Reconstructing Iraq-- Oh Nevermind
Those were the days! Hard to imagine that at one time reconstruction was supposed to be fun and fun and profitable and a means of rewarding our friends and punishing our enemies. After this optimistic beginning, we started realizing that anything that got reconstructed would be blown up unless we provided security so roughly half of the reconstruction money was reprogrammed towards security. And, of course, the Coalition Provisional Authority just lost $8.8 billion—let it disappear down a dark hole.
Nonetheless, just a month ago, President Bush cited reconstruction of Iraq as a key element of strategy for victory in Iraq:
BUSH: And all three aspects of our strategy—security, democracy, and reconstruction—we have learned from our experiences and fixed what has not worked. We will continue to listen to honest criticism and make every change that will help us complete the mission.On Thursday, Keith Olberman pointed out when discussing President Bush’s meeting with former Secretaries of State and Defense to discuss Iraq (for five minutes) that Bush seems to have kicked away one leg of this tripod:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We take to heart the advice, we appreciate your experience, and we appreciate your taking time out of your day. We have a dual-track strategy for victory. On the one hand, we will work to have a political process that says to all Iraqis, The future belongs to you. And on the other hand, we‘ll continue to work on the security situation there.
The main thrust of our success will be when the Iraqis are able to take the fight to the enemy that wants to stop their democracy. And we‘re making darn good progress along those lines.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Contained therein, perhaps the only reason news to have come out of today‘s photo opportunity at the White House, the president‘s strategy for victory in Iraq mysteriously shrinking to only two elements, having been threefold just last month.
Back in 2004 pundits loved to our President call a man of constancy, principle, and follow-through. But when it comes to reconstruction of Iraq, as with so many issues, the closer we look the more it seems that this Presidency is best described as a short attention span Presidency—one that devotes constant attention to securing electoral advantage and to pleasing the Republican donor class, but when it comes to following through on policies and programs, it just can't be bothered.