Friday, January 21, 2005

Radio Wrong

The world is collapsing around our ears, I turned up the radio, but I can't hear it

Yeah, we'll give away the headline right now, by pinching the lyrics from the REM song. We were reminded of this by George Bush's supporters' incessant bleating that he invented the idea of bringing freedom to the world. This, despite the fact that most of their hagiography of Ronald Reagan rests on his performing exactly the same trick fifteen years ago.

Let's be blunt here. George Bush invented a way of bringing freedom to the world that involved bombing potential beneficiaries, invading their country, and making it extremely difficult for them to get to a polling station without getting shot. Reagan ran up huge deficits and fought small wars to bring Communism to its knees, even in the conservative reading.

Slate's Chris Suellentrop started to refer to the half-formed platitudes drooling from his mouth, something about free people never becoming terrorists as a "second Bush doctrine", before letting us know that this reading was too simplistic. As opposed to utterly reedundant posturing.

We appreciate that hoping that cable TV and subversive radio stations will lead to regime change is a little naive. Banning arms exports, clamping down on trade and bullying neighbors are all more effective. But bombing the hell out of countries is not the embodiment of the "freedom doctrine". Even the Serbs waited for a while after their bombing before turfing out Milosevic.

Let freedom ring, not cave in your roof.

[Update: Fred Kaplan makes these points much more graciously and eloquently two stories up in Slate. Oh well, we should probably stick to metal.]


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