief, is to send another 21,000 of his soldiers. The march of folly is to continue…
Published: 11 January 2007
There will be timetables, deadlines, benchmarks, goals for both America and its Iraqi satraps. But the war against terror can still be won. We shall prevail. Victory or death. And it shall be death.
President Bush’s announcement early this morning tolled every bell. A billion dollars of extra aid for Iraq, a diary of future success as the Shia powers of Iraq still to be referred to as the “democratically elected government” march in lockstep with America’s best men and women to restore order and strike fear into the hearts of al-Qa’ida. It will take time oh, yes, it will take years, at least three in the words of Washington’s top commander in the field, General Raymond Odierno this week but the mission will be accomplished.
Mission accomplished. Wasn’t that the refrain almost four years ago, on that lonely aircraft carrier off California, Bush striding the deck in his flying suit? And only a few months later, the President had a message for Osama bin Laden and the insurgents of Iraq. “Bring ’em on!” he shouted. And on they came. Few paid attention late last year when the Islamist leadership of this most ferocious of Arab rebellions proclaimed Bush a war criminal but asked him not to withdraw his troops. “We haven’t yet killed enough of them,” their videotaped statement announced.
Well, they will have their chance now. How ironic that it was the ghastly Saddam, dignified amid his lynch mob, who dared on the scaffold to tell the truth which Bush and Blair would not utter: that Iraq has become “hell” .
It is de rigueur, these days, to recall Vietnam, the false victories, the body counts, the torture and the murders but history is littered with powerful men who thought they could batter their way to victory against the odds. Napoleon comes to mind; not the emperor who retreated from Moscow, but the man who believed the wild guerrilleros of French-occupied Spain could be liquidated. He tortured them, he executed them, he propped up a local Spanish administration of what we would now call Quislings, al-Malikis to a man. He rightly accused his enemies Moore and Wellington of supporting the insurgents. And when faced with defeat, Napoleon took the personal decision “to relaunch the machine” and advanced to recapture Madrid, just as Bush intends to recapture Baghdad. Of course, it ended in disaster. And George Bush is no Napoleon Bonaparte.
Read the rest here.