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The Truth, Mainly - 09/10/2007

Ganging up on the president

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.

For example:

•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 piece—published in the NY Times—were "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 president—shall have 'the power to declare war'…..this 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 courts—especially with respect to war powers."

The Truth, Mainly


How about them apples?

And not all that bad news for the president is coming from Democrats.

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 consider….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 Laden—not an Iraqi, but the guy responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade towers and the Pentagon—remains 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 address is: leonsatterfield@earthlink.net.


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