The difference between symbolism and substance

The House Democrats, some 50 plus of them want Bush investigated for war crimes, but are appealing to the Justice Dept’s Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor.  Given Mukasey’s contempt for this Congress, this move on the part of the Democrats is symbolism.  They know it won’t lead anywhere, except a mention in the Congressional Record perhaps, which can be removed later.  It would be interesting to know how many of the signatories to this  are also supporters of Dennis Kucinich’s articles of impeachment against the President.

Militarists in the Pentagon averted a strike against Iran last year, according to a news report, by asking the Administration just how far they were prepared to go in escalating a war.  By getting the Administration to commit and understand the gravity of their request, Pentagon officials were able to get the Bush admin to back down.  It seems Cheney was the chief agent provocateur. This was substance, because it led to a definite outcome that affected the lives of millions of people.  In a nutshell we see the difference between career politicians who get in the way, muddying up the waters and not really affecting change  and officials who take matters of life and death more seriously.


The Washington Post, the very same newspaper that touted the disastrous Iraqi war, recently ran an article about Bush’s place in history. No doubt this was their way of expiation for their previous sin of mouthing the Administration’s line about the WOT, Iraq,

Historical analogies have become a staple of Bush speeches and interviews this year, whether he is addressing regional leaders in Egypt or talking to workers at an office park in suburban St. Louis. Bush will continue this historical focus in a visit to Europe this week, where he will commemorate the Berlin Airlift in Germany and deliver a speech in Paris marking the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan.

White House aides say Bush, who majored in history at Yale, likes to emphasize historical comparisons because they are easy for the public to understand and illustrate in dramatic fashion how differently future generations may come to view him.

Unfortunately for the president, many historians have already reached a conclusion. In an informal survey of scholars this spring, just two out of 109 historians said Bush would be judged a success; a majority deemed him the “worst president ever.”

“It’s all he has left,” said Millsaps College history professor Robert S. McElvaine, who conducted the survey for the History News Network of George Mason University. “When your approval ratings are down around 20 to 28 percent and the candidate of your own party is trying to hide from being seen with you, history is your only hope.”

Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz, who wrote a widely cited Rolling Stone essay about Bush in 2006 titled “The Worst President in History?,” said last week that the president’s historical arguments can be effective because they are difficult to disprove. “By just saying, ‘In the long run this is going to look great,’ it makes it very hard to respond to,” he said.

This still doesn’t let the Post off in my book.  Meanwhile that little spark plug, Dennis Kucinich has unleashed another series of articles of impeachment, but this time against the POTUS. Don’t count on his colleagues in Congress to come even close to this; but I wonder whether this too will become a part of Bush’s nefarious legacy?

Hamid Karzai can say some interesting things

In a recent interview with Spiegel, Karzai spoke of foreign interference in his country and his longing for the Taliban.  There are NATO troops in Afghanistan and the question is are these the foreign influences he speaks of and if not, then why aren’t these NATO and American troops able to interrupt the deleterious influence these foreign elements have on Afghanistan politics?  Or could that all be part of the plan? One could come to that conclusion when Karzai says certain Afghani groups are being paid to support outsiders and all this under the blessings of Karzai’s allies.

There is a lot of interference from abroad. The south part of the country has always been the center of the Taliban activity; they came from there. And there are also traces of the mujahedeen’s decades-long battle. These are all factors.

When we came back to Afghanistan, the international community brought back all those people who had turned away from the Taliban who then became partners with the foreign allies and are still paid by them today for their support.

SPIEGEL: Dirty deals are still necessary for the stability of Afghanistan?

Karzai: Absolutely necessary, because we lack the power to solve these problems in other ways. What do you want? War?

That last question is an unequivocal yes, by the way. Instability is a foreign policy objective for that part of the world because it insures a steady supply of drugs to the west and arms to the east.  Oh, and did you catch the part where Karzai said he wished he had the Taliban working for him?  I wonder how that made Laura Bush feel during her recent visit to Afghanistan?