Friday, November 12, 2004

Friday, November 12

So much to talk about again today, Bush, it's hard to know where to start: top of the list would be the continuing battle in Fallujah and the flight of many of the insurgents to other parts of Iraq, where they'll resume their struggle against what they see to be your occupation of their country another day. I read at least two contradictory comments by American soldiers in the newspaper. One high-ranking officer said, "The enemy is right where we want him. He's coming to us, and we're killing him." Another soldier, of lesser rank--and perhaps closer to the fighting--was not so optimistic: "The enemy is like camel spiders," he said. "You try to squash 'em and they crawl to the next spot." I fear very much that the monster you have unleashed will not be easily slain.
I want to tell you what I feel about that monster. I imagine you were probably as troubled as I was by the television images this morning, of that helicopter landing with Arafat's coffin in Ramallah, and the sea of mourning Palestinians that greeted his arrival. It was an incredible sight, to see this flood of human bodies swamp the big military chopper and sweep the coffin off into the roiling, screaming chaos of the mob. I mention it because this is just another limb of that same monster, the rage of Arabs and Muslims against an image of the West which you, Bush, have helped to foster and done nothing to alleviate. I know just a little bit about that rage, because I experienced it personally a couple of years ago, in Berlin, at the time of a Palestinian street demonstration against the Israeli state. Miles long, the march was a wall of sheer, implacable, disempowered fury; its searing power was something I shall never forget, and I believe that power of this kind will not be pacified by your attempts to put it down by force. It will not be quelled by the imposition of your peculiarly American vision of democracy.
And by the way, before I close, I heard you declare solemnly at your press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair (now vastly distrusted by his people) that relations between Britain and the US have never been stronger. Oh, Bush! Such unblushing lies! Such distortion of the simple truth! I just got back from England, Bush, where I was visiting my son and his family. I have to tell you--though I believe you already know it--that the vast majority of the British people have come to despise the United States for what they judge to be our stupidity in re-electing you. They think we're out or our minds. And, Bush, they may be right.
A disturbing afterthought. My daughter, Sarah, suggested that you had become my Muse. And what a wicked irony in THAT perception!

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