Democrats & Liberals Archives

Bring It On? Too Late

The time to prove himself right has long past. It wasn’t after the invasion, it was at the invasion. The time to go on the campaign to establish the truth was before he went to war- in fact it should have started from the moment he entered the White House. It is four years too late to start now.

I don't think the Republicans, in their loyalty to the president, have asked themselves the question on most other American's minds: Why is the president so constantly behind the curve?

It's not Bush-Hating to suggest that. Before 9/11, not word one of terrorism showed up in his State of the Union address. He never had a major meeting on terrorism until about a weak before we got hit.

We know for a fact that Bush told us that he would get Osama Bin Laden, Dead or alive. We also know that in March of 2002, he said he was no longer that concerned with Bin Laden, claiming that he was on the run and that al-Qaeda was essentially defeated. This after he had the opportunity to get Bin Laden at Tora Bora, and wasted it.

He had more than just the opportunity to build his case for war rightly- He had the opportunity to look at the intelligence and respond to the threats that did in fact exist. He could have looked through the evidence and found the right crisis to respond to, instead of starting with a notion of what war needed to be waged, and turning all the facts he could towards it. Even if he is utterly innocent of lying about WMDs, he still committed this mistake of policy: he started with war he wanted to waged, then tried to prove the need for it.

But hey, people can have hunches, right? That's no excuse for bad assumptions, though. You can still look at the evidence with an open mind, using evidence, events, and your potential enemy's responses to test your theories and hypotheses. You earn your certainty by verifying the information.

Instead of doing that, this administration instead chose to simply gather the evidence they thought proved their case, regardless of it's puported reliability. Some, myself included, believe they knew that much of this evidence was faulty. They either felt the issue was a pretext for their real purposes, or they were gambling that they would be vindicated, despite the shakiness of the evidence. They deficit spent our credibility, either way.

WMDs were not a minor issue in the time before the invasion. They were the issue. Only months of intense propagandizing has clouded this truth. Just go back to the materials and videos of that time, and the presence of WMDs in the justification of war will be as conspicuous as its absence now.

The president had his chance to build international support, had his chance to let the inspections do their work and establish whether we had call to go to war. He had his chance to not imply that the UN's decision was of no consequence to our actions, had his chance not to alienate our friends with all the propagandizing. He had his chance not to portray the needed international support as the seeking of a permission slip. Did he grasp at all, that with the assent of the world comes cooperation and complicity?

The president had the chance to build up an appropriate level of troops, to prepare for an occupation to follow the initial invasion, rather than assume a most unlikely spontaneous exchange of power. He had the chance to assert law and order in the first days, and prevent the blooming array of complications that even now eat up lives, reconstruction efforts, our credibility, and our fearsome reputation as a military power. He had his chance to get this nation under our control, and prevent the insurgency from ever reaching its lethal strength.

He had the opportunity, when Fallujah and Najaf fell to the enemy, to go in there and commit us early on to defeating the insurgents there. Instead, he would wait six months, waging those campaigns almost on top of election day, leaving a summer's worth of dead soldiers and dead Iraqis. behind. He would have the opportunity ( and still has) to change his strategy to better deal with the situation, but he would never take them.

He had the opportunity to begin his response to the Katrina disaster right. He had his opportunity to get the tax system right, and not create the record deficits he did. He had his opportunity not to tie America's name to torture. He had this and a million other opportunities to get things right.

Few of these opportunities have been taken. Instead, what we have is trail of disappointments for anybody expecting Bush to get to the top of his learning curve. Some people think we bitch about Bush so much because were just mired in our hatred. The reality is, there are so many errors and irregularities with this administration, there's no end to the iniquity, no end to what could be complained about.

The fact of the matter is, the war this president has waged best is one to convince his supporters that the media's full of it. Unfortunately, he has waged that war to the exception of doing the very things that would render it unnecessary. That is the tragedy of the Bush Administration.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at November 9, 2005 10:32 AM