Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Freedom Agenda

It was just a couple of days ago, Bush, that we were talking about the futility of that age-old question, familiar to every child who ever squabbled with a sibling: Who started it? Now the question seems to be: Who won it? And this question, it appears, is no less futile, childish, or unanswerable.

Oh, I know you came down firmly on the side of the Israelis, Bush. I saw the clips from your speech, or press conference, or whatever it was. You sounded... almost desperate to justify your long inaction in this latest war and to claim success, again, for you policy in the Middle East. To counter accusations even from your right flank that you had made the situation in Lebanon worse through your inaction, you sought to divert the blame to "Iranian sponsorship of Hezbollah." That argument might wash in some quarters, Bush, but it sure doesn't wash with the vast majority of Middle Eastern citizens who are more likely to ascribe it to "American sponsorship of Israel." As I see it, both sides are right, both sides are wrong.

On the win-lose front, you declared Hezbollah to be "the undisputed loser" in this fracas. Hezbollah, unsurprisingly, doesn't see it your way, and they have good grounds--to their Middle Eastern supporters, at least--for claiming to have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by simply having survived the military onslaught of Israel. The underdog has less to prove. Israel, meanwhile, continues to assert that it has met its objectives, even as Hezbollah fighters emerge defiant from the mute rubble and ruins of Lebanon. The images speak loudly to the rest of the world, via the media, of the vast destruction that has been wrought in this latest no-win war.

As for your claim of progress in your "freedom agenda" for the region, it rings peculiarly hollow in view of the destruction caused, the deaths of so many innocents, the continuing chaos in Iraq and the increasing recurrence of violence in Afghanistan with the return of the Taliban.

You let slip one of those revealing comments yesterday, Bush, which has a lot to say about your mindset and the reasons for its disastrous consequences. "We want peace," you're reported to have said. "We're not interested in process. We want results." I wonder, first, if this is a generational thing--the expectation of immediate results without having to do the work it takes to get there. Perhaps, in this regard, you're the unfortunate exemplar of a whole new generation of privileged Americans whose sense of entitlement knows no bounds. But it also has a lot to say about your understanding of your role as President. You want results, you don't want to get involved in the more difficult business of finding ways to achieve them.

This attitude is reflected in so many of the failures of your presudency, from the absence of planning for the aftermath of your invasion of Iraq to the fiasco following Hurricane Katrina. It explains your apparent disinterest in enlisting the support of other nations, or in working with them to solve international problems. You left the negotiations wih Iran, for example, and with Korea, to consortiums of other countries and remained determinedly aloof yourself. You wanted to have the results served up to you. You were not interested in process.

It also goes a long way to explaining the differences between the two of us, Bush, because for me it's all about process, Everything. These diaries are about process--the process of writing and the process of digesting and working through the information that invades me through the media. My relations with others are all about process. There is no end result. If Ellie and I had viewed our marriage as an end result, a thing achieved and requiring no further work, it would have ended long ago. It's interesting, now that I come to think about it, that people who share your mindset have such a problem with the idea of evolution. They are not interested in process.

Am I reading too much into an innocent aside here, Bush? I think not. It does much to explain both your actions and your absurd, almost pathological insistence on "staying the course" when the outcome begs reappraisal. It explains your disinterest in the discussion of ideas and policies, your unswerving belief in your own rightness on every issue. You want results, You're not interested in process...


David said...

I wonder, first, if this is a generational thing--the expectation of immediate results without having to do the work it takes to get there. Perhaps, in this regard, you're the unfortunate exemplar of a whole new generation ...

It's hard to think of Bush as part of a new generation. There are numerous generations after his. The youngest of them have great faith in Intelligent Design, but they're thinking of the iPod, not some biblical nonsense.

GringoWithoutBorders said...

Very well said Peter. Enjoyed every word.

Not sure if one can say it's a generational thing due to the fact that Cheney is 65 and Rumsfeld is 74. These are two of the biggest criminals in the country at the moment.

Maybe it is arrogance due to militaristic power. Many Americans seem to believe that the entire EARTH belongs to America and is here for Americans to control and dictate to all other humans living on it. WE have our military in what 60+ countries (also in all the seas and skies) in order to dictate by force to the rest of the world. Was this the result of WWII and the returning attitudes of that generation? Or is it the self obsession of the 60's generation? Or is it simply the greedy who feel our corporations can exploit any piece of land anywhere in the world for our materialistic pleasures or to make a buck.

Many seem to feel that we can kill humans because we have some moral superiority OR we can kill in the name of Democracy, like that is any different then killing for ANY pathetic political ideology. A democratic state run by arrogant humans with nuclear power is just as dangerous as any two bit dictator, maybe more so because of the inherent superiority felt by the MILLIONS of its citizens.

I don't know, I have about had it with USA. Maybe some of the old timers can remember a time when USA did not try to control the world. In my lifetime however, I seem to see the invasions of a dozen or so other countries, the support of dictators and racist ideologies, the one sided news propaganda on TV 24 hours a day, the anything to make a $buck$ ethical stance, the shoving of responsibility onto others (whether it is mowing your lawn, preparing food, taking care of ones children or even cleaning ones own toilet) as a culture that is not very appealing to me and should probably not be supported by me.

Will its citizen's through democracy save USA or is it an arrogant ignorant militaristic materialistic lost cause?

PK said...

Well, I must agree that I don't believe it's generational either. I'm from that happy go lucky 60's generation Gringo ;D, never been less self obsessed. However, your words do mirror a whole lot of my thoughts. I remember when Ike was elected, and a tad before that:D. We, the US, has always been rather controlling, so it's nothing new. The thing is we hear about it more now that everything runs at lightening speed. Turn on the computer.. instant news.. everywhere! My Mother told me, at one time, that she never even heard about Bonny and Clyde till 2 or three weeks after they were dead. Someone dies now, and 3 minutes later it's on the net. So, this stuff was going on a long time ago, just never heard about it till 20 years later, now we hear it instantly. You think the Rottweiler and Rummy are bad, nah.. you need to read up on Henry Kissinger if you want bad..

GringoWithoutBorders said...

And people still give Kissinger air time and grovel at his feet. That man should be banished from any discussion on foreign affairs. His solution is always force.

Yes, I agree PK, with 24 hour news, internet, radio ect... there is just too much propaganda and air time that must be filled with violence and negative issues. So does that mean it was better when we could stick our heads in the sand?

Funny, I was at the grocery store trying to pick out toilet paper and there was another man doing the same. We just looked at each other and said "Too many choices, this is ridiculous."