I think the trouble is that with the rapidly shifting rationales for war, President Bush winds up lacking authority. As with all political frameworks, there are, of course, those who never have accepted his authority in the first place, and there are those (you know who y'all are) who would defend the President no matter how misguided the policy. Knowing that it's only the middle ground that Bush has to exert this authority over, his propaganda has targeted that broad center as best as it can, and each new rationale convinces fewer and fewer people. For a President who complained that his opposition couldn't hold a position for more than a few minutes, he certainly seems to have his own problems hanging onto them. In the earlier days of these shifting rationales, he had to pump them out pretty quickly to provide a smokescreen to cover up the inviability of the previous one. Saddam was intimately involved in 9/11. (No, he wasn't.) He tried to buy yellowcake uranium. (No, he didn't.) He has weapons of mass destruction. (No, he doesn't.) He has a WMD PROGRAM. (Not really.) He INTENDS to build WMDs. (Well, sure, but saying "Gosh, I want a nuclear bomb" is not, in and of itself, a WMD program.) He tried to kill my Daddy. (Who cares?) He's a tyrant. (So what?) He's a despot. (So's the House of Saud.) He's hiding terrorists. (Where?) There are terrorists in Iraq. (Not until after we got there.) Everyone else thought he had WMDs, too. (Yes, based on information WE gave them.) He killed Kurds. (Yeah, in 1988, with weapons we sold him.) We're fighting terrorists there so that we don't have to fight them here. (And wasn't it nice of Iraq to loan us their country to use as a staging ground?) We have to keep fighting so that the sacrifice of the soldiers that already died won't be in vain. (True enough, but he keeps saying "complete the mission" without ever telling us how he plans to do that, so we keep doing the military equivalent of throwing good money after bad.) Bush himself admits that he didn't expect an entrenched insurgency, and, though he tends to mumble it under his breath, he also admits that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and that they had no WMDs. His attempts to rebuild his authority in the wake of being wrong about those things have mostly been on the basis of pure faith and blind patriotism, rousting the inner cynic of the moderates whose support he depends on. Now, the real question is, why did Bush start this war? Part of it might have been Afghanistan. We went to war against the Taliban and they vanished like a saltine cracker being sandblasted. It's almost certain that Bush was expecting as fast and easy a victory in Iraq, and that he was convinced that we'd have no trouble fighting the war on two fronts. He was also convinced, since he seems to only listen to people who tell him what he wants to hear, that our military was big enough to handle the job with just a few good men. The reality is that by dividing our attention between two countries, he lost a certain degree of control over both. I'd be standing at the right hand of the man cheering and voting Republican for life had he put as much effort and energy into Afghanistan as he did into Iraq, and I'm convinced that if he knew three years ago that we'd still be fighting both fronts today, he probably wouldn't have bothered. It's a terrible irony that the "war president" who "wants to be a peace president" is going to spend the major duration of his eight-year presidency at war, and the legacy of the "uniter, not a divider" is going to be one of the most divisive foreign policies in recent history.