If You Thought Bill Was Bad...
Granted, Chris Matthews isn't a former president, but he still carries a good deal of journalistic weight in this country, so it was pretty disturbing to read what he had to say in a speech at the University of Toronto recently.
November 21, 2005
Bush Wanted "Big Bang" - TV Host
TORONTO - Years after 9/11 and the "crazy Zeitgeist" that permeated the United States, Americans have still not learned to know their enemies instead of just hating them, said American political journalist Chris Matthews yesterday.
In a speech to political science students at the University of Toronto, the host of the CNBC current affairs show "Hardball" had plenty of harsh words for U.S. President George W. Bush, as well as the political climate that has characterized his country for the last few years.
"The period between 9/11 and (invading) Iraq was not a good time for America. There wasn't a robust discussion of what we were doing," Matthews said. "If we stop trying to figure out the other side, we've given up. The person on the other side is not evil. They just have a different perspective."
"The smartest people understand the enemy's point of view, because they understand what's driving them."
He said Bush squandered an opportunity to unite the world against terrorism and instead made decisions that built up worldwide animosity for his administration.
"We had strong international unity coming out of 9/11. The world was never so united against terrorism and we lost that," Matthews said. "That is the great tragedy of the Bush era."
When asked what caused the U.S. to invade Iraq, he said it was a combination of factors.
"I think the father-son relationship with the Bushes is part of it. I think the oil thing is part of it," Matthews said of the current president and his father, George Bush Sr., who was president during the Gulf War more than a decade ago.
"Our friendship with Israel (is part of it) and 9/11 created a kind of crazy Zeitgeist in the country. Bush wanted to do something big. It couldn't just be tracking down al-Qaeda. He wanted a big bang. I think it's a mixture of these things."
Matthews said the current president is guilty of not knowing enough about the world and not keeping up with current events, as was evident in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina and the slow reaction to the crisis in New Orleans.
Notice how Matthews conveniently neglects to mention anything about Saddam Hussein's unspeakable atrocities when asked about what caused us to invade Iraq. But, I have to say that, for me, he lost any semblance of credibility when he made what was arguably the most asinine statement I had ever heard from someone in the journalistic profession. It happened a number of years ago, and I've since forgotten most of the details, but his comment became indelibly etched in my memory, and I've had absolutely no respect for him ever since. What happened was, during a TV interview, he was asked a question about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and his response was that he sometimes feels that "these people enjoy killing each other." At that moment, I was overcome with an insatiable urge to throttle the damned idiot. So, maybe that's why, as infuriating and inappropriate as his speech in Toronto was, I can't say I was surprised.