Voice in the Wilderness

The news about the "war on terror" your local newspaper won't print.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Accountability gap

When you live in an American city without a credible information source, sometimes it boggles the mind at what the rest of the world is seeing and hearing about America that Americans do not. So when the president of the United States, when asked why no one has been held accountable for the most ill-conceived and executed military misadventure in our nation's history, says that it's not necessary to, then a little more than the usual astonishment must ensue.

George W. Bush was interviewed by the Washington Post, which seems to have slowly swung back toward the traditional role of the American press, which is to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." For the entire grandeur of the interview, feel free to read the transcript. But the salient point was how Mr. Bush, on the eve of his inauguration, responded to a question in this manner, according to the BBC's take of the Post piece:
The newspaper asked Mr Bush why no-one had been held responsible for wrong information about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or mistakes made after the US-led war.

"Well, we had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 election," he replied.

"And the American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and they chose me, for which I'm grateful."
So, in other words: "If people had been sufficiently concerned about the war, they would have voted to stop it, and they voted for me, who started it, which means they don't want to stop it, and if they don't want to stop it then it's proceeding along the way I -- and therefore, they -- want, which means everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds."

Or, in other words, "l'etat, c'est moi." I am the state.

This statement from Bush was only slightly more illuminating than the way he answered a question about Osama bin Laden:
As for perhaps the most notorious terrorist, Osama bin Laden, the administration has so far been unsuccessful in its attempt to locate the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Asked why, Bush said, "Because he's hiding."
Oh, well. Or is that Orwell?

Refusing to point out that the president had made a 180-degree turn in his outlook, as if it were the most natural flip-flop in the world, the Post quoted Bush as indicating, "Who said that U.S. forces would assuredly be welcomed as liberators, and that the military victory was assured before it even began?" No. Now, the operative statement is, "There could be some bumps in the road along the way."
In the interview, the president urged Americans to show patience as Iraq moves slowly toward creating a democratic nation where a dictatorship once stood. But the relentless optimism that dominated Bush's speeches before the U.S. election was sometimes replaced by pragmatism and caution.

"On a complicated matter such as removing a dictator from power and trying to help achieve democracy, sometimes the unexpected will happen, both good and bad," he said. "I am realistic about how quickly a society that has been dominated by a tyrant can become a democracy. . . . I am more patient than some."
And so are his shills. Unless you were listening to National Public Radio last Friday, you missed these statements from Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, which were further reported by al Jazeera:
"Clearly, we don't see the election itself as a pivotal point," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told NPR on Friday. "It's the beginning of a process, the process where Iraqis will write a constitution and at the end of the year will actually vote for a permanent government." (Listen to the full interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep.)
Of course, Armitage's boss was right on message, al Jazeera said:
Rather than ushering in Iraq's first free and fair national elections for decades, the Bush administration has now limited its ambition for a vote it refuses to postpone.

"I think a successful election will be an election where most of the population has gotten a chance to vote, and even though we may not get the same kind of numbers in the Sunni area, we're going to have to go forward and use the results of this election to build on," Secretary of State Colin Powell told PBS.
This won't be one of those successful elections, though, Powell said:
"The insurgency is not going away as a result of this election. In fact, perhaps, the insurgents might become more emboldened," Powell said.
Here in the wilderness we aren't too bright. But let's see if we can understand this:
  • We have a war whose reasons have been thoroughly discredited.
  • No one needs to be held accountable for it because if someone needed to be, 51 percent of the voting public would not have voted for its architect, George W. Bush.
  • Nearly two thousand American sons and daughters and uncounted tens of thousands of Iraqis will have died not to prevent Saddam Hussein from nuking New York or contaminating Chicago.
  • Nor will they have died to bring democracy to Iraq. At least right away.
But that's OK. George W. Bush is patient. Should we be?

Next: What the Post Reporters asked . . . and didn't ask.


Post a Comment

<< Home