Kidd Millennium: Bring 'Em On - Arm-Chair Machismo
It's a shame, but true. Our Commander in Speech is sometimes left to his own devices. After all, his writers can only work so much overtime. Since his mother apparently never taught him to think before you speak, the man is the most dangerous when his handlers nod off and he is left to ad-libbing …because Ray Romano, he is not.
The colloquial taunt, "bring em on," is an expression first used by John Madden, formerly with Fox, now with ABC Monday night football. Madden's employment of the phrase occurred when a kicker kicked the ball before the referee dropped his arms- signaling the kicker to proceed. The ref ordered the re-kick, and to insure that the kicker was on track waved his arms in what Madden termed a "bring em on" fashion.
Yes, the same phrase was used by our loose-lips president to taunt Iraqis who dare to continue the fight against the mighty "coalition of the willing."
But Bush needs to remember he's running a country and a war, not coaching a football game. These three words like the litany than came before them make up W’s rules of war: “Dead or alive”, “with us, or agin us” and “let’s roll”. These simplistic affirmations are the basis for our president’s approach to “foreign affairs for dummies.”
It did not help, in critics' eyes, that the president made the statement with a picture of Teddy Roosevelt on a rearing horse — an image some people associate with Bush, our emblematic cowboy of a leader.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Mr. Bush's combative tone was not meant to invite attacks on Americans. "I think what the president was expressing there is his confidence in the men and women of the military to handle the military mission they still remain in the middle of," Fleischer said. My question would be why is the press secretary ending his comment with a preposition? Maybe he needs to join Mr. Bush in a remedial English class.
The president often uses euphemisms when describing or addressing America's enemies. On several occasions this year he referred implicitly to the killings of al Qaeda operatives by saying that some had been arrested or "otherwise dealt with," often to knowing chuckles from his like-minded audiences.
The president has regularly turned to folksy phrases when angered and discussing a threat to the country. Bush noted that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein "crawfished" to escape United Nations sanctions, and that he would "smoke" Taliban operatives "out of their caves." On the eve of the doomed effort earlier this year to win UN support for military action against Iraq, Bush said, "its time for people to show their cards.”
As a result, Mr. Bush’ poll numbers are dipping for the first time. It appears that even chauvinistic bravado has a half-life. His credibility is being eroded as even the mainstream media now talks openly of the pretext for this war and the unsubstantiated suppositions that led up to it.
Now, exercising his one true talent--blundering--George W. Bush has actually alienated the very troops upon whom he depends to carry out his neo-con ambition of restructuring Iraq.
If Bush wants to see a farewell to arms in Iraq, it is best to dig his own heels in, in stead of putting our fighting men and women in harm’s way. Landing on a aircraft carrier in Top Gun costuming might have made for a great photo op, but it certainly doesn’t match up to a tour of duty in a war torn dessert, where our delayed troops are experiencing daily guerilla warfare.
Restructuring a country entails cooperation and partnering with the Iraqi populace. The last thing we need is the taunts of a schoolyard bully knocking chips off of the natives’ shoulders versus rebuilding a nation brick by brick.
Mr. Bush, if you are going to be an armchair commander in chief, please put some else in charge of the remote.
Ron Callari is a freelance journalist and
editorial cartoonist who resides in Jersey City, New Jersey.
He and co-creator Jack Pittman produce kidd millennium