With the termination of the Dubai ports deal, President Bush now says he is "concerned about a broader message this issue could send to our friends and allies around the world, especially in the Middle East." This line has been parroted by the punditocracy, which claims that legitimate questions of national security are "ethnic profiling" (aka. "racial profiling"). The hypocrisy is as thick as a milkshake - Suddenly, we're expected to believe George W. Bush and the pundits who pushed the Iraq War deep down really cares about the messages America is sending to the rest of the world. What an incredibly insulting joke.
Where was this so-called "concern" when Bush authorized the use of torture? Where was this "concern" when Bush decided to ignore the Geneva Conventions with respect to detainees? What about the "broader message" we sent to the world when Bush deliberately fabricated the perception of an "imminent threat" of WMD and used that perception as a justification to invade Iraq? Or, what about the "broader message" that Bush sent when he cracked a joke immediately after telling the press 30,000 Iraqis - many innocent bystanders - have been killed since the war began? Or what about the "broader message" that continues to be sent when Bush holds White House events to publicly fawn all over the most oppressive dictators on Earth? What kind of message does that send to the millions of ordinary citizens oppressed by those same dictators?
For the pundits, the hypocrisy is even more disgusting. They claim those who do not want the UAE - a country with very recent ties to terrorists - to control our ports are supposedly "racial profiling" all Arabs. These are the same pundits who, knowing that there was no connection between Iraq and the 9/11 terrorists, loudly supported invading Iraq anyway because it would supposedly send a message "in the heart of the Middle East" - clear code for sending a message to all Arabs. The Iraq War was, in other words, the greatest act of indiscriminate ethnic profiling/targeting in America's recent history - ethnic profiling largely supported by the same class of elite pundits that now self-righteously berates those who courageously sought to stop the UAE deal.
The truth is, George W. Bush and the neoconservative opinionmakers that dominate today's news are people who have no "concern" for what the world thinks. Bush is a guy who has tried to slash funding for public diplomacy and foreign aid, and who most recently appointed Karen Hughes as America's top international public diplomacy official, despite the fact that her only experience is serving as a Republican political hack. He's the guy who thinks that reaching out to the world on foreign policy means insulting the world's intelligence by simply repeating over and over again that everything is going perfectly in Iraq. And incredibly, the neutered pundits and reporters, desperate to stay in good graces with their White House masters, has disgustingly interpreted Bush's contempt for the world as "toughness," no matter how much that attitude has actually weakened America's national security.
Democrats, of course, are not saints in all of this. Oh sure, they have courageous voices here and there. And the party as a whole says it wants to build its own credibility on national security and is "concerned" about the Bush administration's radically extremist policies. Yet the party has changed directions on the issue like a rickety weathervane in a tornado. As just one example, during the 2004 election campaign, Democrats were rightly screaming about the need to involve more countries in Iraq and the War on Terror generally. After the election, those calls went largely silent by top Democratic spokespeople, reinforcing the public perception of Democrats as having no core convictions.
Now, making matters even worse, leading Democrats like Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) are actually refusing to take a serious position in contrast to the White House on the Iraq War - the most pressing national security issue of our generation. Meanwhile, Sen. Evan Bayh (D), the perfectly-coiffed son-of-a-Senator from Indiana who could double as the cure for insomnia, is actually running around self-servingly advancing right-wing lies about Democrats. Specifically, he is giving speeches adding credence to the idea that "toughness" basically means being a silver spooned politician sitting in a comfortable Washington office ordering in another carpet bomb of another group of dark-skinned foreigners.
No matter how many polls show strong opposition to the Iraq War and the Bush national security policy in general, it is no longer clear what it's going to take to get a real change in direction. Both parties and the President seem wholly uninterested in even acknowledging the public's deep desire for a change. Leading media voices like Tom Friedman, meanwhile, use their influence to actually deny that the public even opposes the war in the first place.
The public, in short, is seen as a nuisance, votes to be bought/manipulated on election day with huge amounts of corporate cash funneled to candidates by the insulated party operatives in Washington - nothing more. It is a sad state of affairs - one that clearly calls into question whether America is watching the final death throes of its proud democratic tradition.