Saturday, May 06, 2006


Launching wars is a little like betting on horse races: You win few and lose many.

When President Bush launched his war of choice in March, 2003, pundits said he was gambling his presidency, indeed his entire legacy on it succeeding. Only we anti-war activists saw disaster looming.

A horse race is over in about two minutes. Six weeks after the war's start, the president landed on the carrier Abraham Lincoln, stripped off his flight suit to reveal his presidential duds, and proclaimed "mission accomplished".

Unfortunately, the people his war was supposed to liberate had already reversed Bush's announced victory by deciding to fight our unwarranted presence in their country.

When the horse race is over and one's bet is lost, you move on to other matters, hopefully not another futile wager. The president, for reasons we may never fully understand, refuses to concede his failed gamble in Iraq. Does he see a new and more dangerous gamble on the horizon in Iran?

Twenty years ago, the president dealt with a serious drinking problem to reclaim his life. We applaud him for that. Now, if only we could persuade him to deal with his penchant for gambling, not only to again reclaim his life, but maybe the world's as well.

Originally published in Chicago Tribune Web Blog, May 4, 2006