Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Discussion Thread: GW Bush
Matt asked us to link some stories in his thread below. However, I found this article written by Jane Smiley on Huffington Post and I feel I have to front page it. The article is brilliant and scary, it encapsulates how dangerous this world has become because of GWB. I post a small part of this article below, but please read it all.
Power is the most ephemeral possession of them all because retaining power means exerting ever more control. Control, of course, operates according to the law of diminishing returns. When you threaten and then torture that first guy, it’s shocking and intimidating, not only to the guy himself but to everyone who hears about it. To maintain that level of intimidation, however, requires ever more threats and ever more torture, and pretty soon you have threatened and tortured, and even killed, hundreds (what’s the count on Iraqis who have died in American custody--121?) or thousands of people, and you are actually losing power because the very thing you thought you could toss out the window in your quest for power, namely morality, comes back to haunt you in the form of disgust (the disgust that others feel toward you) and common decency (that quality that others have retained and you have lost). The US has lasted this long, and survived and thrived because of power dispersal, not power consolidation. Which is not to say that the Bushies can’t do a lot of damage--they have and they can. The loss of our moral compass is devastating. The scattering of beaurocratic talent is a huge hidden cost of the Bush plan, as is the destruction of the volunteer army both as a military entity and as a population of young people who have been required to be ruthless themselves and to be ruthlessly preyed upon by the Iraqi insurgency. Our debts to the Chinese are a price we do not yet know the cost of, and our resistance to the idea of global warming might doom us all. Arousing the foot soldiers of the religious right, whipping them up with ideas of “the Rapture”, then arming them with weapons of mass destruction seems on the face of it to be a first class folly. And all for what? Life is short. Reputations are long.