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Welcome to the longest-running* yet least-read** blog on the internet! Here you'll find me writing about all the things that I write about, which strikes me, just now, as somewhat recursive. In any case, enjoy :)

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Friday, November 04, 2005

The White House: A New Greek Tragedy

...before I step out into the rain to tackle the ascent of Mount NaNoWriMo.

For nearly five years, President Bush had it easy. Anyone who disagreed with him or his policies was shut down, marginalized, accused of being unpatriotic or a kook. The press played along. Hell, most of America played along, because they were angry, because they were scared after 9/11. First Afghanistan, which even I can admit needed a serious enema. But then it was Iraq; and we were lied into war in Iraq. There's no doubt about that anymore, is there?

You see, Bush (and his brain, Karl Rove, and the owner of his paltry little soul, Cheney) knew that America still has deep, psychic scars over Vietnam. And he used that to his advantage.

How? What do you mean, MercerMachine? It's simple, really. You see, Americans remember how war protesters back then spit on and reviled American troops coming home from Vietnam, calling them baby killers etc. These boys, average age 19, drafted into war, forced to serve in hell, then coming home and being treated like pariahs. Bush et al know this (though not one of them has seen actual combat) and they know that most of America feels a deep sense of shame over how we treated our returning soldiers then. They knew that America would hesitate again and yet again before questionig whether the war in Iraq was just, because to question the war is to undermine the soldiers. And in general, Americans would rather gnaw off their own arms than repeat that mistake.

So BushCo had it pretty good for a pretty long time, considering just how wrong they were over the weapons of mass destruction, the direct links to Al Qaida that didn't exist and never had, etcectera ad nauseum.

But like many a greek tragedy, things look fine until everything falls apart pretty much all at once. Hell, there was even the classic deus ex machina of Huricane Katrina that exposed the incompetence of Bush's cronyist tendencies in regards to FEMA director Brown. Too bad a city had to drown before such glaring incompetencies were uncovered, but tragedies aren't fun.

Now city councils are passing resolutions to bring the soldiers home, protests are springing up simultaneously in over sixty cities, Bush's Republican base is fracturing underneath him, a senior White House staffer is under multiple felony indictments and another is still being investigated, the oppostion Democratic party is finally showing some spine and demanding answers, and even the media is finally, finally turning its attention to the glaring faults, inconistencies and outright lies of the administration.

Bush is a pat tragic hero. By hero I mean of course a protagonist in this play; there's nothing heroic about a man who sends others off to die after avoiding combat himself, there's nothing heroic about a man who has not attended a single funeral for any of the soldiers killed in Iraq. No, I mean hero only in a literary sense. And like most tragic heroes, the seeds of Bush's downfall were carried by Bush the entire time. He was a man utterly unfit to lead the country, and so of course the gods with their cruel sense of humor sent him one of the most trying events of America's history: 9/11.

Because he was intellectually and morally incapable of handling such an event, people like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove stepped in to make the decisions. These, it must be said, are not nice folks. Because Bush valued personal loyalty above any other consideration, he's filled his administration with crooks, liars and incompetents, and guess what? They stole, they lied and they failed miserably at ther jobs.

And because Bush has too much hubris to ever admit he was wrong--about anything--this tragedy is not over yet. We're just moving into act 3, where things get really dark as the 'protagonist' squirms and struggles ever more violently to escape his doom.

It's just sad that the gods don't particularly care who gets hurt in the process of punishing the main character's overweening pride.

7 comments:

Tym said...

Nice. Take more NaNoWriMo breaks ;) (spoken like a true NaNoWriMo failure '04.)

wahj said...

You said it right. The whole thing would be a tragicomic farce, if not for the fact that too many people have lost their lives already for it to be even faintly funny.

Terry said...

Careful, Mecermachine cos Bush might be reading this this very second. But yeah, I adgree with what you say.

dan said...

