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?