One adjective in the opening paragraph of this week’s New Yorker piece by Hendrik Hertzberg says more about the attitude of certain sections of the intelligentsia to George W. Bush than any number of books, petitions or agonized interviews on NPR:
“The most tasteless passage in last week’s State of the Union Message came about half an hour into the speech, as President Bush was enumerating his Administration’s successes against Al Qaeda. Three thousand suspected terrorists have been arrested, he said. “And many others have met a different fate,” he went on. “Let’s put it this way: they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.” Talk about smoking guns. You could almost see the President blowing across the upturned barrel of his Colt .45.”
I don’t know what is worse about the use that word – the self-congratulatory sense of moral superiority that it implies or the feckless suggestion that this conflict should now be judged on aesthetic grounds. These terrorists are fanatics’ fanatics, foot soldiers or worse in a movement that would eliminate both us and our civilization, a civilization that includes everything that the New Yorker is supposed to stand for. We can – and should – mourn the way that these individuals chose to waste their lives, but their deaths, like the deaths of, say, an SS trooper or a Gulag guard, are hardly a matter of regret.
Rather the reverse, I would think.