April 16, 2004

Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan - What's Missing?

Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, former commander of CENTCOM and critic of the war in Iraq, offered his take on the current debacle recently at a speech at Notre Dame. Referring to Donald Rumsfeld's recent expressions of 'surprise' at the uprisings and high casualties of the past weeks, not to mention the lack of benefit, progress or positive indicators of any kind, Zinni is quoted as follows. ""I'm surprised that he is surprised because there was a lot of us who were telling him that it was going to be thus...Anyone could know the problems they were going to see. How could they not?"

This is not surprising. Stories of military predictions, planning and warnings being brushed aside by Rumsfeld, Cheney and the President prior to the Iraq invasion are legion, although there have been remarkably few follow-ups on it in the press. We really need a Special Commission on the Iraqi War, it seems, at least as badly as we need one on 9/11. At least 9/11 was instigated by another party; the Iraq war is more costly in terms of lives, money and credibility and was hatched right here at home. Recently proving that he is unable to even parrot single-sentence memorized (irrelevant) answers to questions during his recent press conference, President Bush continues his trajectory towards his crowning as America's most remote-control president ever. He didn't so much dodge a question on why he and Cheney would have to appear before the 9/11 commission together as he did blunder straight through it, emerging on the other side with a vapidly triumphant look that no-one, including his advisors, could see a reason for.

The press deserves no little share of blame. Even now, the questions being lobbed at Mr. Bush are just to the left side of 'puffball.' The press conference (only his third since assuming office!), a rare chance to get answers directly from his mouth rather than having it filtered first through Karl Rove's large intestine, was mostly squandered, frittered away on questions that were either irrelevant, too complex for him to even to attempt answering, or simply not shoved hard enough to force him to attempt engagement.

It's pathetic that this man is President. But no more so than the United States seems bent on proving itself to be. If you're out there, and you end up facing the President and his cadre of puppeteers, be sure to ask them the hard questions, and keep asking them until you get an answer.

The government isn't impersonal, in this case. It is embodied in these few men, and they are the ones who have stolen and discarded your rights as an American voter. Make them pay. Posted by jbz at April 16, 2004 5:37 AM

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