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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ben Stein on Iraq

Ben Stein has been a lot of different things in his life. For example, quoting from the bio on his website: "His part of the boring teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off was recently ranked as one of the fifty most famous scenes in American film."

One thing he's never been, however, is a lefty. He was a lawyer and speechwriter for both Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He's also been a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal.

In other words, he's deeply a part of the Conservative establishment in the United States.

It's significant, therefore, that he went on national television on Sunday and made the following statement:

(Click this link, or on the picture, to watch the video on the CBS News site. It's on the right side of the page.)

Times are very tough in Iraq, and if I were still a speech writer for the President, as I was for Mr. Nixon and Mr. Ford, this is what I would suggest he say:

My fellow Americans, I have some sobering news. It is my duty above all to protect the nation and to protect the Constitution. I sincerely believed I was doing that when I ordered the invasion of Iraq. I still believe Saddam Hussein was the most dangerous man in the world.

But it is clear to me now that things are not working out well in Iraq. Despite the incredible competence, bravery, and sacrifice of our men and women on the ground there, Iraq is still a violent, largely out of control country. We may be making more terrorists than we destroy. The word "quagmire" comes to mind.

It is clear that changes must be made. I have this morning accepted Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's resignation with sincere thanks for his service to the nation. Despite his flaws, he is a great American. He will be replaced by a truly heroic American, Senator John McCain of Arizona.

I relied on the best minds I could access to make my decisions about Iraq. I prayed long and earnestly. Nonetheless, I made mistakes and good men and women died and hard earned tax money was lost. Fine young men and women are crippled and disabled. It is time for a change. Therefore, inspired by Secretary Baker's and Senator Kean's fine unofficial committee, I am convening a national, bi-partisan Blue Ribbon commission composed of leading Democrats, Independents and Republicans , civilian and military, to start meeting at once and give me a recommendation in one month as to what our Iraq policy should be. All options are on the table.

That is, I will consider all options, no matter how critical of my present policy.

I want to close with this thought. I am just a man. I have no miraculous powers. I have no special pipeline to God. Like all Presidents, from Jefferson and Lincoln onwards, I make mistakes, and sometimes good people die. I am deeply sorry. Now, as we re-examine our policy, I would ask that you all pray for us to make the right decision. I am in politics. I get criticized for a living. But let us all stand behind the brave men and women and their families who fight for this nation and give up their lives for us. May God continue to bless us all and especially those who wear the uniform and their loved ones.

Thanks Margot!


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