Sunday, July 15, 2007

Delusions of Churchillian Grandeur

Bush loves to compare himself, outwardly and not, to Churchill. He reputedly keeps a bust of Churchill in his office. He equates the Iraq war to a slog through hell, and knows his idol would advise him to "keep going."
But just as Bush half-assed his way through Yale and the Texas Air National Guard, he apparently neglected to read deeper than the Bartlett's Familiar Quotations version of Churchill. Hell, he didn't even read all of that. If he had, he would know that the second part of the familiar "never give up" quotation was a qualifier: "except to convictions of honor and good sense."
The Australian has some interesting analysis of comparisons between Bush and Churchill. The web news magazine notes that

The report [on progress in Iraq] will give more political cover to those calling for the US to quit Iraq or, to use a more inconvenient and ominous historical analogy, more calls for the US to stop wasting its blood and treasure in the "thankless deserts" of Iraq. That phrase was first used by Churchill in 1919 as British war secretary when he consistently advised Britain's withdrawal from Mesopotamia, as Iraq was then known.

"I hate Iraq. I wish we had never gone to the place," Churchill would say later.

Whether one day Bush will feel that way remains to be seen. For now he's in no mood to give any comfort to Republicans who want a change in strategy and to bring combat troops home.

"When we start drawing down our forces in Iraq, it will be because our military commanders say the conditions on the ground are right, not because pollsters say it'll be good politics," Bush said. Iraq, he said, can, and must be, won.

Now, it's certainly no secret that Bush is not the sharpest tool in the shed. He'll be lucky to get a "gentleman's C+" from historians when he finally bows out. But you don't have to be a genius to read the writing on the wall. When the level-headed leaders of the party are questioning your judgment, you might want to listen. You're better off with backing from Richard Lugar than you are with backing from John Boehner. It's not about polls, it's about common sense. Stop attacking those in your party who finally have the courage to call a spade a spade. Get a clue, and get us the hell out of Iraq.

No comments: