Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Bubble Burst--Or More Window-Dressing?

Okay, Bush, first things first: the Rose Bowl. I have to admit to a little petty-mindedness this morning. I was mortified by the Texas win last night not only because I happen to have been a USC professor in the days before my having quit academia cold turkey (some twenty years ago) and my subsequent two decades in recovery. Enough time, you'd think, for old loyalties to ebb. No, I was mortified mostly because it galled me horribly for you to have a reason to gloat over the defeat of my adopted state of California by your home state of Texas--although I understand you went to sleep soon after the game started. Eight-thirty, your time, by my calculation. Way past bedtime. Anyway, I guess I would have gloated if it had gone the other way.

But that's water under the bridge, right, Bush? We shrug it off and turn to more pressing matters. What catches my attention is the news of your meeting, at the White House, with current and former Secretaries of State and Defense, both Republican and Democratic, to talk about the situation in Iraq. In view of today's bleak news of 134 more people killed in your war, amongst them 5 American soldiers, it's none too soon. You have been accused of living in a bubble, oblivious to views other than those of your immediate advisers--the same, for the most part, as the ones who encouraged you in getting us into this fiasco. Their names are drearily familiar. Now you bring in other familiar names: Robert McNamara, Madeline Albright... You concede, in your televised statement (broadcast to the nation!) that your guests may not have agreed with your action in entering into the conflict, or your conduct of it. You invite thoughts, suggestions, disagreements...!

Good news, Bush! I'm personally delighted that you've decided to bring others in to the debate. Two questions: one, why did it take so long? And two: can we trust that you really mean it? Or is this just another piece of window-dressing, with a cynical eye to opinion polls, in the attempt to boost your image? Did it happen on the insistence of your political advisers and your PR people, bent on conveying to the public the notion that Bush is now Mr. Open-Minded President, anxious to listen to advice from every source? I'm honestly not encouraged by your cocky assertion that we're on "a dual track for victory" in Iraq, though it wasn't clear whether this was before or after the meeting.

On another front, also in the Middle East, there's good reason for concern about Ariel Sharon's stroke. From what I hear this morning, it's highly unlikely that he'll ever be able to return to the political scene, and the removal of such a key player could cause unpredictable, seismic shifts in the bigger picture (I first typed "bugger", Bush! A sadly apt slip of the fingers) over there. The loss of this conservative ally could prove hugely complicating to your intentions in that part of the world. Arafat's death left a real opening for the pursuit of peace. I'm not so sure that Sharon's debilitation bodes for a better future. The outcome looks, as ever, uncertain at best.

1 comment:

PK said...

Not to mention the circumvention of the Senate, as they went into recess, to appoint people he knew would never be confirmed. And not just to the Pentagon. He's quite the slither. I was rather blown away by the game too:(. They just kept going, like the energizer bunny. I had read a little blurb, months ago, that said something about the fact Sharon was way to heavy and something was going to happen if he didn't drop the weight, soon. I didn't agree with all he did, but at least he was trying for a peaceful resolution to all the conflict over there. We can only hope that his next in line will take up the same flag and wave the hell out of it. That, and hope the people see that this man isn't much different, in thoughts and actions, than Sharon. He, at this point, has brain damage. This doesn't bode well with their elections upcoming. It's going to be interesting to see how Cheney, oops, Bush handles this one. And, Rove is no longer the one doing all the advising anymore, it may not be window dressing. Keep your fingers crossed:):).