FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

An Irregular Letter to George W. Bush

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:

February 20, 2019
Anthony DiMaggio
Withdrawal Pains and Syrian Civil War: An Analysis of U.S. Media Discourse
Charles Pierson
When Saudi Arabia Gets the Bomb
Doug Johnson Hatlem
“Electability” is Real (Unless Married with the Junk Science of Ideological Spectrum Analysis)
Kenneth Surin
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Another Boondoggle in Virginia
John Feffer
The Psychology of the Wall
Dean Baker
Modern Monetary Theory and Taxing the Rich
Russell Mokhiber
Citizens Arrested Calling Out Manchin on Rockwool
George Ochenski
Unconstitutional Power Grabs
Michael T. Klare
War With China? It’s Already Under Way
Thomas Knapp
The Real Emergency Isn’t About the Wall, It’s About the Separation of Powers
Manuel García, Jr.
Two Worlds
Daniel Warner
The Martin Ennals and Victorian Prize Winners Contrast with Australia’s Policies against Human Dignity
Norman Solomon
What the Bernie Sanders 2020 Campaign Means for Progressives
Dan Corjescu
2020 Vision: A Strategy of Courage
Matthew Johnson
Why Protest Trump When We Can Impeach Him?
William A. Cohn
Something New and Something Old: a Story Still Being Told
Bill Martin
The Fourth Hypothesis: the Present Juncture of the Trump Clarification and the Watershed Moment on the Washington Mall
February 19, 2019
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Troublesome Possibilities: The Left and Tulsi Gabbard
Patrick Cockburn
She Didn’t Start the Fire: Why Attack the ISIS Bride?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Literature and Theater During War: Why Euripides Still Matters
Maximilian Werner
The Night of Terror: Wyoming Game and Fish’s Latest Attempt to Close the Book on the Mark Uptain Tragedy
Conn Hallinan
Erdogan is Destined for Another Rebuke in Turkey
Nyla Ali Khan
Politics of Jammu and Kashmir: The Only Viable Way is Forward
Mark Ashwill
On the Outside Looking In: an American in Vietnam
Joyce Nelson
Sir Richard Branson’s Venezuelan-Border PR Stunt
Ron Jacobs
Day of Remembrance and the Music of Anthony Brown        
Cesar Chelala
Women’s Critical Role in Saving the Environment
February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
Thomas Knapp
The First Rule of AIPAC Is: You Do Not Talk about AIPAC
Mitchel Cohen
A Tale of Two Citations: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Michael Harrington’s “The Other America”
Jake Johnston
Haiti and the Collapse of a Political and Economic System
Dave Lindorff
It’s Not Just Trump and the Republicans
Laura Flanders
An End to Amazon’s Two-Bit Romance. No Low-Rent Rendezvous.
Patrick Walker
Venezuelan Coup Democrats Vomit on Green New Deal
Natalie Dowzicky
The Millennial Generation Will Tear Down Trump’s Wall
Nick Licata
Of Stress and Inequality
Joseph G. Ramsey
Waking Up on President’s Day During the Reign of Donald Trump
Elliot Sperber
Greater Than Food
Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail