The One Thing a President Can Do

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A significant
moment of truth is headed our way. Will Bush go for war in Iran,
which now seems very likely? Or will he not? It is his choice; it
will be the defining moment of his presidency. Some pundits are
saying that such a war is certain to involve nuclear weapons because
we do not have enough boots to put on the ground in Iran even if
we wanted to, and ordinary air war has shown itself inadequate to
stop things in Iraq.

For Bush to
say yes would be an act of insanity. But manic zealotry, which seems
to define Bush, is by definition not sane. Insanity is often defined
as doing the same crazy thing over and over again, expecting different
results. First Iraq, then Iran.

His decision
on Iran will also be a test of Bush's bravery. Bravery in this case
would be going against the iniquity your "friends" want
you to perform so as to be "one of the boys." In this
case, one of the "Great Presidents."

The one thing
a U.S. President can unquestionably do, as Commander in Chief, is
refuse to send our troops to start a foreign war. Relying on his
Constitutional power base and using his Bully Pulpit to unmercifully
rag any opponents, he can absolutely make it stick. His position
as top dog is unassailable. God knows, we opponents of Middle Eastern
war in general and attacking Iran in particular find that dismayingly
the case as we read and hear every day of preparations for war in
Iran, and of the small "window" that exists before our
mid-term elections.

Nukes in August,
anyone? An inconceivable thing? No. We've done it once before to
our everlasting shame.

It's clear
that if we were invaded, the President could not prevent the people
from taking up arms to defeat them. But he certainly can stop our
planes and ships from heading overseas, since American interest
in "overseas" is always fleeting at best; he'd have the
people with him for sure. Home is where the heart is, and the attention
most of the time. Even with horrors mounting hourly in Iraq (and
elsewhere, for example, in such unimaginable places as Afghanistan),
Americans are most interested in work, school, sports, cars, travel,
TV, movies, retirement, vacations, even at times religion. The local
trumps the remote.

So my challenge
to Mr. Bush is: show some real strength, do the unexpected. Be brave.
Be sane. Follow the way of the Lord Jesus Christ, take to heart
the lesson of the Story of Stories we heard again just last week.
Or was that, for all our church attendance, just foolishness?

The real sanity,
the real bravery, is to oppose the warmongers, the Mammonites who
worship money and violence and are nourished by the blood baths
both always produce.

Bush could
become the greatest of all our Presidents if he would turn about
and risk all for Christ, the Prince of Peace.

April
17, 2006

Tom
White [send him mail]
writes from Odessa, Texas. He is the author of Bill
W., A Different Kind of Hero: The Story of Alcoholics Anonymous

(2003),
and the newly-published Lost
in the Texas Desert
.

Tom
White Archives

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