Today President Bush made what his handlers will no doubt call an important speech regarding the "war" on terrorism. Conceptually, it is such an outlandish position to take as to seem a comedy routine if not given by the President himself.
In his speech, he asserts several elements of what his administration believes is the end goal of all terrorists across the greater Middle East. To wit, he states
...[T]he militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region, and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia.
It is not that insurgents believe that America should get out of Iraq and will gladly assist in the exit strategy, it is that they want the entire region to themselves. America is just an innocent bystander in this, and that the true aim must be complete and utter domination of all earthly cultures and governments for as long as they breathe.
How does a leader of a nation become so enamored with such nonsense? Does he really believe this to be the case at the intellectual level? Does he not see the comparison of his own mission in Iraq to reshape the region in his democratic vision as matching his fanciful description of Al Qaeda's vision but with different ends?
President Bush goes even further.
Some have also argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq, claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001 -- and al Qaeda attacked us anyway.
And then shortly thereafter:
Over the years these extremists have used a litany of excuses for violence -- the Israeli presence on the West Bank, or the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, or the defeat of the Taliban, or the Crusades of a thousand years ago. In fact, we're not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed.
Osama bin Laden listed the U.S. presence on the soil of Saudia Arabia as a key motivational factor for the attacks against our country. The President uses our lack of ground troops in Iraq as proof that we can be attacked for no good reason apparently. How such a vacuous utterance can wend its way into a presidential speech is beyond comprehension.
He does not understand that the prime fuel for confrontation invovles a set of people who cannot find redress. It may be true that many Saudis welcomed the U.S. presence in their country in 1991, but over the years the presence became symbolic of a soiled connection between the Saudi government and the U.S. Israeli occupation and forced removal of Palestinians from their homes and their land is such a grievous and contentious issue, that to not understand the complexity of it speaks volumes of the President's capacity to come to even a basic understanding of difficult problems.
If the United States removed itself militarily from all the countries that wish us gone and renewed strong diplomatic ties to said countries, attacks on our people would dwindle to the point where lightning strikes are of higher concern.
He doesn't understand this. He never has. What President Bush does understand is bluster, and he isn't very good at delivering it.