My first thought on reading this is a quote I saw the other day.
“You can’t make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you’re doing is recording it.” — Art Buchwald
My second thought? GW, Laura Bush, and Rumsfeld all made the news today, all highlighting Iraq, all with precise and rosy language. This is really the PR equivalent of a blitzkrieg. Whereas Clinton stayed on the strategic defensive at many times, the Bush Administration seems to favor a more heavy-handed approach; swamp the media with a carbon-copy message and flood out the competition. It’s brilliant, really, and it has worked remarkably well for remarkably long. They have been able to put an excellent public face on quite a few serious and seriously impolite issues; torture, intelligence skewing and outright failures, the UN ambassador (Who seems to have been made impotent by the controversy surrounding his appointment), the mounting number of casualties, the lack of a clear plan in Iraq, the failure to catch bin Laden (who has killed many many more Americans then Saddam did both times we invaded HIS country), the injustice treatment of the Guantanamo prisoners, et cetera.
We forget that economic prosperity and and a democratically elected leader are not shoe-ins for the moral high ground. History is full of corrupt leaders put in place by a willing voting population who prospered under the new régime, Hitler foremost among them. The ‘right’ line is a thin line, and many before have failed it, but a leader must recognize that might often makes wrong.
Needless to say, the real losers in this story are the Iraqi people. What can these press releases read like to them? It must be a sick joke for many and a cruel dream for the rest. Sixty-two percent of the American public now disapprove of the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq and I can only imagine that the numbers in Iraq are higher (I’m sure they mind being killed much more then we mind killing them.) Make no mistake, I am no revisionist; Saddam was terrible. But what have we done to show we’re better? I agree with the ‘You break it, you bought it’ sentiment.
Unfortunately, the ‘you’ is US.