What they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it’s over.
– President George W. Bush, July 17, 2006
That’s right. The President said shit, and it has hit the media fan. The moral dilemma that is sparked when the Born-Again leader of the Free World speaks profanity into an open microphone doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is this:
- Couldn’t the President identify a more precise word in the English language to describe Hezbollah’s provocative kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers and their murderous launching of rockets into northern Israel? It’s not like Hezbollah is crapping along the Israeli border – they’re killing people and trying to bait Israel into a protracted war it cannot decisively win! Hezbollah’s actions merit a much more grave and accurate term than shit, especially coming from the mouth of the President of the United States.
- The President was chatting with the well-spoken Tony Blair, who hails from England, the land that spawned Shakespeare and the King James Bible. For God’s sake, George, must you affirm with your poorly chosen locker room lingo the long-held British opinion that we Americans have bastardized their language?
- Regardless of his choice of vocabulary, the statement itself was about as complex an analysis of the current crisis as a Dick and Jane story. "What they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and its over." Brilliant! Anybody who has read, watched or listened to just one news report on this situation could tell you that. Perhaps this is proof that the President indeed has read just one news report about this situation . . .
I don’t take joy in mocking my President. (OK, I don’t take too much joy in mocking my President.) But what proof do I have that this administration has any clue what it is doing in the eastern Mediterranean, let alone in the entire Middle East or in the Muslim World?
This President seems to believe that elections are a magic elixir that cures the ills of any nation, irrespective of a history of dictatorship, dysfunction and corruption. The Middle East doesn’t need showcase elections – where have elections gotten Afghanistan, Iraq or Palestine? These countries need significant investment in political, social and economic infrastructure so that some semblance of stability is achieved prior to Election Day. Maybe if we – America and the European Union – cared more about creating social, economic and political conditions conducive to stability and freedom (and to the election of moderate regimes) we wouldn’t be where we are the Middle East: where Hamas and Hezbollah each hold power in their respective parliaments, and figurehead governments rule (only parts of) Afghanistan and Iraq, and that only with the aide of American firepower.
I disagree with much of what my President has done in the Middle East. Nonetheless, I hope and pray that the power of the United States may be used to promote policies and initiate efforts that foster peace and establish justice in the region. Perhaps it’s an impossible task, but it’s something for which I must pray. And perhaps it is something for which all I can do is pray. So, here is my (sincere, if not entirely "proper") prayer for peace (you may want to edit this for use in your congregation’s Sunday worship):
God of Peace: Guide the hearts, minds and actions of all who can influence this current Middle East crisis. Grant that Hezbollah stops doing this shit. Grant that Israel stop doing its shit, too. Grant also that the United States stops doing its shit. O Lord, grant that we all stop doing our same old shit – it leads only to destruction. Lead us into a new path of reconciliation, inspire us with the wisdom of your prophets, give us a vision of your peaceable Kingdom, and reveal to us your truth.