Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"Groundhog Day" at the White House

I watched our president's news conference this morning and I couldn't suppress memories of Bill Murray's movie "Groundhog Day". He wakes up every morning to the same situation, just as I hear the same refrains, over and over, from George Bush regarding the war in Iraq. It's as though we are always starting from scratch with a clean slate, with no past to take into consideration.

Today everthing is starting anew with General Petreaus. It's the "surge", a new strategy that will make everything right. The senate confirmed him, so the plan is right. We will pacify Baghdad, and all will be fine over there. Why then, am I reminded of all the other assurances of success over the past four years? First it was the military victory and the anticipated glorious rising of the grateful Iraqi people. Then it was Saddam's capture and the end of Sunni/Baathist hopes for keeping power. Then it was the elections, now two years in the past, that were to bring democratic decisions that would bring some kind of harmony to the warring parties. Now it's the "surge", which is another word for military victory. Every morning it's the same old problem - Iraq is in chaos, militarily and politically. And each day we get a new solution along with grand hopes for success.

Iraq, unlike the movies, does not give us a free pass to start over again and again. There are huge costs involved - dead and wounded, giant budget deficits, world opinion - each time the president hits the "restart button". Why should we believe that this particular "Groundhog Day" will be the last? Why should we believe that George Bush can do it, this time?

I'm a pessimist on the potential for success of this latest attempt to get Iraq under control. Those with a track record of successes have the best chance to lead another successful enterprise, but this president has six years of history in office and little to show for it. If it's true that the past is the best predictor of the future, Bush's latest Iraq strategy will continue to build his case study of mismanagement on a colossal scale. But to Bush, every morning is a new day and the Iraq situation just came to his attention. For him, all those other "Groundhog Days" never happened.

It's time for the movie to be over. I'm tired of seeing the same ending over and over again. Bring the troops home.


Dave said...

Unlike Bill Murray in the Movie, I don't think the President is going to learn from his mistakes, he'll never get the "girl" like Bill did at the end of the movie.

Ron Davison said...

For the first time, I feel a little hostile towards you for a post. Groundhog Day is my favorite movie. I can't believe you are trying to taint it by association with George W. But to your point.

Look at George's resume. He was saved from failure in the armed guard by his dad's connections - getting to go home early. He was saved from failure in the oil business - bought out by big buddies of dad who could afford to lose while he gained. He bought a piece of the Texas Rangers and had the taxpayers buy him a new stadium, once again saved from mediocrity by others. George doesn't do rescue - he gets rescued. Problem is, he doesn't realize that his personal track record for success sans intervention is close to 0% because he's never had to face the consequences of his mistakes. He doesn't know he's drowning; he thinks he's skin diving.
Look at this. You've got me ranting.

ThomasLB said...

GW Bush’s answer to everything is “Kill all the bad guys.” He needs to expand his repertoire.

He needs to reopen the factories and put people back to work, even if that requires (shudder!) government subsidies. Under Hussein, every industry was subsidized by the highly profitable oil industry- it was a way to spread the oil wealth around to everyone who worked. The first thing Bush did was shut all the factories down, and insist on an "open market." His unbending economic ideology contributes to high unemployment, which in turn fuels the fighting

He needs to fix the power and sewer systems. (Maybe they’ll forget that it was GH Bush who bombed them, and Clinton’s sanctions that kept them broke.) There is no excuse for not having done this already.

If you’re sitting at home, broke and hungry, and the toilets don’t flush and the A/C is out again, I can completely understand how that leads to anger and violence.

Life Hiker said...

I wish Iraq could be fixed, but I'm afraid it won't be fixed by us. We are occupiers, and the Iraqis will not soon forgive us for what we've done with our botched invasion.

We should slowly disengage, let the Iraqis sort things out, and work with whatever government takes over if we can stomach them. Vietnam is a good example of how time tends to mend things.

It seems that there are just too many Iraqis who dislike us for a host of reasons, and they would rather get rid of us than help us try to rebuild their country. George Bush should be praying to the patron saint of lost causes.

ThomasLB said...

You're probably right. They don't trust us, and unfortunately nobody else seems eager to clean up the mess we made.

I think I would have used The Caine Mutiny instead of Groundhog Day. I bet if you gave George Bush a couple of steel balls, he would turn into Captain Queeg.

1138 said...

We are occupiers