What Next, Mr. President?
By Christopher Truscott
Sometime in the next few days President George W. Bush will officially reject troop-funding legislation that calls for an end to major U.S. involvement in Iraq’s civil war by April 1, 2008.
He’s going to use his second veto as president to kill a bill that would end a quagmire.
Unfortunately that’s his prerogative. Despite George Mason’s best efforts at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, “maladministration” isn’t grounds for impeachment, so the president is free to do as he pleases in this regard. In fact, he can maladminister all he wants until he leaves office 20 months from now.
But before the president wipes the dust off his veto pen he should tell the American people where he believes we’ll be 11 months from now. Democrats have been clear on this: by next spring the bulk of the U.S. fighting force will be redeployed from Iraq. What about the president? Where does he believe we’ll be then?
Does he believe the death toll in Iraq will begin to slow, even though it’s held tragically steady since 2004?
Does he believe the Iraqi government will be able to exercise real authority outside the Green Zone? (And of course the Green Zone isn’t even safe today.)
Does he believe Iraqis will somehow change their opinion on the U.S. occupation? For the first time since the invasion, a majority of Iraqis believe it is “acceptable” to attack American troops. Is that number supposed to go down?
Does he believe we’ll be any closer to “mission accomplished” than we are today?
Does he believe his horrendous failure of a policy will somehow take hold and Sunnis and Shiites will magically stop killing each other and embrace western-style democracy?
Sadly, the president – with his faith-based approach to governing – has become the personification of a timeless Danish proverb: “The sky is not less blue because the blind man does not see it.”
Of course that’s no consolation to the 70 percent of Americans who see the world and our president as they really are.
Christopher Truscott can be reached at email@example.com. Perhaps the next president will make Bush ambassador to Iraq.