Here is an immediate political analysis of President Bush’s speech at the Naval Academy this morning:

1) An embattled and defensive President Bush is trying to paint a rosy picture of the hand-over of military and police responsibilities to the Iraqi forces.

2) The problem with this approach is that our own military people over there do not believe that the Iraqi troops or police can do the job. In fact, many of these Iraqis are playing both sides: wearing the uniform and collecting the pay check by day, and then carrying out insurgent attacks by night.

3) Any American has to wonder: Why is it taking so long to train Iraqi soldiers? Why are we almost 3 years into this process and so few are deemed ready?

4) Here is a problem for Mr. Bush: his credibility is so low these days that few -other than his own supporters - will believe all these rosy-sounding stats and stories. Haven’t we been told all along how well things were going? If it is going so well, why is our own military back-channeling that things aren’t going well?

5) There are numerous reports now that the generals can’t tell Mr. Bush the truth about what is really happening in Iraq. He simply refuses to accept the truth. Instead, he lives in the belief that Iraqis who hate each other can suddenly morph into a peaceful democracy.

6) This speech is just more of the same: all is well and we are going to “stay the course.” But the American people don’t buy it anymore. They have heard this exact same thing over and over and over. When is it enough?

7) Yes, this speech will rally the 35% who still want to stay in Iraq; it will give them some new lines to use to defend a war that has become an aimless, endless exercise in wasted lives and money.

8) ‘Victory.’ What exactly is it? In this case, if a pro-Iranian Iraqi government comes out again the US, will that be a ‘victory’ we can be proud of?

9) This is an Administration - and a Republican Party - that is perilously close to losing touch with the American people. Scandals all over DC combined with this never-ending morass of a war are sapping the support of the majority of Americans.

10) Prediction: today’s speech will have little effect. He has ‘spent’ his credibility and frittered away all his political capital from last year’s election. He is a lame duck before the first year of his second term is finished.


Do you want to know why the Republican Party is worried to death about next year’s mid-term elections?

Just look at one day’s headlines in the Washington Post from last Wednesday:

Another grand jury for leak case
Separate blasts kill nearly 100 in Iraq
Abramoff associate charged in scheme

Each of these headlines signifies a separate problem that is currently bedeviling the Bush Administration and its supporters in the GOP leadership in the House and Senate:

1) The CIA leak case just won’t go away. Every time it appears to be calming down, new developments surface. Just a week ago Bob Woodward admitted he had been deposed by the Special Prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, and today we learn that Time’s Viveca Novak is also about to be deposed - allegedly about conversations with Karl Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin. Clearly Karl Rove is still in Fitzgerald’s gun sights. And as long as he is, his work at the White House must be compromised by the distraction of a looming indictment.

2) Iraq - and the violence there - overshadow progress made in democratizing the place. With over 2100 dead American soldiers, the American people have had it with the war. And, politically, it is bleeding the GOP on a daily basis.

3) The Jack Abramoff Scandal involves the most ‘connected’ GOP lobbyist of the past generation. The former head of College Republicans, Abramoff ingratiated himself with Tom Delay and other GOP leaders in order to secure that most valuable of assets for a successful lobbyist: access to power. His former staffers are ‘placed’ all over DC. His former assistant is now Karl Rove’s assistant in the White House. But now another former aide, John Scanlon, is cooperating with federal prosecutors and allegedly implicating four senior GOP congressmen and scores of GOP Hill staffers in nefarious undertakings.

All of the above is dragging the Republicans down as we head into the 2006 mid-term elections.

What to do?

The Bush White House is constantly on the defensive and is seemingly unable to set the agenda for a new debate on anything. Ideally, they would like to change the subject from this bad news and instead get Americans thinking and talking about something else. The Avian Flu discussion was just such an attempt - but it hasn’t yet risen to the level of enough of a crisis.

The problem President Bush has right now is that his credibility is so low - down near Nixonian levels - that anything he says is questioned; over 50% of the American people do not believe he is honest and trustworthy. When he was elected in 2000 and especially after 9/11, this was his strong suit. But he has frittered it away on the WMD sales job for the Iraq War - and the CIA leak case is a constant drip, drip, drip on his White House’s honesty.

Presidents want to dictate the terms of the debate. That way they can control the flow of information and the direction of the discussion. But today it is all going the other way: the big debate inside the American political system is over when we are going to withdraw troops from Iraq. That is not the topic the Bush White House even wants to hear about!

Tom Delay’s ethical and legal problems are yet another stain on the GOP - at a time when they don’t need it.

The best thing going for the Republican Party lately is the total and complete ineptitude of the Democrats. They are seemingly incapable of ‘connecting’ to the American people; all they can do is ‘oppose’ anything Republican.

As we head into the end of the first year of Bush’s second term, it appears that the next three years are going to be aimless, contentious and destructive for the GOP.

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The Bush Administration - mired in record-low poll ratings - and our war effort in Iraq are in desperate need of a change.

President Bush keeps repeating the same old lines about “staying the course” - and all the while he sinks like a rock. So, too, do GOP chances in next year’s crucial mid-term elections.

