| the people need to be engaged in a truthful discussion over how/what/why we got to this place and how/what/when are we going to do about it. The people need to become much more aware and involved and not just every four years.|
But I think this time your approach is not very practical is it? I mean even corporations operating with smaller logistics than a nation only publishes an annual report once a year.
We elect our government figures to do their jobs, and during their mandate, we can question them and expect answers, but given the complexity of what they have to face, for us to second guess their every move at short intervals would create an unworkable scenario --- an ungovernable country.
If they do make egregious wrongs, we can get rid of them, and this has happened in the past. How can there be so little trust in your institutions of government?
I do agree with you that after Nov 3rd, there is a need to open up the discussion on how this happened, and how it can be improved. If you look at what McCain and other republicans have asked just before CampKerry seized on it as a political advantage, there is every indication that Bush in '05 onwards would have to operate with a lot more humility and circumspection.
So yes, no WMD has hurt Bush significantly. This is really why the polls are so close.
As for your premise that a change in leadership (ie: Kerry) is going to fix it, then you have missed several noteworthy ideas here :
1. The coalition Bush assembled is fragile, these leaders have taken substantial political risk to support the US with a war that is unpopular at home. Your true friends are the ones who will stick with you when the going is tough and outcome uncertain. The ones who turn away at the first sign of danger are not your friends.
2. Kerry has worked very hard to fracture and destroy this coalition. By calling them coerced and corrupt, he had made the positions of these foreign leaders even more difficult, after all, if a presidential contender can be so disdainful of them, then how can they sell being part of this coalition to their own citizens at home?
3. Kerry's sister worked against John Howard in the Australian federal election by warning australians that they must not support the war on terror, that it has made them less safe (Diana Kerry Sep '04). Australia is the only country in the world that has supported the US in every single coalition and conflict, this is an ally no intelligent US leader can afford to turn away. If this had worked and John Howard's party turned back at the polls, the other party would have been indebted to John Kerry, this helps JK politically, but note that the other party has promised to have their troops from Iraq home in 6 months. So, if what Kerry wanted happened, the US coalition in Iraq would have lost a valuable ally. This is where JK's and US's interests are diametrically opposed. Regardless, John Howard won by a landslide and I'm wondering what he thinks of John Kerry now.
4. Remember the corrupt and coerced statement? Well Poland's president didn't take kindly to it and protested publicly, and some have wondered if Michigan's polish minority will think kindly of John Kerry's slight. Again, no intelligent leader versed in even rudimentary foreign policy will insult allies and work against US interests for the sake of a sound bite.
5. Allawi, for all intents and purposes is US's best hope for stability in Iraq. It is hard enough for Allawi and his administration to function with what they are facing --- they can only succeed if they have the trust of the Iraqis and a plurality of ME leaders. Yet, JK's camp pointedly talked about puppetry. This discredits Allawi's legitimacy, which brings forth a bigger problem worthy of debate. I think this is a very strong argument Kerry has decided that Allawi is the equivalent of Nguyen van Thieu, that Iraq in Kerry's mind, is already lost, a second vietnam. Otherwise, why else would he discount his legitimacy so easily?
With the above foreign policy misadventures from Kerry just in the past 6 months, ignoring his senate record (which is somewhat insubstantial), I must conclude that as bad as GWB is, JK is much much worse.
Whether he wants to or not, a JK administration has already sown the seeds for a (1) collapse of the coalition in Iraq, (2) a dishonorable retreat from Iraq. My conclusion : Iraq will become a second vietnam under a Kerry administration.
I just don't know if America can bear the stigma of a second vietnam.