Thursday, September 13, 2007

Iraq: Truth and Consequences

This is, indeed, in the President’s opening words, “a moment that decides the direction of a country and reveals the character of its people.”

In its way, the speech was moving. An American could hardly help but thrill to the prospects it outlined.

If only it had been true!

From the mysterious 36 nations, to the assertion of oil revenue-sharing, to the “real improvements in Iraqi daily life,” to our being asked to stay but by a government we installed, to the assertion that “this is a way forward we can all agree on” – this was a fiction delivered by a man who is used to lying without footprints, without challenge.

It was, indeed, bizarre.

The test of our national character is whether we will permit the lies to stand. Will we, as a nation, be complicit in the panicked fantasy of a man whose sole objective is not to be the President who loses this war?

First, two facts.

One, this war was lost the day this President ordered it, and a body of commentary from the Left and from moderates exists to prove that the outcome was predicted time and time again by people who live in the real world.

Two, our kids must not be asked to sacrifice life, limb, happiness, and sanity in order to protect a man and a party from the just consequences of a disastrous willed policy.

If we fail to draw that sacred line, the delusion and the train of lies and losses it will necessitate, become our own.

Bush looked like Alfred E. Neuman tonight, too small for his desk, eyes riveted on a script. He looked the part of a shoe salesman hiding behind a general -- an ambitious and duplicitous general, but a general nonetheless. He looked the part of a man with a small mission bought at a great price: to save himself at the cost of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and American lives.

This is indeed a moment that decides the direction of a nation. Will it be toward rooting out jihadists at home and abroad, or will it be toward perpetuating a catastrophe in order to perpetuate profiteering, corruption, and war?

This is indeed a moment that decides the character of a people? What do we stand for, America?