Raging Bull

Page 9 of 9

There were numerous reasons to remove the ongoing threat that Saddam Hussein posed.

But President Bush turned victory into disaster, lied to the American people, refused to change tactics, and expects us to ignore what we watch nightly on the news.

The reconstruction of Iraq never occurred. Even with a no-bid contract, Halliburton got nowhere. The chaos is so overwhelming, the breakdown in services so severe, that fellow Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- Dick Lugar, Chuck Hagel and John McCain -- have attacked the folly.

We are not witnessing "hard work," we are witnessing hardheadedness, and it has led to failure.

No one knows or cares that the genocide is over because this administration ignored that issue and failed to articulate a humanitarian vision.

This week, a personal e-mail from a Wall Street Journal correspondent stationed in Baghdad underscored how badly President Bush performed while introducing democracy to Islamic countries.

In a two-and-a-half-page e-mail, Farnaz Fassihi described in stark personal terms the reign of violence that has overtaken Iraq. Her note fueled online discussions, sparked a story in the Los Angeles Times and was cited by former 60 Minutes producer Don Hewitt.

"For those of us on the ground," she wrote, "it's hard to imagine what if anything could salvage [Iraq] from its violent downward spiral."

She described the fighting as a "raging barbaric guerrilla war."

While none of Fassihi's insights are particularly new, the Hartford Courant interviewed other journalists who not only corroborated her accounts but said the situation in Iraq had deteriorated markedly in recent months.

"When I got back here in September, it was crazy," said Chicago Tribune reporter Colin McMahon. "We are severely limiting our trips, even inside the city. As far as I know, very few people are leaving the city, and if they do, they do so under great protection."

Not content with eliminating the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, President Bush's hubris led him to try to introduce democracy in places that view our politics and our culture as an insult to God.

He has failed utterly. There is little indication that Iraqis want democracy and less that they are willing to fight for it.

Before the invasion, Iraq fielded one of the largest standing armies in the world. But today, no one can find security forces.

In September, American forces handed out bonus checks to Iraqi troops who fought with them in the town of Tal Afar. Our soldiers handed out money to 83 Iraqis. But more than 500 members of the Iraqi security detail defected and joined the insurgents.

As long as the only ones willing to fight for Iraqi democracy are American soldiers and Marines, President Bush's policies will remain a cruel hoax.

His opponent John Kerry is no better, just less experienced. This is what his wife said of her husband, whom she compared to a fine wine: "You know, it takes time to mature, and then it gets really good and you can sip it."

That should inspire our troops at about the same level as it inspires me.

Can I vote for either of these two clowns?

Yo soy Mexicano.

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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey