Common Dreams

So, a friend emailed me this article today from  The article, written by Thom Hartmann, puts forth the argument that the shootings at Fort Hood were George W. Bush’s fault.  It starts off with this paragraph:

If Bill Clinton – or, presumably, Al Gore (or even Ralph Nader) – had been President in 2001, the Ft. Hood massacre almost certainly wouldn’t have happened. Because George W. Bush was president, it did. Here’s why it’s Bush’s fault:

Which, honestly, is about the worst intro to an article I’ve ever read.  If you’re writing about a horrible tragedy, you sort of owe it to the memory of the people who died, as well as to the survivors, to avoid using phrases like “almost certainly”.  I swear to God, I’m not going to pick this article apart paragraph by paragraph, but…let’s take a look at the second and fourth paragraphs:

One of the first lessons aspiring novelists and screenwriters learn is that the goodness of a hero is defined by a single quality – the evil of his opponent. From Superman’s Lex Luthor to Batman’s Joker to Indiana Jones’ Nazis to Luke Skywalker’s Darth Vader, for a hero to be perceived as larger than life, he must have a larger than life enemy.

This is a lesson that was not lost on Karl Rove and George W. Bush. If they could recast George as the opponent of a power as great as the Ring, then the rather ordinary Dubya could become the extraordinary SuperGeorge, rising from his facileness to prevail over supernatural powers of evil.

Okay first off, fuck Indiana Jones, I believe the Nazi’s belonged to the Jews and second, they weren’t larger than life, were they?  More importantly, however, analyzing the Bush presidency from the perspective of a novelist is just embarrassingly stupid, so maybe, you know, don’t.  Also?  When exactly did Al-Qaeda transition from a multinational group of fundamentalist Muslims to “supernatural” villains?

The article that follows is a painfully skewed and biased history lesson that makes impossible claims with little or no logic or real-world examples to back them up.  And to make it even more frustrating, there’s one tiny paragraph that contains actual useful insight:

Fox News and right-wing talk jumped in with both feet, feeding anti-Muslim hysteria that continues to this day with teary-eyed TV shows, a “secret Muslim” president, and Nazi-image Tea Parties.

There’s no question that politically-biased media is a destructive cultural influence in this country.  And if anti-Muslim hysteria played any role in Nidal Hasan losing his shit then, yeah, the right-wing media owes some people an apology.  But the anti-Muslim hysteria that spews from the right-wing media doesn’t originate from the White House, even if you’d like to believe it does.  There is, of course, another group of people who might actually be more responsible for the Fort Hood shootings.  That would be the Walter Reed Medical Center officials who, back in 2008, expressed deep concern over Hasan’s weird behavior and mental state.  But are they even partially responsible for what happened at Fort Hood last week?

No.  Not enough for a criminal trial, anyway.  And that’s because the law in this country concerns itself with something called personal responsibility.  Hasan can point to the medical personnel from Walter Reed, Fox News, or, fuck it, George Bush all he wants.  None of them pulled the trigger.

Hartmann’s article ends on this note:

So George and Dick made out just fine. But Major Hasan went nuts. And probably never would have, had somebody other than Bush/Rove/Cheney been in the White House back in 2001.

“Probably” packs so much conviction doesn’t it?  It’s also a good way to avoid litigation.  Hartmann’s claim that Bush is responsible for last week’s shootings is childishly stupid and invalid and something else:  Partisan.  Normally, there’s nothing inherently wrong with partisan speech or behavior.  So why do I make an issue of it now?  According to the Common Dreams “About Us” page: is a national nonprofit, progressive, nonpartisan citizens’ organization founded in 1997 by political activists Craig Brown and his late wife, Lina Newhouser.

This article fails to live up to their claim of who they are.  That’s why I’m making an issue of it.

And, for the record, I think George W. Bush was the worst president this country has ever seen.  I think that for several reasons, chief among them, the fact that his administration capitalized on the attacks of 9/11 and used them as justification for what would otherwise be an illegal war.  I believe that in doing this, he dishonored the memory of the 3000 Americans who died that day, as well as the countless people whose lives were torn to hell.  I further believe that in sending us into Iraq, he is directly responsible for the deaths of over 4300 American soldiers and approximately 100,000 Iraqi civilians and, as such, is guilty of a crime far worse than dishonoring the Americans who died on 9/11.

I also believe that when discussing the eight years of the Bush presidency you should be as truthful as possible and not give in to politics or emotion.  There are plenty of well-documented reasons to be upset with the man, we don’t need to fabricate any.  And we certainly don’t need to exploit the tragic deaths of American military personnel and use them as an excuse to take a cheap swipe at him.  That’s something he would do.