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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ron Suskind's The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism

The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism
by
Ron Suskind

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Way-World-Story-Truth-Extremism/dp/0061430625
Two shows/interviews:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93319762
http://www.democracynow.org/2008/8/13/the_way_of_the_world_ron

My thoughts:

Wow. Bush should have been impeached. He and his admin did in fact break the law. It was bad that they lied in the run up to Iraq (not illegal necessarily, unfortunately), but forging a letter from an Iraqi official "confirming" their list of lies in a covert action to alter public opinion tipped the scale. Ironically, the guy they wanted to copy the info in his own handwriting and sign it was the Iraqi intel guy who confirmed other reports from British intel and our own agencies that Iraq had no WMD (months before the invasion). He and those who reported this were ignored by Bush and only "used" when they wanted him to copy down this fabricated (by the White House) letter and have it planted in Baghdad by CIA. Of course their outing of him ( with a total lie only to save them some shame and from having to come clean) would put him and his family in danger, being collaborators and all, but hey, when has that ever mattered with Bush admin officials? Plame, anyone?

The book starts out with personal stories of a handful or people and how they experienced America or its decline in those 8 years. I was really enjoying that, then the second part really dove into 9/11, the run up to Iraq, Guantanamo, Bhutto's death and the admin's mishandling (to put it mildly) of it all (every last bit). We had the sympathy of the world after 9/11 and blew it. The British opened back channels in Iraq and then Iran to get solid intel and future negotiations started and we slammed the door because they wouldn't fall in line with our assumptions of WMD, etc.

When the story abruptly changed from personal stories to Bush admin stuff (I've about had enough) I was tempted to stop reading, but it actually was tied together quite nicely in the end. I think it was a bad decision to not fully investigate everything to find out who knew what and when and put it out for all eyes. Only then can apologies and amends be made and perhaps our reputation restored. We can and I hope we do repair our image by doing the right thing, but apologies and admissions of guilt (taking responsibility) are always a solid, healthy way to go.

I fully agree with the sentiment in the book that America needs to get back its moral authority -honesty, compassion, respect for others- and stop imposing our will on others. Giving without leaving the recipient in our debt. Bush was not a leader that helped us build on these principles. He destroyed them. Obama has had to start from scratch- or a negative position.

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