Saturday, August 23, 2003

New hope in Iraq?

The Washington Times, a conservative paper, is starting to publish editorials with reservations about what is happening in the war on terror.

GURAT, France, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- A disquieting new tone has sneaked into my routine telephone conversations with moderate Muslim leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. "Washington's bungling in Iraq worries me so much that I can't sleep anymore; it's damaging my health; it's a scary time," an internationally well-connected Arab-American Bush supporter told me Friday morning.

In a different article:

"With many separate agencies having overlapping jurisdiction, the commission finds that the U.S. government is not effectively organized" to combat the proliferation threat, the report's chief authors told a Washington news conference that week in 1999.

Where are the authors of that prescient report today? You might assume that the hyper-efficient and ever-vigilant Bush administration quickly seized upon them to run the CIA and the FBI, and to head up its Department of Homeland Security that was created to produce the very coordination and integrated defense and response to mega-terrorist attacks that the 1999 report found so wanting.

You might assume that -- but you would be completely wrong if you did.

The prime author of the report in fact was a former CIA chief himself, former Director of Central Intelligence John M. Deutch. And his right hand man in producing it was Republican Sen. Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania.

But guess what? Almost two years after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush has yet to raise a finger to bring either of them into his administration or into his war on terrorism.

The report pulled no punches and blasted Republicans and Democrats alike with honorable and refreshing impartiality.

Could we be ready to turn a corner? Could we be only weeks or months from the time when conservative papers who finally started to doubt Bush now turn around and blame the liberal media for doubting him? I've thought deeply about it, and I honestly don't see how. I'm sure the Bush administration will renew their efforts now that even the conservatives are starting to doubt them, but I honestly don't see what they can do. Kofi Annan seems to be the only one in the UN who wants to get more deeply involved in Iraq.

Maybe we should all stop criticizing Bush before he invades Iran and Syria.

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