Of course, Bush long ago lost any credibility with Congress and the American people on Iraq. It’s understandable that he hides behind Petraeus’s breastplate of medals and Crocker’s thatch of gray hair, sending these loyal and able public servants to explicate the inexplicable: What realistic goal is the United States trying to achieve in Iraq? And in what parallel universe is this open-ended occupation making our nation safer?
It’s time to acknowledge that Bush has run out the clock. The nation’s only recourse is the ballot box.
The problem with the debate over our future course in Iraq is that the two sides are not even talking about the same things.For supporters of the war, the primary issue is Iraq itself and what will happen if we leave. For the war’s opponents, the focus is on how the conflict in Iraq is sapping our energies, weakening our military and diverting our attention from our interests elsewhere in the world.
Supporters of the war say its opponents are locked in the past, stuck on whether the war was a good idea in the first place. Whether the war was right or wrong, they say, it’s time to move on and focus on the future.
This has it backward. It’s the war’s backers and architects, including the president, who are trapped in the past. They are so invested in the original decision to invade Iraq that they won’t even consider whether the United States would be better off winding down this commitment, relieving our military of the war’s enormous burdens and redirecting our foreign policy.
Travel in some primitive parts of the world is a nightmare – passengers are treated like livestock, service is surly, rules are ridiculous, delays are common, and the whole experience is dreadful. Luckily, here in sophisticated America, we have modern airlines – on which passengers are treated like livestock, service is surly, rules are ridiculous, delays are common, and the whole experience is dreadful.Airline executives publicly blame everything from the impact of 9/11 to bad weather, but when these executives talk to shareholders and the business media, they gleefully confess that they have deliberately created such unpleasantness as a crude way to jack up their stock prices and profits.
How has the United States economy gotten to this point? It’s not just the apparent recession. Recessions happen. If you tried to build an economy immune to the human emotions that produce boom and bust, you would end up with something that looked like East Germany.
The bigger problem is that the now-finished boom was, for most Americans, nothing of the sort. In 2000, at the end of the previous economic expansion, the median American family made about $61,000, according to the Census Bureau’s inflation-adjusted numbers. In 2007, in what looks to have been the final year of the most recent expansion, the median family, amazingly, seems to have made less — about $60,500.