Thursday, January 27, 2005

ANSWER ME THIS. I listened to President Bush's press conference yesterday. And I listened to the confirmation hearings for Condoleeza Rice. I come away with one linger question. Answer me this (Texas-style colloquialism intended):
"Why can't President Bush or any of his staff bring themselves to admit to an iota of error, mistake, shading, misjudging, misleading, lying, or undue reliance on questionable information relating to their emphatic and impassioned charges (a) that Iraq was harboring terrorists, (b) that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, or (c) that Iraq was in any way connected to the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001?"

PATHOLOGICAL AVOIDANCE. Mr. Bush simply will not answer any such question directly or indirectly. Bush staff ignore the queries of one member of the press corps after another. They sidestep the direct interrogations of one Congressional leader after another. They change the subject. They subvert the conversation. They stonewall. It has reached a point of pathological avoidance.

HOUSE OF CARDS. Why? Why can't they answer the question directly or indirectly? I can only conclude that to admit to any such error they must think their house-of-cards rationales for the war and credibility for continuing it will come crashing in. It will, eventually, with or without their direct response to simple, probing questions. But they should consider how the American public and history will look upon their tactics.

CLINTONESQUE. The pathological avoidance of the Bush administration to the question of justification for the Iraq War is worse than President Clinton's pathological dodging of simple questions about philandering with an intern. Clinton's lies took no lives. This Administration's stonewall stance has thus far cost over 1,300 American and untold thousands of Iraqi lives and left us reeling with an unprecedented deficit.

Please, ladies and gentlemen, just answer the questions.


  1. Do you want admittance or public repentance? You’re asking much from an office whose actions supposedly speak for the entire country.

    Been reading your comments for a while now and have been genuinely challenged. But I’ve come to an area of disagreement concerning your stance on the war and current policy.

    IF the war on Iraq in hindsight creates a social structure that the people living there have freedoms, privileges and opportunities similar to what we have here –then history will make W as heroic as Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Wilson. The tragedy of our sacrifice will stand as picture of Christ’s, something I’d love for our country to embrace. Right now we are culture of selfish consumers, thus the public outcry.

    If it’s just another Vietnamese quagmire, well we should leave, probably as soon as we can. I’m no expert on the situation over there but peace at any cost sometimes means indifference –the opposite of love.

  2. The comment just made reveals several twisted presuppositions that are at the heart of the sell-job of the Bush Adminsitration on Iraq and other policies:

    1. Error #1: The end (freedom) will justify the means (unprovoked and ill-conceived war and follow-up), even if the basis for the "preventive" war were erroneous, misleading, and/or false.

    2. Error #2: Forge ahead and pretend nothing that has occurred can be admitted as error, misjudgment, mistake. In theologically responsible circles this is called sin borne by pride. The most heinous catastrophes in history have been carried out this way.

    3. Error #3: Never second-guess an authority figure you have pinned your political or theological hopes on. To do so would, I suppose, unravel your core presuppositions about life, grace, politics, and the future. And you'd have to find a new hero to worship.

    4. Error #4: Bush is a heroic historic figure in the making. It is laughable and offensive to compare what Bush has done regarding Iraq to what Roosevelt did regarding the great depression and World War II. You might want to just think for a few moments about that one before you make it ever again.

    5. Error #5: Comparing American sacrifices in Iraq to the sacrifice of Christ for us is, again, an irresponsible and heretical perspective. It is wrong in what it presumes about the nature of Jesus CHrist, it is ignorant of his actions and the meaning of his actions, and it makes the lethal connection that justifies American agression in the name of Christian redemption and theological freedom.

    6. Error #6: The fact that America is, in fact, a culture of selfish consumers is not the reason for the public outcry against the war in Iraq and other Bush policies. It is because, in spite of being force-fed consumerism and citizen satiation from the top down, most Americans still have conscience enough to recognize moral wrong and misguided leadership when they see it.

    7. Error #7: To leave Iraq would mean indifference, and therefore the absence of love. Huh? Shall we begin to count the publics and countries and lives to whom the Bush policies have been and continue to be indifferent?

    It has become clear that American presence in Iraq is now more of a hindrance to the development of a democracy or any sort of self-determined governmental structure. I do not know if it is, as the commenter suggests, a quagmire like Vietnam. I believe that the presuppositions for this war were wrong, that the conduct of it has been wrong, and that it cannot be justified morally; therefore, this Administrations and all Americans are complicit in a great sin. So, yes, public repentance is what is called for. Tall order? Yes. Likely? No. Impossible? No. The right thing to do? Yes.

    It seems to me that the Bush Adminsitration has taken such vast liberties, expended such vast amounts of taxpayer money, and now taken the lives of so many American youths, that it must feel like it cannot reverse itself or admit wrong and still save face. In that sense the Bush regime seems to be in a tragic, not a heroic, posture.

  3. John, so much appreciate your points. You are correct in assuming that myself and those who seem to trust our current leadership WANT to believe that Mr. Bush, being a Christian and a so-called praying one, is doing his level best with what he has to work with. As far a swallowing a sell job, it’s very easy to do (for most) considering the talk-show blather and 30 second sound-bite piecemeal information that that is available.

    Please! Point me to unbiased, expert, factual commentary with viewpoints from real people affected by actual events. I’m starved for that kind of reporting. I’m quite full of the emotional, emphatic drastic swing of the pendulum that I constantly hear. Yours being one of those.

    Unprovoked and Ill-conceived? If my son and his friends was receiving taunts, harassment and threats of more violence by a bully over an extended time and then finally took it upon himself to clock the antagonist in the jaw drawing blood, I’d probably applaud him. Go ahead and give a knee-jerk response to trivialize this simplistic analogy. Again, I WANT to believe it is valid.

    Truth is that President Bush is not my hero. Probably more so than anything I pity him. I’m so thankful I design graphics not administer the world’s largest superpower. Been moved to pray for him to have wisdom in the face of such huge responsibility. How God answers my prayers, I don’t know, I just trust.

    “Any alleged Christianity which fails to express itself in cheerfulness, at some point, is clearly spurious. The Christian is cheerful, not because he is blind to injustice and suffering, but because he is convinced that these, in the light of the divine sovereignty, are never ultimate.” --Elton Trueblood

    So that’s my choice. I either have to trust cheerfully that my appointed leader is God’s man and he’s in control (God not W) and that this war as ugly as it is, will be eventually be over. Although tragic is not the ultimate end of the age and if/when the history books write things down, it’ll be better understood.

    OR There’s a possibility that Mr. Bush is in direct rebellion of the Holy Spirit’s leading, is driving us into destruction and the justified focus of the problem. I don’t see it, maybe I don’t want to see it? Only those close to him know for sure. Are you that close?

  4. Thanks for your comments and response back, mmstar. Obviously, our perspectives diverge dramatically on these points. Best wishes to you in your graphic design efforts.


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