-- There was the president at his press conference
looking just like a turtle on a fence post. "They
(weapons of mass destruction) could still be there.
They could be hidden." Saddam Hussein is still
an "ally" of the 9-11 terrorists. Hussein was
still "a direct threat" to America. Oi.
The Nation points out a charming little Bush thesis:
"Some of the debate really centers around the
fact that people don't believe Iraq can be free;
that if you're Muslim, or perhaps brown-skinned,
you can't be self-governing or free." The infamous
"some people" making this racist argument are
cleverly hidden: I never heard of it before Bush
trotted it out.
I got a lovely question last week: "Why do you
and your ilk (it's hard to speak for my entire
ilk) hate George W. Bush so much and love Osama
bin Laden?" If that's what public discussion has
come down to, we really are in trouble. In fact,
we're in trouble anyway.
According to the Rand think tank study on peacekeeping,
we would need 500,000 troops in Iraq just to provide
security. Guess what? We don't have 'em. We're
stuck big time. It may not be Vietnam, but it's
sure a quagmire.
A heavy contender in the Immortal Idiocy category
is Paul Wolfowitz's pre-war assertion to Congress,
"There is no history of ethnic conflict in Iraq."
According to a report in the New York Times, Sunni,
Shi'a and Kurds are all arming themselves in anticipation
of civil war. (Some superb reporting from Iraq
is being done by John Kifner and John Burns in
The perpetually peevish pundit George Will has
condescended to explain to us all that our problems
in Iraq are but the obligations of empire. Yup,
Bwana Will-ji says we gotta take up the white
man's burden. "Regime change, occupation, nation-building
-- in a word, empire --are a bloody business.
Now Americans must steel themselves for administering
the violence necessary to disarm or defeat Iraq's
urban militias." That's us, gotta steel ourselves
to administer the necessary violence because THEY
are making us do it. One assumes after penning
this advice, Bwana Will-ji grabbed the memsahib
and headed on down to the Imperialists' Ball.
Meanwhile, the Heathers (as Washington's lightweight
pundits are collectively known) are atwitter over
the new Bob Woodward book. From reading secondhand
accounts of it, the item that stopped me was not
when Bush decided to invade Iraq --- as per Clinton's
testimony to the 9-11 commission and Paul O'Neill's
book, Bush apparently wanted to invade from before
he was sworn in. It's the Prince Bandar story
that left me whomper-jawed. Do you remember when
someone who was connected to someone who was connected
to someone who was connected to China was found
to have raised money for Bill Clinton? The right
wing came completely unglued over it, and all
manner of hideous conspiracy theories were advanced.
Maybe the Saudis trying to influence our elections
shouldn't startle me -- the new book "House of
Bush, House of Saud" is all about that connection.
Still, the non-denial denials from the White House
and the Saudis smell like rotten meat. Just what
we need, a prez in hock to the Saudis.
One of the eerie things about Bush's press conference
performance was just how divorced from reality
he is. Not only is he still claiming we're going
to find the WMD and that Saddam Hussein was linked
to 9-11, but he actually claimed we went to war
to save the credibility of the United Nations.
The man is living in Fantasyland.
As Lewis Lapham points out in an essay in the
current Harper's, we are seeing "the systematic
substitution of ideological certainty for reasonable
doubt across the entire spectrum of issues bearing
on the public health and welfare. ... The disdain
for disloyal or unpatriotic fact defines the Bush
Administration's approach not only to questions
likely to embarrass the oil, weapons and insurance
industries but also to those that might interfere
with its fanciful conceptions of war and money."
Lapham cites the report by the Union of Concerned
Scientists, "Scientific Integrity in Policymaking,"
a depressing collection of instances in which
the administration has either censored or ignored
scientific fact. Those who have known Bush for
a long time know he is capable of leaving the
realm of fact and logic in favor of his "gut"
or "instinct" on several issues. It seems to me
the trait is becoming more pronounced.
Denying that Iraq is a rapidly escalating tragedy
will do nothing to help us or the Iraqis get out
of it. Pointing out that it's a mess does not
make one a fan of Osama bin Laden nor a bigot
concerning "brown-skinned people." Let's get a
grip here, team.
To find out more about Molly Ivins and read features
by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists,
visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2004 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Posted: April 28, 2004