The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

History, presidents and war

Salon has an interesting pair of opinion pieces on the goings-on in Crawford and what it all means.

First is the one linked to above:

Bush backers are clearly spooked by Sheehan, and they're shifting their stories as fast as they can get away with it. Early last week, you'll remember, she was a naive flip-flopper who supposedly changed her mind about the war and President Bush, because she'd had some mild words of praise for the president after they met last June. That line of attack didn't work, so this week she's a hardened left-wing agitator, plotting alongside the likes of Michael Moore, Medea Benjamin and Viggo Mortensen to help America's enemies.

Then, there's this column that looks at the inevitable comparisons with Vietnam:

Both Texans will be tarred by history for having waged disastrous, unwinnable wars. Both holed up at their Texas ranches whenever they wanted out of Washington. Both were surrounded by a coterie of hawks who believed that America's techno-military machine could prevail over any enemy. Johnson had Robert McNamara as defense secretary. Bush has McNamara's body double: Donald Rumsfeld, a man whose demeanor, defiance and even eyeglasses are the spitting images of his Pentagon predecessor from 37 years ago.

There are other similarities between Bush and Johnson: their personal charm, their predilection for cowboy hats, their ability to dial up their "Texan-ness" whenever the moment required. . . .

But these similarities are as nothing when comparing the two men on a more intangible quality: the ability to feel the pain of others.