Iraq, Iran and a president who doesn’t understand

Republican: This one concept instills fear in mothers, ignites fury in liberals and starts arguments with even the friendliest of people. I know this well, for I am the liberal arts minority. I am a Republican.

I figure that I’ve heard almost every derogatory joke in the book about it because, after all, I work, study and even live with the other half – the Democrats. I consider myself to be decently thick-skinned though; it’s necessary when you work for the “evil media,” and my Republican convictions have withstood the test of time – until recently.

I’m not so na’ve to think that everything that comes out of the president’s mouth is genius or even logical, but I generally work my way around his blunders enough to see through to what I believe is his real intent.

Unfortunately for me, not every cloud has a silver lining, and for the first time in a very long time, I was thoroughly disappointed with a comment made by the president.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Bush fielded the usual barrage of questions about North Korea, Iran and Iraq and left the public stunned with one of his responses.

When asked if he felt the war in Iraq had escalated into a civil war, Bush responded by first saying, “We’ve got people who say civil war, we’ve got people on the ground who don’t believe it’s a civil war. But nevertheless, it is.”

When asked the same question just moments later, the president’s stance seemed to falter and he said, “… It’s hard for me, living in this beautiful White House, to give you an assessment, firsthand assessment.”

President Bush, are you telling me that it’s hard for you to share your thoughts with the American people on the level of war in Iraq? Or, even worse, are you saying that you haven’t been keeping up well enough to know the status of the war?That is a difficult pill for me – and the majority of my fellow Americans, both Democrat and Republican – to swallow. I have a hard time believing in and advocating for a president that makes statements pertaining to their luxury of living, while some of my close friends are sitting on a sand dune in a strange land full of people who want to kill them, counting down the days until they can come home.

I have boldly defended the president’s decision not to pull out of the war in Iraq, spoke in opposition of stem cell research and even debated the cons of immigration. I cannot, however, in good conscience, support these recent remarks made by the president.

Frankly, if the president is announcing to both Americans and opponents that he has very little concept of what is going on in Iraq right now, I’m not sure I can believe that he fully comprehends what is going on in Iran right now either.

The president seems very confident when he declares that he has knowledge of the continuing creation of nuclear weapons in Iran. He doesn’t seem to worry, however, that Iran could turn into a highly destructive and expensive war. Worse, it really doesn’t seem to bother him that we aren’t even close to finishing the war we’re in now before starting a new one. Funny, but this seems awfully similar to the speech we heard four years ago.

This time I would like to see the proof – the real proof, not satellite images of something that appears to resemble something that could be a nuclear warhead. If I have to watch the death toll climb every night on the evening news, I want to know that our servicemen and women are deployed to truly protect the citizens of the world, and not just on a glory mission. More importantly, I want to know that my president is fully aware of all actions occurring in this new battle.

Obviously our president has never heard the term, “Don’t poke the bear.” If he had, he would understand that most Americans are not OK with allowing it to get worse before it gets better, especially when lives are being lost every day.

I’ve come to expect more from my government – at least more from a president who needs to summon up more appropriate responses to questions such as this. Maybe I’ve come to expect too much.

I don’t have any plans to change my voter registration card just yet, but I do hope the president takes this opportunity to re-examine the magnitude of the wars he wants the American people to wage.

Suzanne Parks is a senior majoring in English literature.