Subject: Presidential Outrage
This is something that was shown on BBC while I was in the UK. The news story was about the protest against the war, with comments by a woman whose son was killed in Iraq, followed by a brief clip of Bush's response. I didn't post on it the instant I came home because I was too tired and brain-scrambled to say all I wanted to say. At this point maybe I can. What was an outrage--obscene, in fact--was not so much what Bush said but the fact that he laughed when talking about her protest. It was a contemptuous, demeaning snigger directed at the mother of a man who died for his country. Whatever you think of Bush or the war in Iraq, the fact is that no commander with a milligram of morality will be contemptuous of the deaths of soldiers under his/her command. No good commander will laugh, giggle, snigger, or otherwise indicate that such deaths are (heh, heh, heh, as Bush chuckles indulgently) not that big a deal...and especially not to the mothers of the soldiers who died. It was beyond disgusting. I sat there in my hotel room, mouth open, immobilized with a combination of horror and rage. How COULD he? Well, he could because he just doesn't get it, as he just doesn't get a lot of other things. Yes, soldiers die in wars, and yes, all our US Presidents who have sent soldiers to war have had complaints from the mothers of the dead. *Other* presidents have summoned the gravitas, the sober and serious mien, the courtesy due the mothers of the dead (and the dead themselves) which indicates--even more than their words--that they take seriously their responsibility for sending soldiers into danger. Instead, Bush chose to chuckle. To disrespect the dead, and their families, by making light of their sacrifice. That hideous heh-heh-heh-heh thing he does, that labels ridiculous anyone's disagreement, that infantilizes opposition. Some Commander-in-Chief. Not. E.