Bush: Moral Authority or Moral Inferiority?

1 08 2006

Terry Gross had an interesting interview on yesterday’s Fresh Air:

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman just returned from Syria and talks with us about the current Middle East Conflict. His most recent book is The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century.

Here is one thing that Mr. Friedman had to say:

A lot of bad things happen in the world without us, but there aren’t a lot of good things, I mean big good things.  Like a Kyoto, like a gulf war one alliance against a mad dictator who invades Kuwait – there aren’t a lot of big good things in the world that happen without us – and there are so many big good things now that we need to have happen Terry.  Whether it’s on climate change, or on disease, or on world trade talks, or on trying to somehow shore up the only elected democracy in the Arab world – albeit flawed, in Iraq, there are so many big good things that we need to have happen and we just are too radioactive.  This administration has enormous moral clarity and it has no moral authority.  It has no moral authority because it walked away from Kyoto – an issue that so many people around the world feel is important.  It has no moral authority because it perpetrated Abu Ghraib but never really prosecuted anyone higher than the local grunts who did it.  It has no moral authority because it came to Iraq in the name of democracy and has produced a complete disaster in many ways.  And because of that we can’t do a lot of the big good work that needs to be done right now and that is really bad because these people are going to be here for two more years and they are so radioactive they glow in the dark.

This administration prides itself on its moral clarity – but Mr. Friedman couldn’t be more right – it has shown the world time and time again that it has no moral authority.  Hypocrisy seems to be the only thing you can count on anymore.

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