President Bush continued his shell game with the American people on Iraq, hiding behind the sacrifices of our American soldiers to protect himself from the obvious conclusion that his leadership is an utter failure.
Bush has no strategy to win the Iraq War, but he outlined a clear plan to insure that it continues into the presidency of his successor and that when he leaves office, America will not be able to leave Iraq.
The president tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people again, as he did when he and his advisers lied about the need to invade Iraq, a nation controlled by a dictator but that was also a shield against Islamic terrorism and a foe of al-Qaeda.
Today, as a result of Bush's policies, his only achievement has been to kill the dictator, who was basically under international house arrest for more than a decade, and open the door wide in Iraq to invite al-Qaeda wannabes to enter the country and train for the day when they will conduct suicide terror missions against the American people.
The Bush shell game is so clear.
Bush told us he is going to reduce the number of troops in Iraq. But that is really a lie.
It's much like the property tax shell game played by local government politicians who increase government spending and then come to you and tell you they are going to rebate some of your taxes.
In the end, you may see your tax bills decline slightly, but only after they have been increased dramatically.
That negative draw-down is not a decrease at all, but a backdoor increase.
In much the same way, Bush increased the number of American soldiers in Iraq mainly as a delaying strategy. He knew that the increase, or the "surge" as has been spun by his public relations strategist, would be a perfect loss-leader to throw to the American people.
Increase the price of gasoline $1, and then drop it down 10 cents, and a politician can convince the dumbest of Americans that he has helped reduce the costs of gasoline.
Well, for us not-so-dumb Americans, Bush is not reducing the number of soldiers in Iraq. All he is doing is insuring that troops strengths will remain the same when he leaves office, thankfully and not soon enough next year, at the exact same levels that they were at less than one year ago before the so-called surge.
In the end, the real meaning behind the White House speech by President Bush, his eighth since the war began, is that he has condemned to death another 1,000 or more American soldiers to their certain death.
It was his eighth speech and his first in high definition television broadcast. But I didn't need high definition to know that Bush was merely making more excuses for his wrongful decision to invade Iraq and his failed policies that have cost our soldiers so dearly.
Despite Bush administration claims of impending victory, our American soldiers continue to be killed at an alarming rate.
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Bush declared in his speech, "Today Bakubah is clear."
Where and what the hell is Bakubah but another meaningless name in an endless war?
When Bush finally leaves office, maybe the congress which was told in clear terms in the last election by the American people to bring our soldiers home and let the Iraqis fight their own battles, might finally find the courage to stand up and do their own duty.
In only because so many American soldiers have been forced to walk the line in combat to do their own duty, maybe, just maybe someone in government will someday step up to the plate and do the right thing.
But of course, Bush has insured that will not happen now for another 15 months, until he is retired from office and a successor takes his place.
Even then, we have no assurances of any kind that when Bush finally walks away from the White House, the Iraq war will be any closer to winning than we are today. His successor may not be able to end the war at all, and we will face the same decision that the generals serving under the late President Lyndon Baines Johnson faced in 1967.
They could either walk away from Vietnam then, or dramatically increase our army strength and impose a draft on the young men of America. LBJ chose to increase our troop strength to more than 500,000 from the hundred thousand that were there, just as our soldiers are in Iraq today.
That is a frightening day of reckoning that Bush guaranteed will come, only delayed and passed off like a worn buck to someone else. We remain uneducated to this day about Islam, and the Arabs, often confusing the two terms and using them interchangably, and speaking about Sunnis and Shi'ites as a common enemy and a monolithic group.
We have confused the Arab-Israeli conflict with the conflict with Bin Laden, prosecuted supporters of Hamas as if they were supporters of al-Qaeda and played right into Bin Laden's own hands by attacking Iraq.
Rather than argue about Bin Laden, the national debate has been turned on its head and we are astonishingly still debating Iraq, which had nothing to do with Bin Laden, al-Qaeda or Islamic extremism.
If there is a tragic lesson in the past six years it is the realization we refuse to acknowledge because it is too embarrassing and says we just are not as smart as we claim, as Americans, to be.
The real tragedy is that as much as Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator in Iraq, he was also probably the only effective bulwark against Islamic extremism, Bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
Now that Saddam Hussein is out of the way, instead of bringing down al-Qaeda and Bin Laden, it has only given them strength, and a power we know the terrorist mastermind is very capable of exploiting. Ray Hanania can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2007 The Southwest Side Herald