A great dinner party last night, Bush! Great food, great company, great conversation, good wine to loosen the tongue... And especially good to be in a house whose every wall and niche is occupied by provocative art works and a wonderful, pristine collection of American ceramics. It's surprising how rarely art takes this kind of prominent place in a lived environment, and alwys a real pleasure when we come upon it. This was a place, like our own, where there is something to attract the eye no matter which way you turn. Small talk, big talk, lots of stories, anecdotes, plenty of laughter around the dinner table... Just a terrific evening.
This morning's news: still the Rumsfeld memo. Aside from the duplicity it revealed--not only Rumsfeld's, but also yours, in those pre-election days when you were clearly more concerned with getting votes than with the welfare of those troops you so readily accuse others of failing to support--I was apalled by the paternalistic tone and the assumptions it suggested. "Stop rewarding bad behavior," your Rumsfeld writes simplistically. And "reward them for their good behavior." "Start 'taking our hand off the bicycle seat.'" The clear assumption: the Iraqis are a bunch of children, whose good and bad behavior warrants reward or punishment from a "Father knows best" daddy. If this reflects the depth of thinking at the top level of the Defense Department these past four years, it's hardly surprising to find ourselves in the mess we're in. This kind of shallow thought ranks up there with "Stuff happens."
Rumsfeld's "laundry list" is further evidence, too, of the absence of any serious strategic planning in your administration. To come up with this kind of off-the-cuff, back-of-the-napkin stuff bespeaks a confusion, a desperation, and cynical indifference that boggles the imagination after so many months of warfare, so many American lives sacrificed, so many Iraqi citizens slaughtered. Let's see, it says, we could try this, we could try that... And if all else fails, we could go "below the line" and consider even undesirable options. There's no real substance to this memo. It's a throwaway. What monumental arrogance and care-lessness. And this from the most powerful nation in the history of the world.
I was surprised to hear, as a kind of aside in the news this morning, of your Bolton's resignation from his United Nations post. Not by the resignation, but by the lack of interest with which it seems to have been received by the media. Perhaps there's more to come.
bolton, bush, iraq, memo, president, rumsfeld