It may be too late, it may be too little, but Bush has given US strategy at least a fighting chance of success.
That’s a big improvement on the situation even two months ago.
Bannerman doesn’t see the Bush solution to the farcical fracas which is Iraq in quite the same light as Mr Sheridan. This would be due primarily to the diametrically opposed ideologies between the B-man and Sheridan, and the opposing views both hold of the American hegemony. Sheridan is a devout Ameriphile. A follower, believer and apostle for the American culture, politick and way of life. Sheridan would, if he could, ardently promote Australia as the much vaunted 51st state.
Bannerman sees America as just another nation state. One which believes it is, at least politically it not in reality, the global police force. A culture which is invasive and divisive. A people who generally have a reputation for being loud-mouthed, opinionated and arrogant, as well as ignorant of the world outside their own borders. Bannerman doesn’t think a whole lot of America or it’s culture. He is openly scornful of its present political administration. He’s not alone. Many of the worlds peoples feel just the same.
Reading through Sheridan’s treatise, Bannerman gains the distinct impression that Sheridan either lives in a dream world, or is in the pay of the Bush administration. In fact, the article opens with Sheridan in rapturous awe of Bush’s latest act of desperation to prove that he was always right about regime change in Iraq. In Bush’s address, he called upon Syria and Iran to co-operate by staunching the flow of insurgents and weapons into Iraq. There is also a veiled threat of possible ‘or-else’ should Syria and Iran not fall into line. Sheridan believes this vague ‘or-else’ represents, without any shadow of doubt, an overt threat towards both nations of military action by the US. He claims the threat to be so clear, that both nations “are today contemplating the President’s words with sombre apprehension.” That either nation would be trembling in their boots at Bush’s unspoken, vague ‘or-else’ beggars belief. Tehran and Damascus know full well America cannot wage another war in the Middle East, either from a logistical perspective, an economic perspective or most restrictively, political.
Bush no longer calls his own tune. Even those of his own political colour are scorning his ‘surge’ tactic as just an escalation of a failing conflict, to no good end. The bills for this surge are huge and Congress is not well disposed to pay them. The American electorate wants their people to come home. The troops themselves don’t see the end they’re told is coming. Iraq is a failure, a 21st century version of Vietnam in the late 1960’s. Sheridan lays the blame for this failure at the feet of one man, and no, it’s not the one with whom the buck is supposed to stop. He lays it with Donald Rumsfeld. Granted, Rumsfeld was the butt of the Presidential embarrassment, but isn’t it strange that he only received his DCM (don’t come Monday) after the political power balance changed?
Sheridan also claims Bush’s speech had Reagan-like qualities. Bannerman would agree with that comparison, as Ronald Reagan never did the conventional, rational or common-sense thing either. In the looney-tune stakes, Bush is right up there with Reagan. The only difference being that Dubya hasn’t graduated to wearing six-guns on his hips. Yet. In fact, Bannerman would put Greg Sheridan right alongside both of them. Sheridan is clearly as adept at drivel-spewing and grandiosity creation as those he adores.
It’s little wonder Bannerman rarely reads the Oz. It’s as factual and well written as that other great collection of faery stories, the Bible.