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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Friday, January 21, 2005

Dancing the War Away

posted by Jazz at 1/21/2005 07:24:00 AM

NOTE: YOU ARE VIEWING AN ARCHIVED POST AT RUNNING SCARED'S OLD BLOG. PLEASE VISIT THE NEW BLOG HERE.

Incredibly, with more than 1,360 American troops dead and more than 10,000 wounded, and with scores of thousands of Iraqis dead and wounded, the president never once mentioned the word Iraq in his Inaugural Address. He avoided all but the most general references to the war. Lyndon Johnson used to agonize over the war that unraveled his presidency. Mr. Bush, riding the crest of his re-election wave, seems not to be similarly bothered.

This is just one section of Bob Herbert's column today. I'll warn you ahead of time, there is really nothing in this piece which hasn't been brought up before, both in MSM columns and left wing blogs. Bob's entry, however, puts it all together so perfectly that I thought it worth mentioning. He paints the true picture, without using the same analogy, of Bush as Nero - playing his fiddle while the world burns down around him.

In January 1945, with World War II still raging, Franklin Roosevelt insisted on a low-key inauguration. Already gravely ill, he began his address by saying, "Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice President, my friends, you will understand and, I believe, agree with my wish that the form of this inauguration be simple and its words brief."

Times have changed. President Bush and his equally tone-deaf supporters spent the past few days partying hard while Americans, Iraqis and others continued to suffer and die in the Iraq conflagration. Nothing was too good for the princes and princesses of the new American plutocracy. Tens of millions of dollars were spent on fireworks, cocktail receptions, gala dinners and sumptuous balls.

Ugh. No matter how many times people keep making this reference, I will not be able to adapt to hearing about the president's "sumptuous balls."

As the well-heeled Bush crowd was laughing and dancing in tuxedos and designer gowns, the situation in Iraq was deteriorating to new levels of horror. The Black Tie and Boots Ball was held on the same day that 26 people were killed in five powerful car and truck bombs in Baghdad. With the elections just a week and a half away, American commanders, according to John F. Burns of The Times, are seeking "to prepare public opinion in Iraq and abroad for one of the bloodiest chapters in the war so far."

A photo at the end of Mr. Burns's article showed an Iraqi National Guard member carrying the remains of a suicide bomber in a garbage bag.

The disconnect between the over-the-top celebrations in Washington and the hideous reality of Iraq does not in any way surprise me. It's exactly what we should expect from the president and his supporters, who seem always to exist in a fantasy realm far removed from such ugly realities as war and suffering. In that realm you can start wars without having to deal with the consequences of them. You don't even have to pay for them. You can put them on a credit card.

Say it, Bob. Somebody had to.