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Writers Notebook
Some Impressions on the War on Terrorism

President Bush's credibility wanes for some simple, clear-cut reasons. There was no thinking through the process of invading another nation, occupying it, solving it's political and infrastructure needs, keeping enemies at bay, and bringing wholesale democracy to the people. And it is way too early to call it a failure. And only the foolish suggest that pulling out is the only solution.

It's very clear President Bush will not stop the policy in Iraq. The question is, can he do anything to alter the situation. He can't expect the American people to be patient for three to five years as the terrorist ranks are thinned out.

The problem has always been the approach President Bush has with his own people. He has not shown leadership qualities except in the most calculated way. He appears ill-informed, distant, and without the ability to simply stand up and tell the American people the truth. Every President gets nailed precisely in this fashion. The leader does not have to tell everything, does not have to reveal state secrets; but he must be able to articulate to the people the express reason why we are killing and being killed.

President Bush looks bad on several fronts; his inexperience and inattention have caught up with him and he is in a dangerous spiral downward in terms of national support. The world already loathes him and have clapped the door shut behind him in Iraq. The people in America may do the same thing if a credible Democratic candidate steps up in 2004.

We mentioned before that by invading the country the U.S. turned defeated and distressed people into a people with a purpose, "brave defenders of the motherland...." The bad guys exploit this no end but the bad guys appear to have help or, at least, a population not zealous in stopping them.

It appears that the easy ground victory in Iraq was, possibly, a ruse on the part of the Baath's and others, not to confront the U.S. directly but to go underground and fight a grim guerilla war. And with Saddam still loose it appears that it may have been orchestrated from the very beginning.

We want the policy in Iraq to be successful. Will it be successful at this rate? And if things don't change, how long will the American people stand in support?

A most telling and awful image from yesterday: Iraqi citizens cheering the death of soldiers and holding up "souvenirs" from the wreckage.

Posted November 3, 2003

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David Eide
copyright 2003
March 27, 2003