In response to my Friday column, Doug goes off on an odd tangent (as I’ve noticed a lot of antiwar people do) and suggests I’m asking him to "ignore" all sorts of mean, nasty, ugly things that he sees as having happened on the run-up to war, and since then.
What?!?!? I’m not asking anybody to ignore a damn’ thing. I have even specifically brought up some of the things you mention. I insist that everyone be fully cognizant of all the facts, including all the screwups of Bush and company. How much clearer can I make that? Where we seem to jump to separate planets is when I insist that everyone also recognize the two most salient facts: There are good reasons to be in Iraq (whether the president understands them or not), and even if you disagree with that, there is no alternative now but to persevere in that endeavor.
What is it about the English language that I can have so much trouble communicating those thoughts to people?
No, scratch that. Answer this question instead. It is critically important, and maybe if you approach it thoughtfully, we can at least get on the same subject, even if we’re not on the same page:
Whatever you think of what has happened so far, what do you want to see happen NOW?
As you answer, remember that Bush, no matter what anyone says or does, will be president until January 2009. It would also be helpful if you address in your answer this related question: Whatever course we take, do you think the nation will get through it as divided and angry at itself as it now is?
Postscript: A couple of other things, just to Doug… first, this was George Bush’s war — right up until the point the first soldier’s boot hit Iraqi soil in 2003. After that, as I’ve also made clear, it’s belonged to us. And it WILL belong to us long after Mr. Bush is gone from the scene. (That fact is at the crux of what I’ve been trying to communicate.) Second: I don’t even understand why you would ask me whether I would support Mrs. Clinton in the same situation (it must be one of those questions only a partisan mind could concoct). Of course I would, in exactly the way I "support" Mr. Bush: There’s not much at all that he’s done on other issues that I would defend, but I know that my country needs to be united for us to succeed in Iraq. Actually, I might support her on more issues than I do Mr. Bush — it would be hard for anyone to screw up as many things as he has done. A side note, though: You don’t actually think she has any chance of being elected, do you? I certainly hope not. If the two main political parties once again offer us a choice (meaning: no choice) between two polarizing, extremely partisan figures, we all might as well move to another continent, because our national goose will be thoroughly cooked.