New Straits Times, Malaysia
Bush Sticks to His Guns, But What Good Will it Do?


October 23, 2006
Malaysia - New Straits Times - Original Article (English)  

The Pentagon, September 15, 2001. Did a plane
actually hit the Pentagon, as the government says,
or is there some other explanation? Many doubt the
official version of events. (above)

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Bush under intense
pressure as Iraq strategy appears to be
failing, Oct. 20, 00:03:00

RealVideo[SLIDE SHOW: Iraq].

An American soldier on patrol in Baghdad, Oct. 24. (below).


WHEN asked on ABC News on Wednesday what advice he might have for his successor, President George W. Bush replied: "Stand on principle." With October turning into one of the deadliest months for US troops in Iraq, and with growing calls for a change of tack, the American president did not pass up the opportunity to demonstrate that he is prepared to stick to his guns. On the same program, he affirmed that he won't "cut and run".

At a Republican fundraiser the next day, Bush depicted the Democrats as the "party of cut and run" because "they would have our country quit in Iraq before the job is done" "We will fight," he declared. "We will stay. We will win in Iraq." Bush expressed similar sentiments in his weekly radio address on Saturday. "There is one thing we will not do: We will not pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete." There was also the familiar refrain that only changes in tactics were needed, not changes in strategy or policy, to achieve the goal of "victory".

While there is no questioning Bush's dogged determination to finish the job, it is questionable whether any change in tactics would turn things around on the ground, since Iraq is nowhere near being the "free nation that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself" that Bush has envisaged. It is unclear what new tactics could succeed in taming the insurgency and stemming sectarian violence. The dead end that the U.S. finds itself in suggests that regime change is not as easy as deposing a dictator and then imposing democracy at the barrel of a gun. But America's dilemma also proves that military occupation invariably provokes popular resistance. No new military tactic or strategy, however slick and masterful, is capable of reversing inevitable internal opposition to the foreign yoke. It's time to move beyond tinkering with tactics and acknowledge the shortfalls of America's Iraq policy and the inadequacies of the war on terror.

When the body count mounts in an expensive foreign war launched under false pretenses and when the promise of victory proves illusory, it is to be expected that American public opinion would turn hostile. It remains to be seen, however, whether the American public will send a sufficiently strong message to their elected representatives, so that they understand it is no longer the time to talk tough, but rather to bring the boys home.



WindowsVideoISLAM CHANNEL, BRITAIN: Excerpts from an interview with Former Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammad, August 23, 00:15:42, Via MEMRI

"A lot of Americans do not like this war, but their leadership advocates war, as a solution - not only to major problems, even minor problems - we have to kill people. These are really war criminals. That is why we think that something has to be done against the United States."

Mahathir Mohammad, Former President of Malaysia