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:
February 22, 2018
Manuel García, Jr.
The Anthropocene’s Birthday, or the Birth-Year of Human-Accelerated Climate Change
Thomas Knapp
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Russiagate
February 21, 2018
Cecil Bothwell
Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail