Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Power of Words

George Bush: Today, President Bush stated emphatically that American troops would not withdraw from Iraq "before the mission is complete." But, the ideal of completing the mission grows more disconnected every day with the reality in Iraq. In fact, Bush's jargon is now so disconnected from the real world that one has to wonder if he actually is thinking the opposite. That was the case with firing Donald Rumsfeld. In October, Bush was already searching for Rumsfeld's replacement when he was offering assurances that the former Defense Secretary would be retained until the end of his term.

A Civil War Too Late: Like President Bush's insistent on finishing the mission, NBC's announcement that the Iraq conflict is a civil war indicates a disconnect. Iraq has been in a state of civil war since Saddam leftovers and Sunni insurgents began assassinating secular figures in 2003. Indeed, civil war may be an overly mild term for the situation that's developed in Baghdad since the March bombingof the Shiite shrine in Samarra. Given the four or five corner conflict between U. S. troops, the Iraqi military and police, the various Shiite militias, the many Sunni insurgent groups, and criminal gangs, it might be better to characterize Baghdad as a Hobbesian war of all against all.

Michael Richards: It's been almost a week but I'm still stunned by the Michael Richards racial tirade. The more I heard the tape and looked at the transcript last night (while blogging), the more upset I got. It's still bothering me tonight. Richards was not just being a racist. He wasn't just using the n-word. He gave a stunning evocation of lynching as a preferred model for race relations. I wonder if that's what all the discrimination against blacks, all the racist stereotypes, all the racial profiling, and all the sneers about affirmative action and "political correctness" ultimately point back to--the lynching regime that served as the violent backbone of racial segregation in the South. Perhaps, all the racial "progress" of the last forty years is a very thin layer of humanity over a bedrock of segregation and lynching.

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