Thursday, November 09, 2006

Donald Rumsfeld's departure may herald a change of tone in the US and some new hope for Iraq

The significance of the ‘tone’ of an administration is often overlooked. One of the nicest changes in Britain on 1st May 1997 was the move from the brash, heartless Thatcher/Major eras to the more gentle, compassionate Blair-led one. For example, it made a real difference to the way people spoke and acted; racist jokes, boasting about speeding or tax evasion, dissing the poor as worthless scroungers etc. quite quickly became less acceptable in ‘normal’ society.

Perhaps a similar change will happen in the US as a result of the mid-term elections which are, of course, widely discussed in editorial and comment pieces from newspapers all over the world. I’m sure you don’t need links from this site to find them.

Let’s hope the arrogant certainties that have characterised the Bush era will make way for a calmer, more reflective tone. Donald Rumsfeld seems to be a master of arrogant certainties. Although he’s not alone in being responsible for the disastrous post-invasion policies that the Americans have pursued in Iraq, he has certainly driven them forward with a deeply unpleasant vigour.

His departure must be a sign of hope.

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