Baghdad is in flames, what can we say?--AP
A recent speech by the first Bush
that is interesting to compare to his son's approach to international relations and war.
This was an interesting passage:
The day that the Berlin Wall came down, I see my friend John Sununu here, a famous female reporter was standing next to my desk, and she said, "Mr. President, why don't you go to the Berlin Wall and dance with the young kids. Families are being reunited as we speak. Why can't you do that like Senator Mitchell and Gephardt suggest?" The stupidest idea I ever heard was for me to stick my fingers in Gorbachev's eyes when things were going very smoothly towards a unified Germany.
Now leaving aside a large amount of residual loathing I have for that Bush based on his real history, I find this fascinating. I can't imagine his son thinking or saying something like that, or even thinking it would be an important lie to tell for that matter. His father, for ill or good, recognized the value of international relations and diplomacy--EVEN if you're a warmonger. His father was at least a grown-up and understood at least half of what skills his job required. (it was the domestic half he was totally clueless about) The "sticking my fingers in Gorbachev's eyes" remark is something I'd expect more of the Clinton sort of president than the Dubya.
Right now we have someone wreaking the same kind of physical destruction--worse, really--but who may not understand what he's achieving by doing so. I think one can only be puzzled by Dubya's approach to all this if you're expecting the sort of thinking and behavior exhibited by other presidents. That's the wrong approach. Remember that few if any presidents since the first few have come to the job with less international or domestic political experience. He only became governor in the 90s and had no political jobs before that. Therefore it's unlikely we have a complex political psychology going here that juggles this and that aspect of it.
He acts more like someone who's learnt how war and such things go down from Jerry Bruckheimer and Mel Gibson films. Seriously. He gives ultimatums, even to his friends. He doesn't care about consequences or nuance because he seems to think they're distractions that could sap his will, as opposed to matters which, if covered and thought through beforehand, would increase certainty of victory; it implies a certain amount of insecurity of purpose and will.
And his impatience calls for huge explosions, showy demonstrations of his will. Like he was a bored guy checking his watch in a movie theatre.
To those who ask if people like me who oppose this war would oppose ALL wars I would ask why are you so readily for them. Any actual military person who's been in combat--and coming from a 'Nam-era military family that's just about most of the adults I grew up around--will tell you to actually have to get to the fighting phase is something you do only when either under direct threat or when all else has failed. All else hadn't been given a chance to fail. Typically of Bush(think again back to the election) he decides to cut to the chase when he doesn't like where the dialogue is going. Soldiers will put themselves in harm's way but they do not desire it or like it unless they're psychopaths(and from what I heard those were not the kind of guys you wanted next to you in combat, the kill-happy type--those are simply murderers, not soldiers). Combat is a horrible fucking thing and only chicken hawks like Georgie Boy consider it desirable.
Would I oppose all wars? Hm.
(a)If they were for as little reason;
(b)If they were as baldly wars of choice;
(c)If the reason was as tainted;
...then yes, I would oppose all wars. But all wars are not unjust. Whatever our motivations for getting into WW2, it had to be fought or many more would have died. But comnparisons of Hussein to Hitler are spurious at best. I don't think Hussein was going to be marching into Europe, Turkey or Saudi Arabia anytime soon. Hitler aggressively took territory and lots of it. Hussein tried to and got slapped back quite easily. You could not have done that with Hitler once he had even begun.
And for those who like to compare Hitler and Hussein to make their point, I should point out that Hitler's will overwhelmed that of the League of Nations and he launched his blitzkriegs--sudden massive shows of force that produced, um, "shock and awe"--on nations the League considered expendable. At least until that included the League itself, which Hitler basically caused the dissolution of. And Hitler came to power in the first place through a special deal cooked up with old and corrupt(and in the most important case, senile) government figures that negated an election's actual results. There's someone, yes, very specifically, in this matter who's been acting like Adolf in more than a few ways, yes, but I don't think Hussein's the one on a scale for the comparison.
The more that Bush pounds Iraq, the more he disproves his point. Hussein has been abandoned by the world, the recent UN transcripts make very clear. They're now simply discussing reconstruction, Annan apparently taking the invasion's success as a fait accompli. No one will lift a finger to save him. So tell me, if he has weapons of mass destruction, just what the hell does he have to lose by using them now? You can take three viewpoints on this, I think:
(a)He wants to go out as a total martyr. Doubtful, as the Arab world does not respect someone who goes meekly to their death at the hands of enemies. One last stab with bio or chem weapons would be taken as what a martyr would do, something courageous, something to inspire.
(b)We destroyed them all. Unlikely as well.
(c)He doesn't have any and all we did was use the recept inspections and dismantlings to evaluate their defenses and locations and to reduce their ability to defend themselves from the war we were gonna launch anyway.
The last is my guess, and if so, what a cowardly and thuggish way to act. I feel like my country is being run by the Corleones.
Labels: Mel Gibson, politics