Commander In Chief Emeritus
Bush didn’t heed Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn analogy about Iraq, “You break it, you own it.”
I think often about the Pottery Barn rule, and what it means beyond its face value:
Once you break it, pay for it, and own it, you typically don’t keep it, do you? No, you don’t. Because it lost its value when you broke it. Frankly, you’d probably leave it in the store and not even take it with you. Me, I’d help to clean up the mess I made and then leave. Bush, he’d no doubt leave it to the clerks and skulk out of the store. If stopped, he’d make up a bunch of excuses about some crazy uncontrollable kids running amok who made the mess.
Beyond that, I’m troubled by parts of the Gates testimony today in which he said the situation in Iraq needs to be brought under control within the next year or two. Well, in two years Bush gets to go build his library and his successor gets to buy the vase he broke in Pottery Barn. I’m not really too keen on having Bush kick the can down the road, effectively selling someone else the merchandise he broke. So I suggest the following: After leaving the presidency, Bush must remain in charge of prosecuting the war in Iraq until “the mission is accomplished.” Let him be personally responsible — from 2008 until whenever — for “staying the course” until we achieve “victory” (whatever the hell that means). Make a new post for the Commander-In-Chief Emeritus, reserved for presidents who’ve fucked up so badly that burdening their successor(s) with the problem is simply not an option.
Bush is a 60-year-old man who has yet to clean up his own mess even once in his life, dating back to Arbusto and I’m sure even before that. He’s now made what is arguably the biggest mess one person can make, and I’ll bet my bottom dollar he’s counting the days until it’s someone else’s problem. And when it becomes someone else’s problem, which it invariably will, Bush will be there to snipe from the sidelines that it might have worked out better if he’d been in control, being a self-professed “War President” and whatnot. I say don’t let him off the hook. Iraq is his “accountability moment,” and that moment shouldn’t be allowed to pass until he himself closes the book on it.
It’s just not enough for me that Bush will go down as the Worst President Ever. That’s good, but not enough.