Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Amidst Crisis: Bush Goes To Ukraine and Annoys Russia
In the last week, President Bush has boldly continued his pattern of tactlessness when it comes to the security of the United States. Last week at the U.S. Air Force museum, he proclaimed that "normalcy is returning back to Iraq," and berated those who "seem unwilling to acknowledge that progress is taking place."
What planet is this man living on? After a week of rocket attacks on the U.S. embassy and violence in southern Iraq that has killed almost 500 people the situation in the country hardly appears to be "returning to normal." Thirty seven Americans died last month, and 4,011 since the invasion and occupation of the country began five years ago. Some 30,000 have been injured, and untold thousands more physically and psychologically scarred.
American embassy employees are now required to drive in armoured vehicles, even when inside the supposedly secure green zone. What was once a safe haven is now turning into a war zone as the American embassy is under constant attack from flying mortars and rockets.
Employees there are required to stay under hard cover at all times, and if they go outside, they are to wear helmets and body armour. They must be constantly be aware of bunker locations, in the (now frequent) event of a sudden bombardment, which has managed to spread much fear and panic among embassy staff, one of whom assessed the current situation as one where "We (those in the "safe" green zone) are always afraid."
This is quite contrary to the happy picture painted for us by President Bush, whose rosy assessment made at the Air Force Museum is far off the mark where reality is concerned. The day before President Bush told his audience in Dayton that all shall be well, he was briefed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the severe strain and long term effects that the extended deployment periods in Iraq have caused for the Army and Marines.
Bush's happy flag-waving escapism on Iraq neglects the very real fact that our armed forces are being worn out.
Instead of addressing this problem, our President has ignored it and instead decided to go to Europe and push for the inclusion of the Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, a position designed the enrage the growing state of Russia, who has sparred recently with Georgia over control of the separatist territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
If allowed to enter NATO, Georgia would then be able to invoke Article 5 of the membership charter which stipulates that each member is obliged to come to the assistance of any other member that is attacked or threatened with such, a potentially explosive situation considering the increasing territorial tensions between Russia and Georgia.
President Bush, by enouraging NATO membership for Georgia and the Ukraine, is thus commiting the United States to treat an attack upon those countries the same as an attack upon our own soil, thus entangling the US in a war with Russia.
As the US remains entangled in a hopeless conflict in Iraq, and our armed forces deteriorate due to our President's increasingly unrealistic policies, he chooses to ignore the problem by wrapping himself with flag-waving escapism at military bases and museums while he tries to get us involved in another pointless conflict in Eastern Europe.