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The Truth, Mainly - 05/21/2007

Feeling sorry for the President

There aren't very many scary poems, so it's not very taxing on my failing memory to call up my favorite scary poem. It's William Butler Yeats' "The Second Coming" and it begins like this:

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…."

And a few lines later, it ends like this:

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

It's got a kind of Armageddon feel to it, doesn't it?

I don't suppose our President has ever read the poem, but I'll bet if Laura reads those lines to him, he gets a bad case of the fantods. I picture him waking up in a cold sweat at 2:43 a.m. as he begins to suspect that his administration is falling apart, that the center cannot hold.

A little like those folks in Greensburg, Kansas, must have felt when the tornado hit.

And the newspapers and the radio and TV news are beginning to notice. And maybe even the President is noticing—if he reads the papers and watches the news.

For example:

•The L.A. Times earlier this month said this in an editorial about our presence in Iraq: "The time has come to leave….the United States has not 'lost' and cannot 'lose' Iraq. It was never ours in the first place."

•On May 10, the Washington Post reported "a remarkably blunt White House meeting" in which eleven "House Republican moderates…warned President Bush…that his pursuit of the war in Iraq is risking the future of the Republican Party and that he cannot count on GOP support for many more months."

•On May 6 the "Editor & Publisher" web site reported that the Roanoke (Va.) Times stated that "Though President Bush seems psychologically incapable of the act, it is time for everyone else in the United States to recognize the inevitable: The occupation of Iraq is an utter, irredeemable failure. We cannot win there militarily or politically."

•And a week later, "Editor & Publisher" published an editorial from the Stockton (Ca.) Record. Next to photos of the 20 Stockton men killed in Iraq, there was this question: "On this Mother's Day we ask: How many more must pay this price? Who will be next?"

And that from a newspaper that endorsed President Bush in both the 2000 and the 2004 elections.

•In an interview published in the 40th Anniversary issue [May 3-17] of "Rolling Stone," George McGovern gives his take on why we invaded Iraq in the first place: "Bush and Cheney both have an obsession with oil. They thought they could use the 9/11 tragedy falsely, as an excuse to grab Iraq without much problem. And now they're trying to do the same thing with Iran."

The Truth, Mainly


•Jake Tapper, on the May 9 ABC News, shows us President Bush saying "I have always said that I will listen to the requests of our commanders on the ground." Then we see former commanding general of our First Infantry Division in Iraq, General John Batiste (Ret.), saying this: "Mr. President, you did not listen. You continue to pursue a failed strategy that is breaking our great Army and Marine Corps. I left the Army in protest in order to be able to speak out. Mr. President, you have placed our nation in peril. Our only hope is that Congress will act now to protect our fighting men and women."

•And then there's the opinion of Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired army colonel, a Vietnam vet, former chief of staff at the State Department from 2000 to 2005 under Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former Acting Director of the Marine Corps War College at Quantico. On May 10, Wilkerson told a NPR audience that we should impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Here's part of what he said:

"You compare Bill Clinton's peccadilloes for which he was impeached to George Bush's high crimes and misdemeanors or Dick Cheney's high crimes and misdemeanors, and I think they [Clinton's] pale in significance."

And it's about this time that I start feeling sorry for the president and the vice-president. I always feel sorry when things fall apart and the center cannot hold. And that rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouching toward Bethlehem scares the bejesus out of me.

I'll bet it doesn't help the president sleep well either.


Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail address is: leonsatterfield@earthlink.net.


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