- How’s that “long-term game” of yours working out so far, Mr. President? After five and a half years, where’s the payoff?
I just see Iraq being a catastrophe beyond hope of redemption by Western efforts, Afghanistan slipping away fast, North Korea still making bombs, Iran (“real men want to go to Tehran”) pretty much beyond our ability to effectively restrain, Islamic terrorists are still blowing up large numbers of people, and respect for America and approval of its aims at a low ebb around the world.
So you’ve got to wonder about this President if he thinks he’s the one seeing further ahead than others.
- What he’s seeing far ahead about, this time:
Once again, Bush’s imagined ‘root cause’ is some person, group of persons, or organization that can be taken out, and once we do so, the problem will be solved. We all know about his Iraq deck of cards; we killed or captured about 3/4 of them in pretty short order, ultimately including Saddam. We know how well that’s worked out. We also know he asked for something similar in the fight against al-Qaeda. We know Zarqawi’s death hasn’t made the situation in Iraq any better.
If Israel ‘grinds down’ Hezbollah, it will give Israel a respite from rocket attacks. That is a perfectly reasonable tactical aim. But that’s all it will do. It will not make the Middle East a safer place in the medium term. Even destroying Hezbollah completely, while turning a big chunk of Lebanon’s population into refugees, will generate another Hezbollah.
Over and over again, Bush has seen the problem as some limited group of instigators of trouble, and has seen the solution as destroying that group. And every time, he’s been wrong. But he keeps on seeing conflicts in those terms, and he keeps on seeing ‘Og smash’ as the solution, no matter how many times it fails.
He’s certainly not clinically insane - he can tell a hawk from a handsaw - but he certainly thinks like a crazy man thinks, if he really sees himself as being the long-term thinker.