Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say?



Bush gave the first in the latest series of “pretty please won’t you support my war?” speeches today. It’s actually a kind of interesting speech, containing many quotes from documents and speeches of Al Qaida leaders and others showing that they don’t like us very much and that they think Iraq is important to their cause and so on. He says ignoring these statements would be like ignoring Hitler’s Mein Kampf and Lenin’s “What Is To Be Done?” He says that “Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them. The question is: Will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say?” but intentions are not capabilities. Al Qaida may want to take over Iraq and Afghanistan and establish a caliphate from Basra to Boise, or wherever, but...

OK, right in the middle of that sentence I realized that just as Bush was treating bin Laden’s wet dreams as sensible strategic thinking, I was attempting to engage Bush’s speech with logic, which is about as sensible as punching jello. Moving on...

Condi Rice has translated the “people who oppose the Iraq war are like Nazi-appeasers” argument into African-American, telling Essence magazine, “I’m sure there are people who thought it was a mistake to fight the Civil War to its end and to insist that the emancipation of slaves would hold.” She also added that she’s sure there are some people who think Captain Kirk should have “taken a peace” with the Tribble-hating Klingons...

Like Bush’s logic, Condi’s charge is too fatuous to merit a response, but let’s compare & contrast their tone with that of members of the Democratic Congressional leadership. Reid, Pelosi, Murtha, Biden, Lantos et al have written to George Bush asking him to “consider changes to your Iraq policy” and “consider changing the civilian leadership at the Defense Department”. It’s the tone of supplication that annoys me. Not just that they don’t dare to say R*msf*ld’s name out loud, but that in requesting not that he do these things but only that he “consider” doing them, they are reaffirming his contention that only he has any say over foreign and military policy. They are speaking as if they are humbly offering advice to an emperor, not as if they are people with any share of power themselves. Bush, while paying utmost attention to Al Qaida fantasists with delusions of grandeur, will not have to ask “Will we listen?” about this letter.

(Update: which is why the reply to a letter written by a bunch of United States senators was delegated to White House chief of staff Josh Bolten.)

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