In what can best be described as a Reign of Error the president and his people seem content to ‘paper over’ a flawed past and stumble onward against a backdrop of failed initiatives and incoherent strategies.
Forget for the moment that August 2001 memo warning of Bin Laden’s intention to attack inside the U. S. Forget even that the president then as now was vacationing, “getting on with his life” no doubt. And forgive Condoleezza Rice for not calling her staff and principals in the CIA and FBI into immediate session to flesh out the possible ramifications of the memo. That’s all in the past.
What has changed? What steps have these people taken since 9/11 to shore up our defenses and keep the homeland secure? One incongruous decision was to invade Iraq although Bin Laden was still in Afghanistan, most of the hijackers were Saudis and there was no credible evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks. So there we are, engaged in hostilities in a country where our military is called upon to distinguish among various factions and insurgents who may or may not be local. We’ve been told there are large numbers of trained Iraqi police and military though some say those numbers have been wildly exaggerated, and there have also been reports of Iraqis leaving the field of battle, hailing taxis to take them away.
Who exactly are we fighting, why and what do we hope to gain? Besides being in agreement that Saddam Hussein and his sons were bad guys, what is driving us, or sustaining our troops other that their desire to protect one another? And what are Iraqis with long memories to make of our current pontificating about our mission? Aren’t we the folks who sent Rumsfeld over to shake hands with Saddam and support his war against Iran? And aren’t we the same folks who promised much during the first Gulf War but afterwards left the hapless Shiites to be slaughtered in their failed attempt to overthrow Saddam? Who can truly believe what we say either in Iraq or, increasingly, in our own country?
Recently Ari Fleischer said the president was right not to respond to Cindy Sheehan’s badgering because if he did he’d constantly be “wrestling” with protesters instead of “leading.” No doubt there’s some truth to his statement, but, in this instance, Mrs. Sheehan has become a symbol, her message reverberting around the country. The president might have been better served had he engaged in some kind of daring ameliorative confrontation.
Never mind, Karen Hughes has been called in to refurbish the presidential image and repair our national reputation. One shouldn’t be confused into imagining that Mrs. Hughes will be rolling out any dramatic new approaches or coming up with answers to our foreign-policy conundrum. That’s not her job. She’s on board not to change anything but to make our bumbling efforts seem less ridiculous, our arrogant demeanor less objectionable – – to pretty us up so to speak through the magic of PR.
So there you have it. No doubt, as long as this administration holds power, we will be subjected to an ongoing Reign of Error where nothing substantive changes and propagandized excuses are served up as rationales.

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