Friday, September 16, 2005

knowledge and ignorance

I read the paper on a regular basis, listen to NPR everyday while going to work, and to BBC every night when coming home, but still somehow managed to miss the details of Bob Woodward's book "Plan of Attack". If I had to guess why, it'd be that I may have done so deliberately; the deceit, ineptitude, and wrongheaded-ness of the Iraq Fiasco is depressing enough, without reading details like this one:
In August 2002 Powell warned the president, "You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people. You will own all their hopes, aspirations and problems. You'll own it all." Privately, writes Woodward, Powell and his top deputy, Richard Armitage, "called this the Pottery Barn rule: You break it, you own it."
Bush brushed off Powell's cautions. The next day the president ordered his military commanders to step up their war plans and left for vacation in Texas.
See what I mean - Dubya brushed off Collin Powell! Next to Schwartzkopf, Powell was one of the Heroes of the first Gulf War, at a time when Bush was just some cokehead who's Dad had chosen to leave Saddam in power. Powell, had he chosen to be, could have been a strong contender for the Presidency, and may well have won it. Imagine what today might have been like had Powell agreed to run for the Republicans in 2000. I would have voted for him, and I dont even like Republicans. Do you suppose he's kicking himself now. If he's not, I'd like to volunteer for the job.
In Arthur C. Clarke's book Imperial Earth the president of the United States was a largely ceremonial job, the holder of which was chosen by computer search based on qualifications for the job. One of the important qualifications was that the President not want the job, but feel a duty to do it correctly when they were given it anyway. Does this sound like BushCo? Hell, no. But it might have been Powell.
Sadly for Powell, much of his shiny clean reputation has been tarnished by his association with the Bush corporation. He missed out a chance to steer this country in a good conservative direction and he missed a golden opportunity to show racists that Blacks could be just as effective as Whites.
But by far the worst thing that I read was the following, and I think it probably sums up everything that is wrong with the Bush Administration, and why George W. Bush was never a success business-wise, and why he never should have been allowed leadership of a 7-11, let alone the Greatest Nation in the World:
When [Woodward] - quoting Bush's political adviser Karl Rove - suggested that "all history gets measured by outcomes," Bush "smiled," reports Woodward.
"'History,' he said, shrugging, taking his hands out of his pockets, extending his arms out and suggesting with his body language that it was so far off. 'We won't know. We'll all be dead'."
Yes, indeed. But my children will not, or so I hope. To have the man who's vision will shape the world they and their children will live in treat the future so cavalierly makes me fearful for the Nation, and chills me to my very core.
Ignorance is indeed bliss.

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