Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dissing "Mom"

Until today I've largely been ignoring this whole Cindy Sheehan affair. And my omission only began to trouble me when Bloodless directed my attention to an infuriating exchange between Bill O'Reilly and Michelle Malkin in which they suggested that Sheehan's protest on behalf of her son, who was KIA over a year ago, was treasonous and otherwise improper, the repugnance of which presumption I realized I couldn't fully gauge without knowing the background. A few searches later, and I learned what I had been missing.

The topic itself has passed me by, and I'm not going to try to catch up now. It did, however, lead me to a rare reading of a Maureen Dowd column, doubly rare lately insofar as she's been off on book leave (oh yay!) most of the summer, her spot filled principally with the pitch-perfect caustic wit of one Sarah Vowell, who will so be missed on the Op-Ed page.

As much as I find that I have no time for Dowd's pithy platitudinous self-indulgent failures to find le mots juste, I find myself wholly pleased with the following simple passage:

It's amazing that the White House does not have the elementary shrewdness to have Mr. Bush simply walk down the driveway and hear the woman out, or invite her in for a cup of tea. But W., who has spent nearly 20 percent of his presidency at his ranch, is burrowed into his five-week vacation and two-hour daily workouts. He may be in great shape, but Iraq sure isn't.

It's hard to think of another president who lived in such meta-insulation. His rigidly controlled environment allows no chance encounters with anyone who disagrees. He never has to defend himself to anyone, and that is cognitively injurious. He's a populist who never meets people - an ordinary guy who clears brush, and brush is the only thing he talks to. Mr. Bush hails Texas as a place where he can return to his roots. But is he mixing it up there with anyone besides Vulcans, Pioneers and Rangers?


It's getting harder for the president to hide from the human consequences of his actions and to control human sentiment about the war by pulling a curtain over the 1,835 troops killed in Iraq; the more than 13,000 wounded, many shorn of limbs; and the number of slain Iraqi civilians - perhaps 25,000, or perhaps double or triple that. More people with impeccable credentials are coming forward to serve as a countervailing moral authority to challenge Mr. Bush.


Selectively humane, Mr. Bush justified his Iraq war by stressing the 9/11 losses. He emphasized the humanity of the Iraqis who desire freedom when his W.M.D. rationale vaporized.

But his humanitarianism will remain inhumane as long as he fails to understand that the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute.

Now I'll buy that for a dollar.


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker