In the 1960's, when many young Americans were discovering that they could change the world through protest, song, or dress, George W. Bush was a cheerleader. Literally. He rooted on his pals at Phillips Academy. Win or lose, he would cheer just as hard, and make his enthusiasm heard throughout Andover.
In 2007, President Bush has sent hundreds of thousands of Americans to Iraq, without a plan for success, without a plan to bring the troops home, and without a political solution that will actually end the war.
Yet, he continues to be a cheerleader. The score of the game does not make a bit of difference to this President -- he's going to boost his team's spirits, for that's the purpose of a cheerleader: to promote unity and spirit. And W. is determined to do that for his team -- the troops.
This week W. took the liberty of comparing a withdrawal from Iraq to the disaster of our withdrawal from Vietnam. As always, W. took the wrong lessons from history. He should have been more honest: he is to Iraq what the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were to Vietnam.
They were there to boost morale -- to yell, "Go, team!" and to give the troops a thrill -- the Cheerleaders love us!
W. is there to boost morale for Iraq -- to yell, "Go, team!" and to give the troops a thrill -- the President is on our side!
I doubt that anyone was really interested in the Cheerleaders' opinions of Vietnam, just as, at this point, no one takes this President very seriously when he talks about Iraq.
It's a shame. An honest assessment of what's occurring is vital.
We need a coach, not a cheerleader.
General Petraeus will be here soon to give a truer perspective on Iraq. He can be expected to try to boost his team, too, but he appears to be an honest man who is trying to do the best he can in the most difficult circumstances.
The shame of it all is that we have to wait for the General, and that we can't count on our President to give us honest information.
There are Presidents who lead. And there's a President who cheerleads. Regrettably, we are stuck with the latter.