Monday, August 15, 2005

White Garden Chairs

The Moose returns from his summer sojourn - tanned, rested and ready.

The Moose is a living testament that a two-week Texas respite is sufficient to recharge your batteries. Rejuvination came both from the Moose's presence at the Alamo and the best damned chicken fried steak served at the Hill Top Cafe near Fredericksburg.

And many thanks go to the Mooselings for their fine postings over the past two weeks. They are the recipient of the Moose's 12th Man Award in the tradition of the fightin' Texas Aggies.

Of course, the Moose would not begrudge the President a month long retreat in the Lone Star State. However, the Moose's job is far too important to take him away for that long (jest intended).

If only W would venture down to the banks of the beautiful Pedernales and visit the LBJ Ranch in Stonewall as the Moose did last week. (It is puzzling why anyone in their right mind would reside on a "ranch" in Crawford when the Hill Country is available).

The Moose is an admirer of President Johnson. He was a courageous leader whose domestic achievements were monumental. He is rightly known as the Second Emancipator who championed civil rights in defiance of his southern roots.

Of course, LBJ's record was blemished by the tragedy of Vietnam. In front of his house at the Texas ranch, there are still assembled several white garden chairs at the spot where they were almost forty years ago. That is where his advisors would often meet when he was in Texas. One could almost picture McNamara, Rostow and Rusk gathered there with LBJ as they discussed Vietnam.

Iraq is not Vietnam. While Vietnam was of dubious strategic importance, a failed state in Iraq would be devastating to American foreign policy. An American defeat there would embolden our terrorist foe and betray our Iraqi allies. However, it is not clear that W, has any better notion of a victory strategy in Iraq than LBJ did in Vietnam. Conservative supporters of this President should cease their cheerleading and begin realizing that the war is being lost by a gang of incompetents who thought that they could liberate Iraq on the cheap with sacrifice limited to the brave troops and tax cuts for the wealthy. If a Democratic President was presiding over such a mess, a Republican Congress would be in a full throated fury.

And Rumsfeld bears a striking moral resemblance to McNamara. Yesterday, we learned in the New York Times that American troops still lack sufficient armor. This is criminal incompetence, pure and simple. Yet, Rummy remains. One can only wonder what Rumsfeld has on the President that makes him immune from accountability. And it appears that the Administration is at war with itself over war strategy or whether, according to the Pentagon, this is a war or not. However, it is a cop-out to blame this mess on Rummy - the buck stops with the Commander in Chief.

Unlike LBJ, W. will never be able to claim a significant domestic legacy. While Johnson attempted to comfort the afflicted, Bush is devoted to the comfort of the comfortable. It will be interesting to see the exhibit devoted to the struggle to permanently eliminate the estate tax at the W. Library. Iraq is his legacy for better or for worse.

Rather than clearing brush in Crawford, the President had better go about bridging his own credibility gap.
-- Posted at 9:50 PM | Link to this post | Email this post