Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A scream heard from Bermuda... agonizing over the Petraeus Report

By Michael Hart
Although I was vacationing in Bermuda during the week that General David Petraeus testified before Congress and President Bush addressed the nation on that report, you may have heard me screaming from across the Atlantic.

If Petraeus' overly optimistic comments were not bad enough, I was driven to yelling at the television by Bush's follow-up prime time address a couple of days later. Dubya once again tried to link 9/11 to the Iraq disaster, despite the fact that his new tool/fall guy Petraeus (in Colin Powell U.N. address mode) told Congress there was no evidence of any Iraqi involvement with 9/11 and that Al-Qaeda was not in Iraq before 9/11 (they came there thanks to our mismanagement of the post-invasion).
Dubya, despite occasionally admitting there was no Saddam-9/11 connection
, still loves to put that idea out there with his tortured logic on why we invaded Iraq.
Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker certainly made the rounds, appearing on countless news shows that week to promote their views. I thought there was a war on. Shouldn't they have gotten back to Iraq as soon as possible instead of doing what was supposed to be the job of Bush's White House -- explaining the mission and currying support for it? What is the mission anyway? Does anyone know?

What's sad is seeing our venerable institutions crippled or destroyed by Bush and crew: the Supreme Court with its laughable decision to give Dubya the presidency, the politicizing of the Justice Department and now the military.

And why is the questioning of Petraeus' motives off-limits anyway? He has Republican ties (he was operated on by Bill Frist, one of his protegees is Colonel Mike Meese, son of Reagan AG Ed Meese) and while he is an intelligent individual (as is Crocker) who often speaks wisely and in measured tones about Iraq, does anyone believe he does not want to please his boss?

General Wesley Clark was talking with John Stewart on The Daily Show last week, and he used a football analogy to make a good point about Petraeus. Clark compared Petraeus (who served UNDER Clark) to a back-up quarterback being thrown into a game late in the fourth quarter and facing a 20-point deficit. The QB is facing a bigger team and knows the game is lost, but he is not going to go back to his coach and say that he cannot do it.

Meanwhile, what has happened to Robert Gates? Our new Secretary of Defense was supposed to be the serious guy who would put Dubya on the right track and steer him toward adopting the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. Bush appears not only to have not listened to Gates; he has also managed to diminish his standing.

So it appears I will still be screaming at the TV set whenever Bush gives a speech or holds a press conference until he finally leaves office on January 20, 2009 (and I dread those Executive Decisions). Let's hope that phony Rudy Giuliani does not replace him -- my throat needs a break.

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