Sunday, August 28, 2005

Into the Breach

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.

The quote, of course, comes from Henry V, but W. is no Henry the fifth. His wasteful and wild youth did not culminate in the rising to great leadership that was the path of young Henry. I am reminded of the moment when young Henry takes up the crown and realizes it is more than a crown; it is a heavy burden of responsibility. And that is the burden which Bush has not taken up. He has not taken responsibility for this war, instead letting the wall close up with our American dead. But we are quickly running out of bodies. Recruitment is down. The goal for Iraq is no longer so much about freedom or the war on terror as maintaining some sense of stability. And I don't even want to think about the bodies of Iraqis that are piling up. You can say that Saddam was a bad person and killed many of his own, but what are we doing, but the same--killing our own and theirs--and for what?

Watching Jon Stewart spar with Christopher Hitchens, I was struck by something that Stewart said. He said, "Not once has Bush or anyone in the administration come out and talked to us like adults. Instead he falls back on these platitudes that don't mean anything." And I thought, yes, that's it. We know it's a complex situation, even if we thought it was wrong in the first place, we're in it now. We deserve a discussion, a debate. We don't need "Mission Accomplished" or "We're making progress."

No fewer than three recent op-ed articles in the NY Times basically plead with the administration to figure this thing out or get out. And what's worse, most of the Democrats are rolling over like scared puppies. Get some backbone, people! Cindy Sheehan has been braving the heat in Crawford for weeks while Bush bicycles by her and ignores her. Well, our own Senaors and Congressman are ignoring us the same way. When are they going to stop worrying about ruffling feathers and whether what they say will poll well and stand up for something? Will someone please just take responsibility here? Will someone just say, "Okay, this was a bad idea and now we're going to figure out how to get out of it."

I've been pushing politics to the back burner because I've felt helpless. I live in a blue state with red senators and congressmen. My local politics are also red. There are so many things I'm concerned about, I don't know where to start. Energy policy, women's rights, health care, education. All complex issues without easy answers, and I'd like for somebody to get the courage to start working on them. I'm holding my representatives to task when they get back to work in a few weeks.