Friday, October 08, 2004

Life and Death Pickle

I haven't put down my thoughts on the war in Iraq (I'll do it in more detail later), but suffice it to say that I was against it because during the build up the case put forth by the Bush administration simply did not add up.

That said, I must say I feel for President Bush during this Election 2004 season. Here's why. For a leader to lead effectively he must embody unending passion for the task at hand. Right now we have men and women in a life or death battle in Iraq. Regardless of what you think of earlier policy decisions, Bush has steadfastly supported the war effort and the warriors carrying it out. He's embodied the unending passion for the mission.

I truly believe that at Bush's core he thinks any trace of uncertainty would be devasting to the troops and ultimately the entire war effort. Perhaps he and his inner circle have questioned the continued war effort, the risk of additional casualties vs. little tangible reward. Regardless, I think the administration believes there is no turning back at this point. A cynic, or realist, may say this will only hold up until the election. Perhaps.

This public face/private face conundrum points up the gravity of the initial decision to go to war. It was quite clear to me that the evidence simply didn't add up to mobilizing a war effort against Hussein/Iraq. But the administration deftly played off the 9/11 emotions of the country and effectively squelched any reasoned debate, let alone outright opposition. "You're either with us or against us" was their rallying cry. So if you said the evidence put forth doesn't justify the case, you were "against us" and unpatriotic.

This administration rode roughshod over the war prelude and now is reaping what it sowed. The lesson for future generations and future leaders is that the seminal decision is whether to go to war at all. Because once engaged it is difficult for an administration to be frank and openly critical of the ongoing effort. Viet Nam
anyone?

And the public is equally culpable because they let the administration get away with it. The mainstream media, don't get me started. They were too worried about getting plumb embed assignments.

I had to get this off my chest before tonight's debate.

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