Faced with a potential loss of influence and power in the upcoming mid-term elections, President Bush calls a craven little press conference and, in an attempt to appear concerned about the slaughterhouse war he started, admits things aren’t going so well in Iraq.
He said he thinks he “owes an explanation” to the American people. Boy, does he ever. But Bush’s “explanation” today is merely more of the same empty rhetoric and just more bamboozlement. What we’ve been doing in Iraq is what we’ll continue doing in Iraq, because to do anything else would mean we were “cutting and running.”
He won’t set a timetable to remove American troops from Iraq because that would mean admitting defeat. To a man who’s failed at everything he’s done in his life, and who has always been rich enough to be able to walk away to leave others to clean up the rubble, “defeat” is a bad word.
His personal boneheadedness is killing Americans. Ninety-three have died this month alone. He admitted that, too, but offered little in the way of remorse. The man has no soul.
The Presidency of the United States was George W. Bush’s last chance to do something right and good. He blew it coming out the gate when he stole the election in Florida in order to get the prize.
The war of opportunity against Iraq was his most monumental screw-up. It has cost, and will continue to cost thousands upon thousands of American and Iraqi lives.
Even as we grieved the innocent Americans lost in the terrible attacks of Sept. 11, many Americans, myself included, knew this war was wrong, even criminal, and opposed it on those grounds. We also knew, way back in the summer of 2002 when it became clear that George was gonna have hisself a little war whether we liked it or not, that America couldn’t win it.
Even with only the vaguest understanding of the cultural and societal history of Iraq, gleaned during the Gulf War in the early 90s, we knew that to attack Iraq would mean fighting not an Iraqi Army, but a guerrilla war. We knew Saddam’s troops were toothless – the U.S. and the world had kept them that way, following Saddam’s failed attempt to take tiny, oil-rich Kuwait. G.W.’s daddy had decided not to follow Saddam back to Baghdad and overthrow his regime because he knew it would end in unmitigated disaster. It would be a debacle, a quagmire, and the cost in lives and treasure on both sides was simply unacceptable.
We knew, Colin Powell’s prevaricating tapdance before the entire world aside, that Saddam didn’t have the capability to build nuclear weapons. WMD were nothing more than pipe dreams in a toothless dictator’s head. But they were good enough for George W. Bush as an excuse to exercise his stolen power.
If the war in Iraq had merely been a mistake – on an almost unimaginable scale – things would have been different once the initial assault was over. Cooler heads would have prevailed. Instead of sitting by while looters ran rampant and infrastructure was further destroyed with the monstrous words, “stuff happens,” we’d have bitten the bullet, sent in more troops and stopped it. We’d have shown the idiots that got us there to quiet cells to await trial and set about trying to fix what they’d destroyed.
But the war against Iraq was no mistake. As long as there was no oversight, Bush and his cronies could drop their drawers and rape both Iraq and America in broad daylight, over and over again. Then they made that war the excuse to curtail civil rights at home and dismantle the Constitution, America’s very bedrock, so no one could ever stop them.
Defeat was, and is, inevitable in Iraq. I don’t believe we should “cut and run”; we’ve visited death and destruction upon an entire nation, and the only honorable thing to do is try to put it right, somehow. Redeployment may be a chance, but it also may be far too late for that.
But before we can make even a small step toward atonement, as Americans we have to stand up and admit that we were bamboozled by a cadre of wicked, ruthless, ambitious charlatans into prosecuting this war. Then we must get to the painful job of neutralizing and bringing them to justice so we can act with honor and humility.
It won’t be easy. Americans don’t like to see themselves as losers, but we’re babes in the great scheme of world history. We sure aren’t the first powerful nation to overstep our bounds, and we probably won’t be the last. But if we pull back from the brink now, we might survive.
We know the truth, now. If we don’t step back, we deserve to fall.