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Time for George W. Bush to take early retirement

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Like Senator John McCain, I dozed off in the middle of George W. Bush's State of the Union speech on January 23. Yes, the President was very gracious in acknowledging Rep. Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House (without acknowledging that his disastrous Iraq policy was primarily responsible for the Democratic majorities in Congress and her subsequent elevation to that position). Yes, he actually uttered the words "global climate change" (yet a willingness to really act on this issue seems absent). Yes, overall he did a pretty good job of reading the speech (though even FOX News admitted that his delivery was flat). But I was not inspired, encouraged or even kept awake by the President's words, though I did regain consciousness when he spoke of the Iraq War, the issue that's of the utmost concern to Americans right now.

As expected, Bush trotted out some of the usual nostrums in the foreign policy portion of his speech:

* America has to fight the enemy over there, or we'll have to fight them over here. Does anyone recall any Viet Cong following our troops home after they left Vietnam?

* Our nation can't leave Iraq and give al Qaeda a safe haven there. The U.S. military presence in Iraq is what attracted al Qaeda to that nation and produced enclaves of Iraqis who support them.

* A new strategy has been ordered in Iraq that will empower our forces to win there. First of all, the recent escalation of the war in Iraq is similar to other "surges" that have been tried before and failed. Secondly, what does winning look like in the maelstrom of brutal sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites that has been going on for generations and has no sign of abating?

* Failure to support the new strategy is "is to ignore the lessons of September 11." It's been clear from the beginning that no connection between 9-11 and Iraq ever existed. More importantly, this transparent fear mongering is no longer effective with an aroused and awakened citizenry.

It's as if we Americans are passengers in a car driven by an intoxicated adolescent who imagines himself invincible, that if we will just trust him, he will deliver us to our desired destination. If Bush were merely risking his own life, that would be one thing. But when he risks the lives of our men and women in uniform, those of Iraqi citizens and perhaps, all of us (especially should he goad Iran into war), it's another matter entirely.

Addicted to power and privilege
One definition of addiction is to engage in a behavior despite the harm caused out of a desire for the effects it produces. We voters recognized that Bush is addicted to power and privilege, that he is willing to risk the lives of others in a vain attempt prove his manliness, and we performed an intervention at the polls on November 7. But alas, though our votes brought about a Democratic Congress, our wake up call regarding our opposition to the status quo in Iraq was ignored by the President. Then Daddy Bush and his friends came to the rescue in the form of the Iraq Study Group. This group of enablers put forth a plan that would permit the President to save face and exit the tragedy he's created in Iraq. But Bush reportedly dismissed the plan in a huff as a "flaming turd." Then Congress, led by the Democrats and joined by a number of influential members of George W.'s own political party, announced their opposition to his escalation in Iraq. And our President still disregards the turning tide.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, each time expecting a different result. So is it insanity or merely a deep state of denial that is beneath our President's adamant refusal to change course in a war in which more precious lives are being sacrificed every day, a war that is costing us billions of dollars that are greatly needed in this country, a war that undermines our security at home and our influence around the globe.

Out of touch with reality
Out of his hubris, arrogance and lust for power, our President has surrounded himself with those who tell him only what he wants to hear, creating his own artificial environment, an environment in which it is easy for him to continue to believe in his own omnipotence, that only he knows best. Yet having ignored the wake up calls from we voters, the Iraq Study Group and Congress, from what I know of life, even greater wake up calls await this President., and they will come sooner rather than later.

During this challenging time, I'm reminded of another President from Texas who overestimated his power and his sphere of influence, a President who also got our nation entangled in a catastrophic conflict that could not be won. And like Lyndon Johnson before him, it's time for George W. Bush to take early retirement (either voluntary or involuntary) and return to his ranch in Texas. It's time for men and women of courage and conviction to step forward to correct the devastating course our nation is on. It's time for all of us to do our part in creating the world we wish to see. The stakes are much too high to wait two more years.
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In an earlier incarnation, Bruce Mulkey was an arrogant pickup-truck-driving, beer-swilling, self-centered cynic who built log houses for a living. Having miraculously survived that era, he now is a politically progressive, spiritually aware, (more...)
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