29 November 2005

Bombs Away!

Seymour Hersh has written another must-read article for
The New Yorker. He claims there are plans in the White House
to begin pulling troops out of Iraq next year -- only to be
replaced with increased airstrikes.

A key element of the drawdown plans, not
mentioned in the President’s public statements,
is that the departing American troops will be
replaced by American airpower. Quick, deadly
strikes by U.S. warplanes are seen as a way to
improve dramatically the combat capability of
even the weakest Iraqi combat units. The danger,
military experts have told me, is that, while the
number of American casualties would decrease
as ground troops are withdrawn, the over-all
level of violence and the number of Iraqi fatalities
would increase unless there are stringent
controls over who bombs what.

But even more disturbing are Herh’s latest insights into the
mind of our Commander-in-Chief.

Current and former military and intelligence
officials have told me that the President remains
convinced that it is his personal mission to bring
democracy to Iraq, and that he is impervious to
political pressure, even from fellow Republicans.
They also say that he disparages any information
that conflicts with his view of how the war is

Bush’s closest advisers have long been aware of
the religious nature of his policy commitments. In
recent interviews, one former senior official, who
served in Bush’s first term, spoke extensively about
the connection between the President’s religious
faith and his view of the war in Iraq. After the
September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the former
official said, he was told that Bush felt that “God put
me here” to deal with the war on terror. The
President’s belief was fortified by the Republican
sweep in the 2002 congressional elections; Bush
saw the victory as a purposeful message from God
that “he’s the man,” the former official said.
Publicly, Bush depicted his reelection as a referendum
on the war; privately, he spoke of it as another
manifestation of divine purpose.