One of the many bizarre Bush Doctrines is the masterful way they manage to get the American people to lower their expectations. For example, way back when Dubya was first running for president, most pundits agreed that if he could just get through the debates without mispronouncing his own name or tripping on the carpet, he’d be okay. Never mind being able to intelligently discuss world affairs or domestic policy.
And that’s been the way the Bush administration has worked ever since. Never face facts, never admit to any wrongdoing to poor decisionmaking, and call it “stalwart” or “decisive.”
And now, comes this:
The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.
The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.
“What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground,” said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. “We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we’re in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning.”
Administration officials still emphasize how much they have achieved despite the chaos that followed the invasion and the escalating insurgency. “Iraqis are taking control of their country, building a free nation that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself. And we’re helping Iraqis succeed,” President Bush said yesterday in his radio address.
Before the US invaded, Iraq was a secular dictatorship. People disappeared off the streets and Saddam Hussein ruled through fear and intimidation, torture and murder.
Today, Iraq is a shattered war zone, where people no longer fear Saddam Hussein. Instead, they have no electricity during 120-degree heat. They can’t go to the barber, because religious extremists have been blowing them up to prevent shaving of beards. Uemployment is 50-65%. People die by the score from terrorist bombs.
It’s good that Saddam Hussein is gone. But it’s worse in so many hundreds of other ways. And now, it seems, there’s no way out.