DUSTY RHOADES: Deaf Ear: Bush Doesn't Give a Hoot What Anybody Thinks
In a TV fundraiser after Hurricane Katrina, rapper Kanye West stunned America when he blurted out that "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
Well, don't feel alone, black people. If there's anything we've learned from Dubbya's recent announcements of troop escalation and his statements in the wake of the backlash against it, it's that George Bush doesn't care about much of anybody, at least when it comes to what they have to say.
He doesn't care about what his generals say. Remember when the talking point was, "If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them"? Well, that "let the professionals decide" principle has apparently been jettisoned.
As recently as this past November, Gen. John Abizaid had this to say to Sen, John McCain: "Senator McCain, I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the core commander, General Dempsey, we all talked together. And I said, in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq? And they all said no. And the reason is because we want the Iraqis to do more."
Well, sorry, General. Enjoy retirement. President Bush no longer cares what you have to say.
He doesn't care what congressmen and senators in his own party say.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine expressed skepticism early on. "My conclusion was that it would be a mistake to send more troops to Baghdad," she said. "I think the sectarian violence there requires a political, not a military, solution."
Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska was even more blunt: "I'm absolutely opposed to sending any more troops to Iraq. It is folly." Even the ultra-right wing Sam Brownback of Kansas said he didn't think sending more troops to Baghdad was a solution.
Which, of course, raises the question: What sort of nasty nickname will the dwindling membership of the right wing Bush cult (mostly radio and TV talkers) try to hang on the Republicans who oppose Bush now? Democrats get dubbed "Defeatocrats," but there doesn't seem to be an epithet for Republicans suffering a sudden attack of sanity. "Cut-and-Runnicans" just doesn't trip off the tongue.
It goes without saying that Bush doesn't care what Democrats say, despite their majority status.
In fact, his preferred method of addressing Democratic suggestions about what to do about the Iraq mess is apparently to pretend they were never made. Last week in a "60 Minutes" interview, Dubbya repeated that the Democrats had "no plan" of their own.
Oh, really, Mr. President? Does the name "John Murtha" strike a familiar note? Back when you were still saying "stay the course," Murtha proposed a plan to redeploy U.S. troops out of harm's way, create a quick-reaction force and establish an over-the-horizon presence of Marines, and finally, to diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq. Surely you remember that.
Democrat Joe Biden also proposed a five-point plan to establish separate Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish areas under a central government, share oil revenues among the factions, create a jobs program in Iraq to get people back to work (working people are too tired at the end of the day to riot) and create a nonaggression pact in the region.
Now, you may not like these plans. You may have critiques of them. But if you say that there are no "Democratic plans," then, Mr. President, you are either shockingly ill-informed, outright lying, or deeply delusional. I don't know which is worse.
And speaking of plans, there was a bipartisan commission that spent an awful lot of time and taxpayer money coming up with a plan. It was known as the Iraq Study Group, and a lot of folks pinned their hopes for a solution on them. They came out with a report that advocated a drawdown of troops. Bush didn't care about that, either.
Finally, Bush doesn't care what the American people think.
A CNN Poll from Jan. 11 revealed that 69 percent of Americans polled "disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation in Iraq," 67 percent oppose the war in Iraq, 50 percent strongly oppose the addition of 20,000 or more troops, 66 percent strongly or moderately oppose the so-called "surge," and 66 percent of individuals polled thought that sending more troops would either make no difference in the achievement of U.S. "goals" or make the U.S. less likely to achieve them.
A Gallup poll taken after Bush's speech revealed that 61 percent of the American people not only don't back sending more troops, but also support a congressional resolution to block it.
But hey, we're only the American people. The rabble. Who cares what we think?
Certainly not King George.
Dusty Rhoades lives, writes and practices law in Carthage.
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