911 Plus Five Equals...?
Monday is the fifth anniversary of IX-XI, and President Bush has apparently decided to prepare us for our national day of mourning by delivering a weeklong series of seminars on fear mongering.
Okay, okay, maybe "fear mongering" is a bit much. Perhaps a better phrase would be "PR campaign of cheap political calculation," or "systematic exploitative pandering" or "a typical sleazy example from the Karl Rove electioneering handbook." Or as we have to come know it during the last six years: "business as usual."
First Dubya played the Nazi card, calling Democratic plans for a phased withdrawal of our forces from Iraq an appeasement similar to Chamberlain's treatment of Hitler in '39. I'm surprised he didn't unveil secret footage of Nancy Pelosi brandishing a rolled-up umbrella.
Then he played the Red Menace card, invoking Lenin and intimating a hammer and cycle tattoo on Howard Dean's forehead invisible only due to a thickly slapped on layer of "Dark Egyptian Number 4" makeup.
And if these two jackbooted images don't do the trick, expect to hear him summon up other more ancient scourges like the Huns and the Mongols and the Visigoths, in his never-ending quest to keep Americans all aquiver so we run and hide behind his urban camouflaged pants right up until the clock strikes 8pm PST, November 7, 2006. Screw Hawaii.
Uncharacteristically, Democrats refused to curl up in their customary flinching fetal position at the sound of the President's big bad rhetoric, and ratcheted up their criticism of his War policies, calling for the institutionalized bitch-slapping of Donald Rumsfeld in a transparently futile attempt to get the Secretary of Defense to join 10,000 Intel workers in next month's unemployment line. Predictable as a papier mache roof in a Category 3 Hurricane? Yes. But as they say about fire, it take politics to fight politics.
White House spokesman Tony Snow knee-slapped and guffawed and scoffed at the Democrats' proposal stating that portraying Rumsfeld as a bogeyman "may make for good politics but makes for lousy strategy." And one can't immediately discount that opine, because if anybody has experience with lousy strategies, it's this White House.
An administration that strategized the best way to stem terrorist activity was to invade a country that had none. An administration that stragetized that applying car battery contacts to a prisoner's nipples was not torture because it wasn't life threatening. An administration that stragetized that causing the death of over 100,000 non-combatant Iraqis was going to win over the hearts and minds of their countrymen. An administration that considers the best strategist to be the one who finds the biggest stick. Do the names Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and John Bolton have any meaning here?
In just one of his series of deep-tissue massages of fear and loathing, Bush mentioned Osama bin Laden by name 18 times, conveniently neglecting to mention it was HE who DISBANDED the CIA division devoted to finding the 6'7" Arabian guy traipsing around the Kyhber Pass, dragging behind him a solar powered kidney dialysis machine from the islamabad Sharper Image Catalogue.
A long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, the President spoke to the country of bin Laden: "He can run, but he can't hide." You know what, it's been five years. I think they're both hiding -- one behind the billowing skirts of the other.