Thursday, January 11, 2007
I'm not going to bother with any sort of lengthy critique of last night's speech by President Bush, or the planned increase of U.S. troops detailed therein. It is of course worth mentioning that -- as even his staunchest supporters have pointed out -- Bush looked like a terrified nine-year-old being forced to present a book report in front of a glaring class, and of course that he threatened to broaden his folly in the Middle-East by attacking targets inside Iran and Syria. Those points aside however, as Bush isolates himself further and further from not only the will of a majority of Americans, but from many in his own party, I'm reminded again of a particular movie moment that's echoed in my head since this whole fiasco began.
Excuse the overtly populist reference, but in the movie Armageddon, Jason Isaacs -- playing the scientist who comes up with the idea of drilling into an oncoming asteroid so that a nuclear warhead can destroy it from the inside out -- has a great comment when told that the president's scientific advisor recommends a different course of action. He says, "Right about now you don't want to listen to someone who got a C in astro-physics."
The political and cultural complexities involved in dealing with Iraq and the surrounding region are unmatched by any in the world. As we've found out at great human cost, there are hatreds there which date back more than a thousand years. To undertake any effort, military or diplomatic, in the Middle-East requires not only an intimate knowledge of the region's people, but of the religious fervor which drives them.
And the man leading our charge into this dangerous labyrinth -- one of the only men who still believes in the cause -- is quite possibly the most intellectually incurious President this country has ever seen; he's a man who once arrogantly joked that he was proof one could slack off in college -- maintaining that unremarkable C-average -- and still become the leader of the free world.
So the question is: do we really want to listen to him anymore?
Why did we ever to begin with?