This administration continues to construct foreign policy and to implement it without realistic assessments of the immediate impact or long-term consequences of its actions. Ideologues chart the nation’s course and foregone conclusions are presented as evidence that the false premises that took us to Iraq justify our continuing presence there.
As we commit troops and treasure to an ill-defined future in a part of the world we understand only in the most limited and self-interested way it is clear that we are digging in, not looking for ways to dig out. Far from providing a stable environment in which to implement our designs on Middle East oil and construct a power base in the region, we are establishing the kind of intrusive presence that caused so much anger and disruption in the past. Quite suddenly, the ”surge” has become a long-term policy said by some to be working even though the Maliki government, given a window of opportunity, shows no sign of being able to govern or stand up a viable army or police force. We are told that this ‘new’ strategy needs more time, more money and more sacrifice by our troops with a time line that promises to extend far into the future.
But no matter what pro-war advocates in Congress and the administration would have us believe, “winning” in Iraq, is more likely to put us on the road to another dangerous and untenable position in a place where we are not welcome and where our all-consuming purpose is to satisfy an insatiable demand for energy. Our intervention produced a political vacuum in Iraq, and while the president takes every opportunity to use Iraq as an example of our country’s “war on terror”, Al Qaeda had no discernible presence in there before we invaded.
There are those, like Carl Rove, who insist that in the distant dawn of a new day George W. Bush will be celebrated as a foreign-policy genius. Perhaps that world view envisions total destruction as the basis upon which to build a new order. Empires rise and fall, however, without ever having coalesced around any grand design other than power for its own sake. In any case, spreading democracy or any other political discipline by force only puts off that day of reckoning when the national will of subject people asserts itself. Without proof of a moral imperative, with policies informed by neither historical nor reality-based principles, leaders use fear and patriotic platitudes to mask their true motives and the absence of ideas.
What passes for wisdom is often totally without substance; it is astonishing that so many vacuous comments actually make it into print. The president’s Chief-of-Staff, John Bolton, told us recently that the administration has experienced “unexpected developments on the negative side, as well as unexpected developments on the positive side”. And this man holds down an important job for heaven’s sake. He is a perfect example of the fact that this administration is filled with people – – deciders and planners – – for whom everything is a bit of a surprise. And we have a president who states publicly during his trip to Australia that we are “kicking ass” in Iraq, someone who will probably never understand why he is such an embarrassment to the American people.
And as if it were needed, further proof of this president’s delusional sense of self importance is evidenced by the fact that he sees a role for himself on the lecture circuit when he leaves office. Noting that President Clinton makes a great deal of money giving speeches Mr. Bush thinks that will be just the thing to enrich him as well. Apparently he doesn’t feel his gaffs, troubled foreign policy and undistinguished presidency will keep him from starting a new career as post-White-House speaker – – talk about a faith-based assumption. With so few ideas, little command of language and a profound intellectual deficit, the picture of him speaking at political gatherings and Chamber-of-Commerce luncheons is just one more in a long series of ludicrous photo ops.
It is most disturbing, however, that in the midst of a violent occupation in Iraq and constant rumblings of possible military conflict with Iran, the president finds time to consider what he hopes will be lucrative speaking engagements when he is finished with all this bothersome presidential stuff. This man isn’t in a bubble he’s way up in the ether somewhere.

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