Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Monday, April 14, 2008

WAR -- The Money [Part 12]

Lame duck is the label for an elected official whose term in office is coming to an end. Power and influence wanes during the lame duck period. It’s not a time for new initiatives. Solidifying a legacy is the usual pattern Presidents follow. What is Bush’s legacy? What is Bush solidifying? He’s a short-timer asking us to believe all the good he has done in Iraq will pay off in fifty years or so. Bush should check in with John McCain every now and then. (If McCain will let him get anywhere near him before the November election.) By one McCain estimate, in fifty years we’ll only be half way home from Iraq. Only a short fifty years away from the good stuff the Bush legacy is supposed to yield.

The lameness of the duck that is George W. Bush will be crippling this nation for the rest of the century.
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New York Times April 13, 2008
Editorial
All the Time He Needs

President Bush said last week that he told his Iraq war commander, Gen. David Petraeus, that “he’ll have all the time he needs.” We know what that means. It means that the general, like the Iraqi government, should feel no pressure to figure a way out of this disastrous war. It means that even after 20,000 troops come home there will be nearly 140,000 American troops still fighting there — with no plan for further withdrawals and no plan for leading them to victory.

It means, as we’ve always suspected, that Mr. Bush’s only real strategy for Iraq has been to hand the mess off to his successor. Mr. Bush gave himself all the time he needs to walk away from one of the biggest strategic failures in American history. . . . As they say in the military, Mr. Bush is a short-timer, so why should he worry?

The faltering American economy also cannot afford this never-ending war. Mr. Bush’s description of his latest emergency spending request as a “reasonable $108 billion” proves just how out of touch he is with fiscal reality. His attempt to justify the overall $600 billion cost so far by comparing his war to the cold war and the need to stop “Soviet expansion” shows that he is even more out of touch with strategic reality.

Make the Iraqis Pick Up the Check
Even some of the war’s most enthusiastic G.O.P. backers on Capitol Hill are joining the Democrats to demand that the Iraqis start paying for military training and the fuel bill for American soldiers. We suspect that has a lot to do with voters’ fury over high gasoline prices, the mortgage crisis and the lagging economy.

The Iraqi government is estimated to keep $27 billion in reserves in its central bank, $30 billion more in American banks and tens of billions of dollars elsewhere. If they have to pick up more of the check, Iraqi leaders may be more eager to focus on political reform and improved military training.

Full article HERE.

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