Bush’s failure of leadership

The angriest column I’ve read in the NYT to date.

The nation seems paralyzed, unsure of what to do about Iraq or terrorism. The failure of leadership that led to the bonehead decision to invade Iraq remains painfully evident today. Nobody seems to know where we go from here.

What Americans need more than anything else right now is some honest information about the critical situations we’re facing.

What’s the military mission in Iraq? Can it be clearly defined? Is it achievable? At what cost and over what time frame? How many troops will be needed? How many casualties are we willing to accept? And how much suffering are we willing to endure here at home in terms of the domestic needs that are unmet?

Neither Lyndon Johnson nor Richard Nixon was honest with the American people about Vietnam, and the result was a monumental tragedy. George W. Bush has not leveled with the nation about Iraq, and we are again trapped in a long, tragic nightmare.

As for the so-called war on terror, there is no evidence yet that the administration has a viable plan for counteracting Al Qaeda and its America-hating allies, offshoots and imitators. Whether this week’s clumsy sequence of press conferences, leaks and alerts was politically motivated or not, the threat to the U.S. is both real and grave. And it can’t be thwarted with military power alone.

Does the administration have any real sense of what motivates the nation’s enemies? Does it understand the ways in which American policies are empowering its enemies? Does it grasp the crucial importance of international alliances and coordinated intelligence activity in fighting terror? And is it even beginning to think seriously about lessening our debilitating dependence on Middle Eastern oil?

The United States is the greatest military and economic power in the history of the planet. But it lacks a unifying sense of national purpose at the moment, and seems uncertain, even timid, as the national security challenges continue to mount. That is what a failure of leadership can do to a great power.

A failure of leadership. Indeed. And national security is somehow seen as bush’s strong point!! It’s actually his very most miserable failure, even worse than his wreckage of the US economy.

Read the whole thing; it’s among Herbert’s very best pieces.

The Discussion: One Comment

In Australia a number of people are saying ‘enough is enough’. Some 40 former military chiefs and top public servants are coming out to condemn the Prime Minister (Bush’s ally in the Coalition of the Willing) for what some Americans are now suspecting of their president.

Read Sydney Morning Herald http://smh.com.au/articles/2004/08/07/1091732147995.html

“A who’s who of Australian military chiefs, departmental heads and diplomats will reportedly launch a scathing attack on Prime Minister John Howard’s foreign policy and call for “truth in government”.

The 40 high profile people will sign a statement expected to “strongly condemn the misleading of the Australian people over the reasons for invading Iraq”, The Sun-Herald reported.

The statement will say that “if what the government says cannot be trusted by its own citizens, Australia cannot expect its word to be trusted internationally,” the paper said.

It said it was understood the statement would call for Australia to stop “rubber stamping” United States policies.”

August 7, 2004 @ 8:25 am | Comment

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