Bush’s rating: 36 percent and falling lower, lower, lower

Michael McLaughlin

According to a poll released by American Research Group, President Bush’s approval rating has broken the 40 percent floor and is now at 36 percent. While there are many reasons for such a downturn, there is one obvious cause behind this blow: the war in Iraq.

For the last two years, this administration has been claiming that we are one step away from turning the corner and that a free and democratic Iraq is about to bloom. And with every corner that has been “turned,” the violence has only continued and escalated. However, it appears that the American people are fed up with the idea of muddling in Iraq and hoping for the best

While the new Iraqi constitution is being pointed to as the catalyst that will finally end the insurgency, it won’t miraculously make the Iraqi armed forces able to defend themselves without U.S. help. According to the Guardian, the Pentagon said there are only 172,900 Iraqi army/police personnel of whom only around 20,000 are considered reliable. And even with upwards of 140,000 American troops in the country, the insurgency continues to grow every week. The day when Iraq can defend itself without them is rather distant, if even realistically feasible.

With political opinion beginning to turn, one of the major questions now at hand is whether or not we should continue to stay in Iraq or instead begin a withdrawal of the troops (gradual or otherwise). While the administration continues to insist that once the country has been stabilized we can leave, the truth of the matter is that if the stabilization hasn’t occurred by now, when will it happen? On the flip side: Can we just up and leave?

Ironically, I agree with the president in that allowing Iraq to fall into chaos where the best-case scenario is a quasi-democratic state (i.e. one with elections but without basic civil liberties) is unacceptable. I don’t even want to think about the worst case. The rub is that I don’t particularly want to get shot or get my leg blown off, and I sure as hell don’t want to ask or force other kids my age into getting injured or worse for whatever cockamamie reason Bush has thought up for the war this week. Next thing you know we’ll have invaded over the crappy, almost pornographic novels Saddam wrote in the 90s.

Of course, when in doubt, Bush wraps himself in the mantle of 9/11, claiming in a speech on Aug. 22 that the reason we’re in Iraq is to defeat terrorists. Which is technically true, but the only reason Al-Qaeda is now in Iraq for us to defeat is because we invaded the country and created a power vacuum in the first place.

I’m sure that someone is wondering what my “plan” is to solve the crisis in Iraq if I’m going to sit here and dare to criticize Bush? Well, the honest and simple truth is that there is no simple solution, hence the term quagmire, and I’m personally rather unsure if I could ever think of one.

The problem is, Bush doesn’t have any idea on how to get us out either.

Michael McLaughlin is a senior history major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].