Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, September 05, 2013

The Bushies Are Back

Advertising genius Jerry Della Femina once wrote a gag slogan for a Japanese electronics client, “From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor.”

Now in grim deliberations over Syria, the folks who gave us Iraq are back. Whatever venom the poison gas issue has sprayed over American politics, it has revivified some of George W. Bush’s cocky crusaders from that era.

Don Rumsfeld, who was finally booted in 2006 for botching that war, now blusters: "Why would you go in and fire a shot across the bow? All it does is make a splash, and...what you've probably achieved is the embarrassment of the United States for being feckless and ineffective."

Almost three months ago, Dick Cheney was calling Obama “a day late and a dollar short” for not doing more to overthrow Assad. Will whatever the President does now satisfy the former VP who can’t recall any of his own mistakes?

Elliott Abrams, who graduated from promoting Reagan’s Iran-Contra disaster to become W’s Neo-Con “keeper of the flame” on Middle East democracy, scurries out to proclaim that Obama’s “erratic conduct leaves U.S. foreign policy in a shambles.”

Self-righteous hindsight is inevitable but making it work requires monumental ego as well as perversion of all memory.

The process always recalls a fabled Hollywood producer of the last century, Sam Goldwyn. A screenwriter he had hired to do a script based on a popular novel came back after months of trying and told him it couldn't be done. Goldwyn hired another writer and made the movie, a disaster.

Years later, discussing a new project, someone suggested the first writer. "Oh, no," Goldwyn said vehemently. "He was involved in one of my worst failures."

Cheney, Rumsfeld and Abrams, meet Sam Goldwyn and Jerry Della Femina.

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