Saturday, June 26

From a Position of Weakness

Like a freight train...

Bet your house that come Monday, the Bush sycophants on talk radio and talk TV will be proclaiming that the president has scored a major victory by getting NATO and the EU to agree to support the new Iraqi government. This will be trumpeted as acceptance of the Bush Doctrine and will rationalize the actions we took in the war on terrorism.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Bush won absolutely nothing. This is in no way a mandate for what the little maniac did to an area which the EU shares a land mass with. NATO has agreed to train Iraqi troops - not be directly involved in confrontations. The EU, sick and tired of the swirling horror happening so close to their territories, will do practically anything to put a stop to it. And the United States looks like the neighborhood jackass who finally was forced by its parents to apologize for vandalizing the block.

In other words, Bush came to them under the blinding light of protest and white hot anger by their citizens to beg for their help - from a position of weakness and not from a position of strength. He allowed them to make the rules, and at the same time, spank him for putting them in this awkward position in the first place.

President Mary McAleese voiced strong concerns over the maltreatment of Iraqi POWs by coalition forces during a private meeting with George Bush yesterday.

The Irish President told her US counterpart during a 30-minute meeting that there was deep disquiet about the war in Iraq among the people of Ireland and the EU. In what was described as a busy and very honest meeting, she said Irish people as a whole shared the shock and disappointment of the American people as scenes from Abu Ghraib had emerged.
We all know Bush is the first U.S. president to be greeted with hostility in Ireland. Try as they did to keep him shielded from anything negative, including an entire country's scorn, they still ended up 30 minutes late for the meeting to avoid the angry crowds.

With all this happening in her country, no wonder McAleese had to address it. This is what they do in the real world. They deal with public sentiment. If there is a next time, Bush should try it himself - BEFORE he does anything pre-emptively.

But the pre-emption is what put us in that position of weakness. The strength Bush was seeking for his war never bore fruit in the rest of the world - and more than half of the United States. The old adage of "It's easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission" DOES NOT APPLY TO WAR. And what happened today was not forgiving in the slightest. It's the EU telling us that they'll do whatever they can to knock off the bloodshed next door - which y'know, we started.

Bush got admonished. He got lectured. He got scorn. He got what he deserved.

What he still didn't get - on his OR our behalf - was respect. He won nothing today. What he got was a hot steaming bowl of Fix This Mess.

The "victory" is empty. The emperor has no pride. And the United States still looks like that weak neighborhood jackass.

Don't believe the hype. We're doing the begging. And it's very unbefitting of someplace that calls itself a "superpower" because there's a moral responsibility that goes with the territory.