Magazine article The American Conservative

The Incredible Shrinking President

Magazine article The American Conservative

The Incredible Shrinking President

Article excerpt

After losing both houses of Congress in the 1994 election, Bill Clinton expostulated: The president of the United States is not irrelevant.

On learning his trusted aide from Texas Scott McClellan has denounced as an "unnecessary war" the same Iraq War McClellan defended from the White House podium, George W. Bush must feel as Clinton did.

The synchronized savagery of the attacks on McClellan as turncoat suggests he drew blood. For what he has done is offer confirmation to the president's war critics, from within the White House inner circle, that Bush's motive in going to war was not a clear and present danger of attack by Iraq with weapons of mass destruction but to advance a Bush crusade to impose democracy on the Middle East.

Neoconservative ideology, not U.S. national interests, McClellan says, motivated Bush to launch one of the longest and most divisive wars in U.S. history.

When loyalists defect and seek to profit from that defection, it is usually a sign of a failing presidency. Events suggest that history is passing Bush by.

Despite the administration's designation of Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist' organizations, and of Syria and Iran as state sponsors of terror with whom we do not negotiate, America's clients are ignoring America.

Israel has ignored Bush's demand that it stop building and expanding settlements on a West Bank that is to be the heartland of a Palestinian state. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been secretly negotiating with Syria for the return of the Golan Heights in exchange for peace.

When America refused to play honest broker between Jerusalem and Damascus, Turkey, at Israel's request, stepped into the role.

The pro-American Lebanese government of Prime Minister Siniora has negotiated a truce and power-sharing arrangement with Hezbollah, giving that militant Shi'ite movement and party veto power in the Beirut government Egypt is negotiating with Hamas for a truce in the IsraeliGaza war and to effect the exchange of a captured Israeli solider held by Hamas for Hamas fighters held in Israel.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard, designated a terrorist organization by the Senate, helped to arrange the ceasefire between government forces and the Mahdi Army in Basra and Sadr City. While the United States has used the roughest of language to denounce Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president has been received as an honored guest by the Iraqi government we support and by the Ayatollah Sistani, who has yet to meet a high-ranking American. …

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