In a World of His Own

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Everything Bush touches is crumbling around him, especially the war in Iraq.

Bush has staunchly defended every action in Iraq as infallible (and, by the way, Bush claims an infallibility more comprehensive than the Pope’s). He says that he would not do anything differently even with what he knows today.

Okay, let’s see how that sounds.

Pretend it is Jan 28, 2003. We’re listening to Bush’s State of the Union Address, in which he announced military actions. Would you have signed up if the President said the following? (Remember, he has said he would do everything the same then even knowing what he knows now. And he has not admitted one mistake.)

“We need to take decisive military action against Iraq. We know that Saddam does not have weapons of mass destruction, but we think that if we stop the sanctions and keep out the inspectors he could develop WMD in about a decade. We also know that there is no link to al-Qaeda and that Saddam Hussein is not connected to the 9/11 attacks, but frankly, folks, we have to start somewhere. This is global war, remember? This is only the beginning.

“I know that North Korea and Iran are bigger nuclear threats, mainly because they have nuclear capabilities, but I believe that we should slow down the search for Osama bin Laden and go to war in Iraq. I know that the Iraqis are not going to receive us as liberators, and I know that Iraq will become flooded with terrorist groups looking for Americans to kill. After all, our troops will be driving around in unarmored Humvees and without body armor, because I am underestimating the insurgents. And I know we will lose a lot of American troops, mostly because I am going to do this on the cheap, even though several of my generals have told me that this would be a grave error.

“I also should tell you that Iraq will become a sinkhole for billions of dollars that could have been spent on homeland security. This war will cost more than you think and more than I am predicting – let’s say around 200 billion for the first year or so. And what do we get in return? No, not safety or security. Instead, we will topple Saddam Hussein’s regime! And have free elections (I hope) in a year’s time. We will isolate nearly the entire world, making it tougher to fight this global war, and we will create more terrorists than we kill.

“But Saddam Hussein will be out of power! Isn’t that great? He tried to kill my dad once, and he is a cruel ruthless leader. Isn’t that worth the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of Americans, and even more innocent Iraqis? What better way to kick off our global war on terror than by invading a country that does not pose a threat to America?

“There’s a chance that Iraq could very well revert to civil war. But it’s worth a try. It’s worth the cost to our economy, our reputation, our moral authority in the world, and a whole lot of blood. And for all this, we might get some sort if democracy in Iraq. Maybe. We are not totally sure. Well, I believe it at least.

“And I can guarantee that no matter what else I learn from now on, no matter how badly things go on the ground, I will not waver. I will never change my course or my strategy. I will never say that I made a mistake. Ever.

“Now the question facing you is: Are you with me or with the terrorists? Will you entrust me with your sons and daughters, your husbands and wives, your moms and dads? Who is up for a little nation-building?” “But of course you know that these are not real questions, just pretend. It doesn’t really matter whether you want this or not. I am not trying to win a popularity context here. A President’s got to do what a President’s got to do. So I guess what I am saying is: hang on for the ride!”

This, in essence, is what Bush is saying. And if that is not enough to refuse Bush another four years, I don’t know what is.