Monday, August 22, 2005

President Bush as a Contractor - Another Way of Looking at Bush's Rhetoric

Today, President Bush said that "a policy of retreat and isolation will not bring us safety" and that "Terrorists in foreign lands still hope to attack our country. We must confront threats before they fully materialize." He described terrorists as "ruthless" and said that terrorists are "fighting on behalf of a hateful ideology that despises everything America stands for." Does this sound anything like a new message on the War in Iraq, or one that shows consideration of the latest polls on the War? Not to this set of ears.

Let's remove today's speech on the war from its politically-sensitive issue: the war. Let's even remove it from politics altogether. Say you're a contractor chosen by a family to do major remodeling of their home. You begin your work with a boom, knocking down the back wall of the house to prepare for ultimately expanding the kitchen an additional ten feet into the backyard. Everything is going as planned. Your early work goes on smoothly and the family seems pleased with how things are going.

But the progress of the project begins to slow, and the family raises some questions. The addition to the house doesn't look the way they had expected it to look and they ask you about it. Or maybe they notice that you're running behind schedule, that tasks that were supposed to be done on a certain date aren't accomplished until a month later and they bring that to your attention. What if you just assure them that "we're on the right track," even when there's considerable evidence that you're not? What if you say that "everything's on schedule" even when it clearly isn't? How long will you be on the job after giving those kinds of oblivious answers?

I know the President doesn't drive around an Astrovan or wear paint-speckled jeans, and I know that a President can't be disposed of as easily as a contractor can. But the President is chosen by the people and, like a contractor, he is accountable to those people. Calling for some accountability on Iraq from President Bush isn't based on opposition to the war. It isn't about politics. As Jack said, the President has an obligation to be frank with his clients, the American people, whom this war is supposed to make safer and more secure. If these lines that we've heard again and again don't seem to be convincing people of the war's importance and success, come up with new lines. No one's necessarily asking the President to change the military tactics of this war, just his talking points. It would be in his best interest as a public servant to comply.

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