Brief Observations At the Still Point
The neo-cons are attacking Representative Jack Murtha for his remarks on the
"immediate withdrawal" of American troops from Iraq. They argue persuasively about some of the reasons why you couldn't do such a thing.
Listening to Rep. Murtha I wasn't quite sure I was hearing what he, apparently, was saying. An immediate withdrawal would not have a
benign effect in my humble opinion. One could argue that there were no dire consequences for leaving Vietnam in 1973. That, in fact, Vietnam
is now an ally of sorts and many of the wounds created by that time have healed.
But Iraq presents a much more dangerous situation considering the fact that you have
very large groups of fanatical types in this area hungry for these terrible weapons. An area with a hatred of Israel, with regimes that tacitly
support terrorist activity including our ally, Saudi Arabia. An area that could be described as one of the most treacherous in the history of
the world. An area that has driven out the British Empire, defeated the Soviet Empire, and will defeat the Americans if we don't get the right
So that much is clear with me. What is not clear is why
these neo-cons still have loyalty to President Bush.
President Bush has put this country into a terrible bind. Yes, we can not leave right now.
But, we will have to leave at some point. And when we do, or, even before then Iraq is likely to be "taken over" by a military junta of some sort;
the same type that brought Hussein to power decades ago. We can hope not but, on the other hand, we can hope for a thousand things and be left high
and dry. What we look at, and what the neo-con's refuse to see, is the total lack of leadership in the Bush Administration. Even when they get on the
offensive and start to yell and cry about criticism they are only a party of clowns who frighten us from time to time.
Sometimes I think President Bush is caught in this popular myth that was embodied by
the classic movie, Wizard of Oz. Ah, kill the wicked witch with water and the Munchkins will all be set free and, hand in hand, they will prance down
toward the Emerald City. Well, he got the wicked witch to hide in a hole somewhere but what he freed were the nasty, power-driven ambitions of
millions of pent-up Iraqi's who lust for power and will happily sabotage any democratic republic to get it.
So, President Bush has put us in a terrible dilemma. The American people have themselves to
blame and as one who went through the Vietnam era the people never want to experience that ever again. Even those who were on the "right" side of
the argument of that period never want to experience the divisiveness. And the internal conflict won't get to the level of Vietnam, but
it will wound the culture.
Leadership. It means everything. Lincoln had it. Roosevelt had it. And Nixon would have had it
were it not for the mental illness of paranoia. And even Bush Sr. did the first Gulf War in brilliant fashion by knitting together a coalition that
put the world on the same page. Very powerful, very instructive to do. Leadership would not land on a carrier and declare victory before the hostilities
started. Leadership would not allow the Vice-President's old company to gain billions in contracts. And leadership would rally the conservative young
to go fight this noble battle. Are they enlisting at Yale? Are they enlisting at Harvard or Dartmouth? Are they enlisting at Stanford and Cal? Are those
elite's who benefit the most from living in this wonderful country enlisting? One pro football play and that is it. That signals, to me, a huge lack of
The wife always knows and Laura Bush doesn't look too happy these days.
Hussein was the easiest guy in the world to control. All he wanted was personal power. He wanted to
wander in the palaces he built to himself and his mistresses. He wanted to write his novels and have praise emptied into him by book reviewers. He wanted
to shoot his gun off during Iraqi holidays. And if you interfered with any of that he would kill you if he could. However, if he couldn't kill you and you
could kill him, he became like a little puppy dog; like a toothless lion. And we see now that President Bush had to let Hussein make the fatal mistake that
would have brought the rest of the world to the same page. That will be a point of discussion for many years to come.
November 26, 2005
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