My visit with the President: Getting asked to the Pentagon and the White House was an honour, but it was also disheartening (MARK STEYN, 11/09/06, Macleans)
“I ran into a kid the other day who used to work here,” mused George W. Bush, “and he goes to a famous law school, and he said, ‘The problem, Mr. President, is people don’t believe we’re at war.’ I not only believe we’re at war, I know we’re at war.”
It’s not something previous commanders-in-chief have had to point out, and the President’s curious situation might have taxed even the leaders whose busts adorn the Oval Office — Lincoln, Churchill, Eisenhower. To some Americans, Mr. Bush is a wartime president engaged in the same scale of existential struggle as that eminent trio. To others, the “wartime” is largely a concoction of the President: there’s no war, except for the photo op gone awry the neo-cons chose to stage in Iraq. To others — supporters of the wartime President back in the early days — it’s a slightly different problem: Mr. Bush may be in war mode, but the war itself isn’t. There was a sense, between 9/11 and the fall of Baghdad, that the United States was making up for lost time. Now time ticks on, in Iran and elsewhere.
Which is why the better strategy would have been to withdraw from Iraq quicker and do Syria and North Korea, moving from victory to victory.