Thursday, November 17, 2005

Trust me, baby...

At this point in his presidency--the 3rd Act, if you will--GWB might as well don a wife-beater shirt and beg America to "Trust me, baby...I'd never do anything to hurt you." Like most abusers, he probably learned this evil behaviour from a powerful male role-model (that would be Cheney, not GHWB;). Or perhaps he learned it from cruel Babs? Don't worry your "beautiful mind" about it. Whomever 'schooled' wee George on the finer points of cruelty is irrelevant now. He has matriculated with first class honours. Must feel pretty good for a change, eh? Sure, there were early glimmers of the man-that-would-be Boy King. Remember Harvard Biz school? His trenchant analysis of macro-economic models? "People are poor because they are lazy."

Yes, it's been a tough road to hoe (or to have had someone hoe that road for him). Well, he's definitely 'arrived.' You know you've made your bones when they can't stop comparing you to Nixon. First there was John Dean (former WH counsel to Nixon) and his book, "Worse than Watergate." Then there were the echoes of the Watergate-deniars: just replace "it was only a third-rate burglary" with "[the leak of a CIA agent's identity was just] "innocent" or "gossip."

Now we have Robert Scheer and Geov Parrish to complete the historical comparison.

[click "Read on, MacDuff!" to continue reading]

First, here's Scheer's "The Big Lie Technique" (Nation magazine):
Clearly on the defensive, Bush now sounds increasingly Nixonian as he basically calls the majority of the country traitors for noticing he tricked us. "Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war, but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people," the President said at an Air Force base in Alaska. "Leaders in my Administration and members of the United States Congress from both political parties looked at the same intelligence on Iraq, and reached the same conclusion: Saddam Hussein was a threat."
This is a manipulative distortion; saying Hussein was a threat--to somebody, somewhere, in some context--is not the same as endorsing a pre-emptive occupation of his country in a fantastically expensive and blatantly risky nation-building exercise. And the idea that individual senators and members of Congress had the same access to even a fraction of the raw intelligence as the President of the United States is just a lie on its face--it is a simple matter of security clearances, which are not distributed equally.
It was enormously telling, in fact, that the only part of the Senate which did see the un-sanitized National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq--the Republican-led Senate Select Intelligence Committee--shockingly voted in the fall of 2002 against the simple authorization of force demanded by a Republican President. Panicked, the warmongers in the White House and Pentagon pressured CIA Director George Tenet to rush release to the entire Hill a very short "summary" of the careful NIE, which made Hussein seem incalculably more dangerous than the whole report indicated. The Defense Intelligence Agency finally declassified its investigative report, DITSUM No. 044-02, within recent days. This smoking-gun document proves the Bush Administration's key evidence for the apocryphal Osama bin Laden-Saddam Hussein alliance--said by Bush to involve training in the use of weapons of mass destruction--was built upon the testimony of a prisoner who, according to the DIA, was probably "intentionally misleading the debriefers."
[...] Oblivious to the grim irony, Bush proclaims his war without end in Iraq the central front in a new cold war, never acknowledging that he has handed Al Qaeda terrorists a new home base. [...] Under Bush's watch, we not only suffered the September 11 terrorist attacks while he snoozed, but he has failed to capture the perpetrator of those attacks and has given Al Qaeda a powerful base in Iraq from which to terrorize. And this is the guy who dares tell his critics they are weakening our country.
And here's Geov Parrish with "When Presidents Lie" ( Parrish travels even further-back for historical comparisons:
The bigger the stakes, the bigger the lies, and there are no bigger stakes than war. They lie to Congress, they lie to the American public, they lie to the world. [...] There are tremendous institutional incentives for chief executives to call the military into action. Eisenhower knew what he was talking about when he warned of the dangers of the permanent military-industrial complex. The patriotism war whips up is always good for a bump in the poll numbers and a pass from an uncritical media. A lot of people make a lot of money from war, and a lot of other people -- people that don't matter to the leaders -- suffer. Power is seductive, and the people who crave power enough to want the most powerful job in the world are invariably never satisfied. They always want more. It's a story as old as humankind.
After the fall of Saigon, something called the "Vietnam Syndrome" set in, a very healthy response in which citizens and leaders were wary of committing troops to another foreign war. Then Ronald Reagan came along, and invaded Grenada, and waged covert wars in Central America, and people forgot.
Perhaps, given how catastrophic the invasion of Iraq has been -- for Iraqis, for the American military, for the federal budget, and for America's moral standing in the world -- there will come to be a similar "Iraq Syndrome." But we're not there yet. Powerful people, particularly in and around the Bush White House, continue to peddle war as the answer of first resort for a variety of diplomatic conflicts, from Syria to Iran to North Korea to Venezuela and even to China. They would be easy to dismiss as Strangelovian lunatics, had it not proven so ridiculously easy to sell wars in the past.
All you have to do is lie. Once you're in -- as we saw in Vietnam, and are seeing again in Iraq -- no matter how badly it goes, even the war's critics will be reluctant to call the whole thing off. [...] The lies of George W. Bush's White House are, in my opinion, an impeachable offense.
Chef also recommends the book by Brig. Gen. Smedley D. Butler: "War is a Racket." Bonus: it's only 66 pages :)


Blogger AL said...

I recently joined Progressive Bloggers and am making my way through everyone's site. I love the site. I watched the Fifth Estate last night and posted about it too. Pretty scary. Although I was appalled by the actions of these soldiers, I feel extremely so for them. Even after they ask for help, they are laughed at and told to "soldier up." I hope you stop by and check out REACT. Talk to you later.........AL

11/17/2005 9:09 PM  

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