By Matthew Rothschild on December 13, 2006
Bush Dawdles for a Reason
By Matthew Rothschild

December 13, 2006

With every day a wasting, with the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq now standing at 2,920 and climbing, Bush is dawdling.

He is too prideful, too headstrong, too macho, too ignorant, and too foolish to do the sensible thing, which happens to be what a majority of the American people want, and that’s to set a timetable for withdrawal and get out of there.

The decider can’t seem to decide what to do about Iraq.

He is too prideful, too headstrong, too macho, too ignorant, and too foolish to do the sensible thing, which happens to be what a majority of the American people want, and that’s to set a timetable for withdrawal and get out of there.

No, that’s not on Bush’s agenda.

He’s already torn up the fig leaf that James Baker gave him to exit stage right.

Bush is crazy enough to still think he can wrest victory from the jaws of defeat, when he’s just going to end up throwing more bodies into those bloody jaws.

My bet is that he’s postponed his big speech till after the holidays because he doesn’t want to dampen this season of cheer by announcing that he’s planning on upping the troop levels.

Only 12 percent of the American people are in favor of that, according to an LA Times/Bloomberg poll this week.

But Bush and Cheney don’t care what the American people want.

As Cheney said, right before the election, “It may not be popular with the public—it doesn’t matter.”

The hubris that Bush and Cheney exhibited on the way into Iraq will soon be on full display again as they drag this country deeper into the morass, against the wishes of the American people and against the wishes of the Iraqi people.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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