Good afternoon, Bush. Nauseated from state-of-the-union platitudes (don't worry, Clinton served up equal amounts) I've been scouring the web for some meaningful debate about how to salvage our rotting foreign policy.
I wound up, as I often do, at the Rockridge Institute site, lapping up George Lakoff's words with abandon.
Several months ago,Lakoff penned an article that merits continual rediscovery. For once prioritizing the substance of the issues rather than their "framing," Lakoff lays out convincing reasons why the country is headed in the wrong direction, and why so many Americans see it that way, too.
Lakoff reminds us that the Iraq invasion was detrimental to our response to 9/11, for reasons that by now are clear to most of us: Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, and the death and destruction resulting from the invasion increased the effectiveness of Osama bin Laden's anti-Americanism.
Next, Lakoff insists that the concept of a "War on Terror" naturally drives us toward such ineffective invasions, rather than the international police and spy work that leads to the capture of terrorists and the dismantling of their organizations. He also notes that the "war on terror" was actually extremely effective in it's true aims - providing a boost to the seemingly-inexorable process of rich becoming richer.
The country is clearly fed up with the war. The majority of us wish the whole conflict had never started. And yet, Democrats still seem to be talking about Iraq and nothing but Iraq. It's time - as Lakoff would have us do - to return to a national debate about the proper response to terrorism. Yes, we clearly need to find a face-saving and life-saving solution to the growing chaos in Iraq. But that cannot be the only focus of our foreign policy. Instead of non-binding resolutions about troop-levels, I suggest a repeal of the Patriot Act and the advancement of a brand new approach to terror, based upon traditional policework AND (my ever-elusive holy grail) the pursuit of detente between the United States and the Arab world.
George Lakoff, meet Barack Obama. The two of you should talk. Meanwhile, Bush, I suggest you put your ear to the door and wait for that new strategy you've been supposedly looking for these past couple of months.