07/13/2007 06:06 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Question That Wasn't Asked

Thursday, at his press conference, the President declared that our presence in Iraq was: "vital for protecting our people," necessary "to keep the American people safe," that "as difficult as the fight is the cost of defeat would be far higher," that our enemy "are dangerous people," "extremist groups, whether they be Shia or Sunni" whose "ambition is to continue to hurt the American people." "they have got an ideology that they believe the world ought to live under," and that "one way to help spread that ideology is to harm the American people. "

The President appears to be outlining a new doctrine, the Bush Doctrine. Based on phrases like "protecting our people," "keep the American people safe," "the cost of defeat," "dangerous people," "want to hurt us," "ideology they believe the world ought to live under," and "harm the American people" the Bush Doctrine suggests that America is in a death struggle with the forces of Islamic fundamentalism.

If the President is sincere in his belief, does he truly believe that our forces, at their current strength, are capable of protecting us from such a monstrous enemy? Even as he proclaims victory in Ambar province in Iraq, we have lost Helmand province in Afghanistan. Even as we drive al-Qaeda out of Baghdad, it strikes in Islamabad. Even as we fight for victory in Iraq, we are losing Lebanon. Our forces are stretched thin, our equipment is deteriorating, our Treasury is running on empty. Are we prepared to face an even greater threat from both Sunni and Shia?

Based on all of the above, the question I wanted asked at Thursday's press conference is, "President Bush, if you truly believe that we are fighting for our very existence in a war against an ideology abhorrent to us all, why haven't you mobilized the American people for that great cause? Why haven't you asked Americans to make the sacrifices necessary to fight such a war? Why haven't you called for a draft to reinforce our brave but exhausted soldiers with fresh troops? Why haven't you imposed a war tax so all of us might bear the financial burden of the war instead of imposing it on our children and grandchildren? Why haven't you turned Detroit into an 'arsenal of democracy', turning out tanks, Humvees, Strykers and other equipment our brave soldiers need so badly?"

I can think of only two reasons for the President's refusal to mobilize Americans for this conflict: the first, he does not believe that America is truly engaged in a world-wide battle against forces that wish to "hurt," "harm" or destroy America or, two, he lacks the political courage to ask Americans to make the sacrifices necessary to fight that war. That suggests yet another question, is the President a liar or a political coward?

On the other hand, maybe he's just trying to scare us.