And - more importantly - our troops are getting picked off daily in Iraq for a cause few can even define anymore.

What - exactly - is ‘victory’ in Iraq?

If it is some sort of utopian ‘peace’ among the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, then forget it; it’ll never happen - ever! We have 165,000 troops there today and still those groups are massacring each other on an hourly basis. So, of course, once we leave that infighting will continue - and maybe even increase.

Our original goal - Regime Change - was accomplished within days on our March 2003 invasion.

We probably should have declared victory and turned the place over to some UN-sponsored international force and gotten out.

But by staying and in effect replacing Saddam as the heavy who keeps the simmering ethnic hatred somewhat under control, we are only prolonging the inevitable: an Iraqi civil war, a secession by the Kurds who will try to form an independent Kurdistan with their brothers in Turkey, followed by a chaotic vacuum then filled by Iran, Syria and Turkey.

All of this for a country that was created 80 years ago by the British who crammed these 3 competing groups and cultures into one ‘nation’ ostensibly to make British rule easier.

And for this we are losing precious American lives - and invaluable American credibility around the world?

No, this was has become - as predicted in this space months before the war began - a total disaster.

A disaster for our country - and, less importantly, a disaster for the Republican Party led by a president who is incapable of seeing the error of his ways.

An example: from January of this year until the summer, President Bush traveled the nation doing so-called Town Hall forums advocating Social Security Reform. He did over 70 of these events with massive local media attention. The result of this huge investment of Presidential Prestige? A total dismissal by the American people and the GOP Congress of the entire subject!

In other words, the more President Bush stuck with the same script, the more he killed off the very issue he was promoting.

Now the exact same thing is happening with his signature effort as President: the American people have tuned him out on his views of his war in Iraq. He has squandered his political capital and his credibility.

What a mess!

Now, how to fix it?

He needs to make some changes - in personnel and policy - and do it now.

1) Announce the ‘resignation’ of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.

2) Announce a new Secretary of Defense who is the ‘anti-Rumsfeld’ - a new, younger, more flexible man who has the trust of the US military (which Rummy has never had in either of his two tours of duty as SecDef.) Gulp, I can’t believe I am writing this suggestion but perhaps the
best man to restore faith in the Pentagon and to restore morale among the troops is Colin Powell.

3) Simultaneously announce a new strategy in Iraq to take place immediately after the December elections over there. This new strategy must include a steady reduction of American troops and - if necessary - their replacement by a newly-created International Muslim Peace-Keeping Force comprised of troops from Indonesia, Jordan, Egypt and other Muslim nations. Iraqis may tolerate this type of ‘foreign’ presence for a while longer until they can secure themselves, although the incipient civil war mitigates against that.

Only with this type of plan can Mr. Bush stave off his crashing poll numbers and the inevitable judgement that the war he created is a total failure - and so, too, is his presidency.


It is time we all face a few facts:

The political establishment in Washington DC - both Republicans and Democrats - has grown into a lazy, lying, manipulative and dirty machine which is surely destroying our country.

The so-called mainstream media (MSM) is an adjunct to this corrupt machine. Instead of asking questions in behalf of the American people, the MSM has become the propaganda arm of the politicians of both parties who lie constantly.

Let’s take Iraq: last week’s column, WAR BASED ON LIES, has prompted numerous emails from good readers (so many, in fact, that they can’t all be answered individually).

That column opined that, in order to start the war in Iraq, the Political Establishment in DC harnessed the anger and fear from a still-fresh-in-our-hearts 9/11 attack to ‘pivot’ and aim - not at Osama Bin Laden - but at Saddam Hussein (even though he and Iraq had nothing at all to do with the 9/11 attacks).

So the Political Establishment - with the complicity of the so-called MSM - ran a concerted campaign using leaked intelligence to scare the bejesus out of the American people until almost everyone believed Saddam was just minutes away from attacking us with WMD and pilotless drones that could fly from Iraq to the United States mainland.

Almost every elected politician in DC - Republican and Democrat - fell in line and parroted the accepted line that Saddam had these weapons and therefore we had to pre-emptively invade before he attacked us. John Kerry - ever the political prostitute - just loved the opportunity to expunge his pacifistic past and appear to be a war hawk; so, too, Hillary Clinton looked like General George Patton calling for even more troops than Don Rumsfeld wanted.

One thing you all need to know: Members of the House and Senate are the single most pathetic group of people you will ever meet. They are weak, mealy-mouthed ‘followers,’ who haven’t had an original idea in their lifetimes. No wonder a Senator hasn’t been elected president since JFK in 1960; Capitol Hill is the worst place to learn about America and the American people.

So when this so-called ‘intelligence’ of WMD began to miraculously surface almost daily in the MSM in the summer and fall of 2002, the Congress was more than happy to hide behind it in a pathetic display of ‘one-upmanship,’ whereby every member of the House and Senate fell over themselves to warn Iraq that they better turn over their WMD or else.

OK. Now it is years later and no WMD have been found. None. Many readers have been claiming that in fact we did find WMD in Iraq - some claim 500 tons of uranium and several tons of enriched uranium. Let us be clear about something: GW Bush is in severe political trouble - in great part because the American public has soured on Iraq. If our troops had found any WMD - especially enriched uranium or anything else of this nature - the White House would have the President over there standing next to it in the greatest PR offensive in history to vindicate him for going to war!!!

