The denials will continue to issue forth from the White House and the Pentagon until the day the bombs begin to fall on Tehran. The Bush administration has stepped up its rhetoric against Iran. Intelligence briefings for the press and other public statements have painted a picture of a merciless regime in Tehran that is responsible for seemingly every casualty in Iraq in recent months. Continue reading “NEXT!”

Things Fall Apart

There was a time when making fun of our president was funny. When he stepped in front of camera and microphone, it was easy to picture impressionists, impersonators, and general comedians salivating at the prospect of another executive gaffe. Whether is was mispronunciations (“nucular” for “nuclear”), run-on sentences, general mangling of the English language, such as creating words (e.g. “misunderestimating”), or something subtle like espousing the benefits of obstetricians being “able to practice their love with women,” our fair leader could always be counted on to provide a sound byte ripe for ridicule. Continue reading “Things Fall Apart”

Not Our Fault

Things are happening fast. While the drawdown of troops has yet to begin, the preparation for a drawdown of the war in Iraq is well under way. Reports in today’s papers indicate the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations to the president include troop reductions. Yesterday in Jordan, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki postponed a meeting with President Bush in the face of stiff resistance from elements of his own ruling coalition. Tuesday night, the New York Times posted a secret memo authored by National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley that shows the administration has doubts about both the Iraqi government’s ability and it’s willingness to curb sectarian violence. Many news organizations have had enough of the evasive language of the Bush administration in refusing to classify the conflict in Iraq as a civil war, and have decided to call a spade a spade. But most tellingly, before the meeting between Bush and Maliki was cancelled, when Bush was queried about what he would ask Maliki in their meeting, Bush said, “My question to him will be: What do we need to do to succeed? What is your strategy in dealing with the sectarian violence?” The blame game has been embraced by the Oval Office. Continue reading “Not Our Fault”

Enters the Lexicon

Ohio State gave Northwestern a thumpin’ on Saturday. Michigan did the same to Indiana. While I was having a phone conversation with a friend earlier today, I described the leads the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals had over their opponents at the time as “thumpins.” It was then my friend pointed out that I was not the first person he had heard use that word in casual conversation since President Bush’s press conference last Wednesday. All the world watches our fair leader, and when he so eloquently and simplistically described the shift in Congressional power away from his beloved GOP as a thumpin’, the characterization seemed to have taken up lodging in more than a few vocabularies. After all, as my friend pointed out, no matter how down Bush is, he’s the president, and he “still has the bully pulpit.” Continue reading “Enters the Lexicon”

Bowing to Reality

Donald Rumsfeld has resigned. It was not a voluntary resignation. President Bush wanted a change at the Pentagon and got it.

It would be a mistake to assume that President Bush bowed to the American people, who so forcefully registered their disapproval of the Iraq war in Tuesday’s elections. Rumsfeld’s ouster had been in the works for months. There is a strong possibility it would have happened sooner had not a group of retired generals openly called for his head earlier in the year. Instead of going through with Rumsfeld’s removal at the time, the White House decided to back their man, so as not to appear to be succumbing to outside pressure. Continue reading “Bowing to Reality”

Jackasses at the Helm

The Democrats’ icon is a donkey. A jackass, as legend would have it, was first defiantly embraced by Democrat Andrew Jackson in the face of fierce mudslinging from his political rivals. While it is oddly comforting that a political party would choose to embrace a symbol which is so expressive of the ire regular citizens tend to hold for their politicians, a more fitting specimen from the animal kingdom may be a turtle, or an ostrich, or an armadillo, or any other creature who carries a stigma of timidity, of hiding itself away from the dangers of the world. This is how I feel about the party I support. Continue reading “Jackasses at the Helm”

The Downside of Correcting Mistakes

Recently, when the United States military trimmed some of its forces in Baghdad, sectarian violence there increased. In response, the Pentagon not only moved troops back in, but increased American presence in the embattled Iraqi capital. Sectarian violence then decreased correspondingly. What does this tell us about our eventual pullout from Iraq? Simply put, the civil war will get worse. The country could very well explode, yet again redefining what we regard as the “worst-case scenario.” Continue reading “The Downside of Correcting Mistakes”

Perpetually Tumbling

Worst-case scenarios, while statistically possible, are largely improbable. This is unsurprising. Creativity typified by human imagination has led directly to the greatness of high culture. That same restless inventiveness, when applied to frightening scenarios in the real world, can sometimes make the grimmest possible outcomes seem all but inevitable, largely ignoring the realities of a situation or the barriers in place to prevent such horrible occurrences. Occasionally, however, the worst-case scenario happens. Sometimes, the worst-case fails to be imaginative enough, and we gaze on in stunned silence at the aftermath of a tsunami that drowns 200,000 people, a city subjected to flood waters it was supposedly protected against, or two of the tallest buildings in the world reduced to rubble by an unimaginable act of violence. These were sudden shocks to the system. What is happening in Iraq today is a worst-case scenario being played out in slow motion. Iraq is a humbling experience for the human condition. It is the showcase piece in how a society can be induced to consume itself. Continue reading “Perpetually Tumbling”