Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The Wrong Man
Planes. New York. Buildings. War.
It didn't make a lot of sense, frankly. I had no frame of reference for what I was being told. I switched on my TV just in time to see the first tower fall.
Mouth agape, comprehension still elusive.
Eventually I arrived at work, and found co-workers huddled around computers streaming radio broadcasts.
"They have no idea what they just woke up," I said.
Turns out, none of us did.
The Presidency of George W. Bush is irrevocably tied to 9/11. At first he spoke with restraint and clarity in response to the attacks, but that only lasted about 24 hours. Then it became apparent that I what feared was actually being contemplated: Pax Americana -- American forces tearing a swath across the globe, making the world "safe."
The irony is that this is exactly the plan that Bush's neo-con advisers had wanted him to follow anyway, even without a 9/11-type tipping point, and this is exactly what bin Laden expected him to do.
Bush believed that he was a man destined to live out a defining moment of greatness, and he threw himself down this ruinous path chasing that moment.
But Bush was never great. Not at anything, except having a famous last name and falling in with people who were willing to exploit it. His moment of destiny was the moment that he became President, thus proving the old adage that anyone could become President, even a party-hopping ex-frat boy drug user who had failed at almost everything he tried.
The wrong place, the wrong time. The wrong man.
Pax Americana didn't succeed, mostly because the Neo-Cons, drunk on hubris and their own press clipping, believed they knew better than anyone else. I guess when your invasion of a foreign country is based on lies, soon you actually start believing them. They forgot that the mission was to get bin Laden.
In WW II, it took 2068 days for the Allies to get Hitler. Now after 2688 days, Bush is gone but bin Laden is still out there. A free man.
Those who like Bush perceive him as a strong leader. But he wasn't. He was so weak that he bought into every stupid and destructive idea his clique of Neanderthal advisers whispered into his empty head.
Perhaps his rigidity was mistaken for strength. But sticking to your plan no matter how far reality diverges from your hoped-for reality isn't strength, it's inflexibility. In Bush's case, it was a disastrous liability.
Bush didn't even come through for his constituent base, the people who actually like him and think he's done a good job. He failed the neo-cons, he failed the religious right. He failed everyone.
We all know that this is the century that the American Empire finally falters. Bush pushed that time frame up by at least a generation or two. He praised free market capitalism, but was forced to to use the tools of socialism to save the business elite. He denied there was a need for fuel conservation, and now there's no oil. He denied the need for financial regulation and now there's no economy. He denied that climate change existed, and now there's no time.
So, George, what are you going to do now? Start a new oil company and run that one into the ground too?
Or perhaps you'll be dealing with the creation of your "Presidential" Library. That should be an easy job -- you only read one book of any consequence while you were "President": My Pet Goat.
So long, Bush. And good fucking riddance, too.
1: a person lacking in judgment or prudence
2 a: a retainer formerly kept in great households to provide casual entertainment and commonly dressed in motley with cap, bells, and bauble b: one who is victimized or made to appear foolish : dupe
3 a: a harmlessly deranged person or one lacking in common powers of understanding b: one with a marked propensity or fondness for something (a dancing fool) (a fool for candy)
4: a cold dessert of pureed fruit mixed with whipped cream or custard