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The Ultimate Failure
April 15, 2004
By Michael Shannon

With the rapidly approaching anniversary of his ignominious display on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln of ego run amuck, one thing has become brilliantly clear: George Bush is as much of a failure as a "war President" as he has proven to be in everything else he's ever attempted.

It has long been obvious that Mr. Bush is a lousy President - not because he does things that I don't agree with, but because even those things that he claims to passionate about he does extremely badly. But this time his litany of inadequacies can not be so easily excused or glossed over. This time his incompetency is a matter of life and death.

And not only is he failing to do the right thing, he's failing to do anything. While the situation in Iraq has exploded - both literally and figuratively - what has Mr Bush been up to? Has he rushed back to Washington to meet face to face with his top military and civilian defense advisers? Has he called for a summit of the heads of state of his "coalition of the willing" to discuss their next move? Has he publicly called upon the leaders of the surrounding Arab states to act as intermediaries? Has he addressed the American people to assure them in this hour of crisis?

No, he's been too busy bass fishing on his ranch in Crawford with his father for any of that.

Though it is inexcusable that as the Commander in Chief and Chief Executive of the United States he has not taken any of the above substantive steps, it is understandable in a perverse way. Had Mr. Bush reacted in a public manner to the unfolding events he would be - by default - admitting that the situation in Iraq was rapidly reaching crisis proportions. Unfortunately for all involved, Mr Bush has proven even better at not admitting fault and accepting responsibility than he is at fouling things up in the first place.

Without delving too deeply into the realm of psycho-babble, I believe Mr. Bush knows that he is in way over his head. That all the swaggering and all the bluster are merely a cover for a guy who finds himself in a position where he knows his best just aint good enough. Of course when guys like him come to this realization they tend to swagger and bluster all the more. As pathetic as this tendency may be, it is one thing when it only causes political or fiscal problems, but as mentioned above, when real people are lying in real pools of blood because of poorly designed and executed strategy then such idiocy becomes by definition borderline criminal.

Mr. Bush and his civilian subordinates will emphatically deny that they ever expected the situation in Iraq to unravel as badly as it has. And in a way they will be telling the truth. They didn't expect it because anybody who warned them that the present state of affairs was nearly inevitable were ignored. Whether those warnings came from highly respected individuals within the American command structure - read Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Shinseki - or from millions of average people who pleaded that we find a more human and equitable way to deal with Iraq from day one.

As is becoming increasingly obvious, Mr. Bush and his team entered office fixated by Saddam Hussein. And as has become increasingly obvious, this fixation blinded them to a threat that was much more real and lethal. Since being jolted back to reality - temporarily that is - by September 11, Mr. Bush has prided himself on being the warrior-protector. Titles that he is entirely undeserving of - for he has mismanaged this war from its onset. He has even managed to misname it.

Calling it a war on terror is like calling it a war on badness. Terror is a tactic that has been used by both armies and individuals since the dawn of time. The murdering scum who attacked the United States that awful day were terrorists in every sense of the word. The people who are now rebelling against the American occupation of their homeland are not.

The end result of the ill-fated invasion of Iraq is that it may very well turn out that the civil war that was forecast by many for Iraq in the aftermath of our occupation will not in fact come to be. We may actually end up seeing a greater degree of unity amongst the religious and ethnic factions in Iraq than anyone could have imagined, at least that is anyone who is not familiar with the old Arabic saying, "Brother against brother, brother and brother against cousin, brothers and cousin against stranger."

The only thing in this whole mess more distressing than Mr. Bush getting us embroiled in it in the first place is that now we have to depend on him to get us out of it.

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