Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Well, ladies and gentlemen, our long national nightmare will soon be over, for tonight, the decider will finally decide. . . .

Or, rather, President Bush will let us know what he likely “decided” over a month ago and then put aside while his henchmen orchestrated such pasty gems as the “presidential listening tour” and those “non-decisional meetings” down Texas way. All of this to allow time for everyone to lose interest in the Iraq Study Group (Baker Commission) report, and, conveniently, also push the big speech into the middle of the first working week of the new Democratic Congress so as to drown out the “First 100 hours” hoopla, hijack the Democratic domestic agenda with Iraq talk, and steal attention from the first female Speaker of the House by focusing interest back on the big, he-man “War President.”

And don’t think that the timing of the big and (surprise, surprise) disastrous battle for Haifa Street in Baghdad and the pathetic (and what will soon prove to be disastrous) air-strike in southern Somalia were just coincidental, either.

But back to that War President thing. I didn’t coin that phrase, of course. War President is the Bush Administration’s idea of good branding for this service-evading cheerleader. I can’t begin to count the times that Bush or one of his feckless band of brothers have compared Iraq to World War II and GWB to FDR or Truman. Why, just today, I heard some PNAC-er on the radio making the Roosevelt analogy (forgive me, I can’t find a link), about how FDR didn’t have to deal with a “micromanaging” (you’re about to hear the right use that word a lot, by the way) Congress, and everyone stood together to fight the war that had to be fought, etc., etc. Which, I‘m afraid, does beg the question: What would FDR do?

Between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and VJ Day, was there ever a period of seven weeks where Roosevelt or Truman just did nothing? Was there ever a period where Allied forces just kept marching and dying because the President was “not going to be rushed into making a difficult decision”? Did FDR ever spend a long holiday at Warm Springs taking non-decisional meetings? Did Give ‘em Hell Harry need a listening tour to actually focus his attention on the war?

Can you imagine Franklin Roosevelt delaying a strategic shift for nearly two months in order to score some paltry points on the domestic front?

I’m not naïve enough to say that other presidents have never manipulated wars for political gain, but can you really imagine FDR playing politics with the lives of American soldiers the way George Bush does?

Or, to look at it another way: Can you imagine if George Bush and his “brain trust” had the chance to fight WWII the way they have fought the Iraqi debacle?

I can. I would never have been born, and the rest of you would all be doing the goosestep.

UPDATE: The White House has announced that Bush will be making tonight’s White House address from the Map Room, where FDR did much of the war planning for WWII. Again, the PR presidency wants to draw the comparison to Roosevelt. Of course, when I hear “Map” and “Bush” in the same sentence, what I think of is the common assessment of W during the 2000 campaign—that appraisal also required a flashlight in addition to a map for Bush to find (or maybe not find) a particular part of his anatomy.


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