To the New American Centurions, this was the perfect storm. Politico No. 1 was the perfect figurehead because he believed more than half the stuff he was spouting. He really did. On the military side, they had a man, Politico No. 3 who had figured out how to make this stuff happen. This would be the new American Century - not really that different from the old centuries - but now they had a chance to take control of an oil-rich, but more importantly, a strategic location in the Middle East.
The populace had used up most of their own natural resources, and there just wasn't anyway around that other than a new expansion. It was no longer enough to rule the continent, they needed to find new lands to conquor to plant the American flag on.
That was a foregone conclusion. It is the nature, they said, of an empire to expand. Now that their old enemy had been vanquished, somebody had to be the big honcho in the world, and it was time to step up to the plate.
And it wasn't very hard to convince No. 1 of this. He believed that God had actually given him this mission to take on.
In the White House, Number 1 and Number 2 were meeting over the secure video link. Number 1 had heard that old joke that he - Number 1 was only a heartbeat away from the presidency. But it didn't phase him. In fact, he wasn't often perturbed by any developments that might have destroyed a lesser man. His mantra was: stay the course.
Number 1: Did you hear what that General said yesterday?
Number 2: Yes, sir - I did. That was just plain hogwash.
Number 1: I had someone write it down for me. This is what he said: "There is no way to militarily lose in Iraq. There is also no way to militarily win in Iraq." What was he thinking?
Number 2: It was a poor choice of words, sir. I believe he was really talking about hearts and minds.
Number 1: Well, somebody had better give that boy an English lesson.
Number 2: Yes sir. I know. He is usually smarter than that.
Number 1: Isn't that what the naysayers have been saying?
Number 2: Something like that.
On the other side of the secure hook-up, Number Two was doing enough worrying for both of them. He knew, that Number One saw himself as the captain of a ship crossing a great, only partially charted ocean. He also knew that simply "staying the course" made little sense if you were headed towards an iceberg. Number Two knew that "staying the course" was good pablum for the people, but course corrections were needed, and it was up to him to figure out how to break that to his captain.