While we are waiting for President Bush to finish skimming the Iraq Study Group Report, the interlude offers the opportunity to reflect on the context of this moment in the history of our nation:
We, the nation and beyond, are poised, mid-war, waiting for the President of the United States to catch up on his required reading.
It is a measure of the President’s lost stature that he was unable to secure an advance copy of the ISG report, but had to wait in line like everyone else. Now we all have to wait for him to get through the material. He is, after all, “The Decider.”
Lives have been lost, more are at stake, the result dependent upon the intellect and steely jaw of the self-proclaimed War President.
It has come down to a crisis moment. All else hinges on an intellectually lazy person’s ability to navigate the big stack of books and reports on his desk, more information in one go than he mastered in umpteen years at university.
The White House indicates this activity could take several weeks, as it involves reading, thinking and possibly the taking of notes.
To complicate matters further, according to President Bush’s biological clock, he should be on vacation right now. He is, in fact, at the time of this writing, months behind his normal vacation schedule.
This fact alone will make him testy and he will bark.
On top of that, the nation expects him to read books, a big stack of them. He is aware that this Iraq Study Group Report is a book, no matter what they want to call it.
He is living the C-student nightmare: the Mother of all Tests on the morrow, administered and graded by all the ghost professors of Christmases past, open-book, can’t be skipped this time, oral boards and all…the odds against triumph are long, escape with tattered dignity a godsend.
The lame duck simmers in the sauce.