“It’s Important to Understand . . . “
(Photo by Larry Downing/Reuters.)
If there's one phrase I will always associate with George Bush, one we've heard a gazillion times, and one that epitomizes the intellectual chasm this President has built between himself and the country, that phrase is the one that begins with "It's important for [everyone else] to understand . . ." How many times has this President lectured us with those words to remind us of our ignorance and our inability to grasp what's important?
On Thursday, the President emerged from his home in Crawford Texas to tell the nation, once again, that it is the American people, and not he or his closeted advisers, who just don't get it. He had just huddled for three hours plus lunch with what can only laughingly be called his "national security team" — for how could anyone seriously award that title to a group that has done more to undermine US and global security than any presidency in our lifetimes? This team remains focused on how to succeed in Iraq, rather than how to promote and protect national and global security, and everyone except those in Mr. Bush's constricting inner circle now realizes these are not the same.
Following this misdirected meeting, Mr. Bush condescended to speak to the media to announce . . . what? Only that the day's meeting had brought him "one step closer" to announcing his secret plan to send up to 20,000 more troops to help us succeed in Iraq. If that was the meeting's output, he might also have mentioned, but apparently didn't see the equally relevant connection, that the morning's sunrise, the earth's continued rotation, and the daily tide had accomplished the same outcome. If all we're waiting for is the day on which the President announces his secret plan to succeed, then every day's passing is a step forward.
At least our military has come up with the missing purpose for the extra troops, that clearly defined, limited and achievable mission that everyone says is essential to justify the
permanent escalation surge the President has secretly planned all along. Here it is, and one wonders how long it took to do this:
“The mission that most people are settling on has to do with using them in a security role to quell violence in Baghdad and the surrounding area,” said a senior Pentagon official involved in the planning.
The President himself had nothing to announce other than he had nothing to announce. As we've come to expect, and I to loathe about this Administration, his handlers sent him forth to keep his name and his face in our faces, just to remind us who is still "in charge." They persist in doing this even though there is dwindling evidence that this regime is consciously in control of events in Iraq or anywhere else. The Bush regime has been in policy freefall for months, yet they still behave as though they can will themselves in any direction other than down.
But the absence of anything substantive or new to announce did not prevent Mr. Bush from insulting us once again about all the things we need to understand but apparently don't. Here was Thursday's list:
“We want to help [the Iraqis] succeed,” he said, adding that “I fully understand that it’s important to have both Republicans and Democrats understanding the importance of this mission.
“It’s important for the American people to understand that success in Iraq is vital for our own security. If we were not to succeed in Iraq, the enemy — the extremists, the radicals — would have safe haven from which to launch further attacks. They would be emboldened. They would be in a position to threaten the United States of America.”
Dear Mr. President: Please stop suggesting that we don't understand. We get it. We know you've totally botched this war from the beginning. We know we're in a mess we didn't have to be in. We know we have a President and Vice President and Secretary of State and National Security Adviser who collectively misled the country into a war we never had to fight. We undertand that you and they have recklessly driven us into a quagmire and that there are no good options for getting out. We understand that no matter what we do, it could result in a tragedy for the Iraqi people, destabilize the Middle East, and bring further contempt for the United States. We get it.
We know you failed to heed the advice of those wiser and more prescient than you, while listening to those whose lack of judgment and lawless views and actions have damaged US honor for decades. We know you continue to listen to these same people.
We know you and your team didn't plan for the occupation, didn't plan to maintain order, didn't anticipate sectarian violence, didn't provide enough troops, didn't know how to create a nation from scratch, didn't know how to govern here (let alone there), didn't know whom you were fighting or why they'd fight back, didn't provide the right equipment, didn't provide enough funding, didn't watch the taxpayers' dollars, and can't account for billions worth in missing weapons that are now being used to kill our soldiers. We get it.
We know that everything your Administration has done so far has failed, and we know everything is getting worse. We know you can't acknowledge your own responsibility for these failures. We know you're not intellectually or emotionally capable of dealing with this mess, and we know there isn't a single grownup around you that any of us would trust protecting their pet guppies, let alone their children, parents, husbands and wives.
So knock it off; cut the BS. Stop talking to us as though we are the children. Get some grownup help from the outside. Bring in a caretaker government to draft a plan to extract us from the hole you keep digging. And don't ever, ever again lecture us about how "the American people need to understand. . . ." Because we understand what's going on better than you ever will.
The American people
P.S. Please leave your collective resignations under the door to the Oval Office by morning.