Four days after this article is published George W. Bush will finally relinquish the power which crippled the world, and will hand the baton to Barack Obama, one hopes the fate of the world will be in the right hands after eight long and arduous years. No one will shed a tear for the politically departed and for most; the sight of him leaving the White House will bring rapturous applause and more than a few shoes thrown posters and effigies of the man. Personally, his end is bittersweet as his presidency marks the end of my transition from boy to man. Our actions halfway across the world have at times mirrored each other, with vastly different results and many a time a personal landmark in my life is bookmarked by some aspect of his presidency. It is truly sad to see him go, as for the first time I have to accept who I have become and how he has shaped the world I live in.
As I try and make sense of his role in the development of my personality I keep trying to figure out the finer nuances of his (that is to say if he has any). With so much going through my head, a whirl of ideas without so much as one written word, I turned to music for inspiration and was hit by none other than a Rubber Soul. I seemingly found inspiration as quickly as The Beatles found recreational drugs and within a few minutes I realised exactly who George W. Bush was, he was none other than the Nowhere Man. Trust The Beatles to provide such prophetic commentary on the future king of the world four decades before his coronation. I owe them a by-line if they'd share it with me.
Doesn't have a point of view,
Knows not where he's going to,
Isn't he a bit like you and me?
What could be more appropriate for Bush. While some claim that he was clear with his intentions and what he wanted to achieve, others like me believe that he didn't really have a point of view. He surrounded himself with a team of so called experts and advisors and from the very start they controlled him like a puppet. This is not meant to take away any of the veracity from personal attacks against him and his policies, he deserves most of what is dished out to him. When it came to Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism, foreign policy, climate change and a host of other issues he didn't really know what to do, and where to go with them. In his strange ignorant way he felt they should be dealt with, but never really knew what dealing with them really meant. Let's be honest all of us are indecisive in our own ways and in that regard he was like anyone of us, an ordinary person, confused and bewildered. That should not let him off the hook, the world deserved better.
Nowhere man, please listen,
You don't know what you're missing,
Nowhere man, the world is at your command.
Most annoyingly for a man with muddled plans and a questionable intellect Bush chose to listen only to his band of trusted loyalists. While at times it is good to close rank, and everyone has a set of trusted counterparts he never truly paid attention to sound advice that was passed on him by millions around the world. He instead chose to listen to the Rumsfelds and Cheneys of the world. Before he stepped into Iraq people around the world voiced their concern and millions protested, but the Nowhere Man never listened to them. If he had, maybe he would not have created this mess in the Middle East. This is the problem with having the world at ones command, no one wants to lose the sense of power. By listening to a voice of reason, Bush would have been emasculated, it would no longer have been 'his' decision. Seemingly that was too much for ego and his unabated power trip continued into his illegal war in the Iraq.
He's as blind as he can be,
Just sees what he wants to see,
Nowhere man can you see me at all?
Aside from being blind to the world's problems and seeing what he wanted to see, Bush did more to marginalise people than any other world leader in the last few decades. When he came into power there was the soft rising of the new left in South America and instead of dealing with the problem through treaties and talks he ignored them, eventually at his peril. During the early years of his presidency the price of oil was not an issue, two years later when he entered Iraq all hell broke loose as America searched the faint edges of the globe to find the last major oil deposits. A quick lesson in geography pointed him to the direction of Venezuela, and their firebrand leader Hugo Chavez. The continent that he ignored for so long, now had the bit between its teeth. The simmering tensions of South America exploded with Chavez and Evo Morales taking over and for the first time since the heydays of Castro, America was public enemy number one. His blindness continued well into Asia with his support of Musharraf and his semi-autocratic regime and was also self evident with his reaction to hurricane Katrina. In less than a decade he managed to marginalise the Muslims, gays and spectacularly after hurricane Katrina, African Americans.
Nowhere man, don't worry,
Take your time, don't hurry,
Leave it all till somebody else
Lend you a hand.
Nothing best describes the decline of the Bush presidency than these words. The nowhere man didn't worry about anything and the consequences of his actions. He made his mess and lay in it, proudly surveying the wreckage caused by his actions. He turned the world upside down, killed in the name of democracy and lied to those who opposed him. Amazingly Bush seems like he is going to get away scot-free, no war crimes for him, just his retirement out in the backwaters of Texas. What he has done is put his mess on Barack Obama's plate, essentially left it all to someone else. Why take blame for a problem when you can just pass it on to the next guy. Seemingly it runs in the family after Bush Sr handed the Clinton administration a trillion dollar deficit and an faltering economy after Desert Storm.
In the 1968 animated movie Yellow Submarine, on their way to Pepperland The Beatles met a character called Jeremy Hilary Boob, who lived in the sea of nothing. He, much like Bush described himself as “eminent physicist, polyglot classicist, prize-winning botanist, hard-biting satirist, talented pianist, good dentist too.” His empty life and existence is summed up in their song Nowhere Man where they say,
He's a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his nowhere land,
Making all his nowhere plans
How well the glove fits, Jeremy Hilary Boob aka George W. Bush aka Nowhere Man, sitting in the White House of his nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody. His empty words and promises filled his sea of nothing. He promised to 'shock and awe' and he did, just not how we hoped. The nowhere man will not be missed, neither will his legacy of blood, now lets just hope he stays in his nowhere land.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009