Sunday, August 12, 2007

How Long, O Lord?

How long do you think it will take before the mistakes of the Bush administration are completely set right? A while back, the Atlantic Monthly asked that question and answered that it would take about 20 years to thoroughly clean up the mess. Do you think that's about right?


decrepitoldfool said...

The sad fact is that while global society can return to "normal" such mistakes can never be put right. Can people be unkilled? Can the treasure wasted, and the interest on the borrowed money, that should have been devoted to some constructive purpose, be undone? Can geoclimatic tipping points, once passed, be revisited?

Another way of looking at it is this: suppose the Catholic church had devoted its resources to peacemaking and the advancement of science during what is today called "the middle ages". Where would we be now?

Where should we be now? The Mississippi should be depositing its silt in mangrove swamps renewed along the Louisiana coast, but no regulations were passed holding back development of wetlands. Oil should cost what it really costs, so people would be demanding efficient cars and moving closer to work. Peacemaking should be a constant goal. Medical research should be carried out without interference from ignorant religious leaders. We should be a LOT farther down the road than we are.

Bad leadership is loss. You can't get back what's lost, you can only shake your head, say "let's not do that again", and move on.

Paul said...

Well said, DOF!

Rambodoc said...

Or, alternatively, invade Iran so that Iraq appears as dated and irrelevant as Vietnam. And the time to repair the damages to that would be the same as the time to heal from I-wreck.

Paul said...

Do you think Bush will try to invade and/or bomb Iran, Rambodoc? If you ask me, I think it's just the sort of thing that idiot might attempt.


I completely agree with DOF. Things won't be made right.

I also think that your 20 year point is a meaningful one. My guess is that about 20 years from now (essentially a generation), the particulars of the nastiness done by the Bush administration will have faded in our perceptions into the general nastiness of the world.

At that point, we may hope to move on in a good direction. Or, we may become distracted by a new idiocy.

Anonymous said...

I'd say a generation (20 years) is a good estimate of how long it will take to forget.

Webs said...

Some people are afraid Bush will still be in office 20 years down the road ;-p .

But seriously, it's hard to say whether the damage can ever be undone. The debt the new conservatives have racked up will be paid for by my generations for likely more than 20 years. Plus the damage done to foreign policy will be hard to reverse.

And worst of all, Bush will continue to make money, give speeches, write books (well, have people that know how to write, write for him), and act as a leader.

As far as Iran goes. It will never happen. Nukes are the least of our worries from Iran. Most of their construction right now is focused on pumping out weapons and military force. Going into Iran would be 10 times worse than what it was for Iraq. Could you imagine having at least half the World's Arabs pissed at us. Plus other countries pissed off that see imperialism as a threat.

Even Bush is smart enough to know Iran is a major lose-lose.

Rambodoc said...

Actually, I think there is more moral and practical rationale to attack Iran, but with the US bogged down this badly in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is little one can do apart from thinking wistfully.