Nero didn’t actually fiddle while Rome burned, but George W. Bush is dithering while American soldiers die. This weekend, while Bush is celebrating the New Year holiday at his Texas ranch, the Pentagon announced that the number of US military personnel killed in Iraq since the start of the invasion has reached 3,000. Another 20,000 Americans have been wounded.
Meanwhile, the commander-in-chief, who only recently admitted that things in Iraq aren’t going so well, is hemming and hawing over what to do next. The circumstances remind me of Hamlet’s angry response to his mother, who he believes is culpable in the death of his father. He confronts her, saying, “Leave wringing of your hands … and let me wring your heart…” The family and friends left behind by soldiers killed in this unjust war could not be blamed if they were to say the same to the president.