If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever
you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable
feast.” -- Ernest Hemingway
Although Hemingway- a venerable gourmand- was describing one of the culinary capitals of the world in A Moveable Feast,
Papa’s conjured banquet undoubtedly refers to his nostalgia for the most
innocent and idyllic time in his life, which had vanished forever.
Many criticizers of President Bush are currently caught up in similar yearnings.
Convinced that their view of the world is infinitely superior to his, they
are incapable of facing the facts and letting go of beliefs that have been
Hollywood offers us the prime example of this type of delusion. A deep
loathing for the President and a longing for the good old days of his predecessor
-- when military action was “hip” and not tainted by the goal of national
security -- catapulted Janeane Garofalo from comedienne to sanctimonious
activist. Unfortunately for Ms. Garofalo, the apex of her criticism
took place in The No-Spin Zone where Bill O'Reilly was quickly able to expose
her moral relativism. “Do you think that George W. Bush is more of
a danger to this world than Saddam?” he asked her. She answered (I’ll
assume, for her sake, without thinking), “I would say he is a danger in a
different way and I’ll tell you why.” O'Reilly wouldn’t let her spin,
however, and repeated the question once again. “Equal,” she reasonably
assured him. The rest of the interview was filled with the customary
dire predictions for an Iraq invasion that logically follow the premise that
George W. Bush is in fact a monster. O'Reilly respectfully allowed her
time to revel in this fabricated world (the one Michael Moore also inhabits) before issuing his now famous challenge:
If you are wrong, all right, and if the United States -- and they will, this
is going to happen -- goes in, liberates Iraq [with] people in the streets,
American flags, hugging our soldiers, all right, we find all kinds of bad,
bad stuff, all right, in Iraq, you gonna apologize to George W. Bush?
I would be so willing to say, “I’m sorry.” I hope to God that I can
be made a buffoon of, that people will say, “You were wrong, you were a fatalist.”
And I will go to the White House on my knees on cut glass and say, “Hey,
you and Thomas Friedman were right…I shouldn’t have doubted you. But
I think that is preposterous.”
Preposterous, indeed. So preposterous, in fact, that Ms. Garofalo has been
MIA (an attempt to add to the casualty list of this war, perhaps?) since
the liberation of Iraq.
Over at the New York Times, editorial writers aren’t able to disappear
from the spotlight as easily. This doesn’t mean they have reconsidered
their fanciful notions. On October 4, 2002 Nicholas D. Kristof wrote,
“Iraqis hate the United States government even more than they hate Saddam,
and they are even more distrustful of American’s intentions than Saddam’s…[I]f
President Bush thinks our invasion and occupation will go smoothly because
Iraqis will welcome us, then [he] is deluding himself.” Mr. Kristof
may indeed hate President Bush more than Saddam, but the Iraqi people showed
contrary feelings when they toppled Saddam’s statues and kissed photos of
How much space did Mr. Kristof give in his column to describing these joyous
celebrations of freedom? About a sentence. He wrote from Basra,
“When people saw me pull out my camera, they began cheering and whacking
Saddam's face. "Thank you, Mr. Bush," one called out in English, and it was
delicious to watch this celebration of newfound freedom.” The point
of this post-liberation article, however, was the same as that of his pre-liberation
articles: to show how evil the Bush administration is. Thus, Mr. Kristof
left no time for the reader to get a feel for the Iraqis’ celebration and
continued, “Yet the Iraqis near the bank had finished celebrating, and enveloped
my car to complain furiously about the lack of electricity and drinking water.
For a few minutes, I was afraid they were going to demonstrate their anger
by rocking my car and turning it over.” See what happens, Mr. Kristof
seems to say, when the Americans can't provide electricity and drinking water
to the Iraqi people in the time it takes me to write this article?
George W. Bush can do no right in Mr. Kristof’s mind, so any positive effect
arising from the President’s actions is simply viewed as an unimportant aberration.
There were always reasonable and intelligent arguments against waging war
in Iraq, and many questions still remain about the best way to set the country
on a path to democracy. Constructive criticism, however, can only come
when it is separated from a visceral hatred of President Bush. If they
are unable to do this, many of his detractors might feel more comfortable
seeking their moveable feast where Hemingway found his. In Paris.
Aaron is a teacher
in South Central Los Angeles. He has a degree in economics from UC San Diego.
His articles have appeared on CommonConservative.com, BushCountry.org, CaptoVeritas.com
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