Monday, July 17, 2006

Cowboys and Indians

Despite a massive effort by his very skilled image makers, never thought of GW Bush as a cowboy – if you pushed me, maybe a drugstore cowboy – all Texans are not cowboys and all cowboys are not Texans. The President sometimes wears a big shiny belt buckle and appears to be bandy legged, not from riding the range on old Trigger, but from riding pick-up trucks or dirt bikes.

President Bush is a trained college cheerleader, and where I went to college, for a male student, it was considered a vacuous activity – even in some circles a girlie boy thing – but I went to a BIG TEN school and the President was IVY League; those were different worlds and different value systems, at least back then. Where Bush went to school, creepy organizations like Hasty Pudding and Skull and Bones molded graduates – at BIG TEN it was just the red blooded, wild-assed fraternities.

My problem with GWB first really stemmed from his military record. When others went to war in Vietnam, he played it safe in some sort of protected Texas and Alabama Air National Guard service which he never completed. My image of a cowboy is a man who quietly works with beasts, and masters them without fanfare; he faces the the force of the wind and the slash of the rain without a whimper. There is none of this in GW Bush

Wanted Dead Or Alive, Bring ‘Em On – phrases out of bullshit B western films, which are at best kid stuff, but became the anti-terror cry of the Bush administration. The silly national press and media lapped it up and promoted it gleefully after the debacle of 9/11. Bush needed a Macho image – prior to that he was a kowtow, on his knees before the Red Chinese begging for his recon plane and his service people to be returned.

Bush is a superb cheerleader – a master of his trade, but it was just a matter of time before this lightness of being as a President caught up with him... What confounded me is that it took over five years in office, demonstrating massive incompetence domestically and internationally, for a majority of American people finally to wake up and see that Bush is an empty suit. Without a prepared speech Bush still does not address a group – he just rattles off cheers.

Maybe he could have lasted longer, but he ran out cheers and those that he used so mindlessly did not conform to reality. However, by repeating cheers he rallied the American people from the rubble of the twin towers – using cheers he took us into the Afghan and Iraq wars which he quickly morphed into wars on terror. Both wars, so far, have been unsuccessful. Bush managed to shift the Afghan war to the NATO coalition, but now with the Italians wanting to go home, it is a matter of time before other NATO allies will find reasons to depart – especially since the Taliban has regrouped and is on its bloody march again, this time with new weapons, determination and money. And now, with Somali under the control of jihadists, Bush has another possible terrorist training ground to invade.

Like it or not the Taliban is into Afghanistan deep – might have been easier to let them run the country as they wish, but bribe them to keep Bin Laden and his band out. That might have worked earlier, but with so many Afghans killed by US bombs, now is probably too late – still, it is an exit strategy.

Iraq was Bush's elective war and his failure there is politically devouring him. Everything he cheered about running up to the war was misleading – his so called Iraq democratic regime is a farce; hiding and operating out of a fortified US Base in the Green Zone, it is Iraqi leadership that cannot take a piss without a US special operations bodyguard. The agony for Iraq and for America is palpable and the President does not have the courage to walk away – just get out – redeploy; those Sunnis, Kurds, and Shiites do not need a referee. If Mr. Bush is so concerned over carnage, suggest he stop the Israel depredations into Gaza; last time I checked it is US bombs, missiles, artillery and bullets employed by Israelis killing non combatant Arabs. Over 60 arabs so far killed in their houses and cars, and all this over one captured Israel soldier. Give me a break... the UN has already condemned the assault on humanitarian basis, and Israel holds about 6000 kidnapped Arabs.

Nazis in Yugoslavia in WWII shot and killed 12 Serb civilians for every German soldier killed by the partisans. It did not stop the partisans from killing German soldiers; as a matter of fact, more German occupation forces died and the carnage was without respite until the war ended, with 14 German divisions tied up in Serbia... Israel is a free country; it does what it thinks is good for security, but collective reprisals have not worked since Attila the Hun. My problem is that the US is dragged into every incident on the side of Israel – you will have Israelis in Washington soon, to replenish their basic load just expended in Gaza and now in Lebanon. This one-sided US approach with Israel seriously complicates cooperation with Islamic states on the war on terror, and will preclude any long term settlement between the US and Islam.

The recent attack by Hezbollah on Israel territory initially resulted in the capture of 2 and killing of 8 Israeli soldiers. Why Hezbollah picked this moment to attack is unknown; Hezbollah chased Israel out of South Lebanon six years ago, and Israel abandoned much military equipment and munitions in their hasty retreat. With this Hezbollah attack, now Israel has expanded the war deep into Lebanon – the President and Condoleezza may want to think about supporting these military adventures under their usual rubric: "Israel has a right to defend itself". Bush's road map to peace in the Middle East has led straight to Hell. Just another example of his administration's incompetence and expected, if you outsource US Middle East policy to the Israeli lobby... Further, Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not going that well; there is Iran and Korea festering followed by a Somalia nobody wants to talk about...

So far the Israelis have managed to kill Lebanese civilians, bomb Lebanese infrastructure and civilian airfields, but have failed to stop rockets from raining into Israeli border towns. Bush, after giving Israel a blank check on pounding Lebanon, now has second thoughts with 25,000 Americans trapped in Lebanon.

Neocons are delighted over the events, especially with the prospects of turning the whole region into a conflagration; Israeli Firsters Senator McCain and Gingrich have already been on Fox TV calling for Iran's skin and defending Israel's killing of civilians by arguing America would do the same thing under the same circumstances..... Is that so?

Whether GW Bush is a bona fide cowboy is up to you and it really makes little difference. For certain he is a bona fide cheerleader. Wonder whether he learned his lesson with preemptive war, based on faked intelligence. We will see how things play out in Iran, Korea and Somalia...or even in Latin America. With cowboys always come Indians, and hopefully Mr. Bush realizes this as he plucks the many arrows out of his ten-gallon hat. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET


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