New Straits Times,
Bush Sticks to His Guns, But What Good Will it Do?
October 23, 2006
Malaysia - New Straits Times - Original
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
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.
VIDEO FROM BRITAIN: MAHATHIR MOHAMMAD
ISLAM CHANNEL, BRITAIN: Excerpts from an interview with Former Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammad, August 23, 00:15:42, Via MEMRI
SAYS AMERICAN LEADERS MUCH TOO WARLIKE
"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