So Many Cards, So Little Thought
The family was gathered in the living room looking at Christmas cards. The first one opened was from Donald Rumsfeld. My daughter-in-law said, "They send us one every year."
I said: "Yeah, but every year it's different. For example, Don is no longer secretary of defense. The value of his card is a lot less than it has been in the past. I've known Don since he came to Washington. When he first came to work for George W. Bush, he was a different Don Rumsfeld. He was jolly, full of life and ready to go to war, but only if we could win."
My daughter-in-law said: "Over the years, he changed. He didn't realize winning a war wasn't as easy as everyone thought."
My grandson Ben said, "In the past when we've gotten Christmas cards from Don, we didn't realize the Shiites and the Sunnis were so busy killing each other that winning the war wasn't a slam dunk."
In the meantime, my son said, "Did we get a card from George Bush?"
We looked through all the cards, and not one was from George Bush.
I said: "He doesn't know us that well. First he told us we were going to win the war. Then he said we're probably not going to win it. Then he said we need a lot more troops if we're going to win it. Then he redid the Pentagon hierarchy because it wasn't working very well.
"It wasn't the role of the president to explain how he was going to make war. It wasn't even his idea to go to war. And certainly, his first idea of invading Iraq worked, up to a point."
We did get a card from Colin Powell. Apparently it was sent after he left the State Department, because he paid for his own postage.
My daughter-in-law asked, "Did he say anything that would change what's going in Iraq?"
I said, "No, but he did say in his card it was going to be a very, very long war -- even longer than Vietnam."
My son said, "Condoleezza Rice believes the most important part of diplomacy is to fly around the world and let everyone know that if Syria and Iran don't straighten up and fly right we'll have to send in even more troops."
My other grandson, Jason, said, "Not only will the new secretary of defense, Robert Gates, continue the policy of sending out Christmas cards to the troops, but he will also have lunch with them in Iraq and Afghanistan, to show everyone how good the food is."
My brother-in-law said: "Christmas cards are very important to people. First, when you send one you're telling the person you're thinking of them. Extremist religious parties don't send cards and don't believe there is a good and a bad world."
We're going to have a ham dinner tomorrow. The whole family will be there. I'm not talking about Rumsfeld or the president -- but they are invited to come if they'd like to.
We'll sing songs. We'll have mistletoe, and it will be just the way it was before the president announced we may not win the war as easily as everyone thought.
Maybe our boys didn't get home for Christmas, but at least we have their cards.
2006Tribune Media Services