Friday, May 15, 2009

Condoleeza Rice uses the Screwup Defense

From the Calgary Herald:

Rice Stands by Bush Policies During Calgary Appearance
by Robert Remington

CALGARY - There are days when former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice perhaps wishes she would have become the concert pianist that she dreamed of as a child.

One such day was last week, when a Grade 4 student at a Jewish primary school in Washington asked her about waterboarding at Guantanamo.

Another was Wednesday, when she was dogged by protesters in Calgary and a former aide testified at a U.S. congressional hearing that Bush administration officials engaged in a"collective failure" on the detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists.

But Rice, dubbed "the Warrior Princess" for her role in the Bush administration, told a Calgary audience Wednesday night that she is not bothered by such short-term views.

"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same," she said, without referring directly to the accusations of torture against the Bush-era administration swirling in Washington.

Here's what always gets me about this line trotted out by defenders of the Bush Administration -- the whole "history will show that we were right!" routine.

It's the exact same defense used by any arrogant screwup in any situation. From really bad 80's singers to the people that developed and marketed the N-Gage (OK, I know some gamers that know what I'm talking about have to be out there reading this), people who've really, really screwed up always throw out the line about how we all saw them as wrong, but one day they'll be vindicated.

And it's true, every now and then, people are vindicated. Galileo and Darwin come to mind. They were ridiculed and demonized in their day, but today they're near universally revered (even by the Texas School Board).

But here's the thing. For every one hundred people who use this excuse, 99 of them actually are bonafide screwups. And George, Dick, Colin, Condi, and Rumsfeld are about as screwed up as you can get.

Just think about it: what great achievements have we had in the past eight years? Honestly, for the last eight years, it felt like I got punched in the face every time I picked up the newspaper. There was always some kind of corporate welfare scheme Bush had cooked up, or some new torture or bombing atrocity Dick Cheney was responsible for, or I'd find that some kind of incompetent lackey had been responsible for our nation's emergency preparedness.

The last eight years were awful. I suppose it's possible that the tragic events of the Bush Administration could somehow miraculously have turned out to save the world thirty years from now -- like, maybe an alien race was going to invade the earth and enslave us all but then they realized that the leader of the most powerful country in the world couldn't accurately pronounce "nuclear" and decided we just weren't worth it -- but otherwise it just sounds like to me that these folks are using the Screwup Defense. That just doesn't fly with me.

But then again, why am I reading any headline about Condoleeza Rice except "Rice Gets Sixty Life Sentences for Role In War Crimes; Will Have to Give Up Oil Tanker Named After Her", anyway?