The Great Communicator he isn’t. Teflon he’s not. But after watching George W. Bush’s Rose Garden press conference today, for a president – he’s got true grit.
By all accounts – both media and military – the situation on the ground in Baghdad is not good. In fact, it’s down right bad. We’re only 11 days into October and the sectarian violence is on par to be one of the worst months since the war began in 2003. But as the president said, he’s sticking to his guns.
It is conceivable that there will be a world in which radical forms -- extreme forms of religion fight each other for influence in the Middle East; in which they've got the capacity to use oil as an economic weapon. And when you throw into that mix a nuclear weapon in the hands of a sworn enemy of the United States, you begin to see an environment that would cause some later on in history to look back and say, "How come they couldn't see the problem? What happened to them in the year 2006? Why weren't they able to see the problems now and deal with them before it came too late?" And so Iraq is an important part of dealing with this problem. And my vow to the American people is I understand the stakes, and I understand what it would mean for us to leave before the job is done.
That isn’t to say that President’s Bush’s policy in Iraq is the right one. In fact, I think it’s almost inevitable that major changes will be made. Nevertheless, the president made it abundantly clear that he believes withdrawing now before the Iraqis are able to fend for themselves would be a disaster.
Only history will tell if the grit of George W. Bush was the key to our grandchildren’s future security or the makings for the biggest foreign policy disaster of the 21st century. And likely, the mid-term elections will be an early referendum on what the American people think about it.
Hugo Chavez got raucous applause when he told a crowd in Harlem that “Bush acts like a cowboy and walks like John Wayne.” But if would-be nuts with nukes fear Rooster Cogburn, then so be it!
I can be reached for questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.