Jonathan Alter’s piece on Bush trying to pressure the NY Times into killing the story about his illegal spying scam doesn’t pull any punches where “W.” is concerned, but Alter simply notes in an aside that the NYT has “inexplicably” been sitting on this info for a year. When the history of this sad, sorry era has been written, presuming that there’s anybody left to write it, an integral element in the story must surely be the craven failure of the Fox News-whipped American media to tell the truth and stand up for the very freedoms it claims to guard so jealously.
December 2005 Archives
The Kings of the earth are men of might,
And cities are burned for their delight,
And the skies rain death in the silent night,
And the hills belch death all day!
But the King of Heaven, Who made them all,
Is fair and gentle, and very small;
He lies in the straw, by the oxen's stall --
(“Kings” by Joyce Kilmer)
Begging forgiveness from the copyright holders and a multitude of secular humanists, I beg to offer what might not be great poetry, but strikes me as damn good and ironic insight, worthy of the season and all too descriptive of our own would-be “King of the Earth” who apparently thinks he’s already king of the United States.
I, James C. Cobb, do solemnly resolve that in the year of our Lord 2006, I will step up my campaign to have the possum declared the state marsupial, find a way to vote for Kinky Friedman in the Texas gubernatorial election, prove conclusively that Al Gore was lying; the internet was actually invented by the folks who make Viagra and Cialis, persuade Congress to declare any bar that doesn’t serve Sam Adams in violation of the Patriot Act, and, as my crowning achievement, establish the “Heckuva Job, Brownie!” award, recognizing the most arrogantly incompetent Bush-admin-a-crat of the year, provided, of course, I can find a selection committee willing to wade through such a multitude of deserving candidates.
I actually made more resolutions, but the rest are mostly frivolous. Speaking of the Patriot Act, I see that its supporters are saying that anyone who opposes its renewal will be responsible if we are hit with another terrorist attack. By the same logic, if the act is renewed and we are still attacked , I guess its proponents will have to admit that, however useful it may have been in suppressing dissent, the Patriot Act was pretty much useless as a deterrent to terrorism.
The following appeared in Tuesday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Bush isn't a liar; he believed Saddam had WMD
Philip Klein - For the Journal-ConstitutionTuesday, December 6, 2005
“One thing that never ceases to amaze me about the "Bush lied" crowd is that when it comes to Iraq, they ignore the fact that President Bush is a political animal. On other issues, they are quick to attribute Bush's actions to Rovian political calculations, but when it comes to Iraq, they pretend that the president has no interest in winning elections. …
Bush's critics would have us believe that in a desperate attempt to gain support for the war, he began to exaggerate intelligence and outright lie to make it seem as though Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. But this requires believing that Bush knew that no WMD would be found in Iraq after the war. Why would Bush make false claims about WMD while advocating regime change --- the one policy that would conclusively prove that all of his claims were untrue?
It's one thing if Bush made a passing reference to WMD. But instead, his critics argue, he set himself up for further humiliation by making WMD the central rationale for the invasion of Iraq. As Bush's critics have reminded us, his administration spoke of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and exploited the image of a "mushroom cloud."
If Bush knew that these claims were false, why would he subject himself to global embarrassment with the 2004 presidential election approaching?
Viewed from a raw political perspective, the only explanation for Bush's prewar statements that makes sense is that Bush did believe that Saddam had WMD that would be found once he was toppled…..”
The first thing that came to mind when I read this was Adlai Stevenson’s contention that the very failure of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion was surely proof enough that the United States had not been behind it. Arguing about what Bush believed and when he believed it seems rather pointless at this juncture, since “believing” is often a willful act in and of itself. However, trying to make some sort of case for presidential ignorance or naïveté as a mitigating factor in the Iran-Contra fiasco didn’t really work out all that well for a cuddly old codger like Ronald Reagan, and let’s just say that “W”’s cuddle factor ain’t what it used to be and was never remotely Reaganesque to begin with.
In trying to divorce the Bush bunch’s orchestrated obsessiveness with WMD from “Rovian political calculations,” Mr. Klein ignores what seems to me a fairly bodacious and utterly cynical calculation : Once, as our decidedly un-cuddly VP confidently predicted, we had roared through Iraq like grain through a goose, our progress slowed only by the throngs of deliriously grateful natives determined to plant big wet kisses on our un-armored Hummers, and summarily dispatched Saddam to an eternally fiery and virgin-bereft reward, nobody would really give a damn about WMD’s one way or another. Had the premise for this calculation not proven sadly wrong, the calculation itself might have proven sadly correct.
BAGHDAD BOB TO THE RESCUE!!
Reports that we are paying Iraqi newspapers to run “news” stories intended to put our role in Iraq in a more positive light clearly reaffirm the Bush administration’s commitment to reshaping the Middle East in our image. After all, the Bush crowd had already been doing essentially the same thing over here. From a moral standpoint, I suppose it is marginally better to offer monetary compensation to influence the press than to rely simply on intimidation, as our terrorist insurgents appear to do, but neither approach exactly squares with the democratic aspirations we espoused when we invaded Iraq in the first place.
I’m not sure whether it’s been said too often or not enough, but from the highly suspect initial premise to the subversion of the very ideals we swore to install and secure to the transparently self-delusional search for a face-saving exit strategy, the total debacle that is the war in Iraq fairly screams “Vietnam Redux.” However, if “Vietnamization” soon translated into “wrap your arms around the landing gear and hang on for dear life,” the Saigon scenario may wind up looking like a Sunday School picnic compared to what’s in store when it’s time to boogie out of Baghdad.
In the meantime, however, I wouldn’t be surprised to see us put good old “Baghdad Bob” on the payroll as the star of a series of “Hoo-Ray USA!” infomercials on Iraqui tv. Why not? If this approach can make people buy salad spinners, why not news spinners as well?