What Now, Mr. Bush?
August 17, 2005
By Ken Sanders
no one but the Bush administration by surprise, the Iraqis couldn't
meet the August 15 deadline for drafting their constitution. Apparently
reaching an agreement on such issues as, among others, the proper
role of Islam (and whose version thereof) in the new government
proved more difficult than imagined - or admitted, anyway - by our
President and his advisors.
Giving them the benefit of the doubt, the President and his war
cabinet must have considered the possibility that the Iraqi constitution
would not be drafted on time. Even the dimmest and most naive of
the many jingoistic, liberal-hating Bush-backers must have sensed
on some baser level that the issues facing the Iraqis tasked with
drafting a constitution were more than just a little complex. As
simple as many believe Bush to be, he ain't that simple.
If it is indeed true that Bush and his henchmen recognized the
very real possibility that the Iraqi constitution would not be drafted
on schedule, an interesting question arises: why didn't Bush, so
highly touted as a straight shooter, prepare the American public
for this contingency? One would think that if the President were
truly a straight shooter that he would have leveled with the American
people and told them that things in Iraq might not turn out as well
Why not simply tell the nation, "Look, I really hope the Iraqis
draft their constitution by August 15. That would be real progress,
by anyone's standards. But, you know, there are a lot of competing
interests at stake, not to mention unresolved animosity, and it
just might not happen." Isn't that something a straight-shooting
leader would do? If not in the name of full disclosure, then at
least in the name of covering his rear?
But that's the catch, isn't it - Bush is not a straight shooter.
He is duplicitous and quick to dissemble.
The whole notion of Bush as a straight-shooting man of integrity
is nothing more than a fabrication, a facet of his cult of personality.
As with the depictions of Bush as cowboy, military veteran, common
man, and Washington outsider, Bush the honest is a well-cultivated
fiction. It may sound good in press releases and seems to play well
in the so-called red states, but it isn't true. Bush's claim of
integrity is about as real as the Democrats' claim of offering a
meaningful alternative to the Republicans. It'd be nice if it were
As a result of the delay in drafting Iraq's constitution, Bush
has been handed a staggering political failure. For months, Bush
and his mouthpieces so emphasized the importance of Iraq drafting
its constitution according to schedule that it was impossible not
to conclude that the Bush administration was betting the ranch that
August 15 would not pass without an Iraqi constitution.
The administration pinned its hopes, as well as the hopes of the
nation, of withdrawing from Iraq on the August 15 deadline being
met. So insistent was the Bush administration that the deadline
would be met that it deliberately avoided planting seeds of doubt
(some might call it reality) in the minds of the American public.
August 15th has come and gone in Iraq and, as it tends to do,
reality exploded the illusions of both the administration and the
American public. Iraq's constitution is delayed at least a week.
In all likelihood, it will be delayed again. However long the process
is delayed, the Bush administration is going to have to work overtime
to spin itself out of its latest failure of integrity. It's chances
don't look good.
While it may be nearly 6 years too late, Americans are finally
beginning to awaken to the truth about our dear President: Bush
couldn't shoot straight if his life depended on it.
Ken Sanders is an attorney and writer in Tucson whose work
has been published by Z Magazine, Common Dreams, Democratic Underground,
Dissident Voice, and Political Affairs Magazine, among others.