12 January 2007

Why did they do this to themselves?

The United States is a nation of 300 million people, gifted with an abundance of citizens highly accomplished in every field of endeavour: business, science, the arts, academia, the professions, anything you might name. And yet they elected George W. Bush as their president -- twice. Why would a nation of generally sensible citizens choose as their leader a man who, despite being born with all the advantages, never rose above dreary mediocrity?

Their folly has lead them into one of the greatest mistakes in their history. As they plunge ever deeper into the morass of Iraq, even members of the president's own party begin to despair. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a veteran of Vietnam, responded to President Bush's call for more war with the observation, "I think this speech given last night by this President represents the most dangerous foreign-policy blunder since Vietnam, if it is carried out. I will resist it." In today's Globe and Mail, Roger Morris, former adviser to two presidents, suggests that compared to Vietnam, "not just in the far wider geopolitical ruin, but in sheer blind repetition of behaviour expecting a different result, [Iraq] is worse."

So the American people are well stuck in it now. But should it surprise them? That if you elect an incompetent, you get incompetence? And if you elect him again, you get disastrous incompetence? What on earth were they thinking when they elevated this poor, stumbling fool to the highest office in the land? Twice?

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