Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bush, War, Healing & Weariness

According to David Ignatius in the Washington Post, Bush is 'weary', anguished and no longer in a state of denial.

This is what weariness looks like, Mr Ignatius.

LEONARDTOWN, Md. (AP) -- An Army Reservist despondent about being sent to Iraq was killed by police during a 14-hour standoff that began Christmas night when family members told authorities he was armed and threatening to kill himself.
Dean had already served 18 months in Afghanistan and was despondent after learning recently that he would be deployed to Iraq, family members told police.

And denial looks exactly like this:

Bush's "state of denial," as Bob Woodward rightly called it, has officially ended. He actually spoke the words "We're not winning" last week in an interview with The Post, coupling it with the reverse: "We're not losing." But in truth, he cannot abide the possibility that Iraq will not end in victory. So a day after his "not winning" comment, he half took it back, saying: "I believe that we're going to win," and then adding oddly, as if to reassure himself: "I believe that -- and by the way, if I didn't think that, I wouldn't have our troops there. That's what you've got to know. We're going to succeed."

What's going on in the White House is not the equivalent of some 'poignant' reality TV show, no matter how much people like David Ignatius want to characterize it as such. The true reality is happening on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the military hospitals where soldiers try to recover from having their legs and arms blown off, in the homes of those whose sons and daughters are no longer here to spend the holidays with, in the homes of Afghans and Iraqis who must hide in terror or be killed.

If Bush is indeed 'weary' or in 'anguish' it's only because he knows that history will not be kind to him since his so-called legacy as a great warrior president means everything to him.

This is not the attitude of a man who knows he's been defeated:

Policy debates in this White House are often described as battles between competing advisers -- Dick Cheney wants this; the Joint Chiefs favor that; Condi Rice favors a third outcome. This kind of analysis implies that Bush isn't really master of his own house, but I think it's a big mistake. The truth is that with this president, the only opinion that finally matters is his own. And he's a stubborn man. Military leaders can tell him it's a mistake to surge troops into Baghdad, but that doesn't mean he will listen.

It would be a huge mistake and an insult to the American, Iraqi and Afghan people to believe that Bush's weariness reflects anything other than selfish concerns. He may claim to be in pain over those who have died in these wars but, if that pain meant anything to him, he would do everything he could to end what's causing it.

It's ironic that with the passing of Gerald Ford this week, the world is reminded of his words when he attained the presidency: 'My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.' Ford is being remembered as a man of healing after Watergate and the Vietnam war. Yet, here we are again, just 30 years later, in the midst of more wars, dealing with the effects of Republican corruption and an administration so afraid of the truth that it has trashed the constitution.

The long, national nightmare never really ended after all.

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