Sunday, July 27, 2008

George Bush and the 'Dark Knight'

So, I just finished reading an op-ed piece by an Andrew Klavan that was published in the Wall Street Journal. The piece is titled “What Bush and Batman Have in Common”.(
It’s actually pretty entertaining stuff when you consider what great lengths neo- conservatives will go to when they want to make their argument for global domination sound like altruism or some sort of deep rooted desire to defend the greater good. At one point Andrew writes “ the Dark at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war”

Wow, where to begin. I could make a collateral attack and point out that Andrew spends a lot of time writing about his favorite bad guys … Hamas, Hezbollah, and Ahmadnijad and that his pieces titled “Why god chose the Jews” or his countless attempts to defend Israeli actions or rhetoric at all costs as evidence that he might just be a little bit biased when he tries to tie the Dark Knight, Bush, and Islamic Fascism together, but I won’t. That would be too EASY.
First, I would like to point out that Batman has a code. He could easily kill the Joker and anyone of these criminals who are ultimately going to do nothing but harm innocent people. However, he never does, despite being provided countless opportunities to kill them. Why? Well because even the dark knight has rules that separate him from the madmen like the Joker. The Bush Administration has consistently demonstrated that they have no rules. They will preemptively attack you, lie about your capabilities, torture you, lock you up and make you disappear, and just about anything else they can think of that they believe they can get away with. They don’t do it out of necessity. They do it because they want to maintain control. In the ‘Dark Knight’ ,Batman chooses to use the sonar tool to eavesdrop and ascertain the Joker’s whereabouts, but he also wires it to self destruct. The Bush administration would have fired Morgan freeman and put a whole team of people down there to spy on everyone in Gotham until some squealer wrote a book about what they were doing. At which point, they would focus all their energy on completely destroying the credibility of this person.

The Middle East is about influence. America and Israel have it and they are very reluctant to let that balance of power change. As an American, I can totally understand that…and I am willing to concede that a military super power is going to have a hard time learning to be charitable. But the Iraq war was a clear mistake on Bush’s part, and that’s what Andrew doesn’t get. A modern day Batman would have gone in and abducted Saddam and his local cohorts and dropped him off on the doorstep of The Hague. He would have broken international laws to facilitate something for what he believes is the greater good. I do not understand how you can compare Batman to a man who simply gave the order to bomb the smithereens out of a civilized country. Or consistently defend Israel when they have pretty much helped create the desperate situation that the Palestinians are living in.

At the end of the day I have seen guys like Andrew before, and like the Joker or Bush…there is no point reasoning with them. They are resolute or crazy…which one depends on your perspective…but either way they are no Batman…because at the end of the day they clearly have an agenda and simultaneously posses no code. The dark night on the other hand is tortured by what crime has done to him and Gotham, but yet principled enough not to be completely consumed by it.

Andrew needs to wake up and drop his obsession with Islam and terrorism because he just doesn’t understand the world he is living in. Movies like Syriana which are very COMPLEX actually perfectly capture the situation that exists in the Middle East today…and the global complexities that occur when guns, oil, religion, and politics all cross paths. Jewish terrorism if you can call it that (I think tying religion to the word terror is nonsense) was a very effective tool that was used in the 1940’s to pressure the Brits and just about everybody else in what was then known as the British Mandate of Palestine to get the hell out so they could run their own religious state. Whether that is what Hezbollah is trying to do in Lebanon or whether that is ultimately what Iran wants in Iraq doesn’t really matter to me as long as I can identify the fact that if we were not meddling in these countries by virtue of being a super power that armed Iraq when it was gassing Iranians (yes, that’s not a hard selling point if you are the Iranian govt) or gave Israel its cluster bombs that are now blowing the limbs off Lebanese children; we would have less enemies in the region. When you do these things people don’t have a hard time making you look like the bad guy. And when you fight a proxy war in Afghanistan in which you arm tons of very uneducated people and just teach them to kill every day and also give them the means to fight a dirty war against your enemy…you should not be surprised that things ended up getting much worse after you left that Country because you didn’t have the time to take an interest in how it would politically develop.

If Andrew had the chance, he would probably counter my argument by saying that I am biased and that my Lebanese heritage plays a part in shaping my opinions. I will save him the time by openly admitting he is right. We do not live in a vacuum, and my upbringing and background is bound to play a role. However, I will counter that as far as religion goes I am very open minded. I think religions are fine when they are kept at the personal/ family level. I have respect for all faiths, and frankly do not believe there is one right religion out there or such a thing as the “Chosen People”. The concept of a creator choosing one clan or tribe over all others completely turns me off. I will never believe that such a being would ever play favorites. I think the Arab world has a long way to go and that it can learn a lot from the west, but I would also counter that the west could learn a thing or two from the people out here. In the end, there is no right or wrong in global politics. Parties acting out of self-interest are always going to distort reality, and the bush administration is no different than any other self-interested government. It’s just that they have much more advanced and often confusing means of distortion at their disposal that they probably often don’t even understand. The Batman’s of the world are few and far between…the George Bush’s and Karl Rove are a dime a dozen.

Hence, I conclude that Andrew’s comparison of Batman to Bush is based on his misconception of reality or is politically motivated. In either case, given Bush’s global popularity as the most destructive President in the history of the United States, even a blind person will have a good laugh at this naïve and silly article!

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