Duh-bya is so clearly out of ideas that it’s obvious he never actually had any.
From the moment he was told that two planes had hit the WTC, he only seemed to have one thought on his tiny little brain. Iraq. I can blame Iraq for this!
Well, he might not have thought of it in quite that way. I suspect it was more like, Gee, I guess I should have paid more attention to that briefing in August, and maybe those Clinton folks had it right — and I bet somehow Iraq was involved too.
See, despite my loathing for Bush, which is genuine, I still don’t want to believe the absolute worst of him.*
(This is a courtesy I do not extend to Dick or Rummy, both of whom I believe to be cynical and vile manipulators of public will. I simply don’t believe Bush is bright enough for that level of scheming.)
Before Il Duce’s address last night — which I could not watch owing to utter, seething revulsion, but got via transcript from the Washington Post — Keith Olbermann had a comment to make as his show, Countdown, wrapped up for the night. Speaking before the backdrop of the WTC’s foundations, he had this to offer, in part:
The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had ‘something to do’ with 9/11 is “lying by implication.”
The impolite phrase is “impeachable offense.”
Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space, and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.
For the record, I think Olbermann’s show is probably the best goddamned news digest in the history of the genre. Go to the link and read the entire commentary — it ran nearly ten minutes — as it’s absolutely worth it.
Disgust aside, I think it’s important to look at Bush’s latest diatribe and see if there’s anything salvageable in there, or at least worthy of rebuttal. Turns out there is, and it shows how entrenched certain ideas are in Bush’s mind, how dangerous it is to hand the reins over to an unintelligent “president” and a non-opposition Congress committed to giving him carte blanche for half a decade. All excerpts following come from the Post’s transcript.
On this solemn night, I have asked for some of your time to discuss the nature of the threat still before us, what we are doing to protect our nation, and the building of a more hopeful Middle East that holds the key to peace for America and the world.
There’s already a dangerous conflation here — and a complete glossing-over of the abysmal failure in Afghanistan, the nation we attacked, the nation we reduced to rubble, the nation we then ignored in Bush’s drive toward Baghdad.
We have learned that they form a global network of extremists who are driven by a perverted vision of Islam: a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent.
Okay, while this is largely true, I should point out here that in the last three weeks, both Dick and Rummy have gone on record saying they too, in essence, “reject tolerance and despise all dissent”. (Largely true in that it’s not a totalitarian ideology — it’s a totalitarian religious ideology; but calling it that also leaves right-wing fundamentalist Christian wackos open to similar labeling, and Bush can’t afford to lose any more of that voting bloc than he already has.)
America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over. So do I. But the war is not over, and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious.
Then it will never be over. The only way “we” will emerge “victorious” is by the eradication of all fundamentalist religion, which is not possible, because the religion itself is an expression of human nature. The only way to get rid of extremism is to get rid of a part of our own humanity.
Or at least that would be the case, if naked aggression were the only possible response to naked aggression. I’m not sure what the response could be at this point to the Islamic extremists any more than the response to Christian extremists, but I’m fairly sure that the best way to combat a meme is with another meme. Ideological inoculation, in other words, to fight off a kind of infection of the psyche that is not, strictly speaking, a mental illness, but that behaves a lot like one.
But for that to happen, we need to present olive branches and open hands, not war and invasion. The only way to claim the ethical high ground is to actually occupy it.
If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.
This may be true. Whether or not it is, the current approach is the wrong one. We should stage a scaled withdrawal from Iraq and hightail it over to Afghanistan now, stabilizing it entirely before it slides into an Iraq-like state of chaos.
In other words, much of the currrent instability in the Middle East that Bush decries was brought about by our own actions in the last five years. Can anyone seriously imagine that if we “stay the course” — that if we don’t adjust strategy at all — things will get better?
On September the 11th, we resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor or support them.
This is laying the groundwork for the whammy, again tying Iraq to the WTC and Pentagon attacks — falsely, as everyone but the White House knows now.
So we helped drive the Taliban from power in Afghanistan.
And then left Afghanistan in the hands of the Taliban.
I am often asked why we’re in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The answer is that the régime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat.
To what or whom, he never says. This strikes me as being a significant omission.
The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power.
This is simply, clearly, demonstrably, provably, verifiably utterly wrong. If the subject weren’t so grim, it would be a real howler.
Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone.
“The terrorists” have nothing to do with Iraq. Nothing at all. Whatever we do in Iraq, stay or go, the mistake is in assuming “the terrorists” will in any way be affected. Bush himself said earlier that Islamic extremists are essentially stateless. So how can he then assert that our actions in a nation that never was affiliated with the Qaeda are somhow going to affect the Qaeda?
If we continue our actions in Iraq as we have, it would be a mistake to think that “the terrorists” will leave us alone.
Furthermore, withdrawal of our forces from Iraq doesn’t mean we want “the terrorists” to “leave us alone”. It means we want our boys and girls out of a conflict that doesn’t belong to them in the first place, so we can honor their loyalty and service, so we can have reserves in place to deal with genuine threats to national security.
Conflation of sensible withdrawal with cowardice is every bit as filthy as conflation of Iraq with terrorism.
The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad.
This is not only wrong, but it’s unjustifiable and unsupportable in any way at all. Bush appears to be aware of this, because he doesn’t offer any support for or defense of this statement. He simply makes it, assuming that because he said it, we’ll believe it, and that settles it.
Every one of our troops is a volunteer. And since the attacks of September the 11th, more than 1.6 million Americans have stepped forward to put on our nation’s uniform.
Many of whom are wondering why, now, given the obvious stupidity of the administration. And it’s almost certain that, if things continue as they have been, the claim of an all-volunteer army will soon lie on the rubbish-heap of history.
We have created the Department of Homeland Security; we have torn down the wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence from sharing information; we have tightened security at our airports and seaports and borders; and we’ve created new programs to monitor enemy bank records and phone calls.
The DHS is a joke, incapable of handling even predicted natural disasters; the “wall” George refers to is actually the “wall” used to keep law enforcement from transforming into KGB-style state police; there is no security at our borders, as millions of illegal immigrants know; airport security screening is recognized as a joke by the screeners as much as it is by the passengers; seaport security is a well-documented sham; and the programs being used to “monitor enemy bank records and phone calls” are unconstitutional.
Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement and intelligence professionals, we have broken up terrorist cells in our midst and saved American lives.
Again, not a scrap of evidence to support this claim.
In the first days after the 9/11 attacks, I promised to use every element of national power to fight the terrorists wherever we find them. One of the strongest weapons in our arsenal is the power of freedom. The terrorists fear freedom as much as they do our firepower.
By this logic, Dick and Rummy are terrorists.
The speech winds down a little, eventually dropping into religious blather about Americans praying, but he does happen to drop one or two more jewels into the swill, as it were, so I’ll leave off with this:
Our nation has endured trials, and we face a difficult road ahead. Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country.
I agree. That’s why I hope the country unifies in November and creates the opposition Congress we’ve needed for half a decade.
And then we start looking into Olbermann’s assertions about impeachable offenses.
* Of course, I could be misunderestimating him.
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