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A Ceremonial Journey Bush's Progress
Bush’s Progress
by MICKEY Z.

Washington Post Staff Writer Mike Allen penned a piece called "Bush Cites ‘Progress’ Being Made in Iraq" (August 9, 2003) in which Allen claimed President (sic) Bush had begun "building a broad, new case that progress is being made in postwar Iraq despite the steady casualties besetting U.S. troops."

What Allen was referring to is a 24-page White House report called "Results in Iraq: 100 Days Toward Security and Freedom."

One hundred days and 119 dead U.S. soldiers after Bush hopped out of a fighter jet to announce "Mission Accomplished," the president-select explained, "We’ve made a lot of progress in a hundred days, and I am pleased with the progress we’ve made, but fully recognize we’ve got a lot more work to do."

PROGRESS:

1. Movement, as toward a goal; advance.
2. Development or growth: students who show progress.
3. Steady improvement, as of a society or civilization.
4. A ceremonial journey made by a sovereign through his or her realm (hmm…)

A couple of the Democratic presidential candidates responded to the report without actually challenging the premise that "progress" had been made. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) said the administration "should be changing course instead of celebrating."

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said that the "best way to win the peace, not just make progress, is to replace Americans with a broad array of troops that take the target off of American soldiers and eliminate the sense of American occupation."

One more time, for Kerry and Edwards:

PROGRESS:

1. Movement, as toward a goal; advance.
2. Development or growth: students who show progress.
3. Steady improvement, as of a society or civilization.
4. A ceremonial journey made by a sovereign through his or her realm

Bush, of course, responded to the Democrats. "Pure politics," he repeated three times. "As far as all this political noise," he added, "it’s going to get worse as time goes on, and I fully understand that, and that’s just the nature of democracy."

DEMOCRACY:

1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4. Majority rule.
5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

Illustrating the "progress" made during Iraq’s transition to "democracy," the report claims, "health care, previously available only for Baathist [political party] elite, is now available to all Iraqis."

Neither the report nor the Washington Post mentions the role of sanctions in the distribution of health care prior to the U.S. occupation.

To Allen’s credit, he does display a modicum of suspicion. In paragraph 13 (of 17), he writes: "The report does not mention the almost daily attacks on U.S. forces, or the kidnappings and carjackings that terrify many Baghdad residents. It does not mention Iraq’s high unemployment or widespread lack of electricity. No documentation for the claims is included."

But this is his only call for documentation.

"The administration’s emphasis on the justification for the war in Iraq has evolved," Allen writes, "and Bush today said the engagement there was aimed at preventing another attack like those on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in 2001."

"I will not forget the lessons of September the 11th," Bush explained.

Allen didn’t explain what these lessons were or how this stance qualifies as "evolving."

EVOLVE:

1. To develop or achieve gradually: evolve a style of one’s own.
2. To work (something) out; devise.
3. Biology. To develop (a characteristic) by evolutionary processes.

Allen also refrained from mentioning that, despite Bush’s "evolution," a connection between Iraq and 9/11 has never been made.

PROPAGANDA:

1. The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.
2. Material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause: wartime propaganda.

Here’s to 100 more days of progress…

MICKEY Z. is the author of The Murdering of My Years: Artists and Activists Making Ends Meet and an editor at Wide Angle. He can be reached at: mzx2@earthlink.net.