Out of Touch With Reality

November 23, 2006 at 2:49 pm | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

We know Bush Jr. is out of touch with reality. This is clearly evident from the way he has handled the war in Iraq, the way he fired Donald Rumsfeld, etc. (plenty of examples to show). Many have longed for the days of his father and the supposed realism that his administration portrayed towards the world. This was an administration that had a Secretary of Defense (Dick Cheney) who said the following about Iraq:

We stopped when we did, and it was a unanimous recommendation on the part of the President’s advisors, civilian and military, we stopped when we did because we had achieved our objectives. We had said from the outset that our purpose was to liberate Kuwait and destroy Saddam Hussein’s capacity to threaten his neighbors, his offensive military capability, we did that. We destroyed about two-thirds of his army in that portion that he sent in to Kuwait and Iraq, and stripped him of most of his weapons of mass destruction.

We could have gone on. There is no doubt in my mind, from a military standpoint we could have sent forces on down the road to Baghdad, captured Baghdad, but I would expect in terms of trying to get rid of Saddam Hussein that it would not have been an easy task. I don’t think it was the kind of situation where we could have pulled up with a paddywagon in front of the Presidential Palace and said, “Come on Saddam, you’re going to the slammer.” I think we would have had to run him to ground, and doing that in Baghdad or in a nation as large as Iraq would have involved a lot of US forces.

Once we rounded up Saddam, then the question is what do you do? You’re going to put a government in his place. Presumably, you’re not just going to turn your back and walk away. You have to put some kind of a government in its place. And then the question comes is it going to be a Shi’a government or a Kurdish government, or maybe a Sunni government, or maybe it ought to be based on the old Baathist Party regime, or some combination thereof.
How long is that government to be able to stay in power without US military support to keep it there? How long can we maintain the coalition?

Remember we entered into this activity with the support of 30 other nations. A very important part of that support was the support of other Arab nations who took up arms against a brother Arab state, who allowed us to operate military forces from their territory, who sent combat forces to fight alongside our people in Kuwait.

How long could we have maintained that coalition of Arab states if we had been involved in the long-range occupation by the US in Iraq? I would guess if we had gone on to Baghdad I would still have forces in Iraq today. I don’t know how we would have let go of that tar baby once we had grabbed hold of it.

A final point that I think is very important. Everybody is fond of looking back at Desert Storm and saying that it was, in fact, a low cost conflict because we didn’t suffer very many casualties. But for the 146 Americans who were killed in action and for their families, it was not a cheap or a low cost conflict. The question, to my mind, in terms of this notion that we should have gone on and occupied Iraq is how many additional American casualties would we have had to suffer? How many additional American lives is Saddam Hussein worth? And the answer I would give is not very damn many.

I think we got it right when we made the decision to use forces to liberate Kuwait; I think we got it right when the President made the decision, with my support and the support of everybody else, to stop when we did. And I, looking back on it now, think that the decisions both times were sound.

In other words, Dick Cheney sounded very realistic back in 1991. What happened Dick? In any case, the elder Bush was in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, speaking to a leadership conference for college students. In the question and answer, they told him like it is:

“We do honor Americans, and I believe that they are highly respected in our country. However, we do not respect your son, and we do not respect what you are doing all over the world,” college student Nevine Al Rumeisi told the former President at a leadership conference in the United Arab Emirates.

Her comment was roundly cheered by the business and political leaders gathered in once pro-American Abu Dhabi.

to which Bush replied:

The elder Bush just looked stunned.

His speech had stressed how proud he is of both his sons, the President and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and how much it hurt him when they are criticized.

“It takes a lot of guts to tell a father what you said about his son when I just told you that the thing that matters to my heart is my family,” he said.

“My son is an honest man, he is working hard for peace, and how come everybody wants to go to the United States if the United States is so bad?”


That prompted another audience member, an American ex-pat, to tell Bush, “I think the remarks that you made about why people need to go to America to be very hostile and make the country look even worse.”

When another audience member said he thought American wars are designed to open markets for U.S. companies – drawing more cheers and whoops – Bush grew testy.

his reply was:

“I think that’s weird and it’s nuts,” he said.

“To suggest that everything we do is because we’re hungry for money – I think that’s crazy. I think you need to go back to school.”

His voice quivering, the 82-year-old Bush said, “This son is not going to back away. He’s not going to change his view because some poll says this, or some poll says that, or some heartfelt comments from the lady who feels deeply in her heart about something.”

He said he understood there is worldwide anxiety about Iraq “but people one day might look back and feel grateful that they got rid of Saddam [Hussein].”

It seems even the elder Bush is letting his personal feelings get in the way of reality. People around the world do not see his son as a good man, and it all stems from his son’s actions. Can the father not see this?

Boy if Shakespeare were alive today, he’d have one hell of a tragedy to write about. The Tragedy of Bush, Father and Son and Iraq.

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