How did we all miss this one:
Bush in Retirement
By Bill Ferguson
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Every great career eventually comes to an end, and when you're the president of these United States, you only get eight years (at most) to accomplish everything you set out to do. Then you're an ex-president for the rest of your life. I'll bet that ex-presidents, like most retired people, find it to be something of a shock to have all that time on their hands when they leave the working world. So they find things to do. They work on their memoirs. They build libraries.They give speeches. They support their favorite charitable causes.
But what about our current president? His term will be up before he knows it, and then it's back to private life. I'm afraid the transition will be especially difficult for Dubya. He is a man of action, and I worry about how he'll adjust to a life out of the spotlight.
I think that we, as a nation, owe Bush more than the customary parting gifts of an enormous pension and round-the-clock Secret Service protection when he leaves office. I think we can do better for him. I think we should put him to work, and I know just where he ought to go. Iraq. There is no question that Iraq will be the legacy of President Bush's tenure, and there is also no doubt that there will still be a lot of work to do there when he leaves office. I believe we should allow Bush an opportunity to stick with the job even after his term expires.
The next president should appoint George W. Bush to be a special envoy to Iraq and charge him with the responsibility to oversee all American interests there, advise the new Iraqi government, and maintain the morale of American troops who are carrying out the war effort.
The position should be a permanent one, and he would not leave until the "hard work" of helping Iraq to establish a working democratic government has been accomplished. Or until he leaves this mortal coil. Whichever comes first.
But I do not believe Bush should go to Iraq alone. He needs some trusted advisors by his side at all times, and the first two names that immediately spring to mind are Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. These men have been instrumental in the planning and execution of the Iraq campaign from the beginning, and I can only imagine how much more effective their work could be if they were onsite 24/7 right where the action is, getting their hands dirty in the cause of spreading freedom to that dark corner of the world.
I know this assignment would be dangerous.The three senior freedom fighters would be huge targets for the forces of evil in Iraq, and there is a real possibility that one or more of them might meet with an untimely demise in that chaotic environment But as Bush has reminded us time and again, the price is high but our cause is just. Freedom is not free. I expect that all three men would be ready and willing to undertake their assignments in the battle zone despite the extreme danger they would face. This would be a chance to show the world that they are willing to put their own lives, and not just the lives of others, on the line for what they know to be right.
So let's start a campaign to send the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld team to Iraq in 2008. They deserve the opportunity to "finish the job" in Iraq, and I think that the sight of the three of them tooling around the streets of Baghdad in a lightly armored Humvee would do a lot to improve the morale of all Americans.
Bill Ferguson is a columnist for the Macon (GA) Telegraph
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