From day one of the war in Iraq, President Bush and his cohorts, Cheney and Rumsfeld, have proceeded on the assumption the fight was a military one, not a political. At his press conference on Friday, the president said the fight now raging in Baghdad and Basra represents “a defining moment in the history of Iraq” as its government endeavors to crush Mahdi militia who are loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr. “It’s going to take awhile, but it’s a necessary part of the development of a free society.” He noted “Basra has been a place where criminality has thrived… and yes, there’s going to be violence, and that’s bad.” For some reason President Bush failed to mention that Basra was under the control of British troops for four years and it was only a few months ago they left the city and are now stationed at the airport. If Basra was a place where “criminality has thrived,” is Bush attacking Great Britain’s role in the war?
The press conference comments once again demonstrated President Bush’s misunderstanding of the war in Iraq. He continues to believe engaging in military action which crushes an enemy in a city represents a “victory.” The only “victory” that will truly ensure peace in Iraq is building positive relations among the various constituents who make up what we term the country of Iraq. An angry Madhi militia could slip into the countryside and form another element along with al-Qaeda that fights the Iraq government. The only “defining moment” in the history of modern Iraq is some form of constitutional gathering which defines how various groups will function in peaceful cooperation with one another.