Monday, September 11, 2006

Bush is bad, but...

After a brief cry this morning washing the dishes, I've turned off CBC 1 for the day. This September 11th is the most unhappy for since the first in 2001; my guess is that it's hard to realize it's been five years, and that, to me, so much is undone and so little is accomplished.

When Bush made his truly excellent speech to the House of Representatives, I thought: "That's right, fuckers. We'll get you, and we'll get you good."

Years later, the failure to catch Osama Bin Laden can still, on some days, drive me near to tears with frustration.

Osama Bin Laden is an evildoer - I'll agree with Bush on that much anyday. If he'd killed 10 000 people that day, or 20 000, it would matter to him not. And he was rich: If he wanted to wield a mighty weapon against the US government's foreign policy, he could have blown up the CIA, or the State Department. He had more than enough resources.

With the money and organization that Bin Laden had behind him, he could have been a bigger influence than King or Ghandi. He could have led a million man/woman/child march on the White House in protest. He could have taken assault rifles and hijacked the United Nations, and forced the General Assembly to listen to his pleas, and then ordered his men to lower their weapons and be arrested peacefully. The world would have said, "Wow, who is this guy who speaks with such conviction and eloquence and passion about freedom and liberty?"

But he didn't. He chose to kill innocent people and attack civilian property in a city that is NOT a seat of government.

If he had a valid point to make, he would have made it. His point isn't US foreign policy, it's killing Westerners.

Let's be clear here: Bush is bad, but Bin Laden is evil. And I think there's a (small) number of people who fail to realize that.

26 Comments:

Anonymous Anne (happier in Ontario) said...

Outstanding post Jason, I can tell that it comes right from your heart.

I have no idea why evil can hide so well, was Hitler ever found??

I think that is why Bush said that he doesn't think about Osama much anymore. He is lying about that but now realizes that he is almost certainly going to fail to find him. He is being a coward by not saying it in public.

Monday, September 11, 2006 9:42:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Jason, did you happen to catch the secret history of 9/11 on CBC? If you didn't, I would recommend that you watch one of the encore presentations. It is tomorrow night at 10pm on the Newsworld. It shows how Osama survived many attacks in the 90s. That was when he was living openly in Afghanistan, now it is even harder to kill or capture him because he is hiding in caves.

Monday, September 11, 2006 1:11:00 PM  
Blogger Chuckercanuck said...

agreed with anne - great post!

at the risk of irking you folks, I still pledge full honesty:

last week, when Osama and his boyz released the "behind the scenes of 9/11" tape -- my reaction was:

lame-o. it felt like a Time-Warner collection of "Remembering the 60s."

it doesn't send chills down my spine - it makes me feel like we are beating them because that's the best they can do - cut up some old footage.

i know, i know - i shouldn't talk like that. but the truth is, i think Osama is more history than Bush.

i hope i'm not proven wrong.

Monday, September 11, 2006 1:45:00 PM  
Blogger RGM said...

Anne: the Soviets apparently found Hitler's skull when they reached Berlin. I remember hearing stories of it being sent back to Russia to be put on display.

Jason, excellent post. It's really a very traumatic day to try and get through, all five years now since I've not been able to make it through without shedding at least a few tears. While I still have my fair share of anger at the atrocity of 9/11 itself, I now have much more for those who have lost the will (or never had it) to respond to al Qaeda and remove the root causes of Islamist terrorism.

Monday, September 11, 2006 2:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anne (happier in Ontario) said...

RGM, I find that fascinating, I have never heard that!

I just read what I wrote earlier and actually had an epiphany about myself, maybe others too.

I now realize how much capturing Bin Laden means to me, a kind of closure and conclusion to the awful events five years ago.

Don't get me wrong, I support our current mission there for many reasons but only now realized the frustration I have been harbouring about his ability to elude capture. I wonder how many other people are feeling this lack of closure for September 11th and don't realize it? It feels like a burden that I carry and I don't like it one bit.

Yes, I wrote earlier that I doubt he will likely ever be captured, now I just have to learn to accept it too.

Monday, September 11, 2006 3:33:00 PM  
Blogger SouthernOntarioan said...

You know what I find interesting is that listening to Bush's speeches from immediately after 9-11, he sounds much smarter and statesman like then than now.

His 'freedom was attacked' speech, was simply inspiring (I feel at least). Especially compared to some of his later speeches which were completely flops. (IMHO)

Monday, September 11, 2006 4:53:00 PM  
Blogger Chuckercanuck said...

so,

that's a really, really good point.

Monday, September 11, 2006 5:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

Anne, I think that a lot of people do not yet realize that America (and the Anglosphere and the West all) have not had the closure you mention. Even if Iraq turned out to be a little California, with Baghdad a new Toronto, people still wouldn't have any satisfaction over September 11th. I personally have a feeling that a good portion of anti-Bush sentiment is a result of frustration at Bin Laden's continued freedom. Just speculation, obviously.

