Wednesday, May 31, 2006

And Another Invidious Comparison...

We had friends over to dinner last night, Bush. A lovely evening. We strolled in the garden, drank a glass of wine in the early evening cool down under the flowering pear trees at the end of our property, and had dinner out on the balcony overlooking the city of Hollywood. A sliver of moon, our two tall eucalyptus swaying in the breeze, a deep blue, darkening sky... Beautiful.

And good conversation. Our friends had just returned from an extended trip down Mexico way, with plenty of time to read. Which brought us, after yesterday's Vietnam analogy, to this other invidious comparison: one of the couple had taken along a biography of Napoleon to read, and aside from admiring the extraordinary dedication of a good biographer and the kind of time needed for the detailed research necessary to do a book of this kind, he was struck by the similiarities between your invasion of Iraq and Bonaparte's march into Spain. Same underestimate of the number of troops required, same over-reaching and under-preparation... The comparisons, he said, were endless.

His final, exasperated question: "Doesn't Bush read history?" he asked.

I guess a lot of us have asked that same question, Bush. I confess I don't know much about Napoleon in Spain either, but I am sure that the current conflict in Iraq has deep roots in the region's history, and that we marched in without any real understanding of that history, still less of the culture, the religion, or of tribal loyalties. We thought--you seem to have thought, Bush, in your simplistic way--that American democracy is the right model for every other country in the world, and that (your) American values are universally shared.

Wrong. In doing so, and in assuming that the tyrant Saddam Hussein alone was the problem there, you discounted centuries of history and tradition which led us now to the current impasse, where the new "government" can't even get past their sectarian squabbling to agree on appointments to the most urgently needed ministries. And meanwhile, yesterday, ANOTHER fifty people died.

As to the question my friend posed yesterday, "Doesn't Bush read?", you may have noticed that a number of our daily readers have been raising that same issue. There have been teasing, painful reminders of that little goat and the level of your reading skills. One reader even offered to make you an illustrated version of "The Real Bush Diaries" so that you'd be able to read it!

Unkind, Bush, perhaps. But you have made not too fine a public point of your disinterest in reading. As with the apparent pride you take in mangling the language, your arrogant hostility to anything approaching intellectual effort may play well to your base. To those of us who believe that thought, and planning, and a sound sense of history are vital to the well-being of this country and the future of this vulnerable planet, it's a lot more troubling.

6 comments:

David said...

The thing I find scary is that we knew all this about him before the last election. And he's still in office. Doesn't say much about the intelligence of the average voter. Bush may have won because he mirrors the society as a whole.

denn said...

Can't resist jumping in here, Peter.
I made the comparison to Spain here some months back. Napolean, supposedly, wanted a democratic republic in Spain, tried to install a puppet government, under his brother or some relative (his man at any rate). He miscalculated becauses he thought the people would welcome it, but because there was no middle or enlightened class there at the time, only the poor and a very few corrupt rich, it all failed. The peasant workers hated the splendid French army occupation. They invented 'guerrilla warfare" and cut up the French soldiers with crude weapons piecemeal, little groups at a time. The French retaliated with reprisals like Haditha, enflaming the conflict. And it got so bad, moral dropped drastically. The conflict became unpopular in France. It proved the effectiveness of guerilla war. And Napolean had to wthdraw in humiliation, defeated, with casualties. It's well documented classic war history.
Goya chronicled what he personally witnessed, in The Disasters of War.
Just as you are doing in The Bush Diaries.

Mogadishu (sp?) is a very recent example!

Something I don't get is, why do these men who choose military options attempt occupation? Why don't they pull back and hold a position, like the oilfields? Or just destroy and leave. I am not advocating it. Just wondering why, in hell, do they think they can go around city streets without problems? Is it because they have a conscience about destroying and pulling out? Do they think, if they devastate and leave, the world will think ill of them?! Is it Napoleaonic dreams of nation building?
Bush and Cheney don't even have common sense, much less military brilliance.

PK said...

Well David, both elections were stolen...proven. And for the diehards that don't want to give this up, it keeps getting proven... state by state, month by month....Denn, got nothing to do with that, Bush and his minions want strategic bases there. That way they can fan out from there. The US is already building a "Taj" for an embassy there. Bush plans on staying. They just sent over 1,500 more troops. The oil doesn't hurt either. Too bad Darfur doesn't have oil... he'd have us there in a New York heartbeat to save those people. I think Cheney deferred 5 times, and I don't remember how many for Rummy... Bush was a lost cause, so none have seen action... take that back :D, Cheney shot a lawyer not too long ago. Damn good post there Peter, enjoyed reading it. Really enjoy the comment section too, everyone can interact, and agree to disagree if they so choose... not only that everyone is so polite.

PeterAtLarge said...

So wise, everyone, today! Thanks for the comments. The Goya analogy works for me, Dennis. I'm blushing. Cheers all around, PaL

David said...

both elections were stolen...

PK, I agree w/ you about that. But the thing I find shocking is that it was even close. You heard the debates. It seemed like an easy choice. Try to imagine what could possess so many people to vote for the dumb guy - I can't.

PK said...

"It's so hard, so hard. Just so hard." That's all I remember about Bush. It wasn't even close. The polls showed it. There was so much going on behind the scenes, neither Gore or Kerry could believe it. I just sat in disbelief that it happened, and was allowed to happen...not just once, but twice. The people that are digging all the facts up have taken this long to get as far as they have. No way could they have done better in the short time they had to prove all of this. He's a cheat, lier, and a thief, and not just in the elections...