Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Root Causes

I find a tendency in myself that I must resist. Sometimes, I must admit, I'm not very critical or discerning in taking pleasure in the misfortunes of those I disapprove of. This can lead me to cheering for injustice.

Case in point: the current flap around Rumsfeld and his fitness to be secretary of defense. I've been getting some good chuckles out of it. The same war criminal who was being lauded for his "rock-star presence" back in the early post-9/11 days having to get all defensive, and having to be defended by the Imbecile-in-Chief himself ... yes, it's been good for some giggles. But then I read this piece by one Greg Palast, and I got my nose rubbed in my own foolishness. It's a brief and worthwhile article, and I'm happy to recommend that you give it a look.

Mr. Palast's point: the opprobrium directed at Rummy would be better directed elsewhere, and ultimately, at the knuckleheaded war criminal who appointed him to his current job. And Mr. Palast is correct ... although, in my opinion, he really doesn't go far enough. An excerpt:
Well, here they come: the wannabe Rommels, the gaggle of generals, safely retired, to lay siege to Donald Rumsfeld. This week, six of them have called for the Secretary of Defense's resignation.

Well, according to my watch, they're about four years too late -- and they still don't get it.

I know that most of my readers will be tickled pink that the bemedalled boys in crew cuts are finally ready to kick Rummy in the rump, in public. But to me, it just shows me that these boys still can't shoot straight.

It wasn't Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld who stood up in front of the UN and identified two mobile latrines as biological weapons labs, was it, General Powell?

It wasn't Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld who told us our next warning from Saddam could be a mushroom cloud, was it Condoleezza?

It wasn't Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld who declared that Al Qaeda and Saddam were going steady, was it, Mr. Cheney?

Yes, Rumsfeld is a swaggering bag of mendacious arrogance, a duplicitous chicken-hawk, yellow-bellied bully-boy and Tinker-Toy Napoleon -- but he didn't appoint himself Secretary of Defense.
Good stuff. But the same argument applies to the Crawford pseudo-cowboy: just as Rummy wouldn't be where he is, doing what he does, without Bush having put him there, so too would Bush not be where he is, doing what he does, if half the electorate hadn't put him there.

Bush employed Rummy, and therefore is responsible for Rummy's misdeeds. Similarly, half the country has (twice now!) employed Bush, and therefore bears the whole responsibility. Add to that the partisan Democrats whose whole objection to the Bush junta boils down to nothing more serious, fundamental, or principled than allegations of mismanagement and incompetence, and there's really a large majority of the American people to blame.

Ultimately, it may be that when we fail to govern ourselves, we inevitably, sooner or later, acquire a crew of jackasses like the one we have to tyrannize us. It may be that the first step toward recovery is to cease to try to shift the blame.

1 comment:

lemming said...

I think some of it does come down to likeability. Rice may not be a teddy bear, but it's easy to admire her success. I know quite a few peopple who approve of GWB in part because he seems like such a normal guy. Rumsfeld, like Cheney, just doesn't seem like a nice guy.