Dissonance about the legacy

Jon Ward takes a look at the fact that the “Debate over Bush legacy [is] not so simple”. The contrast is between US policy expression in the Mid-east and Africa.

This was the man, after all, caricatured by many critics at antiwar rallies as a baby-eating, blood-soaked monster. And yet here he was performing true good works, and effective at that, with no apparent motive of self-interest.

“They were simply utterly different policies,” Mr. Ruxin said. “In sub-Saharan Africa, we had a policy that was deeply empowering and humanitarian.

“I cannot deny and can only compartmentalize the difference between our foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan and in Africa.”

“People need to look at the wider record rather than just use a caricature based on one decision.”

This is a classic means of handling cognitive dissonance by compartmentalizing reality so the parts you can handle are separated from those that just don’t fit. Eventually, if health is to be retained, the walls between the compartments will dissolve and the contribution of the various parts will be seen in their proper role in the overall reality.

Another such expression of dissonance is the recent repeated headline that some administration official has admitted that torture has occurred. The contrast here is between the stridency of its reporting and the back story. The use of these allegations to rationalize opinions has resulted in numerous investigations and commissions. All have failed to yield anything of significance. Despite this reality, anything that can remotely seem to be supporting the allegation is given strong emphasis. Hopefully, reality will eventually come into play on this one, too.

Comments are closed.