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What is This "Cowardly Act" Bit About?

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Andrew Schmookler       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   11 comments

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Thursday, in the wake of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, George W. Bush made a public statement condemning "this cowardly act."

I don't get it. It makes sense to call it an "evil act" or a "destructive act" or a "wanton act." But I don't understand how a man who, aside from carrying out an assassination, deliberately blows himself to pieces, can plausibly be deemed "cowardly."

So what is that about?

If it were just Bush, one might explain it as another of his Bushite projections. It is quite likely that Bush, like most bullies, is fundamentally cowardly. And I've already, in a previous essay ("Bush and Rove: Collaborators in the Theater of the Moral Lie,"), cited an example of Bush's hypocrisy, and apparent disconnection with his own reality, on the subject of cowardice:

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the President stood before microphones on the White House lawn mocking bin Ladin for cowardice in sending other men off to face death while he remained protected in some hidden cave. This from the most protected man in the world, who’d just sent his countrymen’s sons and daughters to fight his war!

But it ISN'T just Bush. I've noticed, since well before this Bushite era, a number of American political leaders will stand up in instances like the present one (with this assassination in Pakistan) and condemn the "cowardly" perpetrators of one crime or another, when obviously the crime would actually require considerable boldness and fearlessness to pull off.

So I'm wondering: with so many other much more apt words of denunciation available, why do our leaders so often call upon this inappropriate condemnation of "cowardice" the falsity of the charge is so clear on the surface?


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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)

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