Friday, March 31, 2006

Letters, Oh I Get Letters (Again)

Reader Joann Geary writes to the Pilot:

Did Rhoades Forget?

From a registered Democrat:

Uh-huh. Sure.

In response to Dusty Rhoades’ March 19 column mentioning deviant behavior of high profile Republicans, he says, “... a black Democratic politician (say Jesse Jackson) accused of this sort of thing would be lucky not to be given a symbolic public flogging of Clintonian proportions.”

It was not so long ago that Jesse Jackson diverted monies from his tax-exempt organization, PUSH — The Rainbow Coalition, to support his mistress and their illegitimate child. Where was, where is, the rage?

Ummm....I don't know if you've been paying attention, snookums, but I hear about this from every Republican who ever mentions Jesse Jackson. Which was precisely my point.

Yet there are people who even now contribute to PUSH, which still has its tax-exempt status, and Mr. Jackson maintains his status as a clergyman. As for Al Sharpton’s criminal activities, we’ll save that for another day.

And George Dubbya Bush is still the President. Your point?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Our Flexible President

Latest Newspaper Column:

You know, I think people are being a little unfair to George Dubbya Bush, at least in one respect.

One of the criticisms leveled against him and his administration is that they’re inflexible, that they never, ever change their minds. But in recent statements given by Bush, you can see lots of ways in which the president has been way more than flexible, especially given the history of the past three years of his Wacky Iraqi Adventure.

For example, back in 2003, President Bush was pretty definite about the connection between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks. Not only did he waste no opportunity to mention Iraq and 9/11 in the same sentence, but he also sent this to Congress: “The use of armed forces against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.”

Now, however, the president is showing great flexibility, so much that he’s even changed his mind about what he actually already said. “I don’t think we ever said — at least I know I didn’t say — that there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein,” he insisted in a recent statement to the press.

He’s apparently also changed his mind about former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. Back in 2004, when Allawi came to the U.S. and painted a rosy picture of the situation in Iraq, some, including then-presidential candidate John Kerry, dared question him. Bush spoke up in Allawi’s defense: “[Allawi’s] a brave, brave man. When he came, after giving a speech to the Congress, my opponent questioned his credibility. You can’t change the dynamics on the ground if you’ve criticized the brave leader of Iraq.”

Now, however, Allawi has warned that his country isn’t just on the brink of civil war, they’re already there. So our flexible Leader has adapted in order to sing a different tune. When asked if he agreed with Allawi’s assessment of the current Iraqi situation, Bush criticized Mr. Allawi firmly, clearly and unequivocally, “No, I do not,” he said. “There are other voices coming out of Iraq, by the way, other than Mr. Allawi.”

Ooh, snap! Take that, guy whose credibility could not formerly be questioned! Now that’s flexibility! Of course Iraq’s not in a civil war. They won’t be in a civil war until they’re dressing in blue and gray uniforms and one side is singing “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Duh.

And take Donald “Rummy” Rumsfeld. My goodness, no one can ever accuse Rummy of being inflexible.

Back in February 2003, Rummy was saying this about the coming conflict in Iraq: “It is not knowable if force will be used, but if it is to be used, it is not knowable how long that conflict would last. It could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”

Now, of course, it’s three years later, and Rummy’s already told us it’s going to be a “long slog.” And George Dubbya is backing him up, saying now that the question of when the troops will finally leave Iraq will be decided by “future presidents and future governments of Iraq.”

That’s right, folks, the Bush administration, whose secretary of defense once told us that he doubted the conflict would last six months, is now talking about deployments that will end sometime after the inauguration of the next president — in 2009!

But the flexibility of the Bushistas doesn’t end there. On Feb. 2, 2006, when Rummy was asked by reporters at the Pentagon, “Is this going to be a long war?” he answered firmly, “I don’t think it is.”

It’s six months at the outside! It’s a long slog! It’s going to end sometime after 2009! But it won’t be long!

Inflexible? Gumby would be jealous at how flexible these people can be. Not only are they capable of changing their minds, they can do so from year to year, month to month, week to week and day to day. Then they can change them right back again.

Some people might call this “flip-flopping.” Some might call it “intellectual dishonesty.” The people who would say such things are probably liberal, and very likely French. I for one call it “strong leadership.”

After all, what says “strong leadership” more than a firm refusal to be fettered by the ideas and statements of the past, even ideas and statements that you yourself have previously declared to be your very own principles and beliefs?

God bless our flexible President. And God bless America.