Thursday, October 06, 2005

BUSH OFFERED NOTHING NEW in his speech today at the National Endowment for Democracy. It was 40 minutes of trying to have it both ways, as always. The U.S. liberated Iraq and Iraqis now live in a democracy; but the Islamofascists have made Iraq their central front against freedom and they've terrorized and enslaved Iraqis to their murderous ideology. Terrorists are part of global, borderless networks; they're organized loosely not in rigid hierarchies; they train in virtual, cyber-training camps on the Internet -- but terrorists are aided and abetted by specific governments and nations; they must be fought with the traditional tools of war: bombs and guns and invading armies. "The radicals" recruit followers by convincing the locals that the U.S. is the cause of all their problems, and telling them that "violence is the only solution"; but the war must continue because violence is the only way to defeat these radicals. Bin Laden and Zarqawi are extremists who preach the religion of absolutism and tell their followers that "It's either victory and glory, or misery and humiliation"; but "Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response: We will never back down, never give in, and never accept anything less than complete victory."

Pres. Bush has the chutzpah to say this:

Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, "what is good for them and what is not." And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that his -- that this is the road to paradise -- though he never offers to go along for the ride.

And then later in the speech, this ...

This work involves great risk for Iraqis, and for Americans and coalition forces. Wars are not won without sacrifice -- and this war will require more sacrifice, more time, and more resolve.

... offering endless war as the road to freedom and democracy -- though he never offers to go along for that ride, or sacrifice any of the wealth and privilege he grew up in and still lives in. Nor does he ask any sacrifice of Americans in general, except for that relatively small group of Americans who are sacrificing their own lives or watching loved ones sacrifice their lives. The hypocrisy is like the stench of the dead bodies in New Orleans left in the street for days.

The entire speech is one long metaphor for seeing the mote in the other guy's eye while ignoring the boulder in one's own. Take this sentence, for example:

Throughout history, tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that murder is justified to serve their grand vision -- and they end up alienating decent people across the globe.

This is exactly what the Bush administration has done in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Guantanamo. Yet Bush sneers at the charge that the war and occupation in Iraq have strengthened the hand of terrorists and influenced decent people across the globe to sympathize with them.

* * * * * *

There is a lot of interesting commentary on the president's speech on the left side of the blogosphere.

Magpie at Pacific Views thinks the fact Bush gave the speech at all is a sign his handlers are worried:

You can always tell how Dubya's doing politically by the number of press conferences and speeches that he gives. If all the nation sees of the prez is well-engineered photo ops, you know things are doing well. But if Dubya is subjecting himself to press scrutiny or his administration is leaning on the media to give live coverage to "important presidential messages," our Dear Leader's fortunes must be sagging.

And on the principle that the best way to get support for a controversial policy is to liken it to a past policy that was successful and popular (at least in retrospect), Magpie also notes that Bush compared terrorism to communism, and the war against terrorism to the Cold War struggle with the Soviet Union. Of course, Bush does this while simultaneously telling us that terrorists are different from any enemy of the past because they are not connected to specific nations or governments.

Over at Think Progress, Judd pulls out quotes from the president's speech to demonstrate that Bush is trying to scare us -- which is, of course, how he won support for invading Iraq to begin with.

America is losing confidence in President Bush. A Newsweek poll reveals that "across the board...his most visible policies only pull the support of a third of the country: on the economy, 35 percent approve; on Iraq, 33 percent; on energy policy, 28 percent." When all else fails, start fear mongering.

One of the quotes jumped out at me when I read it, but for a different reason. When I saw this:

Innocent men and women and children have died simply because they boarded the wrong train or worked in the wrong building or checked into the wrong hotel.

My first thought was, Yeah, like the 22-year-old farmer and taxi driver in Afghanistan who died as the result of days and days of brutal torture -- not because he was a terrorist or even was suspected of being a terrorist; but because he drove onto Bagram Air Force Base and U.S. soldiers were bored.

And finally, do not miss Bob Cesca at The Huffington Post on Bush's tendency to project his own motives onto others (hat tip to The Heretik):

Bush's speech today at the National Endowment for Democracy was loaded with what author Mark Crispin Miller has observed as Bush's pathological tendency for "projectivity."

"Projectors are those people who consistently attack others for the things they hate most in themselves . . . When Bush talks about Saddam Hussein, he's talking about himself.What's significant about Bush's projectivity is that it perfectly expresses or reflects the larger projectivity of the Christo-fascist movement . . . Movements to rid the world of evil are always paranoid because they're fundamentally driven by the crusaders' inner evil-doers. You can kill every evil-doer in the world. You can kill everybody. But you can never kill enough of them if it's the evil-doer in yourself who most disturbs you." Mark Crispin Miller in an interview with Buzzflash. July 23, 2004

So now, some George W. Bush pathological projectivity from his Thursday address.

Bush on his six week vacation: "There's always a temptation in the middle of a long struggle to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism..." He's referring to opponents of the war, but he's actually talking about his own desire to escape from the day-to-day onslaught of bad news.

Bush on his domestic and international policy: "...a radical ideology with immeasurable objectives to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world." Bush knows a lot about intimidating the world. And his single-minded re-alignment of international policy and diplomacy can very easily be defined as radical and ideological -- if not downright insane.

Bush on his exploitation of Christianity to suit his party's political goals: "The time has come for all responsible [Christian] leaders to join in denouncing an ideology that exploits [Christianity] for political ends, and defiles a noble faith."

There's more. Don't miss it.

1 comment:

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