'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the White House, not a measure of reality was stirring, not even an ounce.
Incoming Defense Secretary Robert Gates this week marked his swearing in ceremony by warning Americans that "failure in Iraq at this juncture would be a calamity that would haunt our nation, impair our credibility, and endanger Americans for decades to come."
Was he kidding us? Foretold by millions of Americans and people around the world in the run-up to war, Gates' predicted calamity has already come to pass. Failure in Iraq is already a foregone conclusion. Now it is simply a matter of how many more soldiers and civilians will pay the ultimate price before Congress and the White House finally stop chasing more good lives after good lives.
But the quote most upsetting was given by President Bush in an interview granted to People magazine, in which he remarked that he was sleeping much better than people would assume. If I were a solider, or the relative of one, I would be outraged by this comment.
No, sir, Mr. President, that answer is incorrect. The correct answer is "I spend every minute of every day concerned over our soldiers and their families, and over the millions of innocent Iraqi civilians who want nothing more than a peaceful country they can call their own. I will not rest easy until our troops are home safe to their families with the mission I've given them completed".
The President's statement, as much or more than any other he's ever given, demonstrates how detached the man is from the whirlwind he has created. Mr. President, sir, the country is simply not put at ease knowing that its commander-in-chief is comfortably dreaming of sugar-plum fairies night in and night out while its sons and daughters are fighting and dying for a winless war, your war, one wholly unnecessary for and threatening to the security of our great nation.
So, dear reader, I need your help. Being as most Americans are quite preoccupied this week searching high and low for more ways to spend money to save money in order to celebrate the birth of a man who preached giving away all one's earthly possessions, most everyone except readers of People Magazine will miss the President's awful quote.
We need to send it wide and send it far, to the North Pole and to Bethlehem, to Kabul and to Baghdad, and to anyone serving or related to someone serving in the military. Our soldiers need to know that while their nation loses sleep worrying for them, wishing for their safe return home from their Mesopotamian nightmare, their commander-in-chief sleeps easily, more easily than they'd ever assume.
Full Quote: "But I must tell you, I'm sleeping a lot better than people would assume."
Todd Huffman is a pediatrician and political columnist living in Eugene, Oregon. Comments are welcomed at: firstname.lastname@example.org.