Thursday, March 15, 2007

History is a Tough Taskmaster

The Bush Administration is wasting a huge amount of energy dodging left wing bullets. And it's entirely their own fault. First, the recent election was a referendum not just on Iraq but the Iraq that sprung from secrecy, bully pulpit and arrogance. I am against this War. I want us out. That was my position from the beginning. A preemptive attack is wrong. It lessens us.

However, I happen to agree with some of the principles laid out to go into war. Terrorists are a threat to the world and after 9-11 specficially to our homeland. We have a right to protect against future attacks. Also, peace in the Middle East is an honorable goal. The fact that it goes back generations and the causes are convoluted beyond comprehension, even by the participants, doesn't mean we should just give up.

The Bush Administration failed on every single effort to achieve any kind of positive result. First, they rushed. They knew better than the UN, our allies, common sense, their own military leaders. They bullied our allies into a watery support, only Tony Blair jumped in with any enthusiasm. (And is now forced to leave office because of it.)

Due to the rush, and minimal military preparation, relying on National Guard members who train on weekends for local emergencies, great people all but rushed into full-time service. They rose to the challenge but were given minimal support in the field, without effective body armor, vehicles to withstand bombs, military leaders afraid to speak out - the ones who did were put out to pasture. Still, their patriotism heroically persevered.

Then non-bid contracts went to Halliburton. If your bathroom suddenly springs a leak you don't worry about getting the cheapest plumber but the one who can come immediately. This mega-corporation, VP Dick Cheney's prior job was as CEO, sucked up money like Hoover's best windtunnel vac. Talk about giving your friends the combination to the vault. No one actually looked at the receipts, too many too fast. Question anything such as Joseph Wilson did and the Bush Admin came at you stronger than they did the enemy. Because if you so much as said, "Maybe there's a better way," you WERE the enemy.

A country founded on free speech was in danger of losing it. Anything was okay as long as the world terrorist was used as justification. This wasn't leadership, this was a schoolyard bully.

Incompetence was covered up, ignored, spun into a bizarre web of lies and verbal attacks. It was all spin. The emperor had no clothes and everyone became afraid to say so. Until Howard Dean dared and it turned out plenty wanted to say so. Bit by bit the fraud and negligence and incompetence, the power-hungry, the crooked, the morally bankrupt were exposed.

The Walter Reed scandal stands at the top of this toxic heap. When you send soldiers to war and then don't prepare for their return you are soulless. Wounded, they are of no use, either return them or ignore them. Those who gave the most now receive the least. Yet this Admin does not know shame. They repeat, almost daily, "Mistakes were made..." as if that absolves them. Sure, we botched the war, they seem to be saying, and care for the wounded and put us into debt doing it and ignored everything else that still matters but let's do it again.

It always comes down to what Lincoln said, "You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

Maybe had Bush read history books instead of drinking his way through college, or actually done his duty in the National Guard rather than drinking his way through Alabama, he wouldn't be dodging so many bullets now. His bullets are metaphorical but for our soldiers they are real. And he is not protecting them.

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