Tuesday | July 22, 2003
The disappearing President
By Steve Gilliard
Meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Crawford today, it seems, with almost no fanfare, Bush has relocated to his Texas ranch until Labor Day.
The White House won't call it his month long vacation, because they plan to cover it with a bunch of day trips in August where he can "discuss" the economy. But in essence, Bush is out of the White House and plans to be out of the White House for the better part of six weeks.
He'll pop in and out, of course, but one can bet most of his time will be spent clearing brush on his sheepless, cowless, purposeless ranch. While Ward 57 gets a bunch more wounded, and US troops patrol in Iraq, we can be assured that Bush will have nearly six weeks of downtime, enlivened by the odd trip or two.
But then, Bush has been hiding for a while. He uses the CIA and the British to defend his decisions, even as the evidence becomes more farcical by the day. When will the President act like a leader and accept accountability for something, anything. Men are dying in Iraq on his orders. His policy isn't working and he has the temerity to claim it's about 16 words and the American people want to get beyond it.
There are 20 year olds with prosthetic legs who aren't getting past anything about Iraq. Its altered their lives permenently. If you ask for sacrifice, the reasons at least need to be sound. But with each passing day, you don't get accountability from the White House, but the nastiest slurs and innuendo. Joe Wilson's wife is exposed as a CIA officer, ABC reporter Jeffrey Koffman is smeared as a gay Canadian on Drudge, despite the fact that he did a big interview with the nation's leading gay magazine, the Advocate.
Here's a simple question for the White House political staff: do you think your smears hold the same power as the story of a young officer who's lost both his limbs and is seeking to recover his life?
Because the people going after the Bush Administration are not worried about smears, but the men in places like Walter Reed and Bethesda. There is nothing you can say about a Joe Wilson, or any reporter that is as bad as being a 20-something amputee or watching parents bury a dead 19 year old.
Their sense of duty goes beyond party or election and to the nation. Maybe they feel that if the President claims a need to go to war, that his words reflect something like the truth and not a series of evasions, overstatements and outright lies. It may only be 16 words in the West Wing, but it is an arm, a leg, a future, a life to at least 1300 families in this country.
Every time the White House, their political servants or their right wing apologists use those words, they insult those families, who have a perfect right to know if the sacrifice of their loved ones was based on a danger to this country or distortions to begin the quest for a new imperial order.Posted July 22, 2003 02:31 AM