A while ago, I mentioned that I like the idea of keeping Sheila Bair on because she didn’t panic like a ninny, unlike most of the other Bushies–who panicked like ninnies about everything. Gary Kamiya says it better:
The miasma of repressed fear that has hung over America for so long will not dissipate overnight. Right-wing pundits are shrieking that we must keep torturing to keep America safe, and claiming that if Guantánamo detainees are moved into ordinary prisons, America’s cities will be the targets of terrorist attacks. These boogeymen have been effective for years, and they will not instantly disappear. But since Obama’s repudiation of Bush’s hide-under-the-bed-and-shoot ethos, the country already feels more like the home of the brave and less like a land of furtive torturers.
When you think of the Bush presidency, fear isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. The cowboy swagger, the macho “bring it on” boasts, the loud declarations of a “war on terror,” the endless statements that we were going to fight until final victory — the president and his administration came across like John Wayne, not Walter Mitty. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld carried the Biggus Dickus role to extremes, turning press conferences into a testosterone-spraying contest, treating anyone who dared to question his brilliant Iraq tactics, his fleet of unarmored Humvees or his pie-in-the-sky ideas about a tiny new high-tech army like a 98-pound weakling. And the approach worked like a charm: Congressional Democrats and the mainstream media, fearful of being painted as “weak on national security,” waggled their derrieres in the air like lower-status baboons deferring to a group of alpha males.
But behind their posturing, Bush, his manly-men cronies and their right-wing cheering section were trembling weenies who fled their posts at the first shot. In a perfect world, they would not only be dragged before the International Criminal Court for their crimes, but suffer public branding for desertion, their bars ripped off and their sabers broken as in the opening scene in the old Chuck Connors TV show “Branded.”
Bush allowed a tiny band of fanatics, led by a turbaned bozo hiding in a cave, to so terrify him that he abandoned his sworn duty to preserve, protect and defend the United States and what it stands for. Like a nervous, inexperienced general who panics at an enemy feint and pours troops from both wings into the skirmish, exposing his army’s flanks, Bush completely lost sight of both strategy and tactics. Unmanned by fear, he treated a small group of Salafi jihadists who managed to get in a lucky strike as if they were a monstrous, apocalyptic entity from an evil galaxy beyond space and time, an army of Satanists endowed with inhuman powers. Then, having created this phantasmagorical enemy out of some right-wing biblical sci-fi novel, he proceeded to fight it by trashing America’s most cherished traditions, embracing torture and Big Brother tactics. His hysterical reaction not only increased global hatred against the U.S. and bred many more terrorists than he killed, it overburdened and severely weakened our military and allowed the real enemy to slip away.
If Bush was a student at a military college, he’d have flunked out.
The callow Bush fell into bin Laden’s trap. As its name implies, terrorism is intended to terrify. Its strategic motivation, insofar as it has one, is to make those who are terrified react in irrational, self-defeating ways. The 9/11 attacks were not only terrifying, their terror was hideously spectacular. It is understandable that many Americans were so terrified and traumatized by the 9/11 attacks that they were willing to do anything, abandon any principle, to be safe. But a general, unlike a private, must be coldblooded, able to size up the battlefield situation dispassionately and move his pieces around the board like a chess player. It was Bush’s responsibility to rationally evaluate the threat posed by al-Qaida and take the appropriate measures to address it. Instead, he lost his poise, declared an impossible, unwinnable and counterproductive “war on terror,” gratuitously invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, and ordered U.S. military and intelligence personnel to begin using Gestapo tactics.
Bush called it a “war on terror.” But it was really a war of terror — his terror.
Bush’s cowardice, masquerading as he-man toughness, led him to do unforgivable things. The most glaring example is torture.
Well, I don’t know about that last sentence: invading Iraq was pretty fucking stupid too. Regardless, I never did get why people thought Bush et alia were tough guys. First, when they went up against really hard men (i.e., North Korea), they got rolled. Repeatedly. Second, if you’ve ever known hard men–I don’t mean wannabes, but the real thing–these guys simply were not it. They acted like TV tough guys–from really bad TV, no less.
Before Blogger EATED my old blog, I often wrote that the Iraqi insurgents didn’t care if Karl Rove won the 2002 midterm elections (hell, anyone can beat the Democrats). It took the collapse of everything to relase that Bush was all hat and no cattle…