Having read approximately eighteen gazillion words concerning what the President will say this evening I have to say that the stupidest phrase that I've seen repeated is that the proposed change represents a "last chance" for "success" in Iraq. I'm rather indifferent to debate concerning the situation in Iraq at the moment but I'm put off by suggestions that the President's future actions will be circumscribed by the "success" or "failure" of whatever changes he has decided to make.
President Bush has 105 weeks and 2 days remaining in his term. He no longer has a definitive obligation to party politics. He will never run for office again and I am unaware of any outstanding political debts to individuals. His obligation remains the preservation and protection of the Constitution and in particular the rights and authority that it vests in the Office of the Presidency. He will have many "chances" to act upon that obligation over the next two years, the scurrilously low quality of the opposing party guarantee that fact. I wish him well in his endeavors and remain confident that he will act in a manner consonant with the level of trust which his supporters have given him.
To measure the degree of freedom which the President currently enjoys it is only necessary to contemplate the fact that the decision which he is explaining tonight was taken months ago. The deployments and extensions involving 22,000 troops have already begun and the agreement with Maliki concerning the Iraqi's responsibility in the offensive were probably concluded before the first orders were cut.
It may well be true that this offensive marks the "last chance" for the leader of a country but that country is not the United States and the leader isn't President Bush.
Evelyn Waugh and The Sword of Honor
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