Friday, September 24, 2004

Bush and Allawi...singing the same song

Press conference objective: Let us FOOL most of the people...once again.

Bush and Allawi were reading from the same page in a carefully orchestrated presentation designed to support Bush's reelection when they addressed the media in the Rose Garden with Karl Rove lurking in the background.

"Staying the course" (while "Rome" burns) since we are headed in the right direction was the predictable message. Blaming the press for reporting bad news and political opponents for challenging their "fearless leader" was the sub-text.

In short, the mess created in Iraq was not the result of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld and their "neoconservative" cohort's failed policies. Instead, it's the fault of the media and those who dare challenge Bushite ineptness.

Soooooo...what else is new?

New York Times - September 24, 2004

The Face of Iraqi Democracy

Iraq's appointed leader, Ayad Allawi, put on an impressive performance yesterday in Washington. Addressing Congress and then holding a joint news conference with President Bush, he thanked America in the name of the Iraqi people for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Challenging the news reports that Americans get daily, Mr. Allawi claimed that security is improving, economic reconstruction is progressing and democratic institutions are taking root. It was everything the Bush re-election campaign could have asked for. Unfortunately, most of it was wrong.

Until Iraq holds free elections, Mr. Allawi cannot claim to speak for more than the narrow coalition of exile parties that maneuvered his appointment as interim prime minister. Increasingly well-organized and deadly attacks are directed against American troops, foreign relief workers and Iraqi security recruits. Sunni towns like Falluja and Mosul and Shiite areas, including much of Baghdad, are gripped by insurgencies that American military analysts believe are nowhere near being overcome. Oil pipelines are attacked regularly, electricity supplies remain erratic, and foul drinking water breeds disease.

With the United Nations expressing doubts over whether Iraq will be secure enough to hold elections by January, American commanders are planning to launch an all-out offensive shortly after the November presidential elections here. They hope to secure enough Iraqi territory to permit a presentably nationwide vote. Meanwhile, the main exile-rooted parties behind Mr. Allawi seem intent on suppressing all real political competition.

Mr. Allawi spent most of the past quarter-century in exile. He got his start in politics as an enforcer for Saddam Hussein, but broke with the Baathists and was nearly murdered by Mr. Hussein's agents. He built a political base around a core of disaffected ex-Baathist officers - and gained the backing of the Central Intelligence Agency, which supported him during the last decade or so of Mr. Hussein's rule. Since he was appointed interim prime minister in June, Mr. Allawi has not tried very hard to remake himself as a democrat. He has armed himself with the power to declare martial law and reinstated the death penalty, and he closed the Baghdad offices of Al Jazeera when it refused to adjust its editorial policies to his liking. His main appeal to Iraqis rests on the notion that he may be the only politician ruthless enough to hold the fragmenting country together.

The image Mr. Allawi was working hard to cultivate yesterday in Washington was very different. He wants to be seen as the firm but low-key leader of an emergent Iraqi democracy. He was occasionally compelling, but ultimately unconvincing, with contradictory messages that things are going well and that airing any evidence that things are not going well provides aid and comfort to terrorists. It's disturbing to see someone who presents himself as the future leader of a democracy begin by expressing doubts about the value of a free press and refusing to accept the importance of an honest and realistic discussion of what's happening in his country.<<


Post a Comment

<< Home