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:
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
Ryan LaMothe
A Christian Nation?
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Finger on the Button: Why No President Should Have the Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons
W. T. Whitney
A Bizarre US Pretext for Military Intrusion in South America
Deepak Tripathi
Sex, Lies and Incompetence: Britain’s Ruling Establishment in Crisis 
Howard Lisnoff
Who You’re Likely to Meet (and Not Meet) on a College Campus Today
Roy Morrison
Trump’s Excellent Asian Adventure
John W. Whitehead
Financial Tyranny
Ted Rall
How Society Makes Victimhood a No-Win Proposition
Jim Goodman
Stop Pretending the Estate Tax has Anything to do With Family Farmers
Thomas Klikauer
The Populism of Germany’s New Nazis
Murray Dobbin
Is Trudeau Ready for a Middle East war?
Jeiddy Martínez Armas
Firearm Democracy
Jill Richardson
Washington’s War on Poor Grad Students
Ralph Nader
The Rule of Power Over the Rule of Law
Justin O'Hagan
Capitalism Equals Peace?
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: From the Red Sea to Nairobi
Geoff Dutton
The Company We Sadly Keep
Evan Jones
The Censorship of Jacques Sapir, French Dissident
Linn Washington Jr.
Meek Moment Triggers Demands for Justice Reform
Gerry Brown
TPP, Indo Pacific, QUAD: What’s Next to Contain China’s Rise?
Robert Fisk
The Exile of Saad Hariri
Romana Rubeo - Ramzy Baroud
Anti-BDS Laws and Pro-Israeli Parliament: Zionist Hasbara is Winning in Italy
Robert J. Burrowes
Why are Police in the USA so Terrified?
Chuck Collins
Stop Talking About ‘Winners and Losers’ From Corporate Tax Cuts
Ron Jacobs
Private Property Does Not Equal Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Mass Shootings, Male Toxicity and their Roots in Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
The Fordist Academic
Frank Scott
Weapons of Mass Distraction Get More Destructive
Missy Comley Beattie
Big Dick Diplomacy
Michael Doliner
Democracy, Real Life Acting and the Movies
Dan Bacher
Jerry Brown tells indigenous protesters in Bonn, ‘Let’s put you in the ground’
Winslow Myers
The Madness of Deterrence
Cesar Chelala
A Kiss is Not a Kiss: Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children
Jimmy Centeno
Garcia Meets Guayasamin: A De-Colonial Experience
Stephen Martin
When Boot Becomes Bot: Surplus Population and The Human Face.
Martin Billheimer
Homer’s Iliad, la primera nota roja
Louis Proyect
Once There Were Strong Men
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones
David Yearsley
Academics Take Flight
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail