Wednesday, March 02, 2005

What's wrong with this picture

As I suspected he would, Jon Stewart has shown more integrity then just about any of the "real" news anchors recently. His fake news has long been the most reliable program on the air, but now it is also the most honest. After the success of the Iraqi elections Stewart, one of President Bush's most vocal critics, asked "What if we were all painfully wrong about him?" Last night, covering the so called "Cedar Revolution" in Lebanon, he went farther, saying it looked as though President Bush was right after all, and that democracy was coming to the Middle East. With Stewart being the first, I will be the second to say that Bush's policies seem to be working. There have been elections in Iraq, Lebanon is taking to the streets and the Syrians are leaving, Israel and the Palestinians are cooperating, and Egypt is opening its elections to opposition parties. Even in Saudi Arabia there have been a few nods toward democracy with municipal elections.

What interests me is how this story is being covered. All the major anchors are nodding approvingly toward the democratic changes in Iraq and Lebanon, but so far as I can tell, Stewart is the only one who hs stood up and said "Bush did this." Last night he lamented that his kids were going to go to a school named after this guy.

Now, I'm still not in Bush's camp. I don't like being lied to, I don't think Iraq was a threat, I believe in international law, I believe in the constitution, and don't get me started on his domestic policies. But give the devil his due: it is working so far. Now, Lawrence showed us that an occupying army can't win in the Middle East, and that is still true, but if the people back democracy then it may well succeed. So far so good for GW.

Which brings us to Machiavelli. In order to get us to war in Iraq (which I still believe was done primarily so his cronies at Halliburton could make more money), Bush lied to us, broke international law, violated the UN treaty and the Nuremburg principals, and in the course of the war imprisoned hundreds of people without due process, and tortured several of them. It all adds up to crimes against humanity, crimes against peace, and quite possibly war crimes as well. So why hasn't Machiavelli entered this debate? I'd like to see one talking head pose the question in simple Machiavellian terms: did the end, in this case, justify the means?

A lot of Americans would say absolutely yes.


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