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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Iraqi insurgents = Al-Qaeda = Khmer Rouge.

To most people, the logical leaps needed to make that equation would be impossible, but nothing is too difficult for our Dear Leader.

In a speech given to members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars earlier today in Kansas City, Dubya unloaded some of the most preposterous misunderstandings (and outright lies) about the world's history since the Second World War that this magpie has had the misfortune to hear. For example, the prez said that the US was responsible for the decolonization of Asia and after 1945. (It wasn't.) He likened the 'war on terror' to the war against Japan and the Korean war. (As a historian, I can't think of any significant similarities.) And he attributed the murderous rule of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia to the fact that the US withdrew its troops from Southeast Asia at the end of the Vietnam War. (In fact, the success of the Khmer Rouge was due to a CIA-sponsored coup that replaced a neutralist government with one more sympathetic to US war aims in Vietnam. The Khmer Rouge wouldn't have had a chance without a US-backed enemy to fight against.)

However, all that pseudo-history pales when compared to Dubya's main contention: If the US withdraws from Iraq, Al-Qaeda will not only wreak destruction on the Iraqi people like that suffered by Cambodians in the Khmer Rouge years, but Osama bin Laden will bring a similar reign of terror here to the US.

Bin Laden has declared that "the war [in Iraq] is for you [the US] or us to win. If we win it, it means your disgrace and defeat forever." Iraq is one of several fronts in the war on terror -- but it's the central front -- it's the central front for the enemy that attacked us and wants to attack us again. And it's the central front for the United States and to withdraw without getting the job done would be devastating.

If we were to abandon the Iraqi people, the terrorists would be emboldened, and use their victory to gain new recruits. As we saw on September the 11th, a terrorist safe haven on the other side of the world can bring death and destruction to the streets of our own cities. Unlike in Vietnam, if we withdraw before the job is done, this enemy will follow us home. And that is why, for the security of the United States of America, we must defeat them overseas so we do not face them in the United States of America.

This, of course, completely ignores the facts that 1) there was no al-Qaeda threat in Iraq prior to the US-led invasion; 2) Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11; and 3) the US occupation of Iraq is what has turned that country into a terrorist magnet and training ground. But hey, facts never get in Dubya's way when he's trying to support some stupid policy that he's already committed himself to.

If you have a strong stomach, I strongly suggest reading Dubya's whole speech. I'm sure the GOP is already sending out talking points based on what he said, so you might as well get a good handle on the arguments for the occupation that the 30-percenters will be tossing at you between now and when the administration has to make its Iraq progress report to Congress next month.

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