16 February 2007

To Sum It Up In A Word.... (CS)

I've been horribly MIA lately, but in my defense I've been mind-numbingly busy with my grad work. One thing I couldn't let fly under the radar though was this recent quote from George Bush where, when asked how he would be remembered, he said, "I made a name by being compassionate."

That such a statement is delusional and ignorant is readily apparant. We could speak all day about how Bush has quite filppantly ignored the actions and (what will be) long lasting effects of his administration. His entire administration has been defined by war, but he believes he'll be remembered for compassion. Figures.

But reading Bush's quote makes me wonder.... What happened to that George W. Bush we actually might have believed in for those briefest of moments after we were attacked and he seemed committed to going after Osama Bin Laden? For that matter, what happened to the President who has continually talked about bringing terrorists to justice? This is a theme that has probably come up in his speeches a thousand more times than compassion. In fact, using this nifty tool from the New York Times we can see that in his State of the Union addresses, over the course of 7 years, Bush has used the word "compassion" 21 times, but "terror" 145 times. "Love" has come up 12 times compared to the 58 mentions of "war."

More often than not, I prescribe to peaceful solutions. But there is something to be said for wanting to make our lives safe and hunt down those who would see us dead. My feelings are along the lines of New Model Army's in their song "Vengeance":

Their first verse in "Vengeance" applies to Nazi officers who escaped to South America:
Escaped the net in '45, hiding out in South America
Protected by money and powerful friends
Hoping the world has forgotten by now
All the things that you did in the Nazi Death camps
The people that you tortured and killed
You can live you life in expectant fear
Sure some day you'll be made to pay
It's somewhat similar to the situation with Osama Bin Laden. He's escaped capture so far. He's protected by friends in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But we hope that someday he'll "be made to pay."
New Model Army's chorus goes on:
I believe in justice
I believe in vengeance
I believe in getting the bastard
And yknow what? I do. I believe first in preventing the conditions in which terrorist groups find a foothold, but after that, when a violent act has been perpetrated (or even as one is being planned), I do believe in justice. And the more we think about actually getting the bastards responsible, the more it becomes apparent why Bush chose "compassion" as his (hopeful) legacy rather than "justice"... Because we haven't gotten any. The joke is old (and actually no longer applicable) that if you type in "failure" to Google, your #1 result will be the bio of George W. Bush... But if we had to guess one word regarding how Bush and his administration will be remembered, is there a better choice?

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