Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Connect the Dolts

I just want to say off the top that I am completely neutral on the subject of the President of the United States. Couldn't be more objective. Live and let live, that's my motto... not that it's the President's mind you... though as he said last night, he hates to see dead Americans on TV.
(They should be crammed into unmarked graves I assume, where they aren't going to upset any old touchy-feely, sensitive-pants viewers - like the ones cursing his name as they hunted fruitlessly for last night's pre-empted installment of American Idol.)
But it's probably fair to say that as impartial as i am, when I see his face - when I catch a glimpse of those flared skinny nostrils, when I watch him slide that little lizard tongue out to punctuate each and every empty-headed, empty-hearted slogan ("We serve the cause of liberty", "As long as necessary and not one day more") when he smiles that condescending smarmy smirk... I just want to bash his face in.
Last night, as he addressed the nation in a press conference made notable by a complete lack of new information, and a near-universal absence of straight answers to the press, the President did his best to allay fears, shore up support and never, but never, use the letter 'g' on the end of any of his words. He did some thinkin', knowin', doin', feelin' and showin', but more than that, he did a lot of avoidin', obfuscatin', falsifyin' and lyin' if'n you want to know the truth.
But perhaps his most amazin' feat of convaluted logic was his verbal legerdemain in drawing a line between September the 11th and the war in Iraq. As best as I can remember, it went something like this:
For some time there has been a threat of terrorism... 9/11 equals the gathering threat... Saddam Hessein represents a terrorist threat... therefore, Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States... therefore we attacked Saddam Hussein. And any minute now (wait for it!) the United States and therefore the world is going to be safe from terrorist attacks like September 11th.
Ta da!
I'm sure I wasn't the only one going "Now wait just a minute - say that again?" But there wasn't time - and he wasn't stopping. He was about three quarters of the way home at that point and going into the home stretch. You could almost see him anticipating the finish line ("Here I come -almost done! Wheeeee!") and all he had left to get through was the Q & A from the press. Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy. He just reiterated everything he'd already said. Nothing simpler.
And to give the press its due, with the exception of USA Today (which lobbed him a ball so soft you could have tucked it under your aching brain and grabbed a quick 40 winks) they pretty much went for the biggies: did he admit any mistakes? Did he have any regrets? Did he take any responsibility? Did he feel the need to apologise to the families of the victims of the World Trade Centre bombings? No, no, no and no it appears - and would have been much clearer had he addressed himself to the questions in any discernable way whatsoever. But he didn't. As best as I can remember, it went something like this:
Reporter: "Mr President, do you feel you made any mistakes at all in the lead up to September 11th or in its aftermath? Is there anything you could have done better?"
Mr. President: "The American people know what I mean when I say that we're all about freedom. They know a free society is a happy society. And that's not America's gift; oh no - that's the ALMIGHTY'S gift to America. Some people think if you're Muslim or brown-skinned then you can't be free. But that isn't true. We're going to make sure of that... no matter what it takes. And we're goin' to find out the truth about those weapons of mass destruction - we found 50 tons of mustard gas on a turkey farm in Libya and if that ain't proof, well I don't know what is!"
Reporter: "Wha...?"
And so on. The President made a point of pointing out that all those people who pointed out that he should have taken a pre-emptive strike against Afghanistan, were "...mad when we did it to Iraq!" But he forgot to mention (or even point out) the fact that in the past eight years not a single act of terrorism against the U.S. was committed by Iraq. Details, details...
And then, hey - what do you know - the press conference was over and the President scuttled bow-leggedly away, just managing not to sprint as he rounded the corner and hove out of sight. Press conference over. Mission accomplished.
All he needed was a banner and an aircraft carrier and we could all have known the truth last night - the same way we found out last time he claimed it was all over.
It's really only just begun.

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