Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ask Yourself the Questions Posed by Bush

When Bush signed the Military Commissions Act into law he used, as Jeffrey Feldman points out, the frame of history. The same frame that led him to call the carnage of Iraq "a comma." Bush has faith that, ultimately, all his actions will have a good outcome, despite what temporary inconveniences they may create along the way. It's a wonderfully liberating way to look at the world. If Iraq's woes are healed any time in any distant future, then Bush can claim credit for having paved the way. I suppose Hitler could similarly claim credit for putting Germany on a path to its current democratic prosperity.

It's a completely consequence-free view of action. The way Bush sees it, the game is never lost, because it's never completed. There will always be more innings.

Bush looked back from a distant history when the U.S. will have defeated the evil-doers to justify his sacking of rights that have been part of our tradition since the Magna Carta.

Yet, with the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?

Let me propose a narrow view. Let's take those two questions out of the eschatological framework in which Bush posed them. Let's take them very literally and shine a cold light of irony on them.

It was Keith Olbermann who first called attention to the fact that those questions rightly point back to Bush himself.

We'll learn the answer on Nov. 7.

"Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously?"

"Did we do what it takes to defeat the threat?"

Can you give more time and/or more money to defeat the Republican candidates for Senate, House, Governor, and Secretary of State?

Please, take the Bush threat seriously. And please, do what it takes to defeat it.

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