Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Disappointments, Bush has had a few

One of the nice things about living in Greensboro is that you seldom face any serious traffic. But back when I lived in Northern Virginia, hoo boy, were there ever some colossal jams. Living there, it's one just of the things you become accustomed to and try not to get too upset about.

Occasionally, though, when the jam was unexpected or the car had been idle and boxed in for a while, the frustration would boil over, and an angry and misanthropic thought would pop into my head--"This had better be worth it!" As if a particularly grisly accident or mangled car would provide some cosmic compensation for the time spent idling.

Angry thoughts often lead to others. Sometimes this took the form of being disappointed if the traffic cleared with no visible initial cause for the jam.

Those kind of thoughts, of course, are completely misguided. There is certainly nothing admirable or really even defensible about them. Once the frustration passes, they are actually kind of shameful. It's horrible to wish misfortune on some other random motorist and not to take some solace from no one being hurt. The thoughts also conveniently overlook my and others' contributions of herding behavior, unwillingness to pay road taxes, poor driving, etc.

It turns out, though, that I'm not the only misanthrope walking the planet. The same kinds of sentiments colored President Bush's last press conference yesterday.

When asked for the umpteenth time by a reporter whether he had "made any mistakes," the President started with some defensive and grudging admissions of errors with the "Mission Accomplished" banner, his rhetoric, the Katrina response, and Social Security reform.

However, he then paused and began listing "disappointments."
There have been disappointments. Abu Ghraib obviously was a huge disappointment during the presidency. Not having weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment. I don't know if you want to call those mistakes or not, but they were -- things didn't go according to plan, let's put it that way.
So let's get this straight. Saddam Hussein not having weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment. Disappointed with the underlying intelligence, okay. Disappointed with his own decisions, sure. But disappointed with the absence of WMDs? Wow.

If we take the President at his word--and the word he emphasized was "disappointment"--he would have been comforted, relieved, or possibly even happy for Hussein to have actually had WMDs. Never mind the danger to our troops, the Iraqi population, the region, and the world if this had been the case.

Like the ignorant bravado the President showed when he said of the Iraqi insurgents, "bring 'em on," his latest comments reveal that he is unconcerned about others' well-being, at least for a while, so long as his ego is massaged.

To the extent that the quieter life of Crawford or wherever the President retires to affords him time to reflect, maybe he will see how misguided and misanthropic his policies and outlook have been. However, if he runs into traffic down there, I've got a fair idea of where his thoughts will go.