That sounds like college tuition. But instead it's the amount of troops President Bush committed to Iraq, a place where the war has been over for three years now. Despite what the Senate might say, Bush doesn't even care anymore, will probably load all the troops in a plane and fly them over to Iraq himself.
Thinking about it creates a knot in my stomach as if I just ate a chicken queso burrito from Qdoba. Is this ever going to end? Probably not. If there is any stability to be found in all of this, it's the rampant instability. We're never going to be able to successfully quell religious feuds that have been going on for much longer than the United States has even been a country. We can't even get Saddam executed without problems surfacing. But let's be honest. That came as a surprise to no one.
But here's the thing. As much as I want troops out of Iraq, I don't feel it's the right thing to do. The mess we created is the mess we have to live with, no matter how bad we want to ditch it and leave it for someone else (the French or Democrats.)
We were party crashers. Iraq had a nice, albeit rowdy and inapproriate, gathering going on and they didn't invite us. We drove by, saw balloons and got pissed. So we knocked on their door, drank their booze, cheated at beer pong, made out with someone's girlfriend, threw up in the kitchen sink, and pissed in a plant in the living room. Then we bailed. Just like that.
Come the next morning, we went to the dinner to get pancakes. Blueberry pancakes.
We drove past Iraq and laughed because you could still see the peuk on the deck.
The point is, is that we fucked up. We blew it. Everyone knows it. Even Bush seems to be mildly aware of it, as he made references to "mistakes that were made" during his speech Wednesday night. But the problem is that now that we have all seemed to agree that we dropped the ball, where do we go from here? With the Democrats winning control of the House and the Senate, the Republicans have stepped aside and laid the whole mess in their hands. The Democrats, so stoked to have some responsibility, didn't even realize what had happened until at least two days later. By that time, the Republicans had taken off and left the Democrats to explain to the Iraqi's why their coffee table is broken and their plants smell like piss. But now it's too late for apologies. What's done is done and the Iraqi's are telling everyone at school that the Americans are dicks, that they crashed their party and pooped in their parents' bed.
So what next?
It seems as if no one in Washington has a good idea about what to do next regarding Iraq. It's either "stay the course" or get the troops out in 6 months, yet neither one would be a effective strategy. We need outside help. We need someone who knows how to fix a broken ship, how to right it, and make it sail. We need someone who knows how to get the most of the tools he's given and who knows how to dismantle the opposition's key components.
This is simple.
We need Bill Belichick.
Who better that New England Patriots' coach Belichick to both rebuild Iraq and get America out of there? Look what he's done with the Patriots, especially this year. Do you even know who Jabar Gaffney is? Me neither until last week, when he put up 100 yards and a touchdown in the Pats playoff win over the Jets. That's what Belichick does, he makes the most out of what he's given, and if given the problem of fixing Iraq, this will come in handy because frankly, there's not a lot there to work with. Nothing positive at least.
Bush should act on this soon, probably starting in February. Because given the Pats convincing win over the Jets, it doesn't look as if the Pats will be exiting the playoffs anytime soon.
How will he do it?
Well, if I've learned anything over the past few years of following Belichick and the Pats, it's that you have no idea what that guy will do. But I do know this, it will be effective. Given Belichick's ability to completely baffle the shit out of opponents, I wouldn't be surprised if he managed to isolate both the Sunni's (Peyton Manning of the Colts) and the Shi'ites (Steelers,) making them both powerless and ultimatelty bystanders who are limited to just watching as Belichick slowly dismantles their groups. Belichick will also take the Kurds completely out of the game and subsequently, baffle Iran and Syria (the Jets and Mike Martz) to such a point that they won't know how to handle the new Belichick-designed Iraq, leaving them to toil in mediocrity and left to go after each other and lesser nations, like United Arab Emirates (Texans) or maybe even Turkey (Jaguars.) This will leave the newly constructed Iraqi government to control the country and if the success of some of Belichick's coordinators (Eric Mangini, Charlie Weis, Nick Saban) is any indication, Belichick will have someone perfectly groomed to take over once he leaves.
This will lead to three possible outcomes.
1.) Iraq becomes an incredibly stable and thrifty country, able to stand the comings and goings of various factions and leaders as long as a core group of leaders remain. They will become a model nation in the Arab World and a blueprint for how to sustain peace over time.
2.) Sweatshirts with cutoff sleeves will become the new national attire of Iraq, leaving numerous pundits and commentators to ridicule their fashion sense, but commend their leadership style.
3.) Given the success of Belichick's restructing and stablizing of Iraq, Karl Rove will urge Belichick to enter the 2008 Presidential race as a Republican, with possible running mates being either Curt Schilling or Mitt Rommney. Rommney, upon hearing of Belichick's announcement, will see the futility of running against the 4-time* Superbowl champion, much like John Edwards did in the 2002 Presidential election. The larger implications of this will be that Massachusettes, a longstanding Democratic state, will be converted to a Republican state (this will most certainly happen if a Belichick/Schilling ticket were to emerge) leading to the final demise of Ted Kennedy and any future political implications of the entire Kennedy clan.
Belichick/Schilling 2008. Stranger things have happened. (see President Bush's victories in 1998 and 2004.)
HBO miniseries of the week: Rome
Album of the Day: Dominic and the Lucid, Waging the Wage
Predictions for the weekend: Bears, Eagles (in OT,) Patriots and Ravens.
Pancake addition of the week: Chocolate chips.
Beer of the weekend: Yuengling lager (in cans.)
* Yes, I'm predicting the Patriots to win the Superbowl this year. 31-17 over the Bears.