Thursday, August 23, 2007

George Bush Meets Graham Greene

Greg Mitchell of E&P has some interesting comments on Bush's addled 'Vietnam' speech.

Now that’s going too far. George W. Bush cited my favorite 20th century novel and its author – Graham Greene’s prescient "The Quiet American" (also a fine movie starring Michael Caine) – in his speech on Wednesday that drew several dubious links between the catastrophic Vietnam and Iraq conflicts. Perhaps because it’s unlikely he’s ever read the book it was difficult to figure out exactly what the president meant.

“But Greene wrote his book about the way American bumbled into Vietnam, not how it left it. By reminding people of Greene's book, Bush was inviting listeners to recall the mistakes his administration made in entering and prosecuting the Iraq War. Did he really want to do that?”

Fowler, the typical newspaperman, has no use for “isms" and "ocracies,” and just wants the “facts.” He tells Pyle “you and your like are trying to make a war with the help of people who just aren’t interested.” What do they want? “They want enough rice. They don’t want to be shot at. They want one day to be much the same as another. They don’t want our white skins around telling them what they want.”

Pyle ultimately assists an urban bombing to be blamed on Viet Minh insurgents, and many civilians die. Greene observes that "a woman sat on the ground with what was left of her baby in her lap; with a kind of modesty she had covered it with her straw peasant hat." Fowler asks Pyle how many such deaths he would accept in “building a national democratic front.” Pyle responds: “Anyway, they died in the right cause. … They died for democracy."

Or as Greene himself wrote of a character in "The Heart of the Matter," another novel: "He entered the territory of lies without a passport for return."

An interesting read.

I think the Chimp may have shot himself in the foot big time with that speech. I hope so, but it doesn't really matter. This bullshit will go on as long as he's in office.

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