Missed that, Joanne - thanks.

Chucker, I like your take on the new tape - that's optimistic, and I like it. I think that Osama is more history than Bush, too. Funnily enough, I think that further, Bush is more historical - he'll be more remembered than Bin Laden, unlike, say, Churchill/Hitler or David/Goliath or what-have-you. People who think that Bin Laden is just a puppet of Bush's are wrong - the way he has been allowed to fade away into a hazy smoke of unconscious anger in most minds proves that. If he was on the payroll, he'd be a far more interesting foe. So far, without the dramatic ending, either suicide a la Hitler or firing squad or assassination a la Caesar, he's become a nobody, which is the opposite of what any savvy war president would want.

Richard, *amazing* bit on Hitler's skull - thanks. The loss of will to fight is upsetting, for sure. I'm not "just saying this", I don't 'hate' Bush, but I think he's been ineffective at keeping people rallied. The insistence that everyone live as though there is not a war means that - everyone lives as though there is not a way.

SO, I've a very ultra-lefty friend who says he's read studies on how Bush's speech pattern and vocabulary have decreased each year in office, funny you should mention. No question the week after September 11th was his oratorical highpoint.

Monday, September 11, 2006 5:51:00 PM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

Anne, I've tried to accept that Bin Laden will remain free and die eventually of kidney failure or something, out of reach of justice. It's hard.

But I think it's best to try and accept it -- that way, you can at least be amazed and ecstatic if he somehow DOES get caught.

Monday, September 11, 2006 5:57:00 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

Excellent points made by everyone. I agree that the lack of an "end" to Bin Laden is probably a big piece of the anger. As well, WMD or no WMD, wtf was Bush doing leaving Af'stan half-baked? And while I'm venting, whentf will the US pilots figure out what allies look like on the ground, and where they are situated?

Re: Bush's intellect (or lack thereof) - I remember thinking on 9/11 that my opinion of him hadn't changed much (still an intellectual midget), but my opinion of his speechwriters skyrocketed. Just out of curiousity, when was Frum one of them? Maybe his personal brilliance remains the same, it's his speechwriters that have declined?

Monday, September 11, 2006 9:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anne (happier in Ontario) said...

Good thoughts about the speech writers for Bush, hmm... you might be on to something. I don't care for his good ole boy accent either. Even when he is saying all the right things it just doesn't sound as good.

If Bush had just stayed out of Iraq or at least waited until the will of the UN was with him I think he might have been okay. Thank god we are not over there, eh?

Brings me to my next point: Jack! not only tries to tie every single thing that PM Harper does to Bush but in several cases Iraq too, this really pisses me off. I support the Afghanistan mission and for him to undermine it using cheap shots and lies for his grandstanding makes me want to choke him.

To me closure is going to have mean coming to terms for acceptance. We might never find Osama, Afghanistan is not going to be over quickly, security will be forever changed, etc. Hoping that things will go back to the way they were just isn't going to happen. Didn't we all secretly, unrealistically, think and want that?

Monday, September 11, 2006 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger RGM said...

Candace, Frum was around until sometime in 2002/03 I believe. He has taken credit for the "axis of evil" line in the 2002 State of the Union and various other highlights of the Bush Doctrine. I wish I had my copy of The Right Man here with me, but it's at home.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 3:09:00 AM  
Blogger RGM said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 3:11:00 AM  
Blogger RGM said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/725537.stm

Sorry, didn't work the first time.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 3:12:00 AM  
Blogger Chuckercanuck said...

Well, I'll say this:

yesterday, Bush was pretty fantastic, in my opinion.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 7:24:00 AM  
Blogger Chuckercanuck said...

in fact, not to belabour the point, but -

capturing Osama bin Laden may feel good, but doing something because it feels good isn't necessarily the best thing to do for you.

the world is certainly safer with Saddam's regime gone. He was, immediately after 9/11, the most dangerous inspiree.

"from the desert of dictatorships to the fertile gardens of freedom"

not bad.

also: he made the point that I made to you, jason ---

for 60 years, foreign policy pursued stability above everything. on 9/11, we learned that it was a failure. from now on, the US must pursue democracy, personal dignity and freeom.

(sorry, I'm worked up, but its time to show a little solidarity with the man. its politically expedient for a right-wing nut like me to disavow him, but it would be wrong, wrong, wrong).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 7:53:00 AM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

I missed Bush yesterday due to work, I'm glad he was good.

I may sound a bit Dr. Phil or Oprah here, which would kind of suck, but I really don't think you can get into overstating how important it would be for the US and for ALL of the West to see Bin Laden captured.

I just don't figure people can know how vital that is.

If Hitler had not killed himself but had instead slipped out to South America to live in the mountains with Eva Braun, I just totally do not believe for a second that the West could have ever, EVER come to terms with that.

Dude I respect you a lot, a LOT, and always will, but I just don't think it's reasonable to excuse his not being captured. If Homolka and Bernardo were identified but never caught and escaped to some island without extradition, it would burn in a lot of hearts forever.

