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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bush, Karzai, and the Nature of Reality

Bush and Karzai

President Bush still enjoys a smidgen of support. An AP-Ipsos poll finds that "just 1 in 3 Americans approves of the job he is doing" and that "Bush's job approval rating has spiraled to record lows for his presidency." This is actually better than other recent polls that show only one in four supporting the president.

Who are these final unshakeable Bush supporters? Are they residents of the State Home for the Perpetually Gullible? Do they have massive and untreated head trauma?

Actually, they're Bush clones. The vast majority of Bush's support comes from the "conservative, white, Republican man, an evangelical Christian and regular churchgoer." Never mind that the last time Bush saw the inside of a Methodist church was probably the day he was married, his supporters think he's a churchgoin' fella.

Bush seems to have given up on the rest of us a long time ago and governs only to please that small segment of the american population who are exactly like him. He doesn't have to be re-elected, so what does he care what we think? No wonder they're happy with him.

The problem with this segment of the population is that they're completely delusional. Case in point, Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai visited the US to brief our president on conditions in Afghanistan. Turns out things aren't great. In an interview on CNN, Karzai said that "The security situation in Afghanistan over the past two years has definitely deteriorated. The Afghan people have suffered. Terrorists have killed our schoolchildren. They have burned our schools. They have killed international helpers."

On terrorism he said, "We are not closer (to catching bin Laden), we are not further away from it. We are where we were a few years ago." And on the subject of Iran, he said, "So far, Iran has been a helper (in the fight against terrorism)."

All of this was contrary to Bush BS campaigns -- so Bush corrected Karzai and lectured him on events in his own nation. Whatever you can say about Bush, you can't say he doesn't have balls.

On meeting Karzai, Bush said Karzai was wrong and that "There is still work to be done, don't get me wrong. But progress is being made" in the fight against extremists in Afghanistan. On bin Laden, he said, "With real actionable intelligence, we will get the job done." And, on Iran, he lectured Karzai (while speaking to reporters), "They're not a force for good, as far as we can see. They're a destabilizing influence wherever they are. Now, the president will have to talk to you about Afghanistan. But I would be very cautious about whether or not the Iranian influence there in Afghanistan is a positive force. And therefore, it's going to be up to them to prove to us and prove to the government that they are."

See, when it comes to experts on Afghanistan, you can't do any better than President Bush -- not even the freakin' president of Afghanistan. I find the fact that Karzai's head didn't explode admirable. A trip through Bushworld is disorienting, to say the least.

But think of all the people at home, listening to Bush tell Karzai that he's all wrong about his own damned country and his corner of the world, nodding their heads and saying, "Yup, yup, yup." You wonder if there was some rattling to go along with the nodding; their brain rolling around inside their skulls like the last aspirin in a bottle.

See, Bush has his own view of the world to project, one more in keeping with his agenda. If Iraq is a mess, you start over and try to remake the middle east to your liking from someplace else. In this case, from Iran. If at first you don't succeed, try again -- fail better. In an interview later with Neil Cavuto of FOX, Bush said, "There will be a consequence when [iranian] people are caught going into Iraq." Asked if a military attack might be a response, the president told Cavuto, "They will be brought to justice."

A less brown-nosed interviewer might've pointed out that Bush said pretty much the same thing about Osama bin Laden in 2001, but that was then, this is now. Justice is a temporary thing, lasting only so long as target is useful or until you lose interest -- whichever comes first.

And since the target in the crosshairs of justice isn't Osama bin Laden anymore -- so five minutes ago -- but Iran, it's not helpful to have Karzai yacking about the inconvenient fact that Iran's an ally in Afghanistan.

To go back to those conservative, white, Republican, male evangelical Christians and regular churchgoers who are all Bush has left, this is about as complicated as they're capable of. If Iran is evil in any way, it's evil in all ways. It's impossible for Iran to do any good and the things it does are done because it's evil. Evil people do evil things because they're evil. If Iran has honest to goodness motives for what it does, then this is just damned confusing. These people live in a high-concept world, where everything can be summed up in a single sentence. A complicated and realistic low-concept world, where everyone does everything for a reason and no one thinks of themselves as evil, but sees their actions as doing good, is just needlessly complex. You've got to cut through all that pointless reality and get to the heart of the matter -- Iran is evil, terrorists hate freedom, and the Global War on Terror is going along nicely.

Anyone who says otherwise is an appeaser or a terrorist sympathizer or hates Jesus or something. If a concept takes longer than three seconds to state and two seconds to understand, it's liberal BS. The world is a very, very simple place, with everything neatly categorized in little boxes stamped "good," "evil," "black," "white," etc. What fits in one box can never go into another. Iran cannot, ever, possibly do good. They are evil and that's that, case closed, no argument. The idea that maybe reality is a little more complicated than that, that people don't do evil for the sake of doing evil, that the causes of conflicts between nations can't be summed up in a single sentence -- ever -- is all a bunch of crap liberal elitists believe. Liberals like to complicate things because they think it makes them look smart.

The truth is that Iran isn't evil -- not completely, anyway -- but self-interested, like all nations. It's repressive, undemocratic, and unjust. It's a human rights nightmare and a figure of international scorn. But so are nations we've put in our "good" box -- Saudi Arabia or Israel, for example. "Good" is defined by "good for the US," while evil means anyone who isn't (remember when France was supposed to be our enemy?).

The problem isn't that this is what Bush believes -- in fact, it doesn't make any difference whether he actually believes it or not. The problem is that this simpleminded, high-contrast worldview is what one in three americans believe and will continue to believe, long after Bush is out of office.


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