Thursday, November 16, 2006


Misplaced criticism

I have a small bone to pick with Richard Cohen's op-ed piece for Tuesday's Washington Post, titled Fantastic Job, Mr President. The title is ironic, describing King George the way he has described officials such as Donald Rumsfeld and Michael Brown, who then soon left their positions. It's not that, nor the basic point of the item with which I take exception.

It's this:

Washington's easy acceptance of lying, especially presidential lying, is beyond lamentable. It has cost the country plenty, including, of late, a war in a godforsaken place, which we are losing and are fighting for reasons that we no longer remember or that even matter. (Democracy? Weapons of mass destruction? A link to terrorism? Aw, forget it.)
To call Iraq "a godforsaken place" is disrespectful of the Iraqis who love their country. It ignores the region's history as Mesopotamia, a birthplace of modern civilization, the ancient home of Babylon and Nineveh.

More importantly, it ignores the fact that if it be "godforsaken", the fault lies with our lying president. The war is not in a godforsaken place; it has made it a godforsaken place. We, acting under the orders of the Commander in Chief, are responsible for bombing its cities, destroying its infrastructure, its economy, its social structure, and the day-to-day safety of its people.

Mr Cohen certainly gets the rest of it right: our legislators must hold the president accountable for his lies, and for their cost. Let's just make sure we include in that cost the destruction of a country.


Selkie said...

An interesting criticism from a man who believes there is no God. (Doesn't that make everything "godforsaken?)

Barry Leiba said...


Assuming it's not a rhetorical question:
Regardless of my belief that there is no God, the word "godforsaken" has a meaning. A "godforsaken place" is a desolate place, where no one wants to be.

[Besides, it'd actually be the other way 'round, wouldn't it? If there's no God, then there's no God to forsake any place, so no place is forsaken by God. Rather, I and those who (dis-)believe with me have forsaken God.]