Friday, June 13, 2008

History's Mysteries

Fredo, currently in Europe on whatever the opposite of a victory lap is, engages in what he seems to think is introspection:

President Bush has admitted to The Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a “guy really anxious for war” in Iraq.


“I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric.”

Phrases such as “bring them on” or “dead or alive”, he said, “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace”.

Yeah, whatever could have given anyone that idea? Flimsy attempts to paper over past comments are only part of the problem. More disturbing is Bush's utter refusal to admit that Iraq, the U.S., and the world would be better off without his ham-fisted interference. Along with his tiresome insistence that history will vindicate him, it bespeaks a startling lack of basic empathy and intellectual honesty.

Despite his supposed Yale history degree, Bush has never shown even the slightest interest in or familiarity with that subject, nor its ancillary subjects, such as geography or economics. Really, beyond "free trade good" and "democracies never start wars with each other", it's just even more muddled boilerplate.

The history excuse is really just a way for him to punt culpability until long after he's dead. The notion that it would take twenty to forty years or more to figure out that this has been catastrophic for millions of people and is destroying our own economy is ridiculous. If Iraq were to turn around it would be in spite of, rather than because of, any of the bright ideas from this crew. They decided on a snappy marketing campaign for their invasion, on their timetable, of a country they knew nothing about and cared even less. They sent administrative peckerwoods whose priorities for rebuilding the country were political reliability, rather than say, knowing the language or having some familiarity with the culture.

Even if one were to propose that there was a "right" way to pull this off, there is no indication that any of the planners even tried to get it right. They did exactly everything that knowledgeable military and strategic advisors told them not to.

The most offensive thing about Bush's puling excuses is not his failure to see himself and the events he personally drove as they really are, but his total disinterest in even bothering with such a task. He thought it was more important to tell people how often he dropped to his knees on that stupid rug and prayed. Prayer, whether you think it works or not, is the expression of hope over events that are beyond one's control. But Bush was always in control of events; that's kinda part of the job description. They bullied and rolled and intimidated and calumniated all who objected, and got to do what they wanted in the way they wanted. To blame the failure for all that on the tone of the marketing campaign is so far past missing the forest for the trees, it beggars belief.

Which makes it par for the course for these guys. And all the revisionist mea culpas by all the no-longer-gruntled former waterboys won't change that.

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