Getting the Job Done
“We’re going to stay in Iraq to get the job done. This business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever.”
–George W. Bush
“There is one thing I’m not going to do. I am not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete,” Bush said in a speech at the University of Latvia.
So here’s the question that is currently on my mind:
What is the job and by what measure can it said to be done? What is the mission and when will it be deemed “accomplished”?
Initially, American forces invaded Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime and secure the weapons mass destruction before they were unleashed on the innocent.
OK, we toppled Hussein (first the statue, then him) and then discovered we were lied to: there were no WMD.
Then, sometime after Bush stood in front of the “Mission Accomplished” flag, we were told the job was to bring Democracy to the Middle East, starting in Iraq.
Now, that’s a much taller order, especially if the people have democracy shoved down their throats and choke on it as seems to be happening currently.
As has happened these last six years, we’re being given vagaries and are being asked to support the Administration. All along, any time people have sought specifics, we’re being told we’re not being patriots or some such blather.
But really, since the President has chosen to use “get the job done” as his latest mantra, I haven’t heard anyone really ask exactly what the job is and how we’re expected to complete it.
You ask me, the job always should have been (once we got there and realized the original reason was bogus), to rebuild infrastructure so the people of Iraq can function. Instead, we’re only going to leave them maybe a quarter of the clinics and hospitals we promised them; they have fewer hours of secure electricity than before, the water and sanitation systems are a mess and they’re barely pumping pre-invasion quantities of oil.
The insurgents and the like are dead set on shooting each other than we should stop trying to quell the violence and just set about building electric plants, sewage treatment plants and the like. The people are more likely going to embrace those improvements to their lives and protects those structures, easing some of the sectarian bloodshed. Most people want to just quietly live their lives, educate their children and be left alone. Giving them water, light and freedom should be enough.
But right now, we have such an ill-defined mission in the Middle East that we’ll never bring the troops home because the job, as it stands now, will never be done. We need to start asking for a definition and then hold the President to it.