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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Tuesday, 13 January 2004

Topic: Bush

Political Discourse Made Simple

The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House and the Education of Paul O'Neill
Ron Suskind, Simon and Schuster Adult Publishing Group, 368 pages
Publication Date: January 13, 2004

This is all over the news. Everyone is talking about it.

Paul O'Neill, who had been CEO of Alcoa, was Bush's first Treasury Secretary. He lasted two years, and then got fired. He shot off his mouth a lot. He thought the tax cuts for the rich were kind of stupid and wouldn't do much good. He thought the tariffs on imported steel would cost jobs, and be stupid too. That sort of thing.

Yeah, and in the book he says the planning for the invasion and occupation of Iraq started nine days after Bush took office, eight months before the WTC and Pentagon attacks. We were going to removed the government of Iraq and occupy that country no matter what - we were going to war. It had been decided. Bush and his crew just decided not to tell us that.

Some people find this disturbing. Some of us just sigh.

Eric Alterman at MSNBC's Altercation has been listening to those on the right, the Bush guys who say this is nothing to fret about. He hears what they're saying.
"It's no big deal that Bush and company were plotting the invasion of Iraq in January of 2001 without ever mentioning it in the election; that was the policy of the Clinton administration too. Everybody wanted to overthrow Saddam Hussein." Or in other words, "Why is this even news? Let's get back to what a brave selfless leader we have."

It's hard to know where to begin over how disingenuous this argument is. I mean sure, I wanted to overthrow Saddam Hussein too. The question, like all questions, is one of means and ends.

Did I want to overthrow Saddam Hussein if it meant undermining our democratic debate with deliberate deception; spending hundreds of billions, perhaps trillions of dollars in reconstruction costs; killing hundreds, if not thousands of young men and women; killing thousands of Iraqis; inspiring more anti-U.S. terrorism; nearly destroying the Atlantic Alliance; and making the U.S. more isolated and hated than it has ever been in its entire history?

Um, no.

And neither would most Americans, I'm pretty sure.

And if Bush had been honest with the country about his intentions during the 2000 election - and if the media had paid more attention - Nick Lemann had this in the New Yorker in January 2001, by the way - instead of worrying about Gore's alleged character flaws, Bush would have certainly lost the election by a big enough margin to prevent the Supreme Court from handing him his minority "victory."
Maybe so. Too late now.

Posted by Alan at 16:39 PST | Post Comment | Permalink

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