Saturday, May 03, 2003

Pork--the other white blasphemy against Allah

William Saletan on Bush’s continual attempts to conflate the wars on terrorism and Iraq: http://slate.msn.com/id/2082419/
Here’s a paragraph:
But don't tell us this was a triumph in the war on terror, Mr. President. Don't tell us the defeat of a secular dictator has turned the tide against a gang of religious fanatics. And don't talk about patience. You inserted a battle that could have waited into a war that couldn't, precisely because you lacked-or thought we lacked-patience for the slow, diffuse, half-invisible struggle against the people who hit us on Sept. 11. You wanted a quick, clear victory, and you got it. But don't flatter yourself. You haven't changed the world in 19 months. You've only changed the subject.
I agree with all of that except the term “Mr. President.” Even before reading it, I was going to comment on a bit from the Bush speech: “The war on terror is not over; yet it is not endless. We do not know the day of final victory, but...” yadda yadda. The problem is that he is treating the “war on terror” as if it were a traditional war, with a “day of final victory,” but fighting terrorism is at least as much like a police problem, no more winnable than the war on drugs or the war on muggings.

One problem with treating this as a traditional war is that it encourages racist responses. Let’s see if I can explain that. The Bushies are encouraging us to think of terrorists as if they were a nationality, as if they all came from one (evil) place that can be bombed, when they are in fact a dispersed group of people with diverse origins (the Brits are currently trying to figure out how they produced their very first suicide bomber), and diverse ideologies. We’re being encouraged to think of them instead as an ethnic or national group, and the only ethnic group that most of them are is Arab.

I was right about Bush’s visit to the carrier being expensive, but it also kept the sailors from their homes by an extra day, after the longest deployment of a US carrier in 30 years.

Still, it gives The Nation an excuse to talk about Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service, and remind us that we still haven’t seen evidence that he didn’t go AWOL for a year.

The article does miss one of the ways in which it was ensured that Bush would never face action: he was trained on obsolete planes about to go out of service.

The only expression of outrage I’ve seen about the R’s hijacking 9/11 for their 2004 convention. And also for failing to attack Rick “Inner” Santorum.

Labour’s loss of 800 local council seats in yesterday’s elections suggest that an electoral “Baghdad bounce” is more elusive than Bush expects. One can but hope.

US soldiers, who have finally ended their occupation of the school in Fallujah, left an English-language lesson in graffiti--“Eat Shit Iraq,” “I love pork,” etc etc. Did I mention that the locals were sure that the soldiers were using night-vision to check out their women?

The CIA wants new powers to issue demands for information from libraries, internet providers, etc etc in the US (without a warrant, of course).

Former secretary of education and upholder of the nation’s morals William Bennett is evidently a major gambler, having lost something like $8 million in Vegas.

Birmingham, Alabama’s chief of police, the office once held by Bull Connor, is a black woman.

And there is a highly entertaining obituary in the NY Times, of Boston’s last censor, that is not to be missed.

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