Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Is Bush the World's Worst Leader?

When confronted by a militant leftist many years ago who was ticking off all the sins and failures of capitalist democracy, Winston Churchill finally indicated that he agreed with the man. "Democracy is the worst form of government", nodded the Old Lion. He marked a pause, before adding, "…with the exception of all the rest."

That is what I think about when I am confronted by angry people, American or foreign, who proceed to tell me what a "disaster" George W Bush has been and who can tick off his every sin and bewail the sorry record of his administration. (Not to mention every sin linked to America and capitalist society.) Bush, I agree with them, is the worst leader in the world, and the worst politician, and the worst liar, and the man with the worst record… with the exception of… all the rest. (And the same can be said of capitalism compared to the rest of the world's economic systems…)

Foremost among the liars worse than Bush is Saddam Hussein, of course. The tyrant was a known fibber, doubling as a psychopath and — last but not least — a man repeatedly seeking war-making capabilities, and if Dubya mentioned WMD as a reason to oust the dictator, it's not because he (Dubya) was lying, but because Saddam had built the reputation he had.

Take the members of the "peace camp". Their foremost lie lay in their eagerness to castigate Bush and his administration, in the process conveniently forgetting that Saddam was the liar with the reputation just mentioned and that their secret services, as much as the CIA and MI6, had concluded that Saddam was hiding WMD.

In addition, they gave credence to the pretense that with just a bit of goodwill, the United Nations could, and would, solve the entire problem and entice the murderer of hundreds of thousands of his countrymen, if not to share power, at least to tone down on his killing… This being the same organization that threw a democracy out of its seat in the UN human rights committee (it happened to be Uncle Sam, but it could just as well have been any other Western-type democracy) while elevating countries like Libya or Syria to its chairmanship. It was also the organization that, when subsequently faced with genocide in Sudan, proceeded to do little else but issue communiqués deploring the situation and calling upon the murderers to ease up on their killing.

Take the United Nations as a whole, which, in unison with the "peace camp" members, pretended to be objective, detached, and holier than thou, when its members, in fact, were involved in the largest scam in human history. This, of course, brings us back to the Peace Camp, which pretended that their only, or their foremost, concern was a just and lasting peace, in contrast to Bush's "war for oil" when, in fact, it would have been more appropriate to have the pre-conflict situation termed as their "tyranny for oil" gambit.

Then there are the pacifists, both private citizens and government bigwigs, who marched through the streets and/or made rousing speeches, pretending that the largest threat to the world today was Uncle Sam.

Then there are the media outlets, both within the United States and abroad, which echoed those sentiments, while making much out of the fact that Iraq now is supposedly in chaos and insecurity — as if having the thuggish members of Saddam's secret police enter into your home with impunity, take away your parents, spouse, and/or children, and torture and murder them, can in any way be likened to an environment of public safety and to the absence of chaos.

To be totally honest, I liken the accusations concerning Bush and Blair's claims about Saddam's WMD to accusing Churchill, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, or Montgomery of lying to the Rangers when they ordered them to storm the cliffs of the Pointe du Hoc on June 6, 1944, to neutralize some long-range cannons (weapons of mass destruction, one could call them); after sustaining heavy losses, the Rangers found that the cannons were nowhere to be found, the Germans having removed them from the Normandy coast not long before.

History has a long flow of evidence showing that when Uncle Sam is being attacked, castigated, or mocked, it is usually the people, institutions, and countries doing the berating who are the worse sinners. And who have something to hide, as much from the rest of the world as from themselves.

To quote Sir Winston again, "a fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."

Lire la version française

Read the three-and-a-half-years-later (!) update