Monday, November 01, 2004

 

Decisive? Sure - decisively wrong

A recent poll shows a majority of Americans - even those who disagree with his policies and fear he has taken the US down the wrong course - say they think George W. Bush is "more decisive" than John Kerry.

What the fuck does that even mean?

That Bush is more likely than Kerry to pull the trigger rather than sit around deliberating? Okay, I'll grant the president that. He's a cowboy not a professor. Yee-hah, and all that.

But consider this: how many of Bush's decisions were correct? As Kerry has said, you can be positive - but wrong. Bush was wrong to lose interest in Afghanistan in order to focus on Iraq. Wrong that Iraq was a threat (and that's if you credit him with being wrong - sincerely thinking that Iraq was a graver threat but being sincerely mistaken - instead of knowing better but not caring). Wrong that Saddam Hussein had nukes (again, he may actually have known but not cared). Wrong that Saddam was behind 9-11. Wrong that we would be welcomed as liberators. Wrong that we could invade, conquer and occupy on the cheap. Wrong that we could do it without allies. Wrong that Iraqi oil would pay for Iraqi reconstruction. Wrong that the occupation would be short and easy. Wrong that the mission was accomplished.

Wrong about the tax cuts. Wrong about the deficits. Wrong about the job losses. Wrong about terrorism pre-9/11. Wrong about North Korea.

What decision has George W. Bush taken - other than the initial one to invade Afghanistan - which had supported those who attacked us - in order to take out the Taliban - has been right?

Is decisiveness really such a virtue when nearly all your decisions are wrong? I mean, anyone can make snap decisions. Anyone can pretend to be the tough, gutsy, brilliant CEO barking orders at armies of furiously busy underlings running to and fro. Anyone can imagine themselves as General Patton (well, as George C. Scott playing General Patton) - imperious, dauntless, passionate, beset by enemies on all sides (including some of his nominal friends), refusing to shrink from his duty, giving the necessary orders no one else has the guts to.

But that's not what a president does! A president is not a frontline combat commander. He's not even a TV or movie CEO. Yes, he has to make tough calls and sometimes he has to make quick decisions. But even those are not made "decisively," as the American public appears to understand that term. Except in the most exigent of circumstances, a president usually has at least some time to think about his decisions - and thank God for that, I say.

There's a place in battle for the man with initiative and guts - although George W. Bush shrunk from any danger of actually ever serving in a real battle - a place for the person who sees what needs to be done and does it without wasting time reflecting on whether or not he's doing the right thing.

But that's when there's no time to think. A president almost always has time to think. George W. Bush had plenty of time to think. He didn't make his mistakes because he had to take decisive action with no time to consider. He made his decisions deliberately, after lots of discussion and debate - and he was still wrong.

In fact, the idea that George W. Bush is "more decisive" than John Kerry is a myth. Bush is not "decisive" at all - he's simply wrong. All wrong, all the time.

And if the press would actually think about what it was writing instead of just repeating the same damn stupid crap, they would probably realize this. But then, they wouldn't be the press we've come to know and hate the past few years.

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