Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bush: The Speech, the War and the Hurricane

Bush, Saying U.S. Is Winning, Asks Patience on Iraq - New York Times

Nothing new in Bush’s speech this evening…at least nothing besides the admission that he screwed up. His groomers and trainers have finally got it across to him that strategic withdrawl is in order, time to admit that the intelligence was botched, that there were no WMD and, oh yes, that he’d been spying on American citizens since 9/11. It was, of course, a nuanced confession, not the blubbering 12-step repentance that may come later—after he leaves office. Just a little flutter to see if admitting fallibility wins sympathy or is perceived as a sign of weakness.

On substantive issues however it was the old time religion: the bad guys are out to get us and we have to get them first, and get them where they are so that they can’t get us at home. There was the same ritualized invocation of 9/11 and the fudge on the distinction between the Iraq program and the “war on terrorism,” pious remarks about spreading freedom and democracy, and best wishes for Christmas and Hanukah.

The confession—too little too late—will not make any difference because no one really cared about Weapons of Mass Destruction in the first place—any more than they cared about whether Reuben “Hurricane” Carter, a black boxer unjustly convicted of murder in my home town was really guilty of the triple murder for which he was sent to prison. The bottom line was that Carter was a big, tough black man and so a danger to the community. If he really killed those 3 guys, that was good: it justified us in putting him away. If he didn’t, that was also ok because he got put away anyhow.

No one really cared whether Iraq had WMD. The bottom line was that there were big tough guys who, if not exactly black weren’t quite white and were out to get us. If there were WMDs in Iraq that was good: it justified going over and getting them before they got us. If there weren’t, that was ok too because we would get them anyhow. One way or another, our leader was a Big Man who would hang tough and protect us.

But he didn’t. He couldn’t even deal with Hurricane Katrina.

What could he have done? Maybe, remembering film clips of Ike’s “I will go to Korea” speech, admit that the whole Iraq affair was a hopeless quagmire, announce that he would go to Iraq, negotiate with all parties, partition the country and fix the mess. If this miserable little shit had any real guts, beyond the scripted cinema variety it took to land on the deck of an aircraft carrier and announce “mission accomplished,” he would play it straight for once, put his life and legacy on the line and make a real attempt to fix what he broke. But he will not. If the Democrats want a successful candidate for the next election they will pick one who will.

I don’t care about this war because I don’t care about foreign policy. Wars come and go. War by its nature is bad and it’s a judgment call whether, for any given war, the good outweighs the bad or vice versa. But I find the utter gutlessness of Americans appalling: the gutlessness of Americans agonizing about crime in the streets and terrorist threats from abroad, locking up bad guys and locking themselves into gated communities if they can afford it, obsessing about dirt, germs, food additives, bird flu, porno on the internet, bullies in the schools, and anything that could conceivably offend anyone and the gutlessness of American politicians testing the waters, consulting focus groups, sampling polls and running chicken-shit from anything that could jeopardize their careers, reputations or physical safety.

One always feels reticent about expressing such sentiments if one hasn't been tested and, being a women (of a certain age), I wasn't: I was never in the military. But I swear by Jesus Christ that "I, a weak woman" could do better than these miserable wimps.


Andrew Brown said...

If this miserable little shit had any real guts

Another tenured moment, I see -- and enjoy.

Andrew Brown said...

"If this miserable little shit had any real guts"

Sotty. That was the quote I was referring to. I don't get on with yor comment box.

Andrew Brown said...

As you may have noticed, the <i> tag is broken in your comnent box, despite what it claims at the top

H. E. said...

It looks like the tag worked--at least I'm seeing italics in my browser (Safari 1.3.1)

Actually, I behaved like this even before I got tenure (testing to see if italics "before" worked)

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