Saturday, November 18, 2006

What Oft Was Thought but Ne'er So Well Expressed...

There's a lively debate among historians over the question of whether the record of the forty-third the worst in American history or merely the worst of the sixteen who managed to make it into (if not out of) a second term. That the record is appalling is now beyond serious dispute. It includes an unending deficit—this year, it's $260 billion—that has already added $1.5 trillion to the national debt; the subcontracting of environmental, energy, labor, and health-care policymaking to corporate interests;repeated efforts to supress scientific truth; a set of economic and fiscal policies that have slowed growth, spurred inequality, replenished the ranks of the poor and uninsured, and exacerbated the insecurities of the middle class; and, on Capitol Hill, a festival of bribery, some prosecutable (such as the felonies that have put one prominent Republican member of Congress in prison, while another waits sentencing), some not (such as the reported two-million-dollar salary conferred upon a Republican congressman who became the pharmaceutical industry's top lobbyist immediately after shepherding into law a bill forbidding the government to negotiate prices for prescription drugs.

In 2003 and 2004, the ruling party avoided retribution for offenses like these by exploiting fear of terrorism. What is different this time is that the overwhelming failure of the administrations Iraq policy is now apparent to all. This war of choice has pointlessly drained American military strength, undermined what had originally appeared to be success in Afghanistan, handed the Iranian mullahs a strategic victory, immunized the North Korean regime from a forceful response to its nuclear defiance, and compromised American leadership of the democratic world.

Hendrik Hertzberg, in the November 6 New Yorker

No comments: