These days, the President reminds me of nothing so much as one of those pre-historic wasps, trapped in a solid block of crystalline amber. Perhaps the image is more akin to a hapless sauropod, flailing about helplessly in what a five year-old would call “the hot lava,” at the dawn of time.
In any event, the current leader of the “free world” is most certainly the victim of an inablilty (and, given God’s gift of the special nature of man, an unwillingness) to recognize the jam he is in.
History ought to forever preserve him as having perished in a maelstrom of events and forces beyond his awareness, beyond his control.
Tonight George W. Bush circled the wagons at Fort Bragg, NC and did his level best (let it not be said I’ve no charity for the man) to convice every soldier assembled it would be “worth it” if they were the next to die for the causes of freedom and democracy in the putative war on terror.
Somehow this kind of thing plays differently in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave than does the “palm fronds and virgins” promise of Islam (which may be attributable in part to the nation’s Calvinist roots, but is more truly a case of we being us, and they being them).
Echoing ground staked out far more eloquently (though no less impossible to defend) by LBJ in 1965, Mr. Bush tonight re-commited the United States to expending every available store of death, destruction, fear, and capital to rid the world of “evil.”
In a speech given at Johns Hopkins Universiy on April 7, 1965, the President said:
Tonight Americans and Asians are dying for a world where each people may choose its own path to change.
This is the principle for which our ancestors fought in the valleys of Pennsylvania. It is the principle for which our sons fight tonight in the jungles of Viet-Nam.
Viet-Nam is far away from this quiet campus. We have no territory there, nor do we seek any. The war is dirty and brutal and difficult. And some 400 young men, born into an America that is bursting with opportunity and promise, have ended their lives on Viet-Nam’s steaming soil.
Why must we take this painful road?
Why must this Nation hazard its ease, and its interest, and its power for the sake of a people so far away?
We fight because we must fight if we are to live in a world where every country can shape its own destiny. And only in such a world will our own freedom be finally secure.
This kind of world will never be built by bombs or bullets. Yet the infirmities of man are such that force must often precede reason, and the waste of war, the works of peace.
We wish that this were not so. But we must deal with the world as it is, if it is ever to be as we wish.
Yeah, yeah, I know… this isn’t Vietnam, it’s more like WWII (not).
In a strange symbiosis of parallel and contrast, tonight the President said, first quoting General John Vines, Fort Bragg’s C.O.,
“We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us.”
“Our mission in Iraq is clear: We’re hunting down the terrorists. We’re helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror.
We’re advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are removing a source of violence and instability and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren.
The work in Iraq is difficult and it is dangerous.[Ed.: note the substitution of "dangerous" for "dirty" and "brutal"]
Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed. Every picture is horrifying, and the suffering is real.”
Yes, the shit is real, Virginia, and more brutal, and final, and senseless than you or I could ever imagine.
The way to lay a “foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren” will not soon feature the investment of death, destruction, fear, and capital Mr. Bush is wont to commit in the name of our nation, and of our children’s children.
I believe young George ought to profit from some soul searching with the likes of his contemporaries in Old Europe right about now.
“Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it?
It is worth it. And it is vital to the future security of our country. “
The President said.