The President’s New Clothes

G.W. addressed the nation this Sunday during prime time to talk about Iraq. Let me summarize the speech for you:

-Our ‘clear’ mission in Iraq is threefold: Security, democracy, and reconstruction
-We are faced with 2 options: victory or defeat
-Those who oppose the President and his war and want immediate withdrawal of troops have a defeatist attitude

The million dollar question is “did this speech have any value?” I think that depends on whom you ask? Conservative hawks may be surprised that G.W. actually admitted mistakes were made leading up to this invasion/occupation. Those on the opposite side will view the pleas for war opposers and American citizens to have ‘patience,’ and that they would respect and act upon ‘positive criticism’ (whatever that is), as the punchline to a not-so-funny 3+ year long running gag.

I see the talk as a decent move politically. The President’s poll numbers have seen a slight uptick since he started admitting stuff. Even though the administration claims to not pay attention to polls, I bet the sun won’t set for a while on this stream of apologies and admissions.

That being said, I think the speech was complete and total B.S. Don’t piss on my neck and tell me it’s raining.

It kills me how both liberals and conservatives claim the media is against them. G.W. said that the terrorists do what they do, in part, because they know it will make the news. Let’s get stupid about that for one second: if someone breaks into your home and you defend youself and/or attempt to remove that person from the premises, do you do that because you want a news spot or because you want them out of you house? According to the President, we are not facing threats now because of American provocation. 9/11 in his mind was unprovoked, he said. I guess we were just innocent victims of violent extremism.

We have more than 2 options in my opinion, with 4 of them being:

1. Stay indefinitely
2. Stay for another X months/years and leave
3. Leave immediately militarily and remain diplomatically
4. Leave immediately militarily and diplomatically

Choices 1 and 2 are idiotic. Choice 3 I can stomach. Choice 4 would be ideal. Notice how none of these four fit neatly into the victory/defeat rhetorical buckets. This is a direct consequence of the many flaws inherent in this invasion/occupation. This is analogous to striving for victory in a contest with yourself to see how fast I can drive into a brick wall: you LOSE every time. The win/lose rhetoric is used here because of its simplicity. Conservatives are good at using simplicity to mask reality. Now that we are in Iraq and have been for over 1000 days, the answers and implications are no longer simple (if we would have simply said no to the invasion, then simplicity would make sense). I personally am a fan of reality rhetoric, not B.S. I guess that’s why I’m not a politician.

Another thing: since when did anyone who disagreed with illegal foreign occupations become defeatists? The BushCo has an intersting take on dissention. What’s ironic is that aren’t ‘terrorists’ in most cases dissenters who were not given a chance to voice their opinions peacefully or diplomatically and as a result resorted to violence? Why should Iraqi people, Sunni Arabs specifically, believe for one microsecond that the U.S. will value opinions that do not mirror their own? This speech further solidifies the notion that the U.S.’s version of democracy has no room for healthy, civil debate.

Everything has causality. Everything. How that causality is defined depends on the credibility of the persons presenting the case. Do I believe Bush when he says 9/11 was unprovoked? No. Do I believe Bush when he says that staying in Iraq indefinitely will help us ‘win the war on terror?’ No. Do I believe Bush when he says an immediate withdrawal is irresponsible? No. Do I believe Bush has any credibility whatsoever? No.

What do you believe?

Garlin Gilchrist II

Sent via Wireless Handheld


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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

2 responses to “The President’s New Clothes”

  1. Yolanda says :

    Garlin, G.W. has created this debacle, so what happens when he leaves? Why should the ratings in the poll really matter if he’s on his way out anyway? Does he really care? And is the plan to just leave the troops there? So, I guess this means his successor will be left to deal with it. Does anyone have any idea as to what happens next since he’s dragging this thing out?

  2. Garlin II says :

    This is something that happens with 2nd term Presidents. It would make sense that he not pay attention to poll numbers, since it’s not like he’s up for re-election. However, that would be irresponsible, to his other Republican colleagues, so he cannot ignore them totally. As for what happens after Bush is out, that is another reason we need an immediate pullout. The longer we stay, the sloppier the exit will be. That sloppiness will be magnified if they are still there in 2008 or 2009 (when the next Executive is elected). Bush’s problem is that he is making it increasingly difficult for his Republican counterparts to stick with him given that public sentiment is increasingly in favor of immediate withdrawal. That is why Dub tried to ‘guilt’ individuals into supporting him by calling them ‘defeatists.’

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