James Joyner notes that Newt Gingritch has told 300 college Republicans that None of you should believe we are winning this war. There is no evidence that we are winning this war.” Gingritch is playing silly buggers again, hitching the phantasm of "energy independence" - the faux-tough-guy version of hippy green - to winning the war on terror. He doesn't have the balls to say "dependent on brown folks instead of white folks" as the only really viable alternative for the thirsty US to Mid-East oil is Canadian and Alaskan oil.
But then James does something remarkable and worthwhile - throws Bush's words in the face of the 26%ers who have hijacked his party and hidden it from reality.
Still, even by the standards Bush himself set in his address of September 20, 2001, we have not made much progress against the terrorist enemy, or even made much of an effort to do what we said we would do:It should be obvious by now to all except the most willingly memory-challenged that Bush never ever meant those words. The "war" was always a War On (Some) Terror - with the Saudi enablers of Sunni extremists and the Pakistani protectors of the Taliban and other Islamist groups receiving the biggest free passes handed out. Then there is the Bush administration's own sheltering and coddling of terror groups like the MeK in Iraq, against the wishes of the Iraqis themselves. Or the outrageously hypocritical calls for India to show a diplomatic face over Mumbai, or the Turks and Iranians to refrain from pursuing the PKK across the Iraqi border.
- “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”
- “Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”
Neither of those things has happened.
Now, you may argue that these words from Bush were always unrealistic and that eventually realpolitik had to reassert itself, but that would be to change the narrative order. The exceptions were always there, not later accretions. Bush, as he spoke, knew his words were a talk-tough lie designed to garner votes and support for a pre-planned neocon agenda. It got him re-elected in 2004. But the biggest sin of all has been committed by Bush cheerleaders who have conveniently forgotten their gung-ho support for those lies and now try to pretend they were realists, as was Dubya, the whole time.
Every single one of the Republican nominees for 2008 fits into that latter category, as do their most vocal supporters. They're hoping their current variant on Bush's tough-guy act will get them elected just as it did Bush. Voters would do well to remember another great Bush speech in this regard.
"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."