FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

An Irregular Letter to George W. Bush

by JULES RABIN

President Bush, son of great wealth and privilege that you are: Before you begin raining bombs down on Iraq, would you answer this question: have you ever in your life, with your own hands, performed the small and homely labor of replacing even a single broken window pane?

My wife and I did that on a recent cold, gray Saturday morning in February, at the Blinking Light Gallery in Plainfield, Vermont. The gallery is a poor, struggling cooperative whose supporters volunteer their time and labor. My wife and I volunteered to replace a large pane in the gallery’s front window, that a witless teen-ager had broken with a snowball, and run away from.

That job took about five of our joint, amateur, man-woman hours to perform, from assembling our tools to purchasing the replacement glass, removing, cleaning, and returning the objects on display in the window, and cleaning up the mess of glass and other debris that we generated as we worked. The window was a large one, as I say. The original putty framing the window must have been fifty years old. It had married itself to the wood underneath, and it took prodigious pains to clear it out and produce a clear, clean surface on which to set the new glass and a bead of fresh putty. How many window panes do you suppose there are in Iraq? For that matter, how many hands and fingers might there be there?

I raise this question about hands and fingers because I haven’t forgotten the case, years ago, of the young woman in New York, a flute player of remarkable promise, who was shoved down onto the tracks in a subway station by a pathological stranger. One of the woman’s hands was mangled by a train. A team of surgeons worked for 22 hours, non- stop, in a heroic effort to save and restore the butchered hand. They were able to put together something like a hand, but it could never again be the hand of an aspiring master flutist.

George Bush (I’m your senior by a couple of decades so I make free to address you this way, and to lecture you …), I really don’t think you’re fit to inflict on Iraq such a monumental ordeal as the “shock-and-awe” campaign you’re contemplating. You need a lot more experience of life, such as replacing, with your own hands, on a cold February morning, one of the half-billion window panes that you today contemplate breaking in Iraq. I would propose to you another experience that could benefit you profoundly: to hold in your hand — and for at least six uninterrupted hours, I would suggest, and if she would allow you — the broken hand of that New York woman, palm up, while you try to imagine her palm filling with all the tears that she and her family together may have shed in the six hours following the disastrous minute that smashed what could have been the glory of the rest of her life.

Hands, heads, windows, teapots: And what if I fear that you don’t have either the capacity or the inclination to consider what you will be wreaking, on a population of millions, if you commence in Iraq what your dogs of war have prettily named the days of “shock and awe?”

JULES RABIN lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: rabin@counterpunch.org.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 26, 2017
Richard Moser
Empire Abroad, Empire At Home
Stan Cox
For Climate Justice, It’s the 33 Percent Who’ll Have to Pick Up the Tab
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Machine Called Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
The Dilemma for Intelligence Agencies
Christy Rodgers
Remaining Animal
Joseph Natoli
Facts, Opinions, Tweets, Words
Mel Gurtov
No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Women on the Move: Can Three Women and a Truck Quell the Tide of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse?
Michael J. Sainato
Trump’s Wikileaks Flip-Flop
Manuel E. Yepe
North Korea’s Antidote to the US
Kim C. Domenico
‘Courting Failure:’ the Key to Resistance is Ending Animacide
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer
Andrew Stewart
The People vs. Bernie Sanders
Daniel Warner
“Vive La France, Vive La République” vs. “God Bless America”
April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail