Once again, I have the same old confession to make. You'd
think that after a while I'd either get over thinking the thoughts
that make me feel guilty or I'd just quit feeling guilty about
thinking them. But I grew up in in the Baptist Church so I often
revel in hard-to-get-over guilt.
My current guilt is about my thoughts about our president.
I can't help myself. When he grins his "What, me worry?"
grin, I have to roll my eyes and avert my gaze to avoid making an
obscene gesture at him.
I should be more tolerant. Because I'm pretty sure that
the platform the president is standing on is being eaten by a bunch
of left-wing termites determined to bring it all down.
According to the A.P. last Monday, our favorite ally,
Great Britain, the mother country, "began withdrawing" troops from
Basra, the second largest city in Iraq. "It has always been our
intention to draw down troops in Basra," a spokesman for Prime
Minister Gordon Brown said.
That was the day after an MSNBC/Wall Street Journal poll
reported that "just 1 in 5 Americans think the country is going in
the right direction, the worst outlook since the Reagan-Bush era
ended in 1992."
And according to a Gallup poll on the same day, "Less
than one-third of Americans like the way the current President Bush
is handling his job, among the lowest ratings in half a century
Even more alarming is the way that disillusionment about
the war has spread even to active-duty GIs who, according to a piece
by Brad Knickerbocker in the Aug. 29 Christian Science Monitor, "are
speaking publicly and critically as never before about an ongoing
war." For an example, Knickerbocker quotes "a recent op-ed about the
war in Iraq" that alleges that "upbeat official reports amount to
'misleading rhetoric,'" that "the most important front in the
counterinsurgency failed most miserably," and "it warned against
pursuing ‘'incompatible policies to absurd ends.'"
Get this: the authors of the piecepublished in the NY
Timeswere "seven U.S. soldiers, writing from Iraq at the end of a
tough 15-month combat tour."
Mario Cuomo, governor of New York state from 1982 to
1994, had the gall to remind us in a L.A. Times piece last week that
Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution states that "Congress
not the presidentshall have 'the power to declare war'
constitutional mandate was not erased by the actions of timid
Congresses since World War II that allowed presidents to start wars
in Vietnam and elsewhere without a 'declaration' by Congress." Cuomo
concludes that "We must do everything we can to end the war in Iraq
and avoid a new tragedy abroad by recommitting to strict adherence to
the rule of law and to the Constitution by the president, Congress,
and the courtsespecially with respect to war powers."
The Truth, Mainly
How about them apples?
And not all that bad news for the president is coming from
Sen. John Warner, Republican from Virginia, former Navy
Secretary and former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee
(to say nothing of his being a former husband of Elizabeth Taylor)
says he wants our troops "to start coming home from Iraq by
Christmas" and he "may support Democratic legislation ordering
withdrawals if President Bush refuses to set a return timetable soon."
The A.P. quoted Sen. Warner directly: "I don't say that
as a threat, but I say that is an option we all have to
.The president has got to put teeth in his comments that
we're not there forever."
That from the president's fellow Republican.
In the meantime, Osama bin Ladennot an Iraqi, but the
guy responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade towers and
the Pentagonremains at large. And a story by Evan Thomas in last
Monday's issue of Newsweek has the temerity to remind us that we're
no closer now to finding bin Laden in Afghanistan or Pakistan than we
were six years ago.
That's because we've been just too busy in Iraq. You
know, the place that sits atop all that oil.
P.S. On a happier note, let's all give Mary Pipher a
standing ovation for returning her 2006 Presidential Citation from
the American Psychological Association because "I do not want an
award from an organization that sanctions its members' participation
in the enhanced interrogations at CIA 'black sites' and at Guantanamo."
Way to go, Mary. Way to go.
Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity
from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail