This article is one of those that makes you think, Damn! Why didn't I write that?
This year’s Fighting Bob Fest will also be a rallying cry for peace. One more reason to go to Bob FestBy Ed Garvey I don't know about you, but I am scared. The Bush administration can be summed up as a nasty combination of arrogance and incompetence and at the moment we desperately need humility and competence.The administration's arrogance got us into Iraq, a country that did not attack us on 9/11. Now, 2,560 soldiers and close to 100,000 Iraqi citizens later, things are markedly worse than we found them. Civil war has broken out and it is ugly. Even the Sunnis are asking for U.S. protection against Shiite militias and the Shiite-run government. And Bush-Cheney-Rove-and-Rumsfeld still have no plan to bring our troops home, end the civil war, or rebuild the country. Could things get worse? You bet they can and probably will.Last time I checked, a gallon of gas cost me $3.05 and with world prices about to zoom up to $90 or $100 a barrel, America, look out. We are in trouble. If gas hits $5 per gallon, our economy will be in serious trouble. The probable Bush response? Cut more taxes for Hummer owners and the wealthy. We need a better answer.Bush's arrogance led him to ignore history when he invaded Afghanistan. Did he really believe that America could defeat the Taliban, occupy the country, and sit back while democracy broke out? Arrogance led to the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive strikes based on our views and our intelligence. "Why consult with allies? We are the most powerful nation in the world."We have lived through "shock and awe." We survived Bush's arrogant, public relations-driven declaration of "mission accomplished" from the flight deck of the Lincoln. We have listened to claims of progress from Rumsfeld, but where's the beef? Now we need the humility to ask the allies for their help instead of subservience to our policies.To describe the Bush-Cheney team as incompetent is an understatement. From the catastrophic and expensive Halliburton "rebuilding" of Iraq to Katrina, there is no doubt that this crew gives incompetence a bad name. Even Putin jokes about Cheney's hunting shot.And now we have a crisis of almost incomprehensible proportions. Just think about all-out war in the Middle East. Imagine a ground war in Lebanon, with Israel bogged down in Lebanon like we are in Iraq. We are looking disaster in the face and tough talk is just talk.Think of the consequences if Bush bombs Iran or Syria or both. Think about oil going to $200 per barrel. And who is in charge? Who has a plan? What should super-power America, armed with clever slogans, do to stop this disaster? We are at the mercy of the group of war nuts who brought chaos to Iraq. The group that did not rebuild Afghanistan or Iraq. That won't even call for a cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel. If that doesn't scare you, you are a much calmer person than I am. (And I'll bet you don't have draft-age children, grandchildren, brothers or spouses.)To sum up, we have civil war in unreconstructed Iraq; the bombing of Gaza, which is run by a government we won't deal with; a potential civil war in Lebanon; prospects of tiny Israel involved in occupation of Lebanon again; Lebanon's infrastructure destroyed; North Korea rattling rockets; Iran thumbing its nose at us; and no policy and no money as we approach $300 billion for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Meanwhile, Democrats, with the notable exceptions of Russ Feingold, Tom Harkin and Dick Durbin, are wringing their hands and maneuvering for the fall elections. Yikes! Now you know why I am scared.What do we do? One answer, imperfect as it may be, is to turn Fighting Bob Fest on September 9 into a massive call for peace. For troops home ASAP. For stopping the expansion of the war to Iran. For a demand for sanity.And, if you believe in prayer and have a loved one between the ages of 17 and 30, start now. Don't wait.And mark your calendar for Fighting Bob Fest - where Wisconsin will say, loud and clear, we don't want any new wars in the Middle East. And we do want our troops home from the wars in which they are currently bogged down.(A version of this article originally appeared on the opinion page of the Capital Times.) July 18, 2006 Ed Garvey is editor and publisher of FightingBob.com.