03 March 2017

This Bizarre Game [2003]


[From my pre-weblog, 3 March 2003]
T
he news continues to suck, as George Bush II screws things up massively. Case in point—this Turkish mess. Bush’s henchmen (his press secretary in particular, but also Donald Rumsfeld) have been insisting that world opinion, and especially opinion in the Arab and Islamic worlds, doesn’t matter. Supposedly American military success would bring them around to a favorable view of US activities. There is no need, in other words, to win the hearts and minds of non-citizens. The arrogance with which the Bush II administration has acted from the moment it declared victory in the 2000 election—I’m thinking here of the rejection of the Kyoto treaty and the world court in particular—has tended to alienate all and sundry all over the world, including many right here in this country. It was a direct consequence of this attitude, I would argue, that resulted in the unfavorable election result in Turkey—the United States’ long-time ally—a little bit back. And now a direct consequence of this is the failure to win support for the projected war in Iraq in the Turkish parliament. The Bush II administration was apparently surprised by this—the only surprise in my view was that the vote was as close as it was.
Saddam Hussein has really taken all the tricks so far in this bizarre game he’s playing out with Bush. This business of destroying his own missiles at the request of the UN is a master-stroke on his part. Even though it’s really meaningless, if the US invades after this it will look at least as bad as the sorts of things Nazi Germany did leading up to World War II. And if the argument is that the US, as the only superpower left, can do as it damn well pleases, then I would have to say that Bush II and his followers are living in some sort of fantasyland.
And now Bush II is trumpeting this supposed success in the war against Al-Qaeda—the arrest of one of the significant strategists. Okay, this is no doubt a blow to the organization (though also a chance for others to advance in it) and a very good thing in general—but may I point out that it was the Pakistani authorities who discovered and arrested this guy? How much longer is the US going to get any kind of cooperation like this if it keeps acting in this high-handed and inconsistent manner?
Much of the TV news has been presenting Bush II as a combination of Washington, Lincoln, and FDR all rolled into one, with maybe a touch of General MacArthur thrown in. One of our greatest presidents? Gee, I don’t see it. To me he seems more like a combination of Larry, Moe, and Curly, with a dash of Mussolini. Time will tell.

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