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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What took you So Long?

Whitney M. Duck Bio

There has been a lot a buzz and dissecting of the new book written by Scott McClellan, "What Happened, Inside the Bush White House" . All I can say to Mr. McClellan is what took you so long? The cruel irony is there really is not any new news within this "tell all" book. It appears to be a book giving more details to what we already know or, should have known, for a very long time - the war in Iraq was not necessary.

What even becomes more evident is that the war was "sold" to the American people. I am sure that Mr. McClellan brings forward a new voice and perhaps some insight and some hindsight to the conversation but the truth remains the same. The United States went to war on a whim and the American people got sold a lie. The war in Iraq was not necessary. This is news? Maybe to some out there who are still die hard Iraq supporters and maybe this book will shock a few but on the whole, many Americans have already come to this conclusion, with or without the help of the current Administration.

The true tragedy with this new insight is that Mr. McClellan's book will not change the current policy towards the war. The only people who will benefit from this book are the moneymakers (publisher and author, etc.). In many ways; this book will not sway many who sit on the conservative side of the political fence. They will view Mr. McClellan as a turncoat and trader. The left side will feel a bit more justified and be able to say, "See, I told you so".

I happened to be with a group of friends the other day, strong leaning Democrats, who still can not believe that the American public is not " up in arms" and " hitting the streets" about the Bush Administration and the war. My answer to this inquiry is very simple; too few of us are affected by Iraq and the war. Quite frankly, the war has been pushed back to page three in the newspapers. The local and national TV news does not cover the war with the same intensity it once did. The war is being slowly pushed to the back burner in favor of Democratic infighting and gas prices. Now that that the
monthly solider/marine death toll is slowly inching downward and suicide bombings are being conducted further and further apart, our media outlets are giving less and less attention. The coverage of the war has waned a bit.

Is the question Americans do not care anymore about the war? No, I do not believe this is true but I do believe that Americans have become some what numb to the war and the mess that the war has brought forth. During the presidential campaign races, there has been an idea floated to; "let the new Administration handle it". Both Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton see the war differently.

Personally, I no longer care who voted for the war and who did not. I would like to hear about a solution on how to get out of this mess. McCain's idea of a never ending occupation is a bit on the scary side. With his military experience aside, Senator McCain, this might not be such a terrific solution. Whether a Democrat or a Republican sits in the oval office in 2009, the war in Iraq will loom big on the horizon. Being either pro or anti war does not seem to have the same pop as it once did. The war is a huge mess and fixing the puzzle will take much more then "cut and run", a slow and steady troop withdrawal, or a constant military presence.

Ending the Iraq war is going to take a multi year approach. Oil rights, government, rebuilding, Middle East policy, the conduct of US forces and the idea of possible war crimes against civilians will all have to be dealt with. No matter what side of the fence we sit on, liberal or conservative, there is not going to be an easy or graceful exit. There will be winners and losers.

To fight among ourselves on who was right all along and who really messed this war up, is not looking over the next sand dune. The facts are that the United States is in the Middle East and now we must begin to repair all of the damage. The United Sates must rebuild relationships within Iraq and with the countries that line its boarder. The United States must take the good, bad and ugly and begin to repair the country that we broke. The next President must ensure the safety of Americans against future terrorism and that might just mean, talking to the bad guys, whoever they may be. The task at hand is huge and should not be taken lightly.

If anything, Scott McClellan's book points out is that more then one voice of reason might be needed before the United States commits itself to another armed conflict. Although it is the ultimate decision of the President, other opinions weighing in can only be more helpful and more insightful. Having too much arrogance or being too stubborn is not a good thing. It is not a character flaw to ask for help or advice. Hubris is a dirty word when it comes to world affairs. There are too many different cultures in the world.

The United States is a wonderful model in the workings of a democracy but, exporting democracy does not always work. Our own country went through many, many different thoughts processes over time before the final Constitution was written. Having the idea in your head or in your heart is not enough. It takes hard work and some mistakes. Sometimes it is better for the country to not act on every impulse that is in someones head. Talking and negotiation often work to our advantage. Democracy at the end of a gun just does not work! Sadly, somebody or some country, you had not thought of just might be in the crossfire!

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