If it weren't tragic, it would be almost funny that the worst hurricane to hit America this season begins with the letter 'I". "I" as in Ike. "I" as in Iraq.
The talk about Hurricane Ike and its "storm surge" got me thinking about that other "surge." Which is when I realized that it wasn't just the letter "I", and it wasn't just the surge that these events have in common. It was something else--and the parallel could not be more clear.
In 2008--Despite hearing warnings from local, state and federal officials, thousands of people ignore the approaching danger of Hurricane Ike, choosing to tough it out on their own.
In 2003--Despite hearing warnings from the United Nations, our allies around the world, and our own intelligence community, George W. Bush ignores the approaching danger of Hurricane Iraq, choosing to tough it out on his own.
We've heard the story of Ray Wilkinson, the only person in his Texas town to ignore the warnings about Ike. He described himself as a "crazy old hardhead"; and labeled his behavior as "stupid". Said the 67 year old carpenter, "I didn't say I had all my marbles."
At least Wilkinson is willing to admit his mistake. Unlike George W. Bush, who has never admitted he was wrong. Even when he turned his back on the United Nations and most of our allies. Even in the face of the results. Even though the vast majority of citizens of the United States and the world believe that Bush's behavior was as clueless as Wilkinson's.
But Wilkinson is just a guy in Texas who stayed home and endangered no one's life but his own. Whereas Bush is playing with the lives of millions of people.
At first, Bush got most of Congress to go along, except for those notable and brave exceptions who spoke out early on: leaders like Teddy Kennedy and Barack Obama. Later on, like the people in the hurricane's path who changed their minds and evacuated, many politicians changed their minds, too.
Just like Bush, there are some holdouts who refuse to listen--such as John McCain.
What happens to those people who stubbornly hold out against hurricanes? We're seeing it right now. Someone has to pick up the diehards from the rooftops--and clean up the mess. And people doing that in Texas are the same ones sent to clean up the mess in Iraq: our brave underpaid, under-appreciated men and women in uniform.
But it doesn't end there. Even Michael Chertoff, Bush's own Chief of Homeland Security-- can see what happens then.: "When you stay behind in the face of a warning, not only do you jeopardize yourself, you put the ... responders at risk as well...and now we're going to see this play out."
Most of us can "see this play out"---but not Bush and McCain. Just as they stubbornly ignored the warnings, Bush and McCain ignore the truth of Chertoff's words. Their failure is played out and brought home in more than 4000 caskets delivered to American families...and in the injured veterans filling hospitals all over America.
The key difference, of course, is that a real hurricane is a disaster sent from nature-- or from God. And despite what Sarah Palin apparently believes, the war in Iraq was not sent from God. It is entirely a man-made disaster. Custom-made by George Bush and the kind of guys who prefer to ignore warnings and have their own hurricane party.
The most amazing part of all this is that according to current polls, HALF of the people in the United States would possibly vote for a George Bush surrogate--John McCain---who has proven clearly by words and votes that he is the guy who will stubbornly ride out the hurricane. Just like Wilkinson, the guy in Texas.
The idea that the American people could elect ANYONE who has voted with Bush 90% of the time and who fully intends to continue this manmade Hurricane Iraq---is so mind-boggling, my mind can't really grasp this. Just like I have trouble believing people choose to ignore hurricane warnings.
My first instinct would be to say to these people: "After 8 years of George Bush, if you choose to ride out this hurricane, then you deserve what you get."
I would say that if I did not have a son-in-law who will surely be sent back to Iraq to clean up again if McCain is elected. I would say that if I was not an American who cares about this country. I would say that if I believed there was no hope to save us from this hurricane called Iraq that has destroyed our goodwill and credibility around the world.
But I'm not ready to give up yet. The hurricane warnings are loud and clear and I am hoping enough Americans will be smart enough to listen. To heed the warnings and to get as far as possible from this man-made disaster----before it's too late.