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Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Faster President! Kill Kill Kill!

Only hours after listening to President Bush's State of the Union Address last night did I realize what bothered me the most about the man.

Consider this passage:

All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. And many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.

OK, fine, we're fighting al-Qaeda. I obviously have no problem with that.

While Bush discussed his domestic agenda, he seemed barely interested at times. (To be fair, everyone was waiting to hear about Iraq and the war on terrorism.) But when he delivered the above-quoted line, he sounded like a gangster gloating about putting a hit on an informant.

Now I'm not so naive as to think that sometimes governments kill people. Sometimes they arguably have to. I'm not saying they don't. War is not pretty, nor do I operate under an illusion that it can be. I'm certainly not asking for sympathy for dead terrorists. (Although extrajudicial killing of foreign nationals itself isn't going to win you many friends, particularly if you go around bragging about it.)

But would at least a little regard for the gravity of the power of life and death over people be too much to ask?

For someone who routinely uses "sanctity of life" rhetoic to talk about restricting and outlawing abortion, and about outlawing any form of human cloning, this president seems to have a profoundly cavalier attitude about killing people. No governor in modern American history has presided over more executions than Bush did in Texas, and he almost seemed to take delight in state-sponsored killing. (I've written before about his mocking of Karla Faye Tucker in an interview before allowing her execution to proceed)

He seems at his most enthusiastic not when paying lip service to "compassionate conservatism," whatever that might be, but when proclaiming that he will rain death on someone, whether it be a death row inmate or Osama bin Laden. For someone who compulsively invokes Christ and the Christian Deity and never lets you forget for a second what a man of God he professes to be, he seems awfully eager to dispense wrath of a sort most forms of Christianity look down on.

Now there's a lot of that kind of mentality in this country, so it might be only natural to have leaders who reflect it. Maybe I'm naive or idealistic, but I'd prefer leaders that aspired to something higher. I'm kind of embarassed that we seem to have a leader instead who reflects our baser instincts.

I for one find this a lot more disturbing than an inability to keep one's genitalia in one's pants.

Oh, yeah, and one more thing:

PS: Thank you to any potential terrorists out there who chose not to attack the Capitol during last night's State of the Union Address. Apparently, Attorney General John Ashcroft was the designated Cabinet member who stayed away from Washington last night in case anything catastrophic happened. The idea of being governed by a "shadow" government led by President Ashcroft is just too horrifying to contemplate.


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