I never thought I’d find myself saying
this, but during the president’s speech on Sunday night, in which
he announced that he would be requesting $87 billion from Congress
for the continuing effort in Iraq, he reminded me a lot of my own
brother. I say this with disbelief, because in their normal states,
the two are vastly different. George, the slow-witted southerner,
has turned out to be a spectacular failure, while my brother, an
intelligent and successful New Yorker, has been a true source of
inspiration.

Janna Hutz

But some poor financial decisions have left both in need of
money. My money. After a few setbacks, my brother requested and
received a loan. George got himself into a pickle with the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq, and now he needs to borrow a bit of cash to
get out of it.

Earlier this year, when George tried to convince me that Iraq
posed a legitimate threat to the United States, I scoffed. When the
first wave of attacks on Iraq began in March, I watched in quiet
dismay. When Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction never
turned up, I went back to scoffing. Since the president announced
in May that the war was over even though U.S. soldiers were still
facing constant attacks and Saddam Hussein was still missing, I’ve
been bewildered by his overconfidence.

The most recent turning point came Sunday, when Bush put on his
most pained face and argued, in essence, “It’s not my fault. The
terrorists are the ones causing all the trouble.” Needless to say,
he’s lying; of course it’s his fault. He screwed up and got himself
into one hell of a mess, but he’ll be damned before he admits it.
However, I’m willing to overlook that, since my residual Christian
ethics won’t allow me to turn aside someone in need – especially
when he’s so pathetic.

It became evident that over the past two years, Bush has turned
into a pathetic war junkie. He can’t get enough of the stuff, and
now that he’s burned all of his cash in Afghanistan and Iraq, he’s
in desperate need of a fix. He’s down and out, but if only we could
spot him a little money, he could get that little boost that would
allow him to make things all right again.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was correct when he told CBS that
“It’s the United States’ war. We’re the ones that started it. It’s
our responsibility to finish it. We need more troops. We need more
money. We need it quickly, and time is not on our side.” The
conflict in Iraq is in danger of quickly turning into another
Vietnam, and an absence of adequate funding would only leave Iraq
in chaos and the United States embarrassed. Hopefully, Congress
will find it in its collective heart to grant the president
whatever he needs to clean up his mess.

Additionally, I hope that Bush’s request will finally convince
the anti-war movement that they lost the battle. Four months ago, I
enjoyed their idealism and fervor, but in a situation as urgent as
this one, idealism must yield to pragmatism. We’re in too deep, and
the only way out is through a hefty sum of money (say, $87
billion).

I’m confident that my brother will return the money he borrowed
from me, because he’s honest like that. Unfortunately for George,
I’m unable to extend the same trust to him. After all, the sum that
I loaned my brother is paltry compared to the $87 billion that
George needs. That and George isn’t too bright. I fully expect the
national deficit to continue to swell, since the presidential
thought process will doubtfully extend beyond “Can’t we just send
out s’more o’ them $300 checks?”

But if the loan is to remain outstanding and the anti-war
activists are to fall silent, I would at least like to see a little
honesty on the president’s part. Would it kill him to say, “Look, I
screwed up and now I need some help.” Yeah, it probably would, but
I can still hold out hope. In the meantime, I’m sure he will stick
to emotionally charged Sept. 11 references (there were three in
Sunday’s speech) intended to instill a feeling of purpose in the
American public. My call for pragmatism among the activists should
also extend to the president, since the time for emotional appeals
came and went long ago.

So, to answer your question, of course you can have the money,
George. Just stop lying.

Hoard can be reached at
“mailto:j.ho@umich.edu”>j.ho@umich.edu.

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