News of President Bush's weekend colonoscopy and the successful removal of five benign, non-cancerous polyps put me in mind of Evelyn Waugh's comment after the disagreeable Randolph Churchill, son of Winston, underwent a somewhat similar procedure.
Leave it to medical science, the novelist said, to remove the only part of Randolph that wasn't malignant.
The commander-in-chief doesn't read much in the way of history books, the article continued. "He's busy making history, but doesn't look back at his own, or the world's.... Bush would rather look forward than backward. It's the way he's built."
As my late great uncle and lifelong Baptist W. F. "Bubba" Downs of Temple, Texas, would say: Oy.
But now, it seems, the president is desperate to find his place in history, to search its tomes, old and new, and grill its authors for redemption and justification. Posterity suddenly has become the focus group about which he cares the most.
Despite the presidential reading list, those who forget history still tend to repeat it. This White House even forgets history of its own making. Thus, despite the absence of a plan for rebuilding Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam - the administration's downfall - there now is no plan for the inevitable withdrawal from Iraq, a task that will be an enormous, time-consuming and dangerous undertaking of logistics, lives and resources.
President Bush, better start leafing through your biographies of Churchill to learn more about strategic retreat. Look in the index under "Dunkirk."
I'm sure his minders can find him an edition with lotsa pictures.