|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
|Strategery and Tic Tacs
Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006
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|Mr. Bush has articulated his exit strategy for Iraq. “We’re not leaving so long as I’m president”* he told a press conference on Monday.
President Bush’s decision to leave the Mesopotamian hairball for his successor to clean up is both bold and effective, another coup for the presidential brain trust. In the parlance of the MBA White House, the strategy is a win-win for the president, and a lose-lose for his successor. President Forty-four won’t be able to pull out of the Iraq chaos without plenty of political damage. If by some inconceivable folly Forty-four keeps us in Iraq, the ongoing carnage and expense will be equally, if not more, damaging.
On the other hand, Mr. Bush’s own legacy will be forever bullet-proof. Debate may rage about the need to have gone into Iraq in the first place, but the ultimate blame for the fiasco, along with the fiasco itself, will be transferred to his successor. Mr. Bush’s defenders will argue until the end of history, or the dissolution of the ‘Publican** party, whichever comes first, that had we only stayed the course, completed the mission, not cut and run, everything would have been dandy. If Forty-four pulls the plug, the Iraq failure will be his alone. And if Forty-four doesn’t, the ongoing bloody quagmire is his as well.
Diabolical, but not unprecedented. The strategy calls to mind Nixon’s supporters, who still insist that responsibility for the Vietnam fiasco belongs to milquetoast liberals and the traitorous fourth estate. Had Nixon not been pressured into leaving Vietnam prematurely, had he been allowed to truly bomb that country back to the stone age the way he wanted to, all would have ended well. The argument was untenable at the time, since most ‘Publican politicians up for reelection, along with the majority of voters of every political stripe, were as determined to get out of Southeast Asia as the liberals and the press. That’s why President Nixon opted for the “peace with honor” ploy instead. But thirty years after the fact, staunch ‘Publicans read the argument as writ.
The pass-the-hairball strategy has the further advantage of being easy to execute. All Mr. Bush has to do is leave the troops in Iraq for another two years. This will be hard on the troops, since they remain sitting ducks in the middle of a three way sectarian civil war. It will be hard on the country, which will continue to waste hundreds of billions to prosecute the war. It will be hard on the rest of the world, as our presence at the center of the Iraq carnage will continue to incite ever more terrorists bent on further mayhem in New York, London, Madrid, and elsewhere. But for the administration, it’s simply a matter of continuing to parrot “stay the course, complete the mission, don’t cut and run,” until January of ’09. And how hard can that be?
There is but one very slender hope for the failure of the pass-the-hairball strategery. Most cat fanciers know that giving their pets a little Vaseline prevents hairball problems. Some few eccentric cat fanciers, however, insist that if you administer Tic Tacs, those hard little mint candies [Editor’s note: Don’t try this at home], kitty’s hairball woes vanish.
While it’s unlikely Mr. Bush will take to Vaseline as a dietary supplement, he does like Tic Tacs. It is his understanding that Tic Tacs are in fact the companion of strategery. Indeed, with his political family background, the president is wont to boast that he learned “about strategery and tictacs at Barb’s breast.” Can the Democrat’s employ the necessary Tic Tacs to counter the administration’s strategery, and make Bush cough up the Iraq hairball prematurely? Perhaps force him, a la Nixon, to adopt a fall back ploy of putative peace with a dash of dishonor? It’s a very slender hope indeed.
**Publican: British for bar tender. Henceforth, in a nod both to the Republican habit of calling the Democratic party the ‘Democrat party’, and also to the president’s vinous past, this page will refer to the Republican party as the ‘Publican party.
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2006
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