In Washington, Hindsight is 20/400

by | May 25, 2002 | POLITICS

There are serious reasons for criticizing President Bush’s war against terrorism. One reason involves his refusal to support Israel’s self-defense against the openly terrorist organization, the P.L.O. What’s good for the Taliban should be good for Arafat and his terrorist thugs, logic tells us, but Bush dances to a different logical tune from objective reality […]

There are serious reasons for criticizing President Bush’s war against terrorism. One reason involves his refusal to support Israel’s self-defense against the openly terrorist organization, the P.L.O. What’s good for the Taliban should be good for Arafat and his terrorist thugs, logic tells us, but Bush dances to a different logical tune from objective reality on this issue. Another Bush flaw involves his seeming loss of interest in continuing the war against Saddam Hussein and others to whom he once referred as an “axis of evil.” Strong words — without equally strong actions — make you worse off than you started.

Instead, the President’s focus is now on expanding the welfare-regulatory state — free prescription drugs through Medicare; billions in agricultural subsidies to wealthy Rockefellers; competition-stifling tariffs for the steel industry; free speech controls euphemized as “campaign finance reform” — in a manner that his predecessor, President Clinton, only dreamed about. The liberals who run Congress silently rejoice at Bush’s sudden embracing of wealth redistribution, while outwardly demanding that the “stingy” Bush triple the loot.

In this context, the current media fetish over “What did Bush know and when did he know it?” back on 9/11 shows neither a left-wing nor a right-wing bias. Instead, it merely dramatizes the existence of an empty-headed media culture in which our intellectuals and leaders have simply run out of ideas. Instead of looking at the substance of what President Bush has done or not done — and how well he adheres to the principles he originally outlined in the war against terrorism last winter — we see a tidal wave of attention devoted to how horrible it is that the Bush Administration could not have been psychic enough to predict the time, the means, and the exact location of last fall’s attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. (Are we actually to believe that a Clinton or Gore Administration would have?!) Even more disheartening, Bush is defensive and buckling under the pressure — to the media’s delight. Take it from a psychologist: this seems to be a man who feels they have a point. It doesn’t mean they actually have a point; but he feels they do. Terrorists and Democrats now smell blood.

Yes, as Bush’s defenders argue, hindsight is 20/20; and of course nobody ever knows for certain what a terrorist can do, and when. That’s what terrorists rely upon, isn’t it? Their war is as much psychological as it is physical. They are going after our minds and souls no less than our bodies and buildings. That’s what makes this the most philosophical conflict in human history — probably nowhere near its climax as of yet.

As regular readers of this column know, America is slowly declining because of its lack of attention to life-sustaining ideas: freedom, individual rights, rationality, individualism. Yes, we’re still number one, but that’s only because the rest of the world declines as we do, both economically and morally. Our leaders have not merely lost track of the right ideas — they have rejected ideas as such. It’s not that they’re wrong; it’s that they’re becoming stupid. Even the seemingly better men — such as President Bush — increasingly act on the expediency of the moment because they don’t know what else to do or to think. If fighting terrorism works in Afghanistan, then fight it. If it doesn’t feel right in Israel, then don’t allow it. If the going gets tough, then expand the welfare state and beat the Democrats at their own game (earth to Bush: it will never happen. These people have the game so mastered, that match is long lost). General principles — absolutes, consistency — are, it would seem, for people who think too much. For the “simplistic” as our beloved former President Jimmy Carter would put it.

As our leaders run out of ideas, they also run out of steam. They run out of the passion which normally flows from certainty. They try to pacify us with freebies from the government pantry while they figure out what in the world to do. And as they continue to run out of steam, we witness the pathetic — if not tragic — spectacle of a flawed President — one who almost got it right and may yet, but I somehow doubt it — having to defend himself against the kindergarten charges of a mindless opposition.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

Related articles

No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.

Pin It on Pinterest