The New York Times recently reported that the Bush administration has “scaled back” its benchmarks for political progress in Iraq, instead “focusing their immediate efforts on several more limited but achievable goals.” Today, the administration announced one of its goals: an endless, unqualified, “enduring” presence in Iraq. Spencer Ackerman reports that the White House and the Maliki government released a joint declaration of “principles” for “friendship and cooperation.” The key principle:
Iraq’s leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America, and we seek an enduring relationship with a democratic Iraq. We are ready to build that relationship in a sustainable way that protects our mutual interests, promotes regional stability, and requires fewer Coalition forces.
The White House’s embrace of a permanent presence contradicts their long record of declarations against permanent bases. White House war czar Gen. Doug Lute said the new long-term occupation plan won’t require Congress’ approval.
Stunned by Lack of Outrage, Not Outrageous Acts
I continue to be stunned.
Not by Bush any longer. There was a time when I was stunned by nearly everything he did. Or said. Who wouldn’t be stunned by a president who could say, “They misunderestimated me,” and sincerely believe he’s on top of things?
Nor by Cheney. His pure evil no longer surprises me, although there was a time when he routinely stunned me. Torture? Torture??
Not by Congress, either. There was a time when I was stunned by that crowd’s sheeplike mentality. I’d hear them decry the war, decry torture, decry Bush’s growing deficit, then I’d drop my jaw as they voted time and again to give the president carte blanche.
No longer. I fully expect Congress to disappoint, to fail to do its job in balancing the White House power grab.
I’m no longer stunned by the politicized courts nor by the media, which is unwilling to offend and uses vague, watered-down language instead of strong condemnations of this, the worst presidency in history.
So who continues to stun me?
I will tell you. I am stunned by all that is left of America: Americans.
I am stunned by the public’s lack of outrage over all this presidency has done to ravage our nation. Where is the outrage over this war-without-end? Over waterboarding? Over our dead and maimed soldiers?
I am stunned that Americans aren’t writing angry letters to the editor about the Iran rhetoric, this carbon copy of lies that led up to Bush’s invasion of Iraq.
I am stunned that Americans didn’t take to the streets with placards condemning Bush for vetoing a bill that would have ensured health care for children.
I am stunned that Americans aren’t rioting over federal money that has helped only the rich in New Orleans rebuild while the poor still live homeless.
I am stunned that Americans aren’t storming the White House as Bush accuses the Democrats of irresponsible spending on domestic programs even as he destroys the economy with his war and his deficit.
I am stunned that Americans haven’t marched on Washington over the rising unemployment rate, over corporate greed that is causing millions to lose their homes, over our rotting infrastructure.
People on the margins are already making hard choices. I know a young woman who wanted to drive to Vermont to be with her family for Thanksgiving but couldn’t afford to put that much gas in her car.
The middle class should take note. People are wandering the mall charging Christmas presents, but that bill comes due in January when the price of oil will be more than $100 a barrel and gasoline will cost $4 a gallon at the pump. Where is the outrage?
I am stunned by people in Monroe who want to take away a veteran’s rights to free speech when he paints angry signs about Bush on his van.
I am stunned by those same people who want to shut me up, shout me down, spew viciousness into my telephone because I exercise my own right to speak. They are so confused, these people who believe in free speech until someone says something they disagree with.
I am stunned by those who say, “He’s our president, so he deserves our respect.” No he doesn’t. He deserves our fury for bringing shame to the presidency and embarrassment to Americans around the world.
Sometimes, those of us who continue to be outraged by this administration sound like a broken record, even to our own ears.
We keep singing the same tune while our critics say enough is enough.
But that the same old tune has to be sung as long as Bush continues to wage the same old war against America’s poor and shrinking middle class.
We have to keep singing. I have to keep singing.
But what I’d like to know is, where is the chorus?
There are 421 days ’til Jan. 20, 2009.