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.


  1. Sandy P says:

    Or actually communicating w/us more.

  2. jim hamlen says:


    You are exactly right. Because now, no matter the evils of Syria (or the relative ease
    with which it could be changed, and the benefits of doing so), it won’t happen. Given the
    situation in D.C., we couldn’t even get consensus on attacking Khartoum to “free” Darfur
    (even if Sudan is in ‘violation’ of UN agreements).

  3. Orrin says:

    To the contrary, one of the easiest ways for W to control an unruly opposition would be to just start another war.

  4. jim hamlen says:

    OJ, in your glib way, you are correct. But I’m afraid the President has lost his mojo.
    And his keen edge. And Robert Gates is not the man to be SecDef if that is what George
    Bush is going to do. He would have done better nominating Bono.

  5. Orrin says:

    Gates is a good bureaucrat, which is all Rummy is. If there’s a war he can run it. Meanwhile there’s a military to be modernized.

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