Respectfully My Ass!

“Evidently some in the world don’t view Saddam as a risk to peace,” Dubya said yesterday. “I respectfully disagree” (emphasis mine).

But the sneer on his face was anything but respectful — not that I should be surprised about this, coming from a man who’s pretty damn cocky for someone who made it to office by the skin of his teeth. Am I alone to find ironic that he should choose to ignore a sea of protesters when his own presidency was assured by only a few thousand votes?

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We have a peculiar political situation currently in Canada whereby the opposition is so divided that the Liberal Party is almost assured to form at least one more majority government after this one. Meanwhile, it looks as though the opposition in the U.S. is in similar disarray, yet 2004 — so close! — will be an electoral year. Four more years of Dubya seem assured unless (a) the electorate sees how he’s royally fucking up the entire planet and (b) the Dems step up to the plate with a presidential ticket that’ll inspire confidence and ignite imaginations.

I haven’t dared to say this to too many people. But by the day after 9/11, two thoughts crossed my mind. First, I realized that the fragile economy had been delt a devastating blow. Second — a thought I considered and still consider horrible — I realized that this unimaginable horror would rescue Dubya’s presidency. I felt ashamed to have had a thought as crass as the second one — I still do — because it sullies the memory of those thousands of innocent victims.

By Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, the offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan was launched. I hated it, but after what had happened just a month before, I knew it was inevitable. I assumed there had to be some kind of response to this heinous act. But then, a few months later, out of Dubya’s mouth came the term “Axis of Evil,” defined as Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, with Iraq being singled out in the following months. Osama bin What? Notice how few in his administration even utter the name these days. It’s all Saddam. Bin Laden has been given a generic, catch-all name: “Terrorism.”

So that brings us to the present and the “respectful” disagreement. Don’t bother protesting ’cause you’re just too naive not to recognize that Saddam Hussein is “a risk to peace.” (Now who’s picking a fight and risking peace with talk of a “pre-emptive strike,” may I ask?)

Please don’t get me wrong. Because I’m against a war doesn’t mean I support Saddam Hussein. I hate having words put into my mouth! But with the world on the brink of a war declared by an almost U.S. president who won’t listen to anyone else, little wonder so many of us are in a funk.