GWB and the palace of power
“The palace of power is a labyrinth of interconnecting rooms… It’s windowless, and there is no visible door. Your first task is to find out how to get in. When you’ve solved that riddle, when you come as a supplicant into fhe first anteroom of power, you will find in it a man with the head of a jackal, who will try to chase you out again. If you stay, he will try to gobble you up. If you can trick your way past him, you will enter a second room guarded this time by a man with the head of a rabid dog, and in the room after that you’ll face a man with the head of a hungry bear, and so on. In the last room but one there’s a man with the head of a fox. This man will not try to keep you away from the last room, in which the man of true power sits. Rather, he will try to convince you that you are already in that room, and that he himself is that man.
If you succeed in seeing through the fox-man’s tricks, and if you get past him, you will find yourself in the room of power.
The room of power is unimpressive and in it the man of power faces you across an emtpy desk. He looks small, insignificant, fearful; for now that you have penetrated his defences he must give you your heart’ s desire. That’s the rule. But on the way out the fox-man, the bear-man, the dog-man and the jackal-man are no longer there. Instead, the rooms are full of half-human flying monsters, winged men with the heads of birds, eagle-men, and vulture-men, man-gannets and hawk-men. They swoop down and rip at your treasure. Each of them claws back a little piece of it. How much of it will you manage to bring out of the house of power? You beat at them, you shield the treasure with your body. They rake at your back with gleaming blue-white claws. And when you’ve made it and are outside again, squinting painfully in the bright light and clutching your poor, torn remnant, you must persuade the sceptical crowd – the envious, impotent crowd! – that you have returned with everything you wanted. If you don’t, you’ll be marked as a failure forever.”
Sure GWB does not have the time to read old books like García Márquez’s “Autumn of the Patriarch”. And sure he does not have time to read Salman Rushdie’s “Shalimar the Clown”. He else might have foreseen what his administration faces now after years of relentless deception, evasion and spin in the war on terrorism, together with shoddy leadership and clear violations of rules, as well as bending of laws. Alas, there is some comfort for him and his clan. What the bedside story for a sleepy child in Rushdie’s novel omits are the modern entanglements of politics and economy, and there is not one word about nepotism or bank accounts. The Bush administration might not bring home much from it’s quest for power. It’s main exponents might even be marked as eternal failures. But none of them will have to pay the bills for it, and none of them will get any poorer.