Letter from Crawford

stacked hands

W writes from the ranch

President Bush took time out from his busy vacation schedule to send me a letter about the Iraq coalition from his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

I certainly appreciate this gesture, knowing how busy he is with fund-raising and giving speeches on diverse issues: salmon recovery, healthy forests, not to mention Iraq and Liberia.

It's pretty clear to most people outside the administration that Iraq is spinning out of control. If the steady toll of daily US military deaths wasn't enough, the bombing of the UN headquarters put an exclamation point on it.

Rummy and his sidekick Wolfowitz ridiculed then Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki for testifying before Congress that it would take "hundreds of thousands" of soldiers to control Iraq after the war. Now Democrats and Republicans alike say that the 140,000 troops the US has in Iraq aren't enough.

Nevertheless, the administration adheres to the myth that everything in Iraq is coming along nicely and the US has enough troops there. The administration also persists in describing itself as leading a grand coalition in Iraq.

Coalition. Sunday on Meet the Press, General Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, once again insisted that the effort in Iraq "has been internationalized" and that there are "35 countries" with troops already in Iraq, with more countries still deciding.

I decided to take advantage of the new White House webmail system (see my tutorial) to ask Our President to fill in the details for me. Knowing how busy Mr Bush must be, I went straight to the point and couched my request in simple sentences.

letter to Bush

As described in the webmail FAQ, I was required to confirm that I wanted a reply.

This message is to verify the authenticity of a submission made to White House Web Mail at www.whitehouse.gov. Your e-mail address was submitted as the address to send a response. To confirm your interest in receiving a response from the White House please reply to this message without changing the subject line. You must reply to this e-mail within 72 hours from the time stamp of this message. If you do not reply to this e-mail, White House Web Mail will disregard the submission received.

Like I would have gone to all that trouble if I didn't want a response?!

Bush at the ranch

Today I received the promised response in the form of a letter from the Crawford White House over the signature of The Dubya himself. W's reply (PDF)

I guess W must have been so busy he got my letter confused with one asking for a bullshit form letter. Someone else must have gotten the list of countries with the number of troops each has in Iraq at the present time. In anticipation that this mixup will soon be realized, I'm putting a placeholder for the answer, which I am sure will be forthcoming.

In the meantime, I am providing the list of 49 coalition partners published by the White House in April. Bush called it the coalition of the willing. Coalition of the Lilliputians would have been more accurate.