Monday, September 25, 2006

"But I want to talk about the context (in) which this…arises"

(The quote comes from the Bill Clinton vs. Chris Wallace interview this weekend, via Crooks and Liars.)

Let's address the context of these recent debates -- debates which seem like just a comma in the lengthy polemics of our age. Both the president and the former president are typical targets of the partisan blogosphere. Both debates address issues that we should either have settled or have never raised.

The former, the one that should be settled, is that Bill Clinton did not do enough to get Osama bin Laden -- neither has George W. Bush. Yet, bloggers, such as Arianna Huffington and numerous others, have addressed the matter at length. The only worthwhile entry that I found in the five minutes I spent reviewing this issue comes from Ace of Spades. He has a New York Times excerpt in which Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich support Bill Clinton in his fight against terror.

Next, an issue that is not an issue, concerns the current president in last week's interview with Wolf Blitzer. George W. Bush said the following: "Admittedly, it seems like a decade ago. I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma because there is — my point is, there’s a strong will for democracy."

Crooks and Liars, among others, are aghast that the president would refer to today's events as "just a comma". OK, the president is hardly a wordsmith and this was a very poor analogy. However, the more alarming part of this quote is that in response to all the trouble in Iraq the president insists that a "strong will for democracy" will carry the day. The United Nations, numerous foreign policy analysts, former supporters of the war, et al state that the country is in dire political turmoil. Iraq may soon break into a decidedly weak, undemocratic, unreliable state. Al Qaeda has a foot-hold in al Anbar. Maybe more than a foot-hold: a bridge-head. There is grotesque sectarian violence on a daily basis.

Let's not chastise George W. Bush for a poor attempt at sounding clever. Let's not chastise Bill Clinton for past mistakes -- no interview will rebuild the two towers and bring 3,000 people back to life. The context in which these two faux debates presently arise is one of increasing peril in Iraq and in the broader military effort against Islamic terrorists. Bin Laden remains at large, as does Zawahiri. This is shameful.

Let's focus on what is needed in Iraq and Afganistan, and not on Sunday talk shows.


Post a Comment

<< Home