Friday, March 03, 2006


Security and the Imperial President

One aspect of Bush's imperial presidency which has not received enough attention in even the liberal side of the media is Bush's obsession with security.

While current presidents do have impressive security, there is generally a dialog between the security people and the political people in which the former, whose job it is to protect the pres., try to keep him in a security bubble and the latter, whose job it is to keep the president popular, try to get him out of that bubble every so often. And the president himself may wish to go jogging, have a Big-Mac or do things like any other normal human.

From Phila. on 4 July 2001 to India now where U.S. security officials are keeping Indians away from their own homes (!) to keep the President safe, this President, for all of his "tough guy" and "bring it on" rhetoric, has deferred consistently to his security people, not even really wanted to escape his bubble and generally proven himself to be a coward. The problem is, from 4 July 2001 if not before, our enemies have realized this about our leadership and presume (maybe correctly given the strength of the chickenhawk brigade) that we are all cowards in this country.

Perhaps the chickenhawk brigade is not keeping us safe but rather doing the opposite. When the President is so obsessed with security he makes sure Indians cannot even go to their homes, he is sending a clear message that terrorism will work against us as we are easily terrified -- so terrified we'll do Al Qaeda's bidding in Iraq just to convince ourselves we still are strong.

I wish there would be more coverage about how the personal cowardice of key leaders affects our country's risk for terrorist attack. If Gore were president would he and his political people have let security concerns keep people from hearing his 4 July speech in Phila? No ... and that would have sent Al Qaeda a very different message than GW Bush did on that day.

For all his rhetoric, GW Bush is not a tough guy. Who can blame him personally? I cannot ... but when our country needs a tough leader, we should not be electing WATB chickenhawks but rather actual tough guys. Yet the electorate is so farblonget, farchadat and stuck in middle school they mistake a chicken-bully for a tough guy and a real tough guy in the mould of TR (high pitched voice, NYC accent) would never get elected today.

Security voters need to wake up to what security entails. Part of it is to have a leader who doesn't just say "bring it on" but who is willing to take it when it is brought on.

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