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I've been trying all morning to write a coherent statement on my feelings about the U.S. administration's plans to invade Iraq. (Don't try to tell me Bush hasn't made up his mind, as he and his staff have been quick to point out for weeks. * ) The problem is, the situation so infuriates me that I can barely see straight. Bush's false, folksy smarm ** -- while proclaiming himself to be from "outside the beltway" -- has always insulted me, and I have frequently been aghast at his level of intellectual incompetence. But in the past year and a half of the Bush administration, I have never been as vehemently pissed off at what Bush is doing now. This is a man who has never, ever, cared about international relations, much less the violation of a few U.N. resolutions. The same man who has defied the international community at every turn, now wants the U.N. to back him -- but it's a sham, because he doesn't care about U.N. backing, only the appearance of having gone to the U.N. Why now? Although Dick Cheney says that the implication that this is a political campaign is reprehensible, it's also depressingly plausible, as the only issue with which Bush has any resonance at all is terrorism. While Bush's prior actions have often been nonsensical, even maddening, this is simply absurd. He is taking us to war, and he and his hawkish administration have made dissent unpatriotic. He imagines himself a statesman.

* Donald Rumsfeld, when asked what Saddam Hussein could do at this point to avoid a U.S. invasion, replied, "He could resign and go into exile." This administration will not accept any other resolution than war.

** Bush's contempt for most people is evident is his statement that his new military doctrine is written straightforwardly so that the "people in Lubbock can understand it." The creators of frequently point out Bush's habit of casting backhanded compliments. Is this one? Texas pride, my ass.