We need real criticism
As before, he offered no way back and no joint, consensual path forward.What does this mean, "no way back"? Back to what? Is Tisdale seriously looking for a return to the status quo ante bellum? That certainly would please Saddam, but I'm not sure about anyone else.
And a joint, consensual path forward? Joint with whom? And how in the world does a single leader offer a “consensual” solution to something? Tisdale’s criticism is devoid of substance.
Oblivious to the inherent contradiction, he vowed to defeat a weakened,The only potential contradiction here is between a weakened enemy and a ubiquitous one – surely there is nothing about a weakened, immoral enemy that precludes his ability to attack. But Bush, of course, never said anything about the enemy being ubiquitous. Indeed, his rhetoric – “…defeat them abroad before they attack us at home” – is premised upon the enemy not being ubiquitous. Tisdale just invented it. Another empty criticism.
immoral enemy that was simultaneously ubiquitous and on the attack.
There would be no timetable for a withdrawal, he said, despite claims that the American presence is the main problem. Nor would there be an unpopular, but arguably necessary, increase in troop numbers until Iraq's post-Saddam institutions were secured.This is, of course, Tisdale trying to have it both ways. How can an increase in the US troop presence be “necessary” if it is the American presence that is “the main problem”? But Tisdale hides behind weasel words. It’s not he who thinks the American presence is the problem, of course, it is “claims” from the ether which suggest it. And Tisdale can’t say for sure that troop increases are necessary, only that it is “arguable” that they are. Not only is Tisdale’s critique incoherent, it is cowardly.
Then Tisdale even has the gall to claim that it is Bush’s advisors who are fostering domestic political hostility.
Off-stage, Mr Bush's chief adviser, Karl Rove, was busily drawing divisive domestic battlelines, lambasting Democrats and other "liberals" who he said wanted "to offer therapy and understanding for our attackers".Is it possible that Tisdale is so astonishingly ignorant of American politics that he is unaware of what the Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has been saying in the last 6 months? Dean has at various times called Republicans “evil”, “corrupt”, and “brain dead”, and claimed that Republican voters have “never made an honest living in their lives.” But Tisdale would have you believe that it is Rove who is drawing divisive domestic battlelines? If ignorance is not to blame for this ludicrous judgement, then surely it must be contempt for the intelligence of his audience.
Ultimately what Tisdale finds “most telling” is that Bush just won’t grovel for forgiveness for what Tisdale perceives as his sins.
Most tellingly, Mr Bush once again refused to admit any mistakes before, during or after the 2003 invasion.There would be no raking over the past, Dan Bartlett, his communications director, insisted. In other words, Mr Bush does wars. He does freedom and he does democracy, as defined in Washington. But he does not do apologies.Does such adolescent whining really pass for incisive political analysis these days at The Guardian? I mean really. In the first place, the failure to itemize in a speech one’s missteps is not a “refusal” to admit mistakes. (And to do so would be stupid politics.) Secondly, can Tisdale name a single politician in history who has “apologized” for undertaking an ongoing policy? The only thing “telling” about Tisdale’s observation is that Bush is a normal politician…and Tisdale is a petty ankle-biter.
Which is unfortunate. There are certainly aspects of the current situation which are worth debating. For instance, should Bush set a timetable to begin withdrawal? He certainly has a point that, to do so could embolden the insurgents to simply hold out. On the other hand, it is also true that, in the absence of a known time at which the cord will be cut, the Iraqi security forces could have little incentive to stop relying on US troops. A discussion of the relative merits of the two strategies would be interesting and could be enlightening. If there are alternative strategies to Bush's "hold the course", I wouldn't mind hearing them.
But unfortuantely that doesn't seem to be in the cards. Ironically, despite the harping that Bush has "no solutions" to the "disaster" in Iraq, it is critics such as Tisdale that are avoiding a substantive discussion of where we go from here, while remaining content to offer up empty criticism, petty political sniping, and demands for meaningless apologies for perceived sins of the past.