Sunday, August 26, 2007

Who's the real enemy?

In an Op-Ed last weekend, the New York Times' Thomas Friedman asked some curious questions, questions with answers that I think ought to be all-too-obvious. He wrote:

One thing that has always baffled me about the Bush team’s war effort in Iraq and against Al Qaeda is this: How could an administration that was so good at Swift-boating its political opponents at home be so inept at Swift-boating its geopolitical opponents abroad?

How could the Bush team Swift-boat John Kerry and Max Cleland — authentic Vietnam war heroes, whom the White House turned into surrendering pacifists in the war on terror — but never manage to Swift-boat Osama bin Laden, a genocidal monster, who today is still regarded in many quarters as the vanguard of anti-American “resistance.”

Is it really too much to comprehend that perhaps, in a White House in which "everything is driven by the political arm," the likes of John Kerry and Max Cleland were seen as greater threats than Osama bin Laden, or any other terrorist for that matter, and so smearing domestic opponents took (and still probably takes) priority over anything having to do with the "reality based" world?

I don't find anything puzzling here at all. This administration invented the "War on Terror," and induced every major news organization to go along with the phrase, making it seem almost like an element of objective reality, rather than the very effective demonstration of framing that it is. Terrorism may be real, but the "War on Terror" is a psychological tool of US politics.

I haven't seen any evidence to dissuade me from the belief that this administration is far more interested in appearing to face up to the threat, than in actually doing so.


Zack B. said...

I consider myself a political conservative. The notion that politicians usually act in their own political best interest rather than in the best interest of the nation is close to being a conservative axiom. The resulting conclusion is that the electorate should be extremely stingy in how much wealth and power is ceded to the government.

I am continually amazed at the glaring inconsistancy of well meaning liberals who think giving more wealth and power to the government the best way to solve many problems, but are simultaneously horified at how elections actually turn out, and how the political process incentivises politicians to actually behave. Hope springs eternal that if only MY guys (gals) would win the elections, then things would be different. But history has shown repeatedly that people making this bet have been sorely disappointed.

Len said...

The great social successes of the 20th Century in the United States were the New Deal and our effort in World War II. Both were big government successes founded on the ideas of social cooperation and just plain looking out for one another.

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