Wednesday, December 27, 2006

If President Bush can admit "we're not winning" can the media admit "we're not losing?"

Among the many great writers at the Washington Post, David Ignatius stands out as thoughtful, gentle, and interested in winning the "war on terror" (however that is interpreted.)

In today's column titled: "Bush's New Look on Iraq: Weary," Ignatius writes about the stress that is becoming more apparent on President Bush's face and the surprising admission by Bush last week that "we're not winning."

Ignatius writes: "Bush is not a man for introspection. That's part of his flinty personality -- the tight, clipped answers and the forced jocularity of the nicknames he gives to reporters and White House aides. This very private man has begun to talk out loud about the emotional turmoil inside. He is letting it bleed.

Bush opened the emotional curtain at a news conference last week. A reporter noted that Lyndon Johnson hadn't been able to sleep well during the Vietnam War and asked Bush if this was a 'painful time' for him. He gave an unexpectedly personal answer: 'Most painful aspect of my presidency has been knowing that good men and women have died in combat. I read about it every night. And my heart breaks for a mother or father or husband or wife or son and daughter. It just does. And so when you ask about pain, that's pain.'"

Frankly, I have never sensed that President Bush has been emotionally detached from the responsibility that he has had in sending the nation's sons and daughters into war. I remember a very poignant photo from late 2004 in which the President was saying farewell to troops leaving from Bangor, ME. Every time the President meets with the families of slain soldiers, he is confronted with the reality of war.

In reading Ignatius' column, I do have to that President Bush and Secretary of Defense Gates have uttered the words: "we're not winning" what are the chances that mainstream journalists will also report "we're not losing?"

This struggle that we're in is much too serious to be playing games of "gotcha" with the President. David Ignatius is one of very few writers that, while disagreeing with President Bush, gives the impression that the desire to win the war on terror is stronger than the desire to get one up on President Bush. However, I still don't sense him embracing the words "we're not losing."

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