Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Other Kind of Self-Fulfilling Prophesy

If the dish can run away with the spoon and the umbrella can get jiggy with the sewing machine there on the dissecting table, I guess it’s possible that George Bush has something in common with Pericles. Anyhow I was reminded of Bush’s situation by a famous anecdote about the great Athenian politician. The King of Sparta asked one of Pericles’ political rivals who was the better wrestler. Thucydides replied, “When I have thrown him, he insists that he didn’t take a fall and eventually makes the bystanders believe him in spite of their own eyes and thus gets the better of me.” Of course Pericles’ mastery of spin resulted from his famous oratorical skills while Bush needs an army of handlers and a compliant press to attempt the analogous feat. It takes more than a turn of rhetoric to enforce the claim that Iraq is a famous victory, and even the dogged loyalty of an army of purchased pundits may not succeed. What is certain is that they won’t stop trying. Any outcome in Iraq will be defined as a victory.