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Neoconservatism is Never Having to Mean You’re Sorry



Katrina clobbered and Rita is striking the United States with bin Laden-like fury. While some experts report that global warming may be responsible, George Bush is growing more concerned about global cooling. He seemed to care little about the tarnishing of America’s image when we almost unilaterally invaded Iraq. Continuing his aggressive, cowboy language, he successfully sold his policies to a frightened and gullible public before the 2004 election. But recently criticized after a slow response to the needs of the lower-middle and underclass in sewage-soaked Louisiana and a devastated Mississippi, Bush most assuredly sought the advice of Karl Rove. The brainstorming session might have gone something like this: “George, I’m worried about the chill emanating from everyone who observed your detachment-not me, of course. I love detachment, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but you’re going to have to speak the words I’ve told you never to even whisper. You’re going to have to admit culpability. You don’t have to mean it, but you do have to be convincing. Just say to the American public that you’re responsibleand no suita blue shirt, white would be too Kennebuckport, so do blue with the sleeves rolled up. And practice in front of the mirror. Solemnno smirking.”

The cold reception continues though, not only from those who thought the words were too little, too late, but also from Republicans (gasp) who perceived Bush’s speech to be liberal. Is our “compassionate conservative” finally putting the emphasis on the adjective? Seems like it. The question is: Why now?

Obviously, one answer is that the country has taken its temperature and Bush dislikes the reading. His leadership is in dispute. The frost is on the pumpkin.

What does the most powerful man in the world do when those who have worshipped him begin to distance themselves from his altar? One ploy is to make trip after trip to the areas of destruction. Not just flyovers, but landings-touchy, feel-good touchdowns where he lays his hands on the heads of black children and even makes kissie kissie with some of them.

Another question, though, is also being asked, and it’s a tough one. How can we pay for the massive reconstruction of the Gulf Coast while we’re spending billions on a war of choice? It’s hard being president. Bush, himself, has told us that. But some choices are easy. I like to illustrate this with the household-management analogy: I may want some expensive bling bling, but there could be an emergency-a protracted illness, the loss of a job, or the bottom falling out of the housing market. So I make a decision not to buy the bling bling. Bush should have thought of this. The war in Iraq (the bling bling) not only has unnecessarily killed over 1,900 troops and unimaginable numbers of Iraqis, but it is costing the American taxpayers a fortune. Sadly, it’s the latter that’s turning people against the war and causing this chilliness towards George Bush. Sadly, it’s the double whammy of PAYING for natural disasters and the price-tag for an illegal war that’s contributing to Bush’s unpopularity and causing more Americans to question our president’s choices.

But at least we, the people, finally are demanding accountability-a chillingly unique challenge confronting a man who’s snookered so many for so long. Jumping on this bandwagon is the mainstream press, and IT’S ABOUT TIME. Who knows what occurred first–the public’s insistence or journalistic integrity? Certainly, it’s difficult to have one without the other.

Maybe, soon, we’ll recognize our country again.

MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE can be reached at:










We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005


Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

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