There are days when I so envy Charles Krauthammer. Living in his world must be like living on a holodeck all the time. He just wishes the world was a certain way and, presto, it is. In his mind. *Sigh* Poor the rest of us, who must deal with the workaday world of facts and history.
You don't think he's got it easy? Well read about the world he's made for himself today:
A year ago Bush was riding high. He decided nonetheless to put at risk the great political advantage he had gained as a successful post-9/11 leader -- an advantage made obvious by the Republican gains in last year's elections -- to go after Saddam Hussein.
Politically, the war promised nothing but downside. There was no great popular pressure to go to war. Indeed, millions took to the streets to demonstrate against it, both at home and abroad. Bush launched the war nonetheless, in spite of the political jeopardy to which it exposed him, for the simple reason that he believed, as did Tony Blair, that it had to be done.
You can say he made a misjudgment. You can say he picked the wrong enemy. You can say almost anything about this war, but to say that he fought it for political advantage is absurd. The possibilities for disaster were real and many: house-to-house combat in Baghdad, thousands of possible casualties, a chemical attack on our troops (which is why they were ordered into those dangerously bulky and hot protective suits on the road to Baghdad). We were expecting oil fires, terrorist attacks and all manner of calamities. This is a way to boost political ratings?
Whatever your (and history's) verdict on the war, it is undeniable that it was an act of singular presidential leadership. And more than that, it was an act of political courage. George Bush wagered his presidency on a war he thought necessary for national security -- a war that could very obviously and very easily have been his political undoing. And it might yet be.
To accuse Bush of going to war for political advantage is not just disgraceful. It so flies in the face of the facts that it can only be said to be unhinged from reality. Kennedy's rant reflects the Democrats' blinding Bush-hatred, and marks its passage from partisanship to pathology.
If he can make a world where Bush was "riding high" a year ago, instead of being about 25 points below his post 9/11 approval ratings and falling, I'll bet he can make the sky any yummy color he wants.
If he can forget that the President's buddy Karl Rove told Republicans to "focus on the war" in the campaigns of November 2002 and, instead, believe that "(p)olitically, the war promised nothing but downside"... Well, let's just say I want to party with that guy. If you know what I mean.
And I think you do.
I mean, to believe that, you'd have to believe that our military, the finest fighting force ever assembled, might lose the war against the world's military junior varsity B team. Then you could believe that the war might have a political downside. But that's just kookoo.
I guess you could believe that those who pushed the war for ostensible policy reasons -- Rove, Wolfowitz, Perle -- and those who stood to profit from it -- like Dick Cheney with his stock options and the President's buddy, Joe Allbaugh, who's currently a middle-man for companies who want to take advantage of "opportunities evolving in Iraq" -- didn't really believe that Iraqis would accept us as liberators. However, those seem like guys who had more certainty than knowledge so that doesn't seem very likely, either.
Heck, even the polls taken after the November, 2002, elections told us that Iraq tied with the economy as the voters' most important issue. And we all know what happened in those elections, right?
So there's no way that Bush looked down the road and saw Iraq as a political albatross, but Charles Krauthammer doesn't have to look down our roads. He has a world all to himself. It's nice that he drops by, though, to tell us what it's like from time to time.
Oh. And I just love the eyebrows, too.