Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » September 2004 » Juan Cole puts the smackdown on Dubya....

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09/21/2004: Juan Cole puts the smackdown on Dubya....

Chimpy McSmirk taunts Kerry for "preferring dictatorship to democracy". I wish that Sen. Kerry had the presence of mind to tell it like it is:

I just heard President Bush taunt John Kerry for suggesting that the US was not safer because Saddam Hussein was deposed, and for saying that the US was in fact less safe because of the chaos in Iraq.

Bush attempted to turn this statement around and suggest that Kerry was preferring dictatorship to democracy.

Iraq, however, does not have a democracy, and cannot possibly have a democracy any time soon because of events such as those described below (and they are only 24 hours' worth)-- that is, because of a failed state and a hot guerrilla war.

Moreover, if Mr. Bush abhors dictatorships so much, why hasn't he overthrown that in China? North Korea? Zimbabwe? Or, say, Egypt? There are enormous numbers of dictatorships in the world. Is the US to overthrow them all? Putin's decision to appoint provincial governors rather than allowing them to be elected (as though Bush should appoint the governors of US states) is a step toward dictatorship. Shall we have a war with Russia over it?

Surely the conditions under which the Palestinians live in the West Bank are a form of dictatorship (they haven't voted for their Israeli military rulers). Why not invade the West Bank and liberate the Palestinians?

Obviously, what was obnoxious to the American people about Saddam Hussein was not that he was a dictator. Those are a dime a dozen and not usually worth $200 billion and thousands of lives. It is that he was supposedly dangerous to the US because, as Bush alleged, he was trying to develop an atomic bomb. But whatever nuclear program he had was so primitive as not to be worth mentioning, and there is no evidence that Saddam posed any threat at all to the United States' homeland, or would have in his lifetime.

I have a sinking feeling that the American public may like Bush's cynical misuse of Wilsonian idealism precisely because it covers the embarrassment of their having gone to war, killed perhaps 25,000 people, and made a perfect mess of the Persian Gulf region, all out of a kind of paranoia fed by dirty tricks and bad intelligence. And, maybe they have to vote for Bush to cover the embarrassment of having elected him in the first place.

How deep a hole are they going to dig themselves in order to get out of the bright sunlight of so much embarrassment?
"And, maybe they have to vote for Bush to cover the embarrassment of having elected him in the first place." I think it was Bertrand Russell who once said that the salient advantage to democracy was that the leaders couldn't possibly be as stupid as the electorate, for the more stupid the elected leaders are, the voters still have to be more stupid for having elected them in the first place.

If Bush is "re-elected", that will be a sterling example of Russell's principle in action.

Len on 09.21.04 @ 12:57 PM CST

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September 2004

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