blogenlust
1.27.2005

Time to Leave?


Today I learned that one of the Marines killed in Tuesday's helicopter crash had been corresponding with a close friend. I'd actually read a few of the letters between the two, so in a small sense, I feel as though I know a bit about him despite the fact we never met and he had know idea who I was. It turns out that the Marine killed was in the same unit as another person my friend knows. This person was severely injured in Fallujah last November, and had he not been, would likely have been on the helicopter with the rest of his unit. This is extremely upsetting for me, even as someone with no real physical connection to these guys. I can't imagine how their families, and the families of other soldiers killed in action must feel when the Commander in Chief consistently proves himself to be an insensitive prick:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 - President Bush's opening statement at his news conference on Wednesday was striking for what it left out: any mention of the 31 Americans who died overnight in the crash of a Marine helicopter in Iraq, the largest number of American deaths in a single incident since the war began. Mr. Bush instead focused on his long-term goal of "ending tyranny in our world," and then cast the Iraqi election coming Sunday as part of a march of freedom around the globe. He said that if he had told the reporters in the room a few years before that the Iraqi people would be voting, "you would look at me like some of you still look at me, with a kind of blank expression." [...]

Though the tone of the news conference was at times light and bantering, in response to a question later Mr. Bush did address the helicopter crash: "Obviously any time we lose life it is a sad moment," he said. [...] "It's almost a policy," said the adviser, who asked not to be named because the president does not want aides talking about the inner workings of the White House, "because if you mention one, you have to mention them all."

I'm not even going to comment on the insensitivity of this because I think it speaks for itself. Bush is trying to run a faith-based foreign policy. He has faith in the fact that if he just ignores the negative and accentuates the positive, we'll all be fine and Iraq will be a beacon of freedom, democracy, and liberty. This is not going to happen as long as George W. Bush has any measure of influence on our foreign policy and the sooner he realizes this, the better off we're going to be. I admire Senator Ted Kennedy for publicly saying what no doubt many of his peers are thinking to themselves:
''The U.S. military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution,'' Kennedy said in a speech to Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. ''We need a new plan that sets fair and realistic goals for self-government in Iraq, and works with the Iraqi government on a specific timetable for the honorable homecoming of our forces.''
Bush likes to talk about our "long-term goals" as if they are justification for the mess he created. The fact is, Bush has never defined anything resembling a concrete goal when it comes to Iraq. Freedom and democracy are dreams, not goals. Moreover, he's never actually addressed the logistics of our plan to achieve whatever the hell it is we're trying to achieve. It was always frustrating for me during the election when people would criticize Kerry for not having a real plan for Iraq. Although that might have been true, it would have been nice for these people to hold the President to the same standard, since he is our Commander and Chief and he's never really said what his plan is. Personally, I've always been a bit concerned about the cut and run option. I've never been sure that it wouldn't make things worse and create a situation that we would have to eventually deal with on a much more dangerous scale. But at this point, I have zero confidence in this Administration's ability to competently deal with the situation, so I'm beginning to rethink whether getting the hell out of there might not be such a bad idea.