Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Street Cred

From newly crowned Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates:

"Failure in Iraq at this juncture would be a calamity that would haunt our nation, impair our credibility, and endanger Americans for decades to come"

Impair our credibility? Like 3 1/2 years of ineptitude has not already done that? Is that what it all comes down to, our precious reputation? Forget the Iraqis, because it's all about us, isn't it? Well, guess what? Saving face is a dead end. Strategically, we have lost in Iraq. Every terrorist and insurgent in the world has seen that they can bog down a super power if they are patient.

If strength of will and willingness to apply force were all that was necessary to overcome an insurgency in an alien landscape then Afghanistan would still be a Soviet client state and Chechnya would be the summer playground of the Moscow elite. There are simply some things that are impossible. At some point Wisdom must overcome Machismo.

Let's face it, the person whose reputation is on the line is one George Walker Bush. In January of 2009, our enemies will be forced to reckon with a potentially competent leader of the world's sole super power. Oh sure, there'll be a mess to clean up and America will be less safe than it might otherwise have been but Bush's fiascoes will be relegated to history. The new President will move forward: new alliances will be made and new strategies employed.

What Shrub doesn't understand is that history is not riding on his every decision. There are times and situations where Men of Importance step forward and leave their mark on the world. This is not one of those times and George is not one of those men. The Iraq crisis was created from whole cloth by Bush's cronies, not thrust upon him at a time of urgent necessity. James Buchanan certainly faced a nation in need of a solution but history has largely passed him by. Being President does not automatically make you indispensable. Wanting to be a Transformational President does not make you one.

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