Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Patience," He Says

"If I Only Had a Heart..."

The most impatient President of my lifetime -- the man who couldn't wait for UN Weapons inspections, who couldn't wait for the United Nations or for "Old Europe" to catch up to his war-mongering faux-cowboy ("Texan," my ass; born and raised Connecticut, this man was) ways, who publicly mocked a born-again Christian who was on Death Row (imitating her born-again statements like he was some spoiled school brat, though we're all supposed to roll with his born-again piety and changed-ways from his wayward youth -- ah, adulthood) -- asked for patience last night.

He's asking for patience, and time for his new strategy to work.

Patience for his so-called "new strategy," which is just an escalation of the failed old one.

Patience for his mismanagement, his arrogance, his blunders and lack of imagination or the basest empathy.

Bush once again describing that perch he caught on the best day of his Presidency?
Showing the length of that fuzzy bunny-rabbit Mark keeps asking about?
I think not.

Patience with the ongoing utter waste of human life for a failed Messianic foreign policy that has yielded only agony, death and disaster.

Thankfully, at last, the Democrats chose someone to respond who speaks openly of his contempt for these inexcusable failures: Senator Jim Webb of Virginia handled the party's formal televised response to the speech (Webb, you may recall, is the former Republican Navy secretary and Vietnam veteran who in responding honestly to President Bush's "good ol' boy" "How's your boy?" query shocked Washington and won the instant respect & gratitude of those of us who wish others could and would respond as candidly to Bush's glad-handed bullshit). Webb pulled no punches:

"...The president took us into this war recklessly. He disregarded warnings from the national security adviser during the first Gulf War, the chief of staff of the Army, two former commanding generals of the Central Command," and others, Webb stated. "We are now, as a nation, held hostage to the predictable -- and predicted -- disarray that has followed."

Kudos to Senator Webb. If only the Senate had half his backbone, had demonstrated a fraction of such resolve, back in 2002.

"Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field — and those on their way," our President said last night.

How is he supporting "our troops in the field"?

He has allowed ("ordered," more likely) the Pentagon to once again extend tours of duty for already overextended soldiers.

Some support, there, Pres.

This is hard to take, and harder to take still when soldiers are informed of this abuse of their commitment from family members instead of their commanding officers: note, for instance, this past week's tale of the 150+ New Jersey National Guard troops who found out their Iraq tours of duty were extended another not from their commanders, but from frantic phone calls and emails from family members who'd heard President Bush's speech last week.

That's right -- the National Guard had notified families the day after Bush's first "new strategy" speech that instead of their loved ones coming home in March, as previously scheduled, they'd be there another 125 days.

The military did not inform the troops themselves.

Four days after Bush's televised speech -- four days -- the troops were at last notified by their Army commanders on the ground, and only after New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine made not one but two phone calls to the Army, demanding the troops be informed.

Hey, Pres, way to go. Love this new strategy.

As I noted last week, it's become horrifically identical to how the Bush Administration is handling the Gitmo prisoners and others incarcerated, sans redress, in this nonsensical "war on terror."

Let's see some "new strategy" that reflects some sacrifice from the rest of us.

Starting with, oh, you. Your family, President Bush.

How about sending your daughters over for a little R&R duty? USO show, you know? Some hint of sacrifice the rough equivalent of Bob Hope's over three prior wars, perhaps?

To add profound insult to ongoing injuries, Bush this past weekend responded like a complete idiot to a politely-worded, very direct question about the fact that the "necessary sacrifices" for what he himself has called "the ultimate ideological struggle of our times" is being placed entirely on the shoulders of the volunteer military families.

MR. LEHRER: Let me ask you a bottom-line question, Mr. President. If it is as important as you've just said - and you've said it many times - as all of this is, particularly the struggle in Iraq, if it's that important to all of us and to the future of our country, if not the world, why have you not, as president of the United States, asked more Americans and more American interests to sacrifice something? The people who are now sacrificing are, you know, the volunteer military - the Army and the U.S. Marines and their families. They're the only people who are actually sacrificing anything at this point.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night. I mean, we've got a fantastic economy here in the United States...

This infuriating side-stepping is reflective of an ongoing and utter disconnect from reality in one way, but as my Jamiaca VT amigo HomeyM noted in a recent email to me, it does reflect our current national reality quite succinctly. At least Bush learned something from Vietnam: avoid, at any and all costs, the draft. Keep the populace insulated, complacent, about the reality of the war.

HomeyM puts it quite nicely:

"He doesn't really address the question, of course-- evasion of the question (while still sounding "sincere") is the main mode of political response-- but in a way he is right, not as a valid description of sacrifice, but the psychology of the country is indeed "somewhat down" (or more than "somewhat" down) as a result of revulsion and depression at who we have become... or some would say, at seeing who we always were anyway but were more able to deny. Our way of life is inhuman, wasteful, destructive, and ugly, prizing material goods and gadgets over sacred values and human life, putting our eyes and ears on videogames, Ipods, and television, rather than looking directly at nature and at other beings, rather than seeing what we are doing to ourselves and to each other and to others far away. So it is an interesting response because he admits that his actions have brought out guilt and disturbance in the American public, that we have "lost our peace of mind" over horrible violence that we are a major part of, and that we are depressed and unhappy nation as a result of what he has done. He then gives it the little sophistic twist that this is being done as a 'sacrifice' to a great cause of some kind."

Have a great day, one and all...

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