George W. Bush has been president for 6 years and has been the object of some of the most unfair attacks in American history. Now its my turn to bash Bush. If I am unfair, tell me.
Before I get started, though, I need to make a comment about the expectations of the people he leads. The people of the United States have a serf mentality. Al Gore, Sheryl Crow, those guys at Google, Arnold Schwarzenegger and others browbeat Americans on energy use and conservation. Despite the fact that these condescending lectures are delivered by the greatest personal polluters on the planet, sometimes from the very steps of their private jets, the Americans do not revolt. They dont even laugh these neoprohibitionists from public life. Compared to President Bush, however, these leaders have a certain innocence. Their hypocrisy, on the colossal scale of Greek tragedy, is actually amusing.
I do not attack the president for starting the war in Iraq; that war (or a similar one) is the logical outcome of more than 100 years of bipartisan American expansionist foreign policy. His conduct of the war is more blameworthy. He repeated all the mistakes of Vietnam and added some new ones. We are constantly told that information is power and yet he allowed a free press in Iraq even before the major military battles were won. He allowed the Iraqis to form a democracy before pacifying the country. He allowed the enemy to commit war crimes while our troops only looked on. In short, he believed that he could forever be the good guy and still prevail.
These are the faults of almost all modern Americans and still unworthy of personal bashing. But now the war has become unpopular. We are told The war is lost and The war is unwinnable. Why, I ask, do we pay $600 billion ($2000 for every American) for a military that cant win a war?
What do the presidents defenders say? 1. We must continue for the sake of the soldiers.
2. We must continue for the sake of the Iraqis. I answer, Bring the soldiers home and let the Iraqis fend for themselves. But there is another implicit argument. We must fight for the sake of American status in world. I say, Let us choose military isolationism before it is forced on us. But the final argument is We must fight for the safety of the American people.
I will assume that President Bush believes the final argument. If so, he is a despicable human being. The least he could do is go to the Congress and say, Iraq is the most important issue we face. Nothing else matters. I will, therefore, veto every piece of legislation that is sent to me, until I receive the funding I want for the war. However, such a course would not be popular. If he were a person with any pretense to honesty, then, he would sell everything he owned and contribute it to the war effort. He would sell his ranch in Crawford and move into a trailer park before losing the war. I make no pretense at being an honorable person; I am selfish and short-sighted. In my life, I have been less than honest at times. But if I were in the presidents position, I would do just as I have described and give up my $14 million and my ranch if I had sent people to die and be maimed and crippled.
You may say that my argument is ad hominem, that I dont understand the way government works, that I am being simplistic. But I want to point out something to you. I ask only that our leader make a minor sacrifice. He can still have a double wide. He can still eat his chips and watch cable. The people we are fighting are willing to give up more than that. They live in tents and caves. The fox has his den but Bin Laden must never lay his head down twice in the same place.
They are winning.
I didnt mention the environmentalists for balance but for illustration. There are still people in the United States who are offended by their hypocrisy. Not even Bushs enemies suggest that he make personal sacrifices for the war effort. To bring up that possibility would encourage people to demand that other leaders give up something for their beliefs. The possibility that a leader should pay some price is as alien to Americans as the Jihad. People demand little of their leaders. They dont expect honor; they dont even expect leadership. All they ask is that someone famous say something on television that they agree with.
Imagine the effect if President Bush sold everything he owned and moved to a mobile home so that he could give his own money to the war effort. It would instantly transform the politics of America. People can call him a liar now and imply that he is profiting from the war. He speaks with the presidential seal behind him now. If he spoke in front of his mobile home with his neighbors children yelling in the background, no one could doubt his words.
America will withdraw its military from the world stage, sooner or later. The Jihadists will continue to increase their influence in the Muslim world. America cannot stop them until the president of the United States is willing to sell everything he owns and move into a trailer park.