Somewhere, deep in the cold, worm-infested soil that a mother will keep watered by tears, lies one of 3,000 young Americans. Dispersed across the land, thousands more will forever carry the scars of war in their battered bodies and hollowed souls, mutants battling hellish shadows and silent phantoms. And the Iraqis, yes those, Mr President, see them spiral into Dante's lower rings of hell, as they join the fastest-growing sect in the land: the dead - hundreds of thousands strong. Watch the White Man's Burden devolve into an orgy of torture and mayhem. (Has it ever devolved into anything else?)
Could the invasion have succeeded? Not a chance. All the grousing about incompetent planning is the age-old excuse-making prattle of losers. Leave aside the not-so-trifling fact that the United States never had the proper DNA for empire (lite or otherwise). It is the incontrovertible reality of the 21st century that the time for the White Man's Burden has passed. Not only is the era of empire gone, but the days of the so-called liberal hegemonic order are numbered. Even before 9/11, the cumulative impact of European integration, the rise of Asian powers, and the resurgence of Muslim identity sounded the death knell for American hegemony. To hasten the burial will be one of Bush's legacies. Alas, incalculable misery in the Middle East, enduring anti-American hatred, and future terrorist attacks in London, Paris, and Seattle will be another one.
To connect it to the war for terror would indeed be easier. A self-declared uniter, Bush is beginning to unite the country around the belief that he is the worst president in US history. Whether his reelection, ipso facto, makes the electorate the dumbest ever is a logical inference that a political culture drunk with self-admiration will have trouble getting its woozy head around.
To call Team Bush a thundering herd of galloping loons is to be unnecessarily kind. For rarely has daftness been elevated to such a lofty plane of power and influence. [...]
The unfolding catastrophe in Iraq had a single cause: the reassertion of US hegemony after 9/11. Its trigger was a rare astral alignment. Big Oil, the neocons, the Christian fundamentalists, the liberal hawks, AIPAC, the MSM, and 9/11 all formed cosmic dots in the sky that only one power could - and did - successfully align: the president of the United States. No American leader has so much owned a war.
And none has so little owned up to it. Victors are never war criminals. That's because they get to write the history books. Bush won't have that chance. The die has been cast and the hour is too late for him or anyone to alter the unforgiving judgment of posterity. Therein, paradoxically, lies our quandary. For, if freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose, then Bush is a free man - free to pursue the most malignant policies, heedless of the consequences to his unworsenable presidential standing. Beware the desperation of a cornered man.
That's pretty much what we're seeing. It's going to get even uglier.