By Michael Shannon
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.