I know I spent all day driving through the woods of Massachusetts, but a discussion on one of my email lists and a fascinating afternoon of politics made me wonder about a few things. George Tenet, the director of the CIA was hung out to dry today by taking blame for the “Iraq has been trying to purchase uranium from Niger” part of Bush’s State of the Union speech in January, even though any American with a pulse have got to figure there’s way more to this than meets the press. Either Tenet is the biggest fuck-up in government, or else he has been told to take a dive by the Powers That Be. Or, more interestingly, he was told to take a dive, and did so, but has some revenge cooked up. God knows the CIA had to be under a shitload of pressure from Cheney’s crew to find evidence of Hussein’s “Al-Qaeda connections” or some other bit of ephemera, so Tenet may be folding in order to play a longer hand of poker. Both Nixon and Johnson (and JFK, if he’d lived long enough) found out what happens when you blame the CIA for your own screw-ups.
Now, I’m mindful of my friend Bill’s consternation of a few days ago, and I’m not trying to be an un-nuanced gadfly in the ointment, but I just have to ask: at what point are rational people allowed to call Bush a liar? I’m not being original here, so allow me some simplicity. If you go to war because you say that a country has weapons of mass destruction, and then you kick the shit out of them, and it turns out they didn’t even have a program devoted to WMD, it either means you have presided over a colossal failure of intelligence, or you’re a hornswoggler. Conservatives can’t have it both ways: either Bush is unfit for office because he’s a liar, or he is unfit for office because he’s willing to kill thousands of people in a faraway country based on worthless information.
Now he’s trying to appeal to the average American’s dim-bulbed idea of bad guys vs. good guys by saying that the world is better off without Hussein no matter how we did it. Even Rumsfeld, backpedaling faster than Lance Armstrong about to smash into the Louvre, said that America attacked Iraq NOT because of new information, but because of old information distilled “through the prism” of September 11. Gee, I sure hope that’s good enough for the six thousand and fifty eight Iraqi civilians killed so far, as well as the two-hundred and fifteen American families who have lost a son or daughter in the last five months.
If Bush had said that we were going to oust Hussein for humanitarian reasons, I could have swallowed it, no questions asked. But the way he did it – along with his cabal of hawks – should be an insult to every American. He not only lied to you, he expected you not to care when the truth came out. He has no respect for you as a thinking nation, and that kind of cynicism is responsible for every holocaust foisted upon the modern world.
But let me not get too carried away. I just want to know this simple question: if Bush and Co. lied to us about starting a war, why should he remain president? And if he didn’t lie, but has disastrously bad security intelligence, why do I still take the Q-train over the Manhattan Bridge every other day?