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The speech that President Bush should have given on Iraq
By Ray Hanania — About halfway through his speech this week, President Bush declared, “Today, Baqubah is cleared.” Normally, I just tune Bush out when he gives his baloney speeches from the White House. This was his eighth since the war began more than four years ago, a war that supposedly ended months after it started. But the word “Baqubah” was like a lightning bolt that jolted me back to reality.So I went back and dug up the text of his speech, and this is what he said:“One year ago, much of Diyala province was a sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist groups, and its capital of Baqubah was emerging as an al-Qaeda stronghold. Today, Baqubah is cleared. Diyala province is the site of a growing popular uprising against the extremists. And some local tribes are working alongside coalition and Iraqi forces to clear out the enemy and reclaim their communities.”
I am glad al-Qaeda is being weeded out of Baqubah by American forces.
That’s great, I guess.
But, what if Bush had started his sentence by talking about the status of Baqubah five years ago, before Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq.
Can you imagine that sentence? Can you imagine his speech? I can imagine what Bush’s speech would have been like. It would be like this:
“Five years ago, much of Diyala province had absolutely no members of al-Qaeda and other extremist groups operating there. It’s capital is Baqubah and it was free of al-Qaeda, part of the oppressive network controlled by Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator who insulted my father and, more importantly, snubbed his nose at his former pals, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.
“Rumsfeld was there in 1988 shaking Saddam’s hand and thanking him for fighting our war with Iran, a country we have always wanted to nail because, well, uh., I’m not sure why exactly.
“Regardless, Rumsfeld and Cheney gave Saddam the weapons of mass destruction and that’s why we knew he had weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Don’t tell me he doesn’t have any and there are none. We gave them to him. Rumsfeld and Cheney told me so and they wouldn’t lie. Well, at least not to me. I think.
“And what did Saddam do with those weapons of mass destruction? He used them against his own people.
“Still, five years ago Baqubah had absolutely no al-Qaeda fighters, and thanks to us, they are there, and not in Pakistan. Al-Qaeda was operating out of Afghanistan and we routed them out of Afghanistan. We wanted to rout them out of Pakistan but Pakistan does have weapons of mass destruction. Oh yea. The Paks have the bomb and we couldn’t just invade Pakistan and chase down Osama Bin Laden after we chased him out of Afghanistan. The Pakistani president is nuts. They’d nuke us. No doubt about it. Pakistan is no Iraq, a push-over country we knew we could topple and would make me look like a genius. Cheney promised me that I would look like a great leader and sure nuff, I won re-election. I didn’t even think I was going to win re-election without having to steal those dang votes again in Florida. Or maybe Ohio. Whatever. I leave the election stuff to Cheney. Hell, with what I pay him and all that he’ll get from Halliburton when he leaves office, that guy’s set for life. I just won’t go hunting with him, that’s all. No sir.
“Oh, yea. The road is long. And we have to walk it. Five years ago there were no al-Qaeda dudes in Iraq. None. But no matter. Had we not toppled Saddam Hussein, someone else would. Maybe the Pakistanis, who have nukes. Then where would we be?
“I promise you, though, that as a result of my policies, we will bring al-Qaeda into Iraq. We’ll open the frontiers so the al-Qaeda types can crawl in from their caves in Pakistan, where I don’t want to fight. That Musharrif is as crazy as a hound dog in heat. Those al-Qaeda evil-doers will be in Iraq and we’ll get em. We can attack Iraq. We can’t attack al-Qaeda in Pakistan. So we have to lure them out. We can attack Iraq, watch it become a training ground for al-Qaeda, and then fight like the dickens. No worry about Iraqi nukes because we never sold any nukes to Saddam Hussein and even our best intelligence acknowledges al-Qaeda can’t make a bomb.
“But those Pakistanis can make a bomb and they have. And that’s as certain as we stand here today, five years later when there were no al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq and there are today. We’ll get them out. And even if we don’t, we’ll control Iraq and all its oil and keep the country so busy with it’s own problems, it will disrupt the Middle East enough so the Ay-rabs can’t focus on Israel. And that’s what Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, Lewis Libby and Richard Perle said we should do. Wolfowitz, Abrams and Libby all worked for Cheney and Perle, too. What choice did I have? Don’t blame me.
“What’s done is done. Today, al-Qaeda is in Iraq and if anyone is to blame, it’s not me. Blame Cheney. But I promise, we will rid Iraq of every al-Qaeda exploiter who ran there from Pakistan – which, if I haven’t already reminded you, has nukes. We’ll chase each and everyone down if we have to send every American soldier who has fought in Iraq back for another tour of duty. And another. And another. We’ll beat that al-Qaeda, if it takes every last American soldier in our army.
“Hell, Cheney said we have more soldiers than al-Qaeda. Or was it the other way around. I don’t remember. But, today is what counts and Baqubah is cleared!”
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and author. Copyright Arab Wroters Group Syndicate, www.ArabWritersGroup.com.)
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Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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