I can’t seem to figure out what’s going on at “Camp David” the past couple of days. I know President Bush and his top advisors are meeting via teleconference with their counter parts in Iraq, but isn’t this already being done, daily? What I think we are all witnessing here is a “made for TV” event to try and show the American public that the Bush administration is on the job and making progress in Iraq. If that’s what is going on here, that’s ok with me because for a long time I have felt like President Bush thought we should all just trust him. However, over the months his lack of communication with the American people has hurt his public approval ratings and his political clout on Capital Hill.
The President is probably right that there are many things going right in Iraq, but the major new media are not covering them. For one thing it is extremely dangerous for reporters to wonder out of the “green zone” to report what is happening in other cities besides Baghdad. Also, it is not in the nature of reporters to cover “good news”. Just look at your local news coverage of events taking place in your city. When was the last time you heard anything positive coming from a local television news broadcast? Most of the time the old saying of, “if it bleeds it leads” is the rule of the day in most news rooms around the United States. If President Bush wants positive coverage of what is happening on the ground in Iraq, he is going to have to be the one to deliver that positive news to the public.
There is one thing that has always been a constant in the United States and this is that the American people don’t like long wars. This is the reason why most smart politicians only take limited military action when it is warranted. If they get the US into a protracted military conflict like Vietnam or Iraq, it isn’t long before most of the American people will turn on the war and want the troops back home. There was a study the other day that said American’s are the most impatient people on the planet. Every President of the United States should remember that fact about the American people. The American public will turn from positive to negative on any war in a short period of time if they are not kept in the loop and assured that progress is being made.
I believe when the Iraqi war began President Bush knew this fact about the American people, but somewhere along the way he got sidetracked and stopped talking about positive developments in Iraq. This was a huge mistake, kind of like a politician that lets others define their views on issues. President Bush is a smart politician and would never let a Democrat define him in a political contest, but he seems to have forgotten that a war is also political in every since of the word. For too long President Bush had the luxury of the American people trusting him in the war on terrorism and the only reason they started questioning that trust was because of many of the actions the Bush administration took with “fuzzy intelligence” in the lead up to the War in Iraq.
Hopefully what is happening this week at “Camp David” is not a temporary situation and the President will continue to update the American people on the progress of what is being accomplished in Iraq. If he doesn’t, then he is sealing his own political fate and legacy because of his lack of candor with the American people.