Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Keeping Focus

You know what it's like in December every year. It's summary report and budget review time at work; make everyone happy season at home; hostess-with-the-mostest month in the community. It's the time we claim each year to simultaneously set kids' dreams in motion, keep personal spending under control, deck every corner and hallway with shiny stuff, make a significant difference in the world, seize the joy of each day, and keep our focus on what's really important. This exhausting scenario comes to mind today as I think about President Obama. He has apparently had some push back - in the middle of everything else- from his people in Iraq. It seems they didn't think he meant it when he said, "out of Iraq in 16 months." And now, sources say, these generals and secretaries are plotting a political assault on our new president. Read this piece by political historian and journalist Gareth Porter: We know it's showtime, Mr. President. We know there are campaign promises to keep, an economy to rescue, Bush policies to upend, cities to rebuild, people to put back to work, political favors to return, partisan bridges to build, and wars to end. We know you're up before dawn, in the office well into the night - living on green tea, trail mix, and no smokes. And we know you must be wondering - now two weeks into this thing - how will I ever get this all done by Christmas (aka 2012)? So I'd like to thank you for holding your ground on Iraq. I'd like to say bravo to your unwavering belief that continuing a war that never made sense makes no sense. I'd like to say hooray for your "I'm the boss now" stance with General David Petraeus and Defense Secretary Robert Gates and General Ray Odiemo. And, I'd like to suggest that insubordination to the Commander-in-Chief might not be a good path for decorated career military men to take. I'd also like to invite you to help Americans understand the intricacies of the political implications at stake for you as you continue to pursue 100% troop withdrawal from Iraq within the next 16 months. I'd like to hear you call, by name, the generals and journalists and congressfolk who are in line to put failure in Iraq on your back. Let us know who and what stands in the way of the promise you made to America to bring our troops home. Treat it like the Christmas tree, Mr. President. Yes...there's so much that needs to be done, and it's a hassle to get it up every year...but, it's a non-negotiable. We know the tree's going up before Christmas, come hell or high water. The cookies may not get made, the handwritten cards may not get mailed, the Christmas goose may be out of our price range...but the tree goes up. And the troops come home. In 16 months. Peace.

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