March 15, 2007

No Thanks

I don't know if I'd call it an "obsession" exactly, but Fred Kaplan has a good question...Why is Bush so obsessed with ungrateful foreigners?

Just this past January, in an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes, President Bush returned to the theme, this time annoyed that the people he'd liberated seemed so unappreciative.

"I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude," he said. "I mean … we've endured great sacrifices to help them," and the American people "wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that's significant enough in Iraq."

There's a skewed view of the world reflected in these remarks. Does Bush really fail to recognize that even the most pro-Western Iraqis might have mixed feelings, to say the least, about America's intervention in their affairs—that they might be, at once, thankful for the toppling of Saddam Hussein, resentful about the prolonged occupation, and full of hatred toward us for the violent chaos that we unleashed without a hint of a plan for restoring order?

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Apart from his view of Iraq, Bush may have a point when he complains that America gets too little credit for its generosity (though this is hardly new). He doesn't acknowledge, however, that governments give aid or go to war for their own interests, not just for the interests of others, and therefore don't generally require thank-you notes. Nor does he seem to realize, whatever his motives, that nobody likes a whiner—that donors who demand bowing and scraping are often resented, if not despised.

Posted by dan at March 15, 2007 9:27 PM