"In other words, Bush managed to make both himself and America look like petty, pathetic losers -- which is certainly true, but hardly needs to be flaunted before the world. Typically, the moron ignored -- or never understood -- the concept of plausible deniability, which is one of the benefits that proxy wars have to offer to their superpower patrons. If your guy wins, you take the credit and make sure everybody notices how well your weapons systems performed. If he loses, well, it had nothing to do with you. This at least leaves you with as much diplomatic manuevering room as possible under the circumstances.
It appears Bush and his spinmasters aren't nearly as focused on containing the diplomatic damage as they are on trying to coax their political base -- the hardcore civilization warriors -- out of their funk. As we've long since learned, much to our sorrow, it's always domestic politics first with this crew, and the national interest second, if that.
The bottom line, which even the odd member of the punditburo might eventually get to, is that this is an administration that no longer makes any sense at all -- not even on the most formal, semiotic level. Shrub's speechwriters are literally babbling now, a relentless on-message babbling that shows just how ill suited the tools of domestic politics are for conducting a half-way serious foreign policy, much less an extremely serious war.
The sonic results are equally strange: Bush keeps belting the stuff out with his usual gospel fervor, even though it has degenerated into almost total nonsense. At times it starts to sound like accidental poetry, like an old recording of Allen Ginsberg reciting Howl -- "I saw the best minds of my generation, destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, etc." Except Ginsberg had a better sense of meter and wasn't a war criminal.
"There is, at long last, a growing recognition that waging more wars does not make us stronger or more secure. It does exactly the opposite. Those who want to pursue our failed policy in Iraq indefinitely or who want to attack more countries -- in the process alienating the whole world even more and exacerbating the Islamic radicalism which even the President says is what causes terrorism -- are not people who are "strong on security." They are gradually, though inexorably, destroying our security through a mindless militarism which becomes more reckless and crazed the more it fails. And this bloodthirsty militarism becomes more desperate as the sense of weakness and humiliation felt by its proponents -- including those in the White House -- intensifies."
* kathleen reardon:
"We might ask ourselves whether the "deciders" among us have blinded themselves in this way regarding evil. Evil, we're told, lurks everywhere. And only by appearing strong through physical confrontation, the argument continues, can it be convinced to back down. When we do not win, evil is supposedly encouraged and attacks. When we win, it retreats having taken us seriously. There are, however, two things of which I am convinced regarding evil: First, there is indeed evil in the world and it needs no encouragement other than its existence to attack those it deems enemies, yet (2) sometimes in life, as distasteful as it may seem, it's necessary to deal with lesser forms of iniquity to preclude success by the more virulent. It's sometimes necessary to negotiate with those we dislike in order to listen, learn and outsmart those who hate and seek to destroy us."read the rest