Monday, September 12, 2005
Bu$hCo's fabulous reality swindle
Bush on Sept. 13, 2001: "The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our No. 1 priority and we will not rest until we find him."
Bush on March 3, 2002: "And the idea of focusing on one person is -- really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of this mission."
On Aug. 25 -- four days before a terrorist known as Katrina attacked the Gulf Coast -- Bush delivered a speech before the VFW in Salt Lake City. Five times he invoked Sept. 11, 2001, while justifying Iraq and the overall war on terror.
Bush said: "We're not yet safe. Terrorists in foreign lands still hope to attack our country. They still hope to kill our citizens. The lesson of Sept. 11, 2001, is that we must confront threats before they fully materialize."
Doubtless that is true, but the threats must be real, not fictions. And fiction can be avoided only by not combining facts in a way that create errors such as the notion that repeatedly invoking 9/11 in the same breath as Iraq will somehow establish an equivalence between bin Laden and Saddam, or the equally fatuous idea that claiming no one could have foreseen the failure of the New Orleans levees obscures the obligation this government had to rescue people, as if establishing a fact requires mere declaration and some mild persuasion.
This talent for conflating one thing with another to create alternative truths went into full bloom as the Gulf Coast turned into a swamp and people died for lack of a coordinated rescue.
The White House and Bush's apologists, stung by criticism that federal response was lacking, went in search of everything from the political registration of the New Orleans mayor to 100 school buses swamped in a lot, to shift blame for people stranded days after the storm.
They dealt with New Orleans the same way they dealt with Iraq. Confronted with inconvenient facts, they constructed an alternative narrative. When one reality doesn't suit, they retreat to the madrassas of Fox News and talk radio.
Two conflicting realities, fact and opinion, stand like Twin Towers of unreality, a ready target for the next enemy we misjudge and the history that will someday wonder how an empire could enwrap so much of the world and not comprehend what it embraced. - zing!