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A Question of Credibility

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A constant theme throughout my critiques of the Bush Administration's antics, whatever the topic du jour, has been an examination of this president's track record. This isn't a partisan tactic. Far from it. When assessing an individual's credibility, it's nothing more than basic common sense. I mean, have this person's predictions proven consistently right, or have they missed the mark more often than not? Has he been demonstrably forthright and honest, or been caught time and time again spinning a web of outright lies? Has he surrounded himself with the best of the best, or packed his staff with incompetent loyalists and political cronies? Have his policies and actions achieved the results promised, or... well, you get the picture. And why shouldn't we demand this, particularly of the President of the United States? We'd certainly take a look at, say, the stats of a college athlete before deeming him worthy to join our favorite pro team. We'd carefully examine the recommendations and job history of an applicant for even an entry-level corporate position. We'd evaluate a student's school records and GPA to judge his qualification for university admittance. Good God, we factor in word-of-mouth reputation and performance reviews when deciding on a restaurant. How could we do any less when evaluating this president's credibility concerning Iraq? It only seems logical to me that every discussion, every analysis, every Congressional committee meeting and newspaper editorial and CNN news feature, every consideration of just how much respect we should afford Bush's "New Way Forward" must begin with an objective recitation of George the Younger's track record. Fortunately for us, on Wednesday Keith Olbermann neatly summarized the trustworthiness, strategic brilliance, and competence of our Commander In Chief with this superb, succinct list:
President Bush makes no secret of his distaste for looking backward, for assessing past results... Any meaningful assessment of the president's next step in Iraq must consider his steps and missteps so far. So, let's look at the record. Before Mr. Bush was elected he said he was no nation builder. Nation building was wrong for America. Now he says it is vital for America. He said he would never have put U.S. troops under foreign control. Today U.S. troops observe Iraqi restrictions. He told us about WMDs, mobile labs, secret sources, aluminum tubing, yellow cake. He has told us the war is necessary because Saddam was a threat, because of 9/11, because of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, because of terrorism in general, to liberate Iraq, to spread freedom, to spread democracy, to keep the oil out of the hands of potentially terrorist controlled states, because this was a guy who tried to kill his dad. In pushing for and prosecuting this war, he passed on chances to get Abu Musab al Zarqawi, Moqtada al Sadr, Osama bin Laden. He sent in fewer troops than recommended. He disbanded the Iraqi army and deBaathified the government. He shortchanged Iraqi training. He did not plan for widespread looting, nor the explosion of sectarian violence. He sent in troops without life saving equipment, gave jobs to foreign contractors and not the Iraqis, staffed U.S. positions in Iraq based on partisanship, not professional experience. We learned that America had prevailed, mission accomplished, the resistance was in its last throws. He has said that more troops were not necessary and more troops are necessary, and that it's up to the generals, and then removed some of the generals who said more troops would be necessary. He told us of turning points, the fall of Baghdad, the death of Uday and Qusay, the capture of Saddam, a provisional government, the trial of Saddam, a charter, a constitution, an Iraqi government, elections, purple fingers, a new government, the death of Saddam. We would be greeted as liberators with flowers, as they stood up, we would stand down. We would stay the course. We would never stay the course. The enemy was al Qaeda, was foreigners, was terrorist, was Baathists. The war would pay for itself. It was going to cost 1.7 billion dollars, 100 billion, 400 billion, half a trillion dollars. And after all of that, today it is his credibility versus that of generals, diplomats, allies, Republicans, Democrats, the Iraq Study Group, past presidents, voters last November, and the majority of the American people.
That's hardly a record that speaks well for the reliability of George Bush's ideas. In fact, it flabbergasts me that anyone in his or her right mind would seriously consider any suggestion that emanates from his narrow, insulated, belligerent brain. Yet, there are still 30 percent of you that embarrassingly cling to a hope that, if we just give him one more chance, maybe Dubya will get this one right. I simply can't understand that line of reasoning, when proof to the contrary lies in plain sight, stacked like firewood 10 stories high in every direction. Instinctively, we wouldn't accept this pattern of failure and ineptness and duplicity from a job applicant, athlete, student, or teenager living under our own roof. How can we overlook it, then, in the most powerful individual on Earth. To give this man even one hour longer to pursue his campaign of aggression throughout the world is to invite the whirlwind of retribution that will almost certainly follow as a result. This Administration's exacerbation of Middle Eastern violence and instability - not to mention overall global tensions - can no longer be tolerated by a people that cares anything for its own survival. As George Bush himself once tried (unsuccessfully) to say, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." In light of this Administration's clear intentions to steer us closer to actual world war - and with common knowledge of its repeated strategic and diplomatic incompetence - we must do everything in our power to force our elected representatives to face this grim reality: Bush and Company must be removed from office - by whatever Constitutional means available - before they mislead this nation to a catastrophic point of no return. - - - - - (*Also, be sure to read this terrific piece by OpEdNews contributor Gustav Wynn.)
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After 25 years as a Post-Production Specialist in the greater New York/New Jersey area, Bob recently relocated to Orlando to continue his editorial business and begin Art Directing high-end commemorative magazines. He's been extensively involved (more...)
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