Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A very Chimpy Mission Accomplished Day

Four years, how time flies when you’re having fun. Here are the comments I made at the time:

Just watched Bush’s little smirk-and-swagger-a-thon, on board a carrier, no less. They’re going to divert the path of the carrier so that Bush can take a helicopter from it to San Diego, so all in all a pretty expensive campaign ad. We should be thankful he didn’t give the speech in the flight suit he was wearing earlier, which I thought was very Michael-Dukakis-in-a-tank, although a middle-aged man in a suit and tie on an aircraft carrier is also pretty silly-looking.

“We have difficult work to do in Iraq,” he said, but then he considers tying his shoes difficult work and has never mastered the pronunciation of nuclear, so perhaps his definition of what constitutes difficult work is not everyone’s. Again he referred to the military as the “highest calling.” In your face, doctors and teachers! He said that Saddam built palaces instead of hospitals and schools. Of course now the hospitals are all looted, and the US military is occupying both the palaces and the schools, and this week shot up a crowd of people [in Falluja] who wanted their school back, so possibly that wasn’t the best choice of words. He also tried hard to link the war to terrorism, still without offering any proof of the alliance of Iraq with al Qaida, which he mentioned yet again.

“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.

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