Monday, May 05, 2008

What Bush(el) Have They Been Hiding This Woman Under?

I don't know -- maybe it is just the contrast to George, but I think Laura Bush's capacity to do an intelligent, straight to the point press conference on a moral and humanitarian crisis is impressive. Not only did she get all the issues on the table about the dictatorship in Myanmar and its inability -- unwillingness? -- to care for the people of the country formerly known as Burma, either before or after the cyclone that devastated the major rice growing region of an already lean country this week, but she didn't even threaten to obliterate them. Oops -- that wasn't George -- that was another politician who promises that her regime will alter the current course of American foreign policy.

Have the Republicans considered....naw. Wouldn't work.


Ahistoricality said...

Burma has been a pet project of Laura Bush's for a while now -- at least a year that I've been hearing of it -- so its the one policy area where she's fairly fluent.

Bear Left said...

No kidding. How'd they let anyone that reasoned and measured into the administration?

Just posted about the disaster:

Bear Left said...

it cut off my URL, which should be:

LumpenProf said...

I heart irony. She goes on TV to chastise a government because "it failed to issue a timely warning to citizens in the storm's path." Katrina victims should be appalled.

Tenured Radical said...

Now lumpenprof, as a historian I insist on accuracy: the government warned those i the path of Katrina -- then they left them there to drown.


LumpenProf said...

Accuracy is always very important.

Tenured Radical said...

Mais oui, LP: I was just taking the opportunity to be snide at the expense of the Bush administration. I can't help it.


Debrah said...


Anonymous said...

I didn't watch the video you linked to of Mrs. Bush.

But - at the end of 2000 - Afghanistan established Sharia law.

Not long afterward, I was sitting with a very young Afghani woman...19 years old, who was seeking asylum in the US on the grounds that - if she were returned to Afghanistan, she would be executed for adultery.

She lost her case, and was ordered deported. I don't know what became of her. Her advocate was me - 23 year old holder of a GED - making $12.78 an hour.

She cried at my desk, and begged me for my help. She did this through the translation of an Ethiopian colleague, who was from Sudan, who spoke Arabic fluently - and who was himself an asylumee, his parents tortured and murdered as a result of his political and legal advocacy on behalf of people in another nation that used Sharia as an excuse for tormenting and dominating its citizens.

After the September 11 attack...I listened to Laura Bush lament the condition of women under the Taliban...part of the argument for bombing the living hell into, into that forsaken country.

I listened to that, knowing full well that her husband's administration had cut a deal to send a tremendous amount of money to the Taliban, knowing of the torture and murder that happened there as a matter of course....
I'm remembering the woman whom I did not shelter.

This Afghanistan was alright with Laura Bush...until we were attacked by Saudi terrorists - and then our president wanted to bomb Afghanis, and then it was useful to have Laura Bush remember, passionately, eloquently, of the suffering, the murders, the torment - of women in Afghanistan.


Debrah said...

Let's correct the story about Katrina.

New Orleans and the parishes nearby were and are run by such incompetent people that they cannot scratch their own posteriors with a hand-full of fish hooks--an item of which any coastal city or town has plenty.

The then-governor of Louisiana was not only incompetent, but did not want to relinquish power to the feds early on and so places with such petty and poor leadership suffered.

As any reasonable person knows, in such emergencies it's crucial to have things go right FIRST at the local level.

Please do your homework on this one.

You only need to listen to someone like NO Mayor Ray Nagin---who, btw, holed up in a posh hotel while his constituents were "drowning"---to understand the degree of sheer stupidity that existed.

He also neglected to send the city's school buses to haul people to safety. A very easy decision that would have made all the difference.

To blame what was seen in the aftermath of Katrina solely on the current administration isn't an intelligent or honest avenue to take.

The underbelly of New Orleans and the infrastructure issues had been apparent for decades.

Under longtime Democrat leadership--city and state.

The horrific and inhuman behavior of so many residents as they ravaged and stole everything in sight as the cities and towns lay open also has to be illuminated.

Lots of players in this madness.

Even as cameras were recording the thefts and destruction they continued with this behavior.

Sorry to say that this kind of squalor takes a vast array of participants.

There are multiple reasons why places like New Orleans fared worse than some other places during Katrina.

If the truth cannot be illuminated, then why talk about it at all?

Tim Lacy said...

I do like Laura. She'd make a fantastic aunt. But I also found her husband to be likeable. Where did that get me/us? However, you're probably right, TR: she's the one who turned around the husband. Maybe she could make something of this new mess he's got us into? - TL

PMG said...

fwiw, I have a friend whose mother was a college friend of Laura Bush. Apparently, back in college at least, Laura was awesome. Liberal, smoked pot, the whole shebang. My friend's mother is a legitimate hippie (raised her children in the woods with no electricity), so I kind of believe her.

You have the weirdest commenters sometimes, TR. I hate to think what comments you have to delete.

LumpenProf said...

This post is still troubling me. Maybe it is just the "contrast to George" that appeals, but I see so many things wrong in her short statement.

I already mentioned the hypocrisy above given the context of Katrina, but the more pressing concern is the relief effort in Myanmar.

There really is such a thing as timing. When 100,000 have died and there's massive rescue work to be done, publicly chastising the government of Myanmar is really not the best strategy. Nor is it probably the best strategy to award a congressional medal to one of Myanmar's political dissidents right now either. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for Myanmar to accept outside aid as quickly as possible. This doesn't help.

I find myself more in sympathy with bloggers who are casting about for new words of outrage to describe Laura Bush's performance.

Tenured Radical said...


Outraged you may be, and you surely have a right to be outraged at the Bushies, but that isn't the point. People in the US who are engaging citizens of Myanmar on a grassroots level would tell you that many ordinary people in that country are well aware that Laura Bush is the only prominent political figure in this country who has done anything to draw attention to their situation. Both parties are so besotted with the fantasy that the Chinese are no longer really Communist -- only a trading partner like everyone else! -- that they literally let them get away with murder, both in China and in their client states, of which Myanmar is one. Neither of the regimes in North Korea or Myanmar would survive without the Chinese. And what do we care about in this country? Tibet. Why? Because half of us are closet orientalists who idealize Tibetans as a country of pre-modern, gentle people. But I haven't noticed a whole lot of people exposing what is going on in Myanmar, and because there is no equivalent figure to the Dalai Lama, there is no one to speak for them.

And of course there is a great deal wrong with this: I didn't put it up to cleanse the Bush administration, only to point out that Laura Bush can actually speak a coherent English sentence that represents a complex thought. She isn't a saint, and she represents a neo-imperialist administration. But let's not get confused as to which is us and which is them: the people of Myanmar are in a desperate situation right now. Anyone and anything that can put pressure on the generals is important.


Bear Left said...

But I haven't noticed a whole lot of people exposing what is going on in Myanmar, and because there is no equivalent figure to the Dalai Lama...

Any thoughts on why Aung San Suu Kyi isn't better known, at least in the U.S., when she could be seen as a modern-day Gandhi or Mandela? Is it sexism? Is it that Burma is too small, too out of the way? That it's not the same historical context?

LumpenProf said...

Again, timing matters. Everything you say about the repressive regime in Myanmar is exactly right. But a natural disaster of this magnitude is the wrong time to try to apply political pressure. Chavez and Castro sent aid to Katrina victims, and their grievances against the US are serious and longstanding. This is a time to focus on a very immediate humanitarian crisis. And the comments by Laura Bush at this particular moment, even with good grammar, just don't help.