Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hail to the Chief

Canada, like more than 30 other countries, is involved in the Global War Without End on Terror. We tend to think of our involvement in Afghanistan in isolation. We see what our forces are doing, or trying to do, but don't see much else unless it makes the headlines. For example, other than perhaps Britain, we've lost sight of the other NATO nations with troops in Afghanistan.

We've also lost sight of who is really running this show. When it's all stripped away the boss is George Bush. His decisions (he is after all The Decider) pretty much decide what everyone else does. That goes for NATO too where the top general is, as always, American.

The war we're waging in Afghanistan now has been made immeasurably more difficult, more dangerous by decisions taken by The Decider four years ago. Canadians are dying because of this goof.

Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame, has just written a new book, "State of Denial", in which he gives us a glimpse of the man who would be Commander in Chief of the free world. The New York Times reviewed this book today:

"In Bob Woodward’s highly anticipated new book, “State of Denial,” President Bush emerges as a passive, impatient, sophomoric and intellectually incurious leader, presiding over a grossly dysfunctional war cabinet and given to an almost religious certainty that makes him disinclined to rethink or re-evaluate decisions he has made about the war. It’s a portrait that stands in stark contrast to the laudatory one Mr. Woodward drew in “Bush at War,” his 2002 book, which depicted the president — in terms that the White House press office itself has purveyed — as a judicious, resolute leader, blessed with the “vision thing” his father was accused of lacking and firmly in control of the ship of state.

"As this new book’s title indicates, Mr. Woodward now sees Mr. Bush as a president who lives in a state of willful denial about the worsening situation in Iraq, a president who insists he won’t withdraw troops, even “if Laura and Barney are the only ones who support me.” (Barney is Mr. Bush’s Scottish terrier.) "

This isn't the type of leader we need. The history books are full of his type of wartime commander and their names are inevitably associated with fiasco and disaster.

Now, of course, Bush is turning on his own people again, hoping that by fanning the embers of their fears he can herd them back one more time into the Republican corral for the mid-term congressional elections. Once again he's impugning the patriotism of any who criticize him. Again he's taking the damning intelligence against him and trying to spin it so hard that he can claim it supports him.

This man is a failure deserving nothing beyond our contempt.

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