Comic-book criticism | AspenTimes.com

Comic-book criticism

Dear Editor:Not that anyone really needs my help in poking fun at Patrick Hasburgh, but I am drawn like a moth to the flame of the shrill tirades currently burning among the intellectually anemic Sheehan-esque left. While the White House management of Operation Iraqi Freedom is worthy of criticism in principle and application, the ravings of this war’s ardent opponents have degenerated into the editorial equivalent of a comic book strip.To take an example, the bombings of the World Trade Center (1993), Khobar Towers (1996), our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (1998) and the USS Cole (2000), among other things, would appear sufficient to put the average observer on notice that bin Laden was “determined to strike inside the U.S.”Yet, the “vacuous” reference to Clinton’s inattentiveness to terrorism during his eight years as commander-in-chief has succumbed to a bizarre obsession with Bush’s attentiveness during his first eight months. Indeed, Bush’s seven minutes of paralysis in front of a kindergarten class is more reprehensible than Clinton’s snub at Sudan’s offer of bin Laden’s extradition. Yet to these same silly critics, a languid Bush is actually preferable, since anything he does under the guise of “combating terrorism” is eeeeevil. And while Bush may have enlisted the Senate in enabling a war that claimed the votes of hyper-developed consciences like Sens. Clinton, Kerry and Daschle, we cannot forget that they were just dupes of Bush’s “manipulation” – a true testament to the ability of this ignorant hayseed to capitalize on American grief and unrefined “John Wayne” cultural orientations.When all else fails, we are met with the curious position that Bush shouldn’t have ousted Hussein because it runs counter to a Cold War foreign policy from which we are two decades removed; or because the elder Bush himself refused to invade during 1991 Gulf War – a decision now chastised and represented as 41’s own, as opposed to that of an “international community” our current White House is endlessly ridiculed for flouting.What to make of this scorched-earth maze of contradiction and hysteria? Not much. Paranoid rhetoric directed at the sitting U.S. president is a common staple of American political discourse, particularly during wartime. But to ascribe libertarian tendencies to a secular despot who happens to be unconcerned with Muslim headdress or (even better) claim that women could vote in Hussein’s Iraq is a telling gaffe. Suffice it to say that the moral, political and practical divisions over this war are serious and deep. Pat, do yourself a favor and stay in the shallow end.Jay PateSnowmass Village