I have been away from the office for over a week, and am just now getting back to some of the work that I have had to leave behind. The first thing worth mentioning--aside from the war in Iraq--is that by all accounts Bush’s poll numbers are down. Even Robert Novak and Peggy Noonan are piling on, claiming that, for one reason or another, Bush’s base is faltering. Maybe it is, and if it is, it is understandable, given the Iraqi prison mess, and the continued bad news from Iraq, at least as it is protrayed by the elite media. I am not persuaded that Iraq is falling apart, although it continues to be messy and complicated. But, I never expected simplicity and clarity in matters of war. I happened to see (on C-SPAN) Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Hoshayar Zebai, respond to questions at the World Economic Forum in Jordan. He was a very impressive and thoughtful man. It was very difficult not be hopeful about the future of Iraq while listening to him. But the seemingly chaotic nature of both the war and the relentless public criticism of both tactics and strategy of it at home--in the press and on Capitol Hill--could easily lead citizens to confuse the messy sausage making aspect of our democratic life, with mistrust and defeat. Even though we may be critical of the President on some issues (foreign and domestic), we have no reason to mistrust him. Things will become clearer soon, President Bush will begin to be mnore specific in his public conversations on Iraq, handing over sovereignty, etc.