Bush’s tar baby

[This is my latest Backyard Blog post, but who knows if they will run it!]

I received this mail from a reader this morning after last night’s debate.

“Having watched the debate two times, I concluded that Kerry did not make much sense about his stand on the Iraq war. At least he agreed that Sadam [sic] was a dangerous leader in the Middle East and replacing him was ok. I don’t understand his argument of not the right time and right place for the war even though he voted to go for the war. What make any one think that Kerry knows what would be the right time and right place for the war? That means he would have waited until Sadam [sic] does some thing horrible to this nation?”

My first impulse in responding to this is to say that Kerry wouldn’t have whipped a grieving nation into a frenzy with fake intelligence about the “imminent threat” of Iraq. Without Bush & Co.’s amazing sales pitch about why we shoud worry about Saddam instead of Osama (whom they couldn’t find, so– oh look– shiny object! Over here!) I would imagine we would have had a proper national discussion about Saddam, worked with our allies, and eventually done whatever it would have taken to fully disarm him. Oh yeah, except he had nothing to

But at the risk of being rude (and then meeting my correspondent, a la Libby) I don’t really think I can have an intelligent discussion with someone who is, at this late date, a believer in the discredited theory that Saddam had it in his capacity to do more than play boogeyman to the U.S. So instead, I’ll offer a children’s tale. What we’ve done in Iraq resembles nothing so much as the old story of Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby, wherein crafty Br’er Fox creates an effigy out of sticky tar and connives Br’er Rabbit into attacking it. Complications ensue. There’s nothing worse than attacking a big ball of tar, thinking it’s a monster… except maybe attacking Iraq when you should be catching Osama and finding yourself locked in a guerrilla war with nothing resembling an exit strategy. What’s worse, our presence in Iraq has turned it into a big Tar Baby factory.

Kerry proved last night that Bush is more Br’er Rabbit than he is presidential. Bush hammered away at one point: that no amount of tar would ever convince him that he has made a mistake. Nope, give him four more years and he’ll find more messes to get us intractably stuck in. And you can bet he’ll look at us with that smug smirk and tell us how “resolute” he is in fighting tar wherever it exists. Wow… “terror” even sounds like “tar” in his fake-Texas accent.

In closing, I’d like to hear from one of our republican friends… how do you think Bush did? Sure you still want four more years of that?