April 24, 2004

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. CII

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

It is time once again to don the whites and lamé and assume the position and phrase, parrying the dull, rusty spoon-like thrust of Richard Cohen’s bland retorts, responding rapidly with a riposte worthy of the great sport of fisking. You, my four dear readers, may act as the jury and score this bout. Watch Dick lunge for Bush but miss badly, pulling strawmen from his ass with America's Ayatollah:

En Garde!

The term of the moment in Washington is "the wall."

All in all, he’s just another prick in “the wall.” Would it be unfair to point out that “the wall” was constructed by Clinton appointee Jamie Gorelick, since Dick the Gore-lick won’t mention it?

This is the legal barrier that once separated the CIA and its investigators from the FBI and its investigators, and which may have contributed to the confusion that enabled the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Enabled? So, now President George W. Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General John Ashcroft (and, of course, his jack-booted dissension crushing brigades), Paul Wolfowitz, etc., are co-dependents with Al Qaeda, enabling their erratic, destructive behavior? Will the insidious meme that “the government” could have prevented the attacks of 9/11 ever die? Not that death can keep a bad meme, or Richard’s communist grandfather – who’s due for another appearance any week now (maybe he’s been waiting for me to return?), down for long. Hell, I’d settle for the death of the meme that anybody other than Osama bin Laden and his merry band of murderers were responsible for 9/11.

A more interesting wall, however, was on view Tuesday evening in President Bush's prime-time news conference. It's the one between him and reality.

Bush is dumb. A brilliant press! Though one that is easily parried as it has been used far too often and to such little effect.

Never mind that even for Bush, this was a poor performance -- answers that resembled a frantic scavenger hunt for the right (or any) word or, too often, a thought.

A redoublement. Try again.

Never mind that he really had very little to say -- no exit plan for Iraq, …

Why does running away always come to mind first for illiberals?

… no second thoughts about Sept. 11, …

None, aside from the regret for not pushing harder to profile suspicious Arab or Islamic terrorists in airports, allowing CIA agents and FBI agents to share information, starting fresh by firing all of Bill Clinton’s straphangers who had failed for eight years to address the growing threat, and not liberating Iraq sooner perhaps.

… no wonderment, even, at the apparent disappearance of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and how that might have happened.

The key word here is “apparent.” I guess Richard must have missed the 60th annual dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association.

Like a kid who has been told otherwise, Bush persists in believing in his own version of Santa Claus. The weapons are there, somewhere -- in a North Pole of his mind.

Or as Blondie sang, “One way or another I’m gonna find you. I’m gonna gitcha, gitcha, gitcha, gitcha. One day, maybe next week.”

Why is it that illiberal utopians who demand the US go hat in hand to the UN over Iraq never mention the utter uselessness of the eighteen UN Security Council resolutions that Saddam Hussein was in perpetual violation of, or the UNSCAM scandal which only came to an end because of the liberation of Iraq. But while Richard is repeating his missing WMD mantra, let’s not forget the gassing of Kurds at Halabja, the destruction of the marsh Arab culture, the mass graves, the children’s prisons (right Scott?), the funding of homicide bombers in Gaza, the legacy of the invasion of Kuwait and its aftermath, providing a home for Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas and who knows what other terrorists, and all Saddam's other war crimes? Hard to believe that Richard Cohen used to advocate the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, isn’t it? That merits a yellow card.

What matters more is the phrase Bush used five times in one way or another: "We're changing the world."

Why this statement would bother an illiberal utopian is somewhat beyond me. They spend their entire lives trying to do this.

He used it always in reference to the war in Iraq and he used it in ways that would make even Woodrow Wilson, that presidential personification of naive morality, shake his head in bemusement.

Dick’s passé is so passé. No, I think Jimmy Carter is the presidential personification of naïve morality, and he’s got the Nobel Peace Prize to prove it! It’s true that Woody has one of those too, but he got his when it still meant something rather than being used as an opportunity to stick