SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
Word in Washington is that an overwhelming majority of Congressional Republicans are now prepared to turn on the White House over its criminal mismanagement of the Iraq War. They’ve put up warning signs repeatedly, and now they’re offering Bush one last chance to appear to be a leader and not a deranged hermit wandering the desert. But Bush, the bubble boy who has little intercourse with his subjects (for that’s how he sees a mass who once were citizens) and rarely hears the advice even of his few competent retainers, thinks he still hears the voice of God. And to our nation’s great despair, it’s actually the voice of Dick Cheney. Bush is like the Spanish tyrant Philip II, the man who conceived such a passionate hatred of freedom that he hurled the Armada at England and sent the Duke of Alba and the Inquisition to stamp out the sparks of liberty in the Low Countries. Philip, as the great philosopher-poet Schiller writes (see Quote for the Day), could not cope with the realities of the world nor with the aspirations of its people; he kept his eyes fixed on a God above—though most assuredly it was a false God, one of his own making, designed for the singular purpose of giving him stability and fortitude—the power to persevere in a cause which was entirely pigheaded and wrong.
So now the latest signs. Richard Scaife, the Mellon heir, and the nation’s number one funder of rightwing causes, has a mouthpiece down in Pittsburgh, the Tribune-Review, and here’s a snippet of its Sunday lead editorial:
Perhaps Jack Murtha put it best: The Pennsylvania congressman, among the first to make the cogent argument that staying the course in Iraq was the exercise in futility that indeed the war has become, says President Bush is delusional. Based on the president’s recent performance, we could not agree more. “Staying the course” is not simply futile — it is a prescription for American suicide…
And quite frankly, during last Thursday’s news conference, when George Bush started blathering about “sometimes the decisions you make and the consequences don’t enable you to be loved,” we had to question his mental stability. If the president won’t do the right thing and end this war, the people must. The House has voted to withdraw combat troops from Iraq by April. The Senate must follow suit.
Our brave troops should take great pride that they rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein. And they should have no shame in leaving Iraq. For it will not be, in any way, an exercise in tail-tucking and running. America has done its job. It’s time for the Iraqis to do theirs
Meanwhile, Ohio Republican Senator George Voinovich, tells CNN that he “warned” Karl Rove, Bush’s brain, last week that, “The president is a young man and should think about his legacy. He should know history will not be kind unless he can come up with a plan that protects the troops and stabilizes the region.” A large number of Republicans, Voinovich reported, are prepared to break with Bush over the conduct of Iraq War, and to do so now. CNN reports that in private discussions, Voinovich is not so diplomatic, using expletives to describe the Bush Administration’s management of the war effort.
The tide in the country turned nearly two years ago. And now the tide even within the GOP is turning, decisively. If the Republican Party wants to salvage itself, it needs to break with the delusional navigator who has steered the ship of state onto the shoals of a war of choice; it needs to embrace the message of its founders, and find its way back to a position of genuine leadership. Both Scaife and Voinovich have recognized this obvious truth.
This is an important moment in America’s political history. For America’s interests will not be served by the collapse and destruction of the Republican Party. They will be served by a Republican Party once more worthy of the great legacy that spans Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Eisenhower.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”