A View From The Handbasket

Saturday, October 28, 2006
Saturday Morning Cartoons
Posted by neros_fiddle at 2:32 PM


Here's some highlights from Bush's recent chat with right-wing media types, with commentary by Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell. The overriding theme seems to be that Bush knows nothing about a lot of subjects, most notably US history and Islam.

Bush on the Iraqi barbarians at the gate:

"If we leave, they will follow us here." Bush then explains that this is what makes the Iraq struggle "really different from other wars we've been in." This completely overlooks the official U.S. line in trying to halt the communists in Vietnam and Korea, not to mention the Nazis and the Japanese in World War II.


Presidents don't swear:

Bush states, "al-Qaeda is lethal as hell," and then instructs, "scratch the 'hell' -- it's lethal."


Bush builds a straw man:

Another revealing moment comes when Bush flatly declares that only "25% or so" of Americans want the U.S. out of Iraq. In fact, a Gallup poll released this week shows that the number is actually 54% who want us out quickly -- within a year at most. Bush also mischaracterizes the war opponents, saying they "just don't believe in war," as if they are all pacifists.


Bush does the thing he says he never does, yet does all the time -- suggests Iraq was behind 9/11:

Then he goes on: "I believe when you get attacked and somebody declares war on you, you fight back. And that's what we're doing." Of course, this ignores the fact that Iraq did not declare war on us -- but it's been so long now, maybe he's just forgotten.


Incurious George:

A critical moment arrives when Bush announces, "And I'm trying to figure out a matrix that says things are getting better. I think that one way to measure is less violence than before, I guess. We'll have to see what happens here after Ramadan. I believe these people -- oh, I was going to tell you Abizaid believes Ramadan, no question, caused them to be more violent because he says there's some kind of reward during Ramadan for violence."

Memo to the president: Ramadan ended three days ago and the number of Americans killed continues to surge, with at least five killed in the past day alone.


That might be my favorite one of the bunch, since it shows that Bush doesn't care a whit about the beliefs and motivations of those funny brown people we're killing. A point driven home by this:

Sometimes the columnists offered Bush suggestions on how to sell the war on terror. This happened after the president described the enemy, bizarrely, in the broadest terms: "We will press and press and press to protect ourselves. And this stuff about how Iraq is causing the enemy -- whatever excuse they need, they have made up their mind to attack, and they grab on to things to kind of justify. But if it's not Iraq, it's Israel. If it's not Israel, it's the Crusades. If it's not the Crusades, it is the cartoon. I'm not kidding you. I'm not kidding you."

This provokes "laughter," according to the transcript. But Bush presses on. "They are cold-blooded killers."

"If it's not the Crusades, it's the cartoon -- that's a good slogan," one of his guests suggests.


Here's a fun exercise: figure out exactly what the President means by "they" in the above quote.

And finally, Bush offers perhaps the truest expression yet of the Bush Doctrine:

But Bush calls the war "a struggle of good versus evil," adding, "Maybe it's not nuanced enough for some of the thinkers and all that stuff -- that's fine. But that's exactly what a lot of people like me think."


There's a reason why what most of what the administration does stubbornly resists any effort to understand it using our crude tools of logic and analysis -- they don't care about such things. Exercise and maintenance of power is a prime motivator, but so is gratification of base impulses. Bush and his followers like to deride the Sixties counterculture and its "do what feels good" credo, but you only have to look at their policies to see that this might be one of the most indulgent administrations in recent memory. They invaded Iraq, after all, primarily because they simply wanted to.

If cartoons are the metaphors of the day, then Bush must be the King of Id.

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