What, exactly, is blurring George W.’s vision? | AspenTimes.com

What, exactly, is blurring George W.’s vision?

Gaylord Guenin

It is difficult to figure out what kind of drugs George W., our compassionate-warrior president, is on. What seems rather clear is that Dick Cheney is his pharmacist and that he has W. on some very bizarre medication.In late May, an Associated Press story appeared in which W. decided to interpret public opinion polls his own way, ignoring the fact that election exit polls in November found 55 percent of the voters saying the U.S. should withdraw “all or some of its troops from Iraq.”So what do we do? We send more troops to Iraq and extend the missions of those who are already there. George W. told the AP that he listened to the American people and that the additional troops constitute a “strategy that is dramatically different from our previous course.” The problem is that our original course was terribly flawed, thanks to Donald Rumsfeld (and probably Cheney), who sent our military into Iraq with insufficient troops. That error was pointed out by numerous individuals, including political insiders and military men on the ground in Iraq, but our president refused to acknowledge anything negative about his glorious war for “freedom.”W. claims that most Americans agree with him on “not abandoning Iraq.” The polls don’t agree. A CBS and New York Times poll conducted in May indicated that 63 percent supported a troop withdrawal timetable for sometime next year. Another May poll from USA Today and Gallup showed 59 percent in favor of a withdrawal deadline “no matter what the situation is in Iraq.”Yet the president refuses to accept those poll numbers. “If you make decisions based upon the latest opinion poll, you won’t be thinking long-term strategy,” he told the AP. “Polls just go poof at times,” he said in mid-April. Polls may go “poof” at times, which seems to be what happened to our original “strategy” for Iraq – if we ever had one!The troublesome thing is that the Democrats, who took control of both the U.S. Senate and House in the last election, have yet to come up with an alternative strategy for getting this nation out of the cesspool that W. and his neocon buddies created. We are inching toward 5,000 dead Americans in Iraq. That is a real tragedy considering the false information and W.’s sneaky innuendoes about Saddam being somehow connected to 9/11 that led us into Iraq. When the war began, anyone who objected to going into Iraq and anyone who challenged the president’s decision was seen as a traitor to his country. They were not being traitorous, they were being true to our Constitution, true to the First Amendment and true to freedom of speech.Now, those who would strive to bring our troops home are being seen as individuals who “do not support our military.” Balderdash! My guess is that a majority of Americans support the troops, even those of us who disagree with W.’s failed foreign policy. But how to challenge W., bring the troops home and still demonstrate support for them? That is a political conundrum that obviously has Democrats in a miserable corner right now. Sadly enough, no Democrat, including the presidential candidates, has a plan to escape from that corner. That corner may be vacated come September, however. Congress passed a measure that will fund the war in Iraq until Sept. 30. And it is in September when military commanders are scheduled to report to the president and to Congress on whether the troop surge W. ordered in January is doing anything to quell the violence and stabilize the Iraqi government. Even many Republicans have told the administration that they will be hard-pressed to continue supporting his Iraq policies if the military does not come to Congress with a rosy report.And also due in September will be an independent assessment of the Iraqi government’s progress on measures aimed at lessening the sectarian tensions that continue to fuel violence in that nation. September is three months away but indications are that the Democrats will continue to force a series of votes on whether U.S. troops should remain in Iraq and whether the president has the authority to continue this war. It appears we are in for an interesting three months and some ugly finger-pointing from both parties.And while we wallow about in that disastrous sinkhole in Iraq, Cheney is actively hinting at military action against Iran. Good lord, does he actually want to start another war while we are mired in Iraq and Afghanistan? Iraq was a relatively weak nation, one critically damaged by the Gulf War and one that was not a threat to the U.S. Iran is not weak and it could threaten the U.S. without actually attacking us directly. The Iranians can do it by continuing to support terrorists in Iraq and around the world, as they reportedly are doing. Of course those reports are based on intelligence gathered by this administration, which does open them up to suspicion.W. reads the polls (or ignores them as he claims) and in some twisted way comes to the conclusion that the American people support him on the war. As I said earlier, I really would like to know what sort of medication Cheney is feeding our president. This is the 342nd article in a two-part series devoted to the community of Woody Creek, a place where residents see what they want to see and to hell with reality.


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