So the Iraqis are voting, and by most accounts, things seem to be going fairly well. Huzzah for the Iraqis. Yeah, see, here’s the thing. For those of us who opposed invading Iraq in the first place, it is very difficult now to argue against those (COUGHthewhitehouseCOUGH) who say thing like, “Now the Iraqis are voting in free and fair elections. Would you rather have them still under the brutal and tyrannical thumb of Saddam Hussein?
I caught a bit of the President’s speech on Iraq last night. I didn’t go out of my way to listen, as I didn’t expect anything new. Frankly, anyone who did expect anything new is a fool. The speech before a captive audience and canned applause at Ft. Bragg was clearly nothing more than a publicity stunt, an attempt to shore up sagging support for the administration’s Iraq policy. While a few starry-eyed members of the media suggested that the Bush acknowledged the grim realities “on the ground,” it amounted (unsurprisingly) to little more than “stay the course,” “9/11,” and “anyone who questions me doesn’t support our troops.
I was just looking over the text of Senator Joe Biden’s recent speech (opens in PDF) to the Brookings Institute about the current situation in Iraq. While reading of his experiences on a recent trip to that country, as well his description of foreign fighters pouring through the loose borders, I was struck by the seeming similarities to the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. True, the motives for the two invasions were completely different, but the end results strike me (at least at first glance) as oddly similar.
“We will work with them to convince the moolahs that they need to give up their nookyoolar ambitions.” —President Bush, speaking about Iran at a press conference in Germany yesterday. Despite the President’s insistence that “Iran is not Iraq,” this all just sounds WAY too familiar.
Following up on yesterday’s post about the White House’s request for an additional $80 billion for the war in Iraq, according to this morning’s New York Times, the administration’s request will push the federal budget deficit to $425 billion in 2005. From the article: The White House’s announcement makes it the fourth straight year in which the budget deficit was expected to grow; as recently as last July the administration had predicted that the deficit, which was $412 billion last year, would fall this year to $331 billion.
On September 15, 2002, then White House economic advisor Larry Lindsay estimated that a war with Iraq could cost from one to two hundred billion dollars. Shortly thereafter, he was issued his walking papers by the Bush administration for his failure to stay on-message that such a war would be short, cheap, and easy. Fast forward to today, when we find out that the administration intends to ask for another $80 billion for the Iraq war, which would push total spending thus far on the war to $280 billion.