Thursday, May 19, 2005

Compare and Contrast, And There Will Be A Quiz 

I think it's fair to say that George Bush and Condi Rice have not yet managed to win Riverbend's heart or her mind.
…She stood in the crowded room as her drove of minions stood around her...…A huddling mass trying to draw closer to her aura of evil. The lights flashed against her fangs as her cruel lips curled into a grimace. It was meant to be a smile but it wouldn't reach her cold, lifeless eyes… It was a leer- the leer of the undead before a feeding...

The above was not a scene from Buffy the Vampire Slayer- it was just Condi Rice in Iraq a day ago. At home, we fondly refer to her as The Vampire. She's such a contrast to Bush- he simply looks stupid. She, on the other hand, looks utterly evil.

In these two posts, she tells us what it feels like to live in a city that has become a gigantic graveyard, why the bombs that go off everywhere in Baghdad are not mainly the work of suicide bombers, but more likely remotely controlled, and how she and the people she cares about manage to live in such circumstances without going crazy.

Joe Scarborough tells us why none of what Riverbend is telling us, and none of what she and the people of Iraq are living through matters.

And why is that? Because no one is paying attention to what those silly terrorists are doing. No one's noticing. "Suicide bombings. How 2004." The insurgents may not be tired of themselves, but everyone else is. "Kidnappings, beheadings, car bombings are nothing more than sound and fury signifying nothing. What do these terrorists take Bush for? An Italian PM?" Victory, though slow-moving, is at hand, Joe assures us. Read how victory is to be defined by clicking here.

Isn't the contrast between these two points of view the essence of the Bush doctrine, and doesn't Joe nail what is the essence of Bush's Iraq policy?

When the President pledged that he would stay the course in Iraq, he was being completely literal. Or as he likes to spin it, he meant what he said, because that's what he does, who he is, a man whose words tell you where he stands. That is nonsense, of course, when it's not an outright lie, but George Bush's literalism is real. He meant that under his leadership, this country would continue to do in Iraq exactly what it's been doing for the past two years, whether or not that policy succeeds or continues to fail to solve the most elementary problems it was the occupation's job to address - fixing the infrastructure, establishing minimal order and security, solving joblessness by employing Iraqis in reconstruction, stopping the influx of jihadists, and defeating an increasingly violent insurgency.

George Bush can't correct the course of the occupation because he doesn't know how to. In his own view, all that matters in and about Iraq is his own stubborn will, no matter the soaring rhetoric of his puppet-master speechwriters.

Joe Scarborough has that much right. Joe sees that willfulness as strength. But it's a terrible, brittle kind of strength.

Think of the great athletes, think of the great leaders: Real strength is muscular but also supple; without flexibility, muscular strength is mere brute power; even those Olympic power-lifters need more than that. Real strength is self-correcting because self-critical; it's able, when necessary, to pivot on a dime and give back nine cents, and it doesn't have to pretend it's staying the course when that course has already proved disastrous.

Increasingly, more and more of Bush's defenders will need to demand that we not pay attention to what's actually happening in Iraq; they've been demanding for some time that a free press is less a democratic strength than a foolish liability in this sacred war on international terror they keep telling us we're bound to keep fighting. So, it's going to be important to remind ourselves that they're wrong about what makes America strong, Peter Beinert be damned.

When a war on terror creates the kind of terror that Riverbend does not merely describe, but lives through every day of her life, then something is terribly, terribly wrong.

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
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