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Christmas or Not

Flensing distinctions

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, December 20, 2006.

At a press conference this morning, President Bush was asked, bluntly, if he would override a recommendation by the Joint Chiefs that no temporary increase in troops to Iraq be considered. The President answered with a series of non-sequitors. First, “That’s a dangerous hypothetical” and then threateningly said he wasn’t condemning the reporter, a woman, and concluded his non-answer about his ongoing consultations with people with “nice try.”

First, there was nothing dangerous about that at all, at least to the nation, although there is to his political esteem. The President is the highest military authority as he is part of the civilian Trinity, and Presidents have overridden their military staffs before. Second, there was nothing sneaky about the question. Bush has fixated upon a self image of the lone sheriff, attacked by everyone, who’ll be proven right in the end. But the President now seems as if he’s playing a role without a script, doing scenes from an internal movie that doesn’t reflect his actual situation or choices. He’s implying a heroism to his position that doesn’t exist, and a competence to his insight about the reporter’s agenda that actually makes him look quite unhinged.

It’s possible that Christmas in the air has elevated everyone’s sensitivities, if not their frontal lobes, to the warming winds of logic and common sense. According to the Washington Post, the Great Decider finally admitted Tuesday we’re not winning in Iraq, which is contrary to what he was saying a very short time ago, when he stated emphatically we were winning.

It would be a mistake, though, to think he’s entertaining Reality in the parlour. While saying we’re not winning, Bush is also saying we’re not losing, either. The Pentagon is in turmoil, we have a new Secretary of Defense, the reigning General in Iraq is retiring, and a religious war between Iraqi Sunni and Shia is dividing beneath into civil wars between, on the Sunni side, Baathists and Kurds and Al Qaeda and, on the Shiite side, between the street gangs of various pudgy and elderly mullahs. This has spread into Lebanon, and accelerated long standing animosities between thugocracies fighting for power, and in Palestine, where Fatah and Hamas are cheerfully slaughtering each other to demonstrate their fitness to rule. Which is to say, Bush’s destabilization of the Islamic World, and our own, is complete absent a civil war in Indonesia. Oh, wait….

Back in Iraq, Baghdad has sporadic electricity and clean water and if Iraq isn’t hell, then it’s a kissing cousin. Of course, it’s being prodded by the unpopular President of Iran, whose own fortunes are in doubt given recent elections there. Iran, by the way, is every bit as primed for civil war as Iraq. Bad news everywhere, but, this admission of failure by the wannabe Great War Leader Bush, a dim candle on a dark mantelpiece, is what we have to celebrate this holiday season.

Yet, in aggregate with the news Dick “Big Time” Cheney will be under oath in open court and subject to cross examination in the Scooter Libby case, the more left leaning among us are in literal diabetic shock, sensory overload, near sexual satisfaction in all the developments that suggest the possibility of prison time for some well deserving Chickenhawk blowhards. It all seems to be coming together to expose and destroy the Bushies once and for all, damn the corrupt corporations and their spawn, and bring the troops home.

I want to suggest that would be a horrible mistake without profound thought, devoid of emotion. We need to separate in our minds holding the Bushies accountable and inflicting the punishments due from taking the melodramatic and easy course, which is simply to pull out of Iraq and blame the Republicans. They did indeed irresponsibly opened Pandora’s Box with the Iraqi war, but it would be equally irresponsible and rather dunderheaded for the Democrats and the Left to just pretend it had never happened. It would be foolish to choose a course of action simply because it is the road of most humiliation for George Bush and the neocons to the exclusion of our own stability.

Yet, if you read the liberal blogs and follow the winds of the world wide web, that is just what the usual suspects are demanding. The war against anti-occidental Islamics needs to be kept clearly separate from the Bush War in Iraq, and not swept under the War Against Terror banner. These were two different things that the Bushies thought could be won easily, and cheaply. The failure is solely theirs, and they should be held accountable in a court of law with all criminals who gussy up street gang enthusiasms under religious banner, and who establish impressions of their own virility by the sacrifice of the young for whom they are responsible. Christmas or not.