Monday, July 17, 2006

aflame and adrift

If Bush and his top officials arrived on the Iraqi scene believing that the force was with them and only them, the last three-plus years have offered (if not taught) a rather different lesson. After all, they now find themselves in a roiling crowd of medium-sized and smaller states, stateless movements, and extremist grouplets, all passionately devoted to the same principle of force as them. The fundamentalist belief in force, once let loose in this fashion -- once (you might say) modeled by the globe's reigning hyperpower -- turns out to be a distinctly pagan faith. From the streets of Gaza to the slums of Baghdad, from the mountains of Afghanistan to Beirut International Airport and the halls of the Pentagon, this is a religion open to one and all, ready to embrace many contradictory gods into its pantheon.

And here's the irony. The hyperpower that loosed this singular round of force on our world seems strangely sidelined, while others move boldly to apply its most essential principles profligately, every one of them emboldened both by our example and by our dismal failure. Talk about Pandora's Box (without Hope anywhere in sight)!
from tom engelhardt's latest sobering account of where this president and his minions have taken us right now ("The Force Is Not with Them: The Middle East Aflame and the Bush Administration Adrift"). Read entire.

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