Monday, September 10, 2012

Politics Is War By Another Name (That Name Is "Liar")

Peter Beinart has a column with a lot of merit in The Daily Beast, declaring "Dubya will decide the winner this fall," though I think Beinart, too - by framing the American people's failures as Bush's - has the facts of the case dead wrong.

When I lived in Europe, there was one thing that I knew - it was war-torn country. You couldn't miss it, what with the memorials, abandoned battle zones, and countless bits of scenery familiar to any American schooled in WWII films on the era of Nazi rule.

Plus, once you really get to know them, Europeans think we Americans are so naive, and to a certain extent they're right. We can never match the level of cynicism they've absorbed into their DNA, and we should be grateful. All of our wars on other's soil, sparing us not only the horror but many of the painful decisions that were necessary for survival.

But that still doesn't mean we're spared. Our wars are still with us, and the fog hasn't lifted, causing us to make bad choices based on faulty information - with those willing to play the angles doing so - fuck trying to clear the air.

George W. Bush was president during our last (and still on-going) conflicts, so blaming him for our every problem has been easy, convenient, and, if you'll pardon a dose of reality, utterly irresponsible. Whether Democrat or Republican, they've found that attacking a man who won't hit back at the people he vowed to protect to be a wonderful way to save face when they've been found wanting.

Blame George Bush? No, blame yourselves.

At the end of WWII everyone involved discovered they had been made dupes. The Americans who saw themselves as the good guys became monsters after discovering the horror of the Holocaust, treating the Germans - innocent and guilty alike - as though they were worthless. The Russians went on a raping spree, only to find they were still stuck with Stalin. And the Germans,…well. So everyone made excuses, re-wrote history, pretended what happened didn't happen as it did.

We're no different now. The media went on a one-sided rampage. The Left adopted Malcolm X's "by any means necessary" slogan and fouled itself. And the Right, confused that nothing was as easy as they imagined it would be, tried to wash it's hands as fast as possible, convincing themselves they had been talked into something they (and the leadership of the Democratic Party) had wanted all along. And that left George.

George was easy. He wasn't going to deny anything. He wasn't going to quit when it got tough. He was going to survive when outnumbered. This led to claims he spent too much, when exposed by his own side's cowardice, and dealing with a Democrat Congress that had it's followers in the streets. George Bush spent too much is as true as the charge Dick Cheney revealed the name of Valarie Plame.

Time marches on, and in it's wake - for those engaged in political battle - there's little incentive to untangle the strands of truth. You take what you've got and you fight with it, and what everyone's got is George W. Bush, the man who supposedly hates black people, standing aside and still refusing to participate in the bloodsport. "The Decider" of our war years is letting history decide what it meant.

But, still, the others aren't being so gracious, honest, or reflective. Why should they be? Who's going to stop them? Who cares? Decent citizens? Bah. This is war.

And it isn't over yet,...

1 comment:

  1. One of these days I still do think (hope?) W will be vindicated -- against the Democrats who stabbed him in the front, and against the Republicans who stabbed him in the back...and the American people who seemed to be way too willing to buy it all.

    Sometimes George pissed me off, but it had more to do with being pissed off at the people who were supposed to be on his side who really weren't, and the people who were supposed to be on America's side who really weren't.

    We used to be cynical in a good way -- we believed in things but we understood the cost (I really can't see the people from my parents' generation falling for a thousand year utopia, definitely not my grandparents or great grandparents; today? not so much I'm afraid). Nowadays? We're just cynical in the dumb sense; we're so sure to question everything that we fall for anything.