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O Citizens of the Future!

Tell us, O Chef of the Future, can it core a apple?
- Norton

Good question.

Here's another one: Did Bush lie?

Some of us think he did. Some of us think he didn't.

Know what? I don't really care anymore.

Shut the hell up about whether he lied. That argument will be decided by history, and -- parenthetically -- it will be lost by the Bush Administration. Worrying about it now makes it easier for them to do even more damage to the country.

Having this argument now gives everybody the chance to weigh-in -- influenced mostly by their own inclinations, with both sides pressing arguments that are more than adequate to re-convince those who are already convinced, and nowhere near good enough to convince those who are not.

And so where does that get us? It gets us nowhere near where we need to be. Which is, in my opinion, out of Iraq.

The question is not what was included in the infamous National Intelligence Estimate that members of Congress were shown; the question is what was not included in it. The evidence shows it was cleansed of genuine doubt, and we know now that those elements of genuine doubt were the very reasons we should have had a genuine debate beforehand.

A responsible administration -- an administration of grown-ups, if I may borrow a vaguely familiar phrase -- would not have buried those doubts. It would have had the guts to press them upon us, to press the debate on us, whether we liked it or not.

The important question now is not whether Bush lied. The question is whether the Administration had the guts to promote a genuine debate before the invasion of Iraq. We know now it did not.

Because we know that, we know they failed us, unforgivably.

Yes, and Congress failed us -- and we failed ourselves, too --, at least to the extent that we as a nation did not demand a genuine debate. Yes, many of us spoke up and demanded something better than what we were getting, but the nation as a whole did not.

None of that excuses Bush and his Administration doing all it could to prevent a genuine debate in the first place. They asked to be our leaders. They should have behaved like leaders.

And so, Citizens of the Future, here are some lessons we'd like you to learn from us:

Remember that war is not a T.V. mini-series. It is not a "cake-walk", no matter how many experts tell you it is. Remember that it's never just the war, it's what comes after the war, too.

But all of that is just the prelude to the most important lesson you have to learn from us -- the one you have to learn "truly, madly, deeply", as they say:

If you don't have the debate before you step in it, you are going to have the debate after you step in it, with such added complications as "They lied!", and "They did not!" This post-stepping in it debate will proceed without regard to the new problems you've created for yourselves by mindlessly stepping in it in the first place.

O Citizens of the Future, always ask yourselves: When is the better time to have that debate? Before or after you step in it?

Maybe Bush lied, maybe he didn't. Did he preempt a genuine debate? Without question.

That's it. That's all we need to know for the time being. That's what Bush and the rest of his Administration need to pay for.

Oh, and Citizens of the Future? A favor?

Don't be kind when you write the history of these bastards. Just tell the truth. That should be a sufficient force to damn them to hell.


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