It is a myth that we have found anything. And it is a myth that assuages many people’s guilt over supporting an invasion based on false claims.

This Administration does not even claim to have found WMD. They have abandoned that line when it proved to be too embarrassing.

Nor do they perpetuate this other myth that the WMD was moved at the last minute to Syria or the Bekaa Valley.

Again, if that were true the White House would be more than happy to go get it, dig it up and expose it to the world.

Mr. Bush would then be a hero. And the Iraq war would be seen as necessary and thus the entire political landscape would be different today.

(Plus, let us remember we have today almost every top Iraqi leader and scientist from the now-infamous deck of cards in custody including Dr. Germ. We have clearly ‘sweated’ these scientists and leaders. If we had come up with anything to vindicate the pre-war WMD claims, don’t you think we would have made it public? Of course we would!!!)

No, sadly there were no WMD in Iraq since the end of the Gulf War in 1991 and the imposition of sanctions. Saddam from that point on bluffed his enemies - internal and elsewhere - into thinking he had them because in the past he had used them on his Kurdish enemies. And in the Middle East fear and bluffing are instrumental in maintaining a hold on power.

Today in Washington, the very same politicians who got us into this mess in Iraq - a mess which can only result in an Iraq in alliance with Tehran (our worst nightmare) - are running scared trying to place blame elsewhere.

Bush is in a total meltdown - in great part because Iraq has sapped his credibility - and the Congress is held in almost the same level of disdain. Iraq, gas price rip-offs, illegals swarming unabated into our nation and Katrina have soured the American people.

The American people are waking up to the perfidy of their Leadership Class. From the Enron Era in business, to the Catholic Church scandals and the mess in DC, people are disgusted with our leaders. And they should be.

Look for a looming political revolution in this country - maybe even a powerful Independent Third Candidate for president in 2008.

Things have to change. And the American people will make that change happen.


Let’s face it - at the heart of the recent Bush stumbles and crashing poll ratings - one issue and only one issue is ultimately undermining Mr. Bush’s standing: it’s the war in Iraq, stupid.

The longer we linger in Iraq, the more the American people grow sour and angry and want to get it over with.

And at the heart of the whole mess is the original Bush reason for a pre-emptive invasion: that Saddam Hussein’s government had Weapons of Mass Destruction and we had to intercept them before those weapons were used in a 9/11 style attack on us.

Month after month in 2002, Team Bush used the White House bully pulpit - and the recent example of 9/11 - to whip the American people - including previously dovish Democrats - into a frothy lather of fear and hatred of Saddam Hussein.

Underneath it all was a sense of Trust - a trust that our Commander-in-Chief was telling us the truth when he told us that we had classified intelligence that proved there were WMD in Iraq.

Based on that Trust - coming just a year and half after the wrenching and shocking 9/11 attacks - the House and Senate voted to authorize the “use of force.”

Republicans and Democrats - stung by 9/11 and afraid to challenge a momentarily-popular war president - jumped head-first into the need to attack Iraq before Saddam attacked us.

Well, it turned out all wrong: to date not one eye-dropperful of any WMD has been found inside Iraq. (And those of you who suspect the WMD were moved before we got there to Syria or somewhere else: prove it. What evidence do you have? Don’t you think the CIA and Team Bush would just love to be vindicated that they’d produce evidence such as satellite photos or intercepted radio broadcasts?)

No, there were no WMD in Iraq. Had there been, then the war would have been ‘justified’ based on the causus belli we were given by our elected leaders.

All of President Bush’s problems stem from the original mis-statement/distortion/lie about WMD being in Iraq.

Scooter Libby’s indictment comes from this; so, too Karl Rove’s continuing legal jeopardy.

And so does Mr. Bush’s disastrous fall in the one year since his re-election. 67% of the American people now oppose the war; 55% say they would not have supported it if they knew then what they know now. And in the new Gallup poll 55% say his presidency is a “failure”; only 25% rate it a success.

Yesterday’s Senate battle over the never-completed Senate Intelligence Committee Part II investigation stems, too, from the non-existent WMD. This still-incomplete Part II was supposed to examine whether the White House ‘pressured’ the intelligence community to ‘slant’ the intel on WMD.

Strangely the Senate has never completed this investigation - even though it was due right after last year’s election.

What a mess!

We have gone to war based on a lie - or at least false or bad intelligence.

We are stuck in Iraq with more and more of our wonderful troops dying daily.

And for what?

For ‘freedom’?

What do we think if a free Iraq ultimately selects a fundamentalist Muslim regime allied with the nuts who run Iran? The ones like Mahmoud Amadinejad, the new Iranian President, who last week called for Israel to be “wiped off the earth”?

Is this now the ‘reason’ we are still in Iraq?

This is the dominant issue of our times.

2006 and 2008 will be centered on our intellectually fraudulent government - how could this have happened and how do we fix it.

Look for an outsider to come along and blast both parties for their inherent amorality and dishonesty.