Friday, February 29, 2008
Bob Geldof has written a nice portrait of George W. Bush in Africa. It amounts to a small hint that in a couple of generations history may render a verdict on the Bush administration that is substantially more nuanced than we would expect from those of us who lived through it.
The Bush regime has been divisive — but not in Africa. I read it has been incompetent — but not in Africa. It has created bitterness — but not here in Africa. Here, his administration has saved millions of lives.
It is not all so complimentary, but that too reflects well on the author. Bob Geldof has written about George W. Bush with more intellectual and emotional honesty than most professional journalists or bloggers ever do. Not bad, coming from a transnational progressive rock star.
CWCID: Glenn Reynolds.
I enjoyed this bit of ambiguity:
There are always a couple of lines in the State of the Union, but not enough so that anyone noticed, and the press really isn't interested. For them, like America itself, Africa is a continent of which little is known save the odd horror.
Is this meant to say that the press and America are alike in not understanding Africa-- or that America and Africa are alike in not being understood by the press?
I sympathize with Geldof's frustration that our eeevil unilateralism in Iraq cost us the chance to be eeevilly unilateral in the Sudan.
Perhaps the President will come back with a host country agreement for the new Africa Command. So far, the Pentagon and State Department haven't found a home for the command on the continent. They're currently headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.
Were they looking for one? I thought they intended the command to remain ex-country, like the Central Command HQ Fort MacDill. If they signed a logistics pre-positioning agreement with someone at some point, I wouldn't be surprised but that's probably in the future...
Ultra interesting! http://www.spymac.com/details/?2347210
For me the most telling part is where Geldof sort of admits that he "thought" Bush had said one thing when in reality it was something different.
From my experience this has happened many many times. Some of my liberal friends will "quote" Bush. Then after being told that isn't really what Bush said and given the correct quote it seems a little to late for them to get it. I guess it is difficult to change a "truth" for some people.
In his comment about the press and not "knowing Africa or America, except for the odd horror", might have been a commentary about the European press.
I'm always a little amused by my European co-workers attitudes and ideas about "America" (wherever that is!) based on watching European news. CNN in Europe is really something else; if you think CNN in the US is biased (to the left), you should watch CNN in Europe for a few days.
With respect to Geldof and his views and how people remember quotes by GWB, it's all about the narrative. Facts are inconvenient little items.
Agreed, David. Geldof complains about Bush's lack of good PR about what he has done in Africa, and seems to come to the right conclusion about it, however belatedly: "Hey, this guy's concerned with results, not image." I'm glad he says it openly. I wish the Great and Wise would have considered that possibility about Dubya years ago. Many still won't.