Well, now that Pres. Dubya has published his book, it’s all over the airwaves.
I was watching some replays of Matt Lauer’s interview with the former president, and I was struck by the fact that this man is totally in a bubble. I don’t know if this is part of his conversion, of being born again, of being certain that God is guiding his hand, or if it’s just pathological. That’s not to say that they are mutually exclusive.
I was dumbfounded when Lauer confronted Bush with the conclusion, stated by a Republican member of the 9-11 Commission, that the White House cherry picked intelligence leading up to the second invasion of Iraq. This was the conclusion that an extensive investigation by a bi-partisan committee came to: Bush and Cheney got the intel they wanted, information that supported their goal of starting a war, and ignored the overwhelming evidence that opposed that goal. Bush’s statement? “He wasn’t there. He doesn’t know”.
When Lauer pressed him further, asking if in retrospect he might regret the decision, that perhaps he was wrong about invading under the pretense of searching for weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) Bush dodged the query, and answered a question that wasn’t asked, saying that he did think the world was better off without a bloodthirsty tyrant like Saddam Hussein.
I’m wondering if the hundred thousand or so Iraqis, and the thousands of civilian and military of the US coalition killed in the US’s longest-running war to date, would agree.
While the world was perched near the zenith of a bubble, the prosecution of these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan mashed the accelerator to the floor, hurling the world toward a global fiscal meltdown. The continuation of those wars has had a multiplying effect, hogging resources needed for recovery, enriching an entrenched but dying energy infrastructure, and widening the divide between the rich and the rest of us.
I didn’t like the draft. But maybe if we’d had compulsory service, and if the rich and the middle class had skin in the game, maybe there would be less complacency about engagement. One thing has been missing in this era of conflict: a sense of purpose and shared sacrifice. When we were attacked, George Dubya Bush told us to go out and shop. That meant burn more oil to go shopping, and spend to support a struggling economy that’s 2/3 based on consumption rather than production.
I wonder what the next two years are going to bring? The Republicans claim a mandate; but the fact is that the economic quagmire – brewed and begun by the Right – was what was voted on, and the anger that Pres. Obama couldn’t turn around eight years of degradation in 18 months was what motivated the vote. Unlike previous mid-term reversals, the Republicans only took back the lower house of the legislature. The President and the Democrats still control the Senate.
But if the Republicans could wreak such havoc while not having a majority in any branch of government except the Supreme Court, imagine what’s possible now?
Will voters hold them accountable and be accountable themselves?
Or will they be just like George. Deniers. Angry deniers.
May the Higher Power of your choice guide and sustain you in these turbulent times.