Monday, October 17, 2005

The idea of deciding to go into a ballot box is a positive development


Bush today repeated one of the silliest talking points about the Iraqi referendum: “an increase in turnout was an indication that the Iraqi people are strongly in favor of settling disputes in a peaceful way”. How is it an either/or situation? Was there fine print that no one read, like the license agreement for a piece of software which says that using the software means you’ve given up all your legal rights? Or is it more that it would be kinda hypocritical? I mean they might be willing to blow themselves up outside the post office, but surely they wouldn’t do it after having voted, that would just be so tacky.

And yet I suspect there will be many purple fingers on triggers. I’m sorry, but most people don’t look at casting a ballot as a grand statement of principles, like John Hancock signing the Declaration of Independence, but view it a tad more instrumentally. If anyone knows that, it should be Republicans, since no Republican has ever run for any office ever without promising to cut taxes.

Bush went on, “I was pleased to see that the Sunnis participated in the process. The idea of deciding to go into a ballot box is a positive development.” I know we’ve blown up a lot of their houses, but isn’t a ballot box just a little cramped? He added, “It’s an exciting day for a country that only a few short years ago was ruled by a brutal tyrant.” Somehow I don’t think they’ve feel like short years to the Iraqis.

George Packer in the New Yorker describes Bush’s philosophy as “more Harding than Reagan; not anti-government, just anti-good-government”.

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