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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

"Stay the Course" 

I've been certain for some time now that the line "Stay the course" is as meaningless as any platitude spouted in our national discourse. Andrew Sullivan, on the other hand, has long vested meaning in those words and other similar turns of phrase from our erudite Commander-in-Chief. He seems finally to notice that the Emperor has no clothes:
BUSH'S FAILURE: And the answer cannot be the president's crude and simple rhetorical tropes. What Bush doesn't seem to understand is that in any war, people need to be reminded constantly of what is going on, what is at stake, what our immediate, medium-term and ultimate objectives are. The president has said nothing cogent about Karbala; nothing apposite about al Sadr; nothing specific about what our strategy is in Falluja. Events transpire and are interpreted by critics and the anti-war media and by everyone on the planet but the president. All the president says is a broad and crude reiteration of valid but superfluous boilerplate. This is not war-leadership; it's the abdication of war-leadership. We are at a critical juncture. With some perspective, we have achieved much in Iraq, with relatively low casualties. But it will all go to hell if we lose our nerve now. It's long past time that people can be asked simply to trust the president. After the WMD intelligence debacle and the Abu Ghraib disgrace, he has run out of that capital. He has to tell us how we will win, what we are doing, how it all holds together, why the infrastructure repair is still in disarray, and how a political solution is possible. I'm not sure any more that this president has the skills or competence to pull it off. But I am sure that he has very little time to persuade us he can.
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