Its all well said, but I think you need to rethink the paradigm that you are viewing this from. Let’s first of all put out a disclaimer, that I am not leaning right or left on this issue per se, but rather am view this whole episode from a different prospective as a 3rd party

Would you have preferred Gore staying on as the President, and then having to undertake the necessary steps after 9/11. I wouldn’t. Its simple, Gore reaction to 9/11 would have put a big F on the report card and Bush’s was a big fat D. But if the difference is between failing and getting by with a pass, I’ll take the pass any day.

Bush’s military action would be no different from the reaction that Israel will issue to its neighbors. It is logistically impossible to protect one’s nation from terrorism, with only one country having this exception, (want to venture a wild guess which country?) and the only theoretical way is to hurt the enemy as hard as possible to keep them busy. Israel has always countered a bomb set off with missile attacks directed at know enemies of the state.

Whether the enemy is found in Afghanistan or Iraq, the level of intelligence require is minimal. Bush is sending a message, a military message. Afghanistan was a response to 9/11. Iraq is a demonstration of the fate of any existing enemies of the US. Had he stopped at Afghanistan, I believe a lot more nations would have been rather pleased to allow terrorist operation to continue in their country. Iraq is the message.

His duty is not to protect soldiers or the people of other states. His duty is to protect the people that reside on American soil. I still give him a D, but it definitely not an F.

The Screwy Skeptic said...

onua797 - please, like Bush would be monitoring this blog like other countries monitor their citizens' blogs. besides, everyone knows he can't read.

i lovitty love this post, btw, MM.

MercerMachine said...

hi tym! i took al my breaks the first three, no four days. no no more breaks...

wahj- i find myself laughing, actually, but there's damn little humor in it. on a grand scale, us bumbling little humans jusk keep making the same mistakes over and over and over...

onua797- nah, bush only watches fox news.

dan- i have to respectfully disagre with you on this one. there's no way to tell how Gore would have handled it, because he never got the chance. as far as bush getting a D, the only way he could have done worse in my opinion is if he'd nuked somebody. bush is liek the guy who only had a hammer, and so every problem starts to look like a nail. He's created more terrorism in the world, not less, by giving them a stage to play on that the whole world can see. Afghanistan was the only country that sponsored terrorism in any meaningful way, and the Taliban needed to be pulled down. Iraq, Syria, Iran, etc. are not nice places, they are not our friends. but they are most likely not state sponsors of terorism. Okay, maybe Syria is, but you know what? we are now in no position to go after anybody else because we got bogged down in a meaningless bloodbath in Iraq.

In any case, the simple fact is, Bush and company lied to the American people and lied to the world. Cheney is an advocate of torture. They are criminals. They are morally bankrupt. They are hypocrites who give lip service to Christian ideals while pursuing decidedly un-Christian agendas.

And as for Bush not being responsible for keeping troops safe, you're right as far as you go. But the commander in chief also has the responsibility to ensure those troops, their families and the American public as a whole that they are dying and being permanently disabled for a just cause. Iraq is not a just cause.

The invasion of Iraq has sent a message, you're absolutely right about that. It's just not the message you think it is. The message to the world at large (and believe me on this one, I'm living in Singapore which is wedged between two Muslim states) is that the United States will destroy anyone they don't like, and will manufacture evidence and lie outrageously to support their right to destroy anyone they don't like. This does not make America especially well liked abroad. This does not incline anyone who may know of a terrorist plot to come forward. all it does is engeder a 'they kinda had it coming' attitude in moderate muslims who might otherwise be inclined to clamp down on islamic fundamentalists.

America, for all that I love it and miss it, is not the center of the world, and Americans, for all our good qualities, are not special or chosen. We exist within the framework of the larger world, a world groing ncreasingly more complex, sophisticated and dangerous. If we continue to ignore the subtle and nuanced motions of world culture and politics in favor of a black and white, with us or against us mentality, we will continue to suffer the consequences.

dan said...

p.s. I'm singaporean. I served the army too for the reason because we are wedged b/w such nice countries. And I'm working in one of them.

What you want is an A... the right thing, I'm just pointing out, in politics, at least non-singaporean world wide politics, its getting a D or better that matters. Sure he screwed up, and if I had a chance to vote, I would have voted for Mc Cain, BUT, you have to believe, in all good intentions, he did the ALMOST right thing, which earned him a D.