--President Bush speaking at his farewell speech to the nation.
President Bush looked tired. His hair gray. His neck visibly thin, barely filling his starched white collar. His farewell address tonight revealed that certain grace that initially created a brief bond with a certain swath of America. He thanked Uncle Dick, had loving words for his wife, daughters and even mom and dad. You almost felt sorry for him. Some tender part of you said you might miss him--not his disastrous policies--but, his goofiness, his sneer and even the universally accepted notion of him the Dolt-in-Chief.
Empathy with President Bush only goes so far. He can't hide from his cocky hubris. It is omnipresent and so much a part of his soul that he cannot stifle it. Many early news reports of tonight's address focused on one pull-quote, "we must never let down our guard." As if we were transported just for old time's sake back to 2003 when the mainstream media walked in line with everything we know was false about the invasion of Iraq. Bush is still fighting the terrorists while the rest of us of are fighting the debt collectors.
Bush's retro bravado is not the most intriguing part of the above mentioned paragraph, instead three sentence beforehand he says, "America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict." How could such an inflammatory and purely arrogant line be glossed over? The United States did nothing to provoke the ire of the perpetrators of 9/11 and the entire Middle East?
If this was the oblivious and ignorant rationale for the crumbling of the next six years, was it all worth it?
There was not a singular event that caused al-Qaeda to attack seven years ago, but over 50 years of American intervention in the region. Arrogance which continually slapped the downtrodden adherents of Islam in the fact although in a usually covert, but rarely as upfront as the style Bush preferred. The U.S. has toppled (or attempted to) governments throughout the region with Iran, Syria, Egypt just to name a few. The U.S. played both side of the Iran-Iraq War, supported Saddam Hussein before turning on him and generally played the Middle East with hegemony deserving of a King. We were happy to spill their blood for their oil.
The U.S. did plenty to deserve 9/11. It did not deserve the loss of 3,000 innocent people, but then again, our government has not been very careful in differentiating insurgents from innocents, either.