Iraq news and column update
Just a little reminder, you can keep up with reporting from the Big Five East Coast papers every day at IraqSlogger.com. Today’s is especially meaty, since there was a lot of enterprise reporting today. Here’s a sample:
In probably the least surprising news of the day, President Bush used the Independence Day holiday to defend the Iraq war while the New York Times makes a surprising comparison Iraq and the Revolutionary War.
“Our first Independence Day celebration took place in a midst of a war — a bloody and difficult struggle that would not end for six more years before America finally secured her freedom,” he said to an audience of Air National Guard members, according to Jim Rutenberg of the Times. “Like those early patriots, you’re fighting a new and unprecedented war — pledging your lives and honor to defend our freedom and way of life.” Tim Craig of the Post adds that Bush didn’t exactly promise much to look forward to: The Iraq war will “will require more patience, more courage and more sacrifice.” This kind of speech is old hat for Bush by now, as the Times notes, and from the reporting it sounds like he rolled out the same old talking points we’ve heard many times before. Fighting for freedom and way of life? Check. Terrorist following us home if we leave Iraq? Gotcha. Today’s armed forces fighting for the same cause as the patriots of yore? Yep. Ok, see you next year!
The Times, however, throws in a little zinger on the artificial tying of Iraq to the holiday with a contributed op-ed by Michael Rose, a retired British Army general who commanded the United Nations forces in the former Yugoslavia from 1994 to 1995. Why, yes, the Iraq war is like the Revolutionary War, he writes, but playing the role of Britain’s King George III will be George W. Bush and playing the role of the insurgents will be George Washington’s Continental Army. Rose argues that the British made many of the same mistakes then the U.S. is doing now: King George “attempted to fight a conventional war against insurgents, and sent far too few troops across the Atlantic to accomplish the mission.” Hm. Sounds familiar. Although the British quickly took Baghdad and Tikrit — oops, sorry, I meant New York and Philadelphia — they failed to shift to a counterinsurgency strategy. They never managed to seal the colonies’ borders. The upside is that once the British got their butts kicked out of the colonies, it freed them up to concentrate on more important things, like India and the Industrial Revolution. When Rose reveals at the end that the United States should learn the lesson that tactical defeat can be turned to an empire-building win is hardly a surprise, but he fails to note that the U.S. doesn’t have a subcontinent to covet nor a commercial revolution on the horizon.
Also, new column on Spot-on about the Lebanese Internet woes, which is a particular bÃªte noire of mine.