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Home > War On Terror

Everything's Fine, Nothing To See, Move Along

We're going to win this thing.
Aren't we? George?
Tell us it's all going to be okay...

10 October 2003

President Bush is out and about, spreading sunshine in New Hampshire:

Situation in Iraq 'better than you probably think,' Bush says.

It is interesting to note how Bush's defence of the war against Iraq wraps itself in the safe, comfortable blanket of abstraction, which keeps out the bitter chill of the particular - so, for example: "We've been through a lot, but we acted, we led."

And: "When you become the president, you cannot predict all the challenges that will come, but you do know the principles that you bring to the office, and they should not change with time or with polls..."

As if the abstract qualities of will and determination are, in and of themselves, justifying virtues. As if you couldn't make the same justification of Pol Pot's extermination of the Cambodians. He stuck to his principles - he acted, he led...

NB - we've had exactly the same rhetoric from Blair, for example at the recent Labour Party conference: "Yes, this is a testing time, but it is a test not just of belief but of character, and the time is for renewal not retreat."

See also - the amazing bit of Star Trek philosophy with which he closed his speech:

"To stride forward where we have always previously stumbled. To renew in government. Steadfast in our values. Radical in our methods. Open in our politics. If we faint in the day of adversity, our strength is small. And ours isn't. We have the strength, the maturity, now the experience to do it. So let it be done."

Make it so!

So that's the abstract. But what about the particular?
Is everything better than we probably think?

This is from Patrick Cockburn's report in The Independent:

Early yesterday I visited a fruit-growing village called Dhuluaya 50 miles north of Baghdad where Ali Saleh, a farmer, had just buried his 10-year-old daughter Namara. Last Friday mortar bombs - nobody knows who fired them - started raining down on his house. He and the rest of his family scrambled to safety but Namara was crippled by polio and could not get out of the way of a large chunk of concrete. It crushed her to death.

Better than you probably think.

Bush also assured the world that: "Americans are not the running kind."

In the sense of not being able to run a country?



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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