Imagine this Sunday, settling in to your favorite lounger with a bowl of potato chips and a soft drink to watch the playoffs when there is a knock at the door. When you answer, there are a group of swarthy men, each with an automatic weapon and a double bandoleer of ammunition crossing his Kevlar-coated chest, speaking in a foreign tongue, and demanding the whereabouts of any men, ages 14-50, that live in your house. I think even a reasonable person might have a Dick Cheney flashback and shoot somebody in the face over such an outrage. And yet, that is exactly what President Zero is asking our troops, your children, to do.
After the nation waited an entire month for Bush to listen to all the experts and revamp his Iraq strategy, the best he can do is send 21,000 more troops to Baghdad to go door to door, like Fuller Brush salesmen, embedded with Iraqi units asking for the trust of the populace. Is this not the most insane maneuver since lying us into this hellish war? What unlucky National Guardsman has been sentenced to their doom by this intransigent usurper of the Presidency? It's well to remember that one of the articles of impeachment passed by the Congress against Richard Nixon was abuse of power. Bush is like Nixon on steroids. He discards the advice and wishes of his generals, the Iraq Study Group (Daddy), the electorate, the soldiers on the ground, and now key members of his own party, to pursue a trail of tears that we have all witnessed before.
It wasn't necessary for Dubya to have actually fought in Vietnam; just paying attention would have helped. But this arrogant child of privilege was assured his non-lethal slot in the Texas Air National Guard, cushy even among Guard positions, so why would he need to concern himself about Vietnam? He just supported his president and wore his Guard flight jacket on campus, while his fellow students were demonstrating and dying. This ignorance of the past, not just from Bush but from his entire never-having served administration, is taking us down the same road as the LBJ escalation of Vietnam in 1965. That's when I began paying attention. 1965 was the year I graduated from high school and suddenly the abstraction that was Vietnam became very real. When your high school buddies began to ship out, or the guy down the hall in the dorm wasn't there anymore, war became personal. I doubt Bush ever even knew a peer that served in Vietnam, or he wouldn't be so cavalier with other people's children in the crusade to save his legacy.
Most people tuned out Bush long ago. Even the most patriotic among us have bullshit saturation levels. But last night Bush accused Iran and Syria of aiding "terrorists and insurgents" and said the U.S. will "seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies." This sounds like the Nixon secret Christmas bombings of Cambodia in 1972. In a previous post, I noted that a flotilla of US warships were gathering in the Persian Gulf off Iran for maneuvers. Last night the president announced his orders for a carrier group to move to the area. And only a few hours ago, the BBC announced the invasion of an Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Ibril by U.S. troops, saying "The U.S. soldiers disarmed guards and broke open the consulate's gate before seizing documents and computers during the operation, which took place today at about 5 a.m. local time, the Islamic Republic News Agency said." The report added that five people, possibly diplomats, "were detained."
You need not have the imagination of John LeCarre to understand what is going on here. Bush has been provoking the Iranians for months, and today again violated international law by storming an embassy for documents and proof that the Iranians are aiding the insurgents; his very own Watergate break-in. Bush is itching to bomb Iran. He must know that Iraq is lost militarily because everyone tells him so. But if he can force Iran into a Saddam-like, "mushroom cloud" confrontation, he can bomb their nuclear sites, set them back ten years, and somehow redeem his disastrous and grievous adventure in the Middle East. He is sending 21,000 more troops to buy him time. If the Iranians take the bait, there will be wider war and the pressing need for even more soldiers. If they don't, Bush will run out the clock on his watch and leave his mess for the rest of us to clean up. I pray I am wrong; I fear that I am not. But an animal is at his most dangerous when he is cornered.
In the post, "First Things First," 11/14/06, I tried to make the point that there were more pressing issues in the Congress than Bush's impeachment. But, if he is determined to take the Nixon path, he must face the Nixon fate. If he refuses to stop his mad dash toward Armageddon, then the Congress must stop him, and, yes, it is now a most pressing issue. Last week, no one would have suggested that there were nearly enough votes in the Senate for impeachment, but after last night's science-fiction address, the head-counting, at least on the internet, has already begun. President Zero insists his "surge" is something new. Escalating a lost conflict is as old as warfare has been folly. Wire service reports now say "the surge" began last month and the soldiers are already arriving in the desert, just in case anyone believed protesting would do any good. It was a done deal before all the post 11/7 ruminating by "The Decider." He decided, once again, to listen to Cheney.
Meanwhile, last month down on the Bush "ranch" where all the "deliberating" was going on, the whole crowd came out for a Texas down-home photo-op. All the men wore jackets, no tie, with a single button fastened in front, except Condi, who hobbled in high heels in the gravel. They even managed to make General Pace look like a dork. It reminded me not so much of a president and his cabinet as the Clanton gang at the O.K. Corral. So did the stage-managed Rumsfeld resignation celebration at the Pentagon in November where Cheney, Bush, and Rummy walked the gauntlet of career diplomats in lock-step, even swinging their arms together like Goebbels, Goering, and Himmler. I usually detest comparisons of our politicians with the Nazis, but these boys are spoiling for another, potentially catastrophic and all-consuming war in the face of opposition from the American people and the best minds in the military. Let the investigations begin in earnest, and should the facts lead to impeachable offenses, in the words of our deluded president, "Bring 'em on!"