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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Credibility chasm

Trust me. That in essence is George Bush's message to the world this holiday season. Oh we screwed up some and yes my opponents have a right to draw the breath of life (for now) but we must stay the course.

Reassuring. Humble. The early reviews are just what the spin doctors ordered. And make sure Dick Cheney is around to kick the cat. The folks are so obsessed with secrecy that they don't tell our friends they are coming for a visit.

As usual, W's wordsmithies were on target. Make what sounds like a conciliatory gesture, then come back with an alleged trusim that offers no room for dissent.
"I have heard your disagreement and I know how deeply it is felt," Bush said. "Yet now there are only two options before our country: victory or defeat."
How about a third way: empowering Iraqis to take over the push for their own destiny and not some course predetermined by the White House situation room.

This Times analysis also clearly lays out who the "enemy" is.
Mr. Bush's use of the term "defeatists" lay at the rhetorical crux of his new argument. The main obstacle, he now contends, is not the insurgency or the anti-American sentiment in Iraq; it is the risk that Americans will give up too early and let terrorists believe they have intimidated "America into a policy of retreat." It is an argument he made forcefully in the four speeches that preceded his Oval Office address, when he contended that Al Qaeda believed that Americans would abandon Iraq as they abandoned Vietnam.
As Pogo said: "we have met the enemy and he is us."

Until George Bush learns the world is full of grays and not the stark black and white nothing will change. The recent Iraqi elections appear to be a good thing. But what will happen if the nation we have prodded toward democracy opts for a fundamentalist Shiite model (a distinct possiblity based on their constitution)? What if that nation's leaders treat its citizens with the same contempt and disrespect for the rule of law as this nation's?

If Lyndon Johnson had a credibility gap, this Texas president has a Grand Canyon of credibility he needs to close. And spying on us won't do the job.


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