Friday, September 24, 2004

Politics: Powerful

[via Eric Alterman] Novelist E.L. Doctorow:
But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the weapons of mass destruction he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man.

He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the 1,000 dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be.

They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life . . . they come to his desk as a political liability, which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq.

How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission-accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that, rather than controlling terrorism, his war in Iraq has licensed it. So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice.

He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war when it is one of the options but when it is the only option; you go not because you want to but because you have to.

Yet this president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing -- to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends.

Read the whole thing here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's Yo Sista. This is amazing. This guy just wrote what I have felt about Bush all along. Some people would argue that it's crazy to say that he is this vacuous--that surely no man is so devoid of feeling and of insight. But when I watch him speak and "plead his case" it's such a gut level reaction that I have. Like an intuition as much as a reasoned assessment--he really is an arrogant, shameless, narrow-minded prick! I feel like his main concern is always his own interests and I have yet to see him display any real humility or concern for those whose lives he has put at risk. It makes me fearful for our future. And I truly can't understand why my reaction to his whole demeanor isn't universal. Why doesn't everyone interpret his smugness and his cockiness and his inability to articulate an intelligent statement as offensive and dangerous? I just don't get it...