Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Vainglorious Suffering and Gambling

Laura Bush says that she and her husband suffer more than the people dying in Iraq.

...MS. CURRY: I also asked Mrs. Bush about other challenges her husband is facing.

(To Mrs. Bush.) You know the American people are suffering watching --

MRS. BUSH: Oh, I know that very much. And believe me, no one suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this, and certainly the commander in chief, who has asked our military to go into harm's way.

MS. CURRY: What do you think the American public need to know about your husband?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I hope they do know the burden, the worry that's on his shoulders every single day for our troops. And I think they do. I mean, I think if they don't, they're not seeing what the real responsibilities of our president are.

Yeah, it's "hard work," isn't it? Of course, there's the easy way out of all the pain and suffering - to resign. But there's also an easier way out - denial.

Much has been made about the president's denial of the far-reaching destructiveness of the war. No need to repeat that here again. But it occurs to me that this president has a gambling addiction. The war started as a radical gamble (without a clear idea of what was to be won). It cannot be seen as a mistake or the fault of poor intelligence, since many many people were quite vocal about the morality of such a war and the probable consequences. Both have turned out to be accurate.

It was, rather, a high-stakes gamble with American troops and Iraqi civilians as a good-sized pile of chips. The gamble was lost, and everyone knows it, but the president doesn't know enough to leave the table and cut his losses. He empties the bank account for more and more chips to lose at the deadly table. He still dreams of his own glory.

Of course, he's not emptying his own bank account. He's spending others' pain, suffering, good-name, and wealth. When Laura Bush tells us how much the Bushes are suffering over the war started by her husband, this personal "suffering" is more the kind that occurs when a wealthy kid blows his trust fund at the blackjack tables or high-risk stock investments. The big difference between the metaphor and the reality, of course, is the long trail of dead and maimed. That seems to me pretty obviously more genuine suffering as opposed to that caused by obstacles to the amoral, highly improbable self-glory sought by the gambling president.


Jonathan Versen said...

"But they also serve, those who..."

Oh, forget it.

troutsky said...

The guilt would drive one mad ,I would think,as it did Johnson and Nixon.

He who was anon said...

Although I'm less than impressed with the progress being made, I hardly think he needs to feel guilty about this issue.

More disturbing to me is the degraded state of our ability to deal with insurgency before the war even began. Additionally, former Secretary Rumsfield's lean fast and hard strategy and force build out are at odds with the current situation. We've built the bast hammer money can buy but neglected to invest in an anvil until we busted a knee-cap.

It mystifies me that time after time, civic action and counterinsurgancy doctrine is defunded and abandoned at the close of every conflict when it should be at the very core of Army operations.

If we can't sustain an operation where only small arms and IEDs are in use how can we expect to resist a heavily armed and determined adversary?

Seems to me $500 Billion would go a long way toward creating the infrastructure needed to abandon oil-based transport in favor of electricty (hydrogen or what have you). Let the Chinese fund the oil-rich terror states, we have better things to do.