That's the whole point of having a justice system - to make people feel safe and secure and to feel good, like. Bin Laden's freedom hurts us all because he got away with it. Whether he's in a palace with like Sienna Miller or whether he's in a dirt hole with a lizard, it doesn't matter - he got away with it. Until he is caught and brought to justice, he will have always got away with it, and I think presonally that that is deeply, deeply troubling for the entire soul of the West. There is no substitute for the real thing, and the real thing must be tried and brought to justice or it will always, always affect the West, so long as a majority of people were alive on and remember September 11th.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 8:51:00 AM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

oreign policy pursued stability above everything. on 9/11, we learned that it was a failure. from now on, the US must pursue democracy, personal dignity and freeom.

I'm always going to believe that the West has a deep and penetrating scar because of the total failure to bring OBL to justice, but I do think the above is a noble sentiment worth praising, for sure.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 8:54:00 AM  
Blogger Chuckercanuck said...

dude, the respect is shot back right at you.

and I'm aware that shrugging your shoulders and saying "eh!" is running dangerously close to cop-out country (as in "oh, we couldn't catch him, so we figured catching him wasn't that important anyway").

but, I am of the opinion that in terms of mitigating future threats, he's not the issue.

still, your point about justice (Homolka, Bernardo, Hitler) are taken.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 8:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anne (happier in Ontario) said...

I agree that OBL capture should not be the benchmark of success and closure but I think that many feel that way without even knowing it - I did. I feel better just acknowledging this and directing my attention on the real victories ahead of us.

Good analogies Jason, that about sums up human nature.

On Iraq I know that there are good reasons aplenty for the U.S. to be there but hanging everything on WMD from the start made sustained support iffy, too much risk if they were wrong.

I actually think they, WMD, were there but he outsmarted the U.S. I have no clue if waiting another six to twelve months would have made a difference but taking a bit more time to examine "intelligence" and build a stronger case for other reasons to go would not have hurt Bush either.

I also wish Colin Powell had stuck around, I really liked him. His departure seemed to be the turning point in support for Iraq, IMO.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Chuckercanuck said...

i hear yeah anne, but I'm a Condi-maniac almost as much as I'm a Harper-maniac so I'm happy she gets to be top drawers in the state department.

anywhoo, at the time, i guess the feeling was "another 6 months" and "make a better case" was UN-gobble-dee-gook for defer, avoid, ignore.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

Hey Chucker,

I don't think he represents a massive threat any longer either, I totally agree.

Not to sound all CBC-victim-y, but I do think we're very scarred as a society by his escape from us. If he was caught now, the real shame is that most people wouldn't care. It's over, and people will never be able to ever celebrate justice being done over September 11.

Aw, I'm getting myself really down over it now - enough for me. :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 4:00:00 PM  
Blogger Chuckercanuck said...

Jason,

I fly often for work - and as you know, I'm scared of clouds, let alone terrorism -

also, I take a train into work and have since CEGEP 14 years ago, every day. (am I anti-Kyoto and resent Rick Mercer asking me to give up another tonne so that his two-car family liberal yuppies can cut down on their vacation to save their tonne.)

i know someone who lost his sister in the OKC bombing. that's as close as I have been to knowing terorism - oh wait, except for a neighbours father who died trying to defuse an FLQ bomb.

anyway.

I was scared after 9/11. I am not scared anymore. I know a risk that I didn't know about it. Anyone who is not infitintely better equipped for life knowing the risk versus not knowing the risk isn't being rational.

W is a great president because he's doing the right things - not 100% correctly - but I can't wait to see who the anti-Ws serve up as perfect. its going to be a very rude awakening.

but none of the anti-Ws that will be served up will differ significantly on the general foreign policy of the United States instituted by W.

so when you say "bad", I can think of "not perfect" - "bad" to me is someone who does prefer to push this off on my children.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 4:41:00 PM  
Blogger Chuckercanuck said...

not that you do - there are valid and serious criticisms that will be debated for decades.

i'm just pointing out that if the man sets out the agenda, the vision, for what the world will look like 100 years from now. what historian will be able to deny that turning point. and it will be the man, not the attack.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 4:44:00 PM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

I can't wait to see who the anti-Ws serve up as perfect. its going to be a very rude awakening.

I definitely agree - being "anti-W!!!!" is not a policy platform, and the anti-W crowd have very little to offer in terms of a global vision or a domestic vision (whether domestic US or domestic Canada or domestic UK, Australia, etc).

I'm pretty much over saying it because they never listen, but being Anti-anything is pointless - you're only relevant when you're Pro-something.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 5:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

(I think Bush (personally) is "bad", but NOT for the same reasons that the general anti-W crowd thinks he is bad. I do not think he is "evil" or even malicious, I think he makes sincere decisions that aren't good decisions, and I ALWAYS appreciate sincerity)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 5:35:00 PM  

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