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Monday, October 25, 2004

The Bold Vision of Losing 380 Tons of High Explosives in Iraq

The administration’s bold plans in Iraq have kept the Massive Weapons of Destruction (MWDs) out of the dangerous hands of the International Atomic Energy Commission by making sure it stays with terrorists, where it belongs. Thank God. And to think I was worried!

And of course, no one knew until a month ago. Right, Condi.

What a bunch of completely incompetent morons, dontchathink? And all this in the context of the most recent round of spin from the Republicans about “George W. Bush’s BOLD vision in the Middle East,” and, by the way, how we might not really see results until ten or fifteen years from now but then it will remake the entire Middle East into a Democracy, by gum! Hm.

Let’s talk about the word “bold.”

There are a myriad of words to describe political style, including bold, strong, weak, nearsighted, farsighted, smart, stupid, thorough, broad-ranging, inclusive, secretive, pragmatic, or my personal favorite, wise, which is not one you hear bandied about to describe George W. Bush much, is it?

But they’ve glommed onto “bold” and I hear it repeated from every Tom, Dick, and Rush in the country, and those who follow them.

Now, lots of people are “bold” in their visions and behavior. And there’s more than one definition. Webster’s defines bold as:

1. Forward to meet danger; venturesome; daring; not timorous or shrinking from risk; brave; courageous. Throngs of knights and barons bold. - Milton.

2. Exhibiting or requiring spirit and contempt of danger; planned with courage; daring; vigorous.

3. In a bad sense, too forward; taking undue liberties; over assuming or confident; lacking proper modesty or restraint; rude; impudent. Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice. - Shakespeare

4. Somewhat overstepping usual bounds, or conventional rules, as in art, literature, etc.; taking liberties in composition or expression; as, the figures of an author are bold. The cathedral church is a very bold work. - Addison.

5. Standing prominently out to view; markedly conspicuous; striking the eye; in high relief.
Shadows in painting . . . make the figure bolder. - Dryden.

6. Steep; abrupt; prominent. Where the bold cape its warning forehead rears. -Trumbull

The Bushies are obviously trying to define an image of courage, strength, and decisiveness. Of a maverick, a daring Johnwaynesque hero who knows what’s right and doesn’t care who he offends. But let’s remember that there are lots of people history could describe as “bold,” and “bold” behavior doesn’t mean for a moment that it was wise, thoughtful, moral, or even effective in the least.

Here’s a short list of some other “bold” people with “bold” visions:

Ken Lay

Adolf Hitler

Emperor Hirohito (of WWII Japan)

Osama bin Laden

General Custer

Baby Face Nelson

Randolph Hearst

Charles Manson

… and many more.

Bush’s “vision” in this case is of remaking the Middle East in his own image, a Halliburtonized small-d democracy full of contracts, legislated cronyism, directed democracy, and lots of oil money.

But apparently, it’s so bold that it didn’t even consider such trivial irritations as the old adage “when throwing tantrums and lying about Weapons of Mass Destruction, keep an eye on other massive stockpiles of destructive weapons.” It was clear from the get-go that there was no plan for securing even the most obvious and immense weapons depots, just the oil wells; that’s not what a “bold” leader does—a leader leads, cleaning up is for the house boys and other coloreds. And, as Rummy says, “In a democracy, people are free to do what they want.” In this case, loot some of the most dangerous high explosives around, which are often used not only for shells, demolitions, bombs, and conventional missiles, but also to detonate nuclear warheads. Nice one.

Remember, he’s a “doer.” He does, the world watches, and the little people clean up afterwards.

Personally, I want a President who’s wise, who’s pragmatic, who’s creative and constructive, who’s a problem-solver, not a problem-maker, who’s responsible, and who has the humility to realize that “bold” and “daring” is best left to people like Bonnie and Clyde, not the leaders of the free world.

Beside which, can someone explain to me exactly where the intersection of “conservative” and “bold” is? It’s escaped me somehow.


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