Inert Detritus The Internet's dust bunnies

13 September 2006 @ 10am

A look back, and a look forward

In his belief that America needed to respond resolutely to the dangers of terrorism, tyranny and proliferation, Mr Bush was mainly right. His chief failures stem from incompetent execution.

From The Economist.

The Economist took a look back at the Bush and Blair relationship and impact on the world over the past six years, and a look forward at politics, foreign relations, and world influence for both the United States and Great Britain.

But in that single line, The Economist hit the nail on the head. Most of what we (the disenchanted public at large) disagree with is not the idea, but the execution.

Perhaps Iraq was a misguided invasion, built on false pretenses, and redefined in purpose once entered (switching horses midstream? What?). But the idea of preemptionism and aggressive, military-backed diplomacy is a powerful one, and one that likely will not only be around for some time to come, but one that will be necessary to remember and use. It is a doctrine which was simply misapplied. Instead of Iraq, it should have been Iran, North Korea, Syria, or Lebanon. The idea is a epiphanous one; the execution of it, horrible to watch.

The administration, and much of the public’s discomfort with it, can be summarized as that. In the “war on terrorism” (which is no more winnable than the “war on drugs” or the “war on poverty”), we need more security, more funding, and better ways of aggressively stopping things before they start. But instead of increasing intelligence budgets, we spent money on expensive invasions. Instead of financing more police and trained individuals to screen passengers, we bought expensive machines which are more “security theater” and less “security lockdown”. Instead of working with the American public to make sure our nerves are calm and our daily lives remain unaffected, we have bans on liquids on planes, daily warnings that, “Someone, somewhere, could commit a terrorist act at any moment. We recommend you spend lots of money to ease the anxiety and uncertainty. But remember, death is imminent.”

Laudable ideas; piss-poor execution. Anyone in the Democratic Party taking notes on slogans for ’06?