Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Prince Who Couldn't Make Up His Mind

The most important thing that the Iraq Study Group called on President Bush to do was to face reality. That apparently is not going to happen. There will be a public relations nod or two to the failures of the last number of months in Bush's speech tonight and nothing more. It's back to business as usual.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about Bush's policies in Iraq was when it became obvious early on that if things don't go according to his latest delusion, Bush would sit on his hands hoping for the best while calling that behavior 'staying the course' (given how much the government and its policies are run by Cheney, we can only assume that Cheney has his own way of responding or not responding such as slinking off to a dark corner to brood over a martini or two or three as he did a year ago when he accidentally shot a friend). Even today, it's not much different. When Bush should have found a way to send an extra hundred thousand troops three or even four years ago, the president will now send an extra twenty thousand temporary troops as he has on several occassions and he will try to sell this as a decisive action.

It has occurred to Robert Scheer that our president has become Hamlet; here's his column in Truthout:
To surge or not to surge, that is the question. As our prince proposes, once again, to take arms against a sea of troubles, he responds not to the disaster that he has visited upon Iraq, but rather embraces a desperate strategy for salvaging what remains of his reign.

To win, perchance to dream. Few Americans, a mere 17 percent, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC poll, think that sacrificing more Americans in patrols on the streets of Baghdad will reverse the slings and arrows of our outrageous Iraqi fortune, but giving a speech about it might provide our hapless Hamlet with some temporary political cover.

"All the world is really watching," proclaimed Bush press secretary Tony Snow, "and it's important to get this right."'s important to get this right. Ahhh. And thereby hangs the tale. Hamlet is sometimes seen as the prince who couldn't make up his mind. That describes Bush very well except for one key difference. Hamlet didn't have the image-maker behind the throne who would create the confident and decisive illusion of the prince strutting across an aircraft carrier; the image-maker being Karl Rove, of course.

*Sigh* Getting this right. I opposed the war before it began, but once it began, I hoped it would be a quick war and that the president would get it right. It took less than a month to get the uneasy feeling a fiasco was already unfolding. No weapons of mass destruction. No plan. Uncontrolled looting. Arms caches left untouched. And the unraveling of Bush's many deceptions and delusions, too numerous to list in this post today.

How many chances should a president have? At what cost? For what benefit? Where are the successes that Bush and his supporters can point to that says Bush knows what he's doing? Where is the record that says Bush has been straight with the American people? Should a president been given one more chance knowing he's thinking seriously of starting a war with Iran? A president should have benchmarks for his own performance. Any benchmark one can use for Bush, though, would only show failure. Except in one area: Bush still succeeds in his capacity to deceive.

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