Topic: World View
Just in from the UK - an item indicating Bush is lucky folks here are not really that angry with him...
Bush has had a rocky few weeks, but poor Tony Blair.
Bush may have told us we were all going to die unless we took out Saddam Hussein and eliminated those weapons of mass destruction - and they weren't there, and never were. And we were going to be welcomed in Iraq as liberators, and loved and admired - and it didn't exactly work out that way. Yep, the mission wasn't exactly accomplished. Heck, we keep getting new after-the-fact explanations of what the mission REALLY was every few weeks. So maybe the mission really was accomplished. One never knows.
But Saddam Hussein gone from power would mean things would be better - opposition to our occupation would dissolve? Well, that depends on what the word "better" means. And "dissolve" is a verb, a process, right? It could happen, I guess. Oh, so many other things.... We were going to actually fund AIDS programs in Africa, and check out which of our schools here were not performing well and make them better by funding improvements. And there was making sure everyone who earned over three hundred thousand a year got, at the very least, a sixty-two grand tax break - and that would obviously create millions of new jobs. Oh well. The ideas were fine. They just didn't work out.
I suspect the persistent harping on Bush's somewhat casual service in the Texas Air National Guard in the early seventies is motivated by a nagging sense that Bush tends to live in a world he wants to be one way, and the rest of us know isn't quite the way as he sees it. Folks want to pin down what makes them uncomfortable with seeing him on the deck of an aircraft carrier in a combat flight suit crowing about the war we just sort of won, maybe. So we're always doing these reality checks - "He said what?"
But we love him anyway. He's amusing, like the goofy kid in the back of the classroom who, when forced, innocently gives some really wild dumb-ass answer to the teacher's question, one he really thinks, or hopes, might be the right answer - and it's so off the wall teacher rolls her eyes while all the other students snigger. Then everyone starts laughing. And he says, "What'd I say? What'd I say?" And then he gets angry and stamps his feet and stammers that he knows he's right and everyone else should just shut up and not make fun of him. Then everyone smiles and the class moves on with the business at hand. It's like that.
He's kind of our national joke. We move on.
But over in the UK it seems no one wants to treat Tony Blair so graciously.
See Extreme measures: The only way to bring down Blair and change the political context is to take direct action
George Monbiot, The Guardian (UK), Tuesday March 2, 2004
Here's George's take on Tony:
Yep, reminds me of the hypothetical goofy student in the back of the classroom mentioned above.
But this guy doesn't want to let Tony off the hook.
Of course, he thinks getting anything done may be difficult:
Well, Monbiot, welcome to the club. It's not that much different on this side of the pond.
Of course this Monbiot fellow suggest for the Brits something we never do, or haven't done much since the sixties:
It does? Perhaps we should try it.
This fellow claims it works because it "ensures that the issue stays in the public eye, and therefore exposes the government to continued questioning." I guess. The idea is that if the campaign is well organized and popular, the issue becomes a liability, and politicians seek to protect themselves by dumping either the policy, or the author of the policy. Monbiot says in this case it's too late to dump the policy. The idea is to dump Blair.
And he adds this:
Oh my. Didn't I just hear the ghost of Barry Goldwater say something about extremism?
In any event, over here, one doesn't "take to the streets." That's so sixties. And anyway out here the streets are clogged with Hummers and Excursions and Escalades - so it's too dangerous. Thus Bush gets a pass. But poor Tony....