how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died?

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Blowing in the Wind

The generals who told President Bush before the war that Donald Rumsfeld’s shock-and-awe fantasy would not work were not enough to persuade him to change his strategy in Iraq. The rise of the insurgency did not do the trick. Nor did month after month of mounting military and civilian casualties on all sides, the emergence of a near civil war, the collapse of reconstruction efforts or the seeming inability of either Iraqi or American forces to secure contested parts of Iraq, including Baghdad, for any significant period.

So what finally, after all this time, caused Mr. Bush to very publicly consult with his generals to consider a change in tactics in Iraq? The president, who says he never reads political polls, is worried that his party could lose some of its iron grip on power in the Congressional elections next month.

Many of us over the last few years have been speculating over Bush and the neocon’s sick obsession with Iraq. While Righty pundits deny it now, we all have plenty of evidence directly from the horses mouth that they tied Iraq in various ways to September 11, 2001. BushCo and just about every segment of the media called Iraq the front in the “war on terror” – a strategic impossibility, but made for the kind of nice mindless sound bite that has feed the conservative rise to power, like so many lame soulless cliches . It has to fit on a bumper sticker stupid. Though Bush and his Cult of followers may still kneel and face K-Street as they cross their little hearts and hope to die that the “fly-paper” will still work, we all know that even a fly wouldn’t buy into that crack-pot scheme to rid the world of terrorism – it was just a fall back rationale anyway – British officials believed the U.S. favored military force a year before the war, documents show. Just a month ago Bush has once again made the rounds making the claim that he will “stay the course” and that there will be troops in Iraq as long as he is president. Now a few weeks before elections Bush is consulting his generals. Which is a lot like pulling out your tonsils with a pair of pliers and then calling your doctor; given the Republican record of dismal failure wrapped in happy talk this development isn’t shocking to most people. Americans with even a modicum of common sense have been looking at the actions of Bush and his supporters with a cock-eyed disbelief for at least two years now. We’re all parents now and we’re hoping the that at the very least the kids won’t burn down the house.

But the way this sudden change of heart has come about, after months in which Mr. Bush has brushed off all criticism of his policies as either misguided, politically motivated or downright disloyal to America, is maddening. For far too long, the White House has looked upon the war as a tactical puzzle for campaign strategists. The early notion of combining Iraq and the war on terror as an argument for re-electing Republicans robbed the nation of any serious chance for a bipartisan discussion of these life-and-death issues. More recently, the administration seems to have been working under the assumption that its only obligations were to hang on, talk tough and pass the problem on to the next president.

That pretty much wraps up the current appearance of bold new plans. The war has simply been part of an election strategy. Americans are dying because Republicans are literary willing to have America’s children and spouses die to hang on to power. They got that power based on lies about the economy, ethnocentrism, institutionalized elitism, perverse religious dogma, and various brands of paranoia all in a nice half baked shell of extreme nationalism. Its all worked before, power is a high and like cocaine its very addicting. So addicting that if the lies , the greed, the half baked ideas worked why not shoot up a little more, up the ante. They used a completely unnecessary and counter productive war to feed their habit, the habit of winning at all costs. American lives and taxpayers money have become mere political currency.

The way the Bush team is stage-managing the president’s supposed change of heart about “staying the course” is unfair to the Americans who have taken him at his word that real progress is being made in Iraq — a dwindling but still significant number of people, some of whom have sons and daughters serving in the conflict. It is a disservice to the troops, who were never sent to Iraq in sufficient numbers to protect themselves or the Iraqi people. And it is a disservice to all Americans, who have waited so long for Mr. Bush to act that all that is left are a series of unpleasant choices.

And it is happening in the midst of a particularly ugly, and especially vacuous, election season. There is probably no worse time to begin a serious discussion about Iraq policy than two weeks before a close, bitter election. But now that the discussion has begun, it must continue, as honestly and openly as possible. It is time for the American people to confront all the things that the president never had the guts to tell them about for three and a half years.

These miscreants will steer a few degrees further one way or the other, but to be “as honestly and openly as possible” would require a complete one-eighty. That would mean Bush and Republicans would have to exercise some humility and good judgement, something that their record proves they are utterly incapable of doing. They’ll continue to wag the electorate until the electorate stands up and and says no more.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
lyrics from Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan

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