Monday, January 14, 2008

The End of the Road for George W. Bush

A Very Good Piece
By Chris Hedges

"The Gilbert and Sullivan charade of statesmanship played out by George W. Bush and his enabler, Condoleezza Rice, as they wander the Middle East is a fitting end to seven years of misrule. Despots stripped of power are transformed from monsters into buffoons. And this is the metamorphosis that is eating away at the Bush presidency.

Bush stood in Jerusalem, uncomfortable and palpably bored. He mouthed platitudes about a peace settlement that mocked the humanitarian crisis he aided and abetted in Gaza, the rapacious land grab by Israel in the West Bank and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The diminished George Bush, increasingly irrelevant at home and abroad, is fading into insignificance. A year from now one half expects to see him stand up at the next president’s inauguration and screech “I’m melting! I’m melting!” as he sinks into a puddle of slime. He will return, I expect, to his ranch, where he will be able to spend the rest of his life doing the only task for which he has shown any aptitude-cutting down brush with a chain saw.....

He publicly displayed his inability to connect rhetoric with reality. He promised peace and cooperation, a new era, a Palestinian homeland. He promised solutions that will arise from negotiations that do not exist. Negotiations, in his eyes, are always about to begin. They were about to begin a year ago. They were about to begin with Annapolis. They are about to begin now. The messy issues between the Israelis and Palestinians that he and his administration have never attempted to address-the borders, the expanding Jewish settlements and outposts, the plight of Palestinian refugees and Jerusalem-will all be seamlessly solved … one day. But the brutal reality of the Israeli occupation barrels forward. The Jewish settlements and outposts continue to be expanded. The crisis in Gaza, with the cuts in fuel and electricity, the deadly army incursions and airstrikes, has turned the world’s largest walled prison into a swamp of human misery. And huge new settlements, like Har Homa, continue to rise up on Palestinian soil......

But as Bush basks in the glow of his own fantasy, the suffering in Gaza, one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters, along with the savage occupation of Iraq, continues to fuel widespread anger and rage. Bush has spent his time in office bolstering the Middle East’s most despotic regimes, including that of Gen. Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. He approved a $20-billion arms package for these states. He has backed efforts to crush mainstream Islamic groups that have electoral legitimacy and popular support. He has stood by as these regimes have stifled democratic dissent, and he has, with Israeli encouragement, isolated governments, even friendly governments, in the Middle East that raised feeble protests. But his day is past. There is open revolt. Opinion polls show that two-thirds of Palestinians, and three-fourths of Israelis, do not believe Bush can affect events in the Palestinian territories.....

It is the end of the road for George Bush. The world takes less and less notice of him. He strutted and swaggered across the stage. He bellowed and raged. He plundered and murdered. And now he wants to be anointed as a peacemaker. His presidency, like his life, has been a tragic waste. But he at least he has a life. There are tens of thousands of mute graves in Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan that stand as stark testaments to his true legacy. If he wants to redeem his time in office he should kneel before one and ask for forgiveness."

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