September 25, 2003

Broken-backed Americans, isolated and despondent ...

I liked Zev Chafets writing on Bush's UN speech...

...After long minutes of such hard-line talk, Bush finally got around to asking the UN for something. When he did, he sounded like a bored teacher doling out busywork. Why not help Iraq write a new constitution? (You diplomats are good with fancy words and, anyway, we'll check everything over.) Or supervise Iraqi elections? (It's easy; even Jimmy Carter could do it.) Or maybe train Iraqi civil servants? (If more than a smattering of UN bureaucrats ever get up the courage to return to Baghdad.)

These proposals were greeted with shocked silence. Wasn't Bush supposed to be begging for troops to relieve his beleaguered G.I.s? And money to take the burden off the broken-backed American taxpayer? Surely, the U.S., isolated and despondent, couldn't be planning to slog through the quagmire alone? Bush's answer: Could, and is...

Bush and crew have had the same position on the UN and the WOT all along: The clear duty of the UN is to help us, and we welcome help by the UN, but we are going to be in charge. They've said it over and over. And this clarity and consistency bewilders a lot of people. The more Bush says exactly what he means, (and then does it), the more it's assumed that he must be confused and adrift. Or that he's unfathomably deceptious.

For instance, Bush has said repeatedly that the War on Terror will be long and difficult. And as soon as anything looks longish and difficultish, we hear a shocked chorus proclaiming that Bush didn't know what he was getting into! Perhaps it's a difficulty that Post-Modernist theorists have interpreting a text with no subtext. Sort of like the programming error of trying to divide by zero. The brain spins and spins but gets no traction. "Bush is so subtle and devious that we are unable to de-construct his statements! He must be the cleverest liar in history."

Posted by John Weidner at September 25, 2003 12:08 PM
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