Monday, July 23, 2007

Bush and bin Laden in Hiding

The melodrama is in its final act, and we still don’t know if it ends with a whimper or a bang. Dubya is in a bunker, beleaguered by the demons he set loose here and abroad. Osama is in hiding too, and for all we know, may be dead.

On Meet the Press, the director of national intelligence, Admiral Mike McConnell points out “it’s been a year” since there was a confirmed sighting of bin Laden: “There are rumors about his illness...I believe he is in the tribal region of Pakistan, and...only speaking to a courier, staying completely removed from anything we could exploit to find him.”

Bush is more visible, literally, but he too is in hiding--from Congressional investigators closing in on his Administration’s criminality and the growing pressure to change course in Iraq.

The Bush bang, impeachment, is unlikely even though there is growing talk of it. Osama’s crisis is clearly coming as an American consensus builds for going into Pakistan to get him.

But even as Bush and bin Laden decline, the damage they have done is all over the political landscape. The next election and the next phase of terrorism won’t change the heightened fear and distrust they created.

We can’t board a plane, go to a stadium or walk a crowded street feeling as safe as we did because of bin Laden. But, instead of giving us back some of our pre-9/11 sense of security, Bush took away more of it--we can’t assume that whoever we elect won’t break the law, spy on us or send young people to die half a world away without our consent.

The next President will not only have to end the war in Iraq but find ways to rebuild the political system that worked for more than two centuries and use it to counter terrorism rather than just speechify about it to win elections.

With any luck, when they look back at Bush and bin Laden, future generations will wonder how bad actors could have held the stage so long.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anyone who compares Bush and Binladen this closely is a pure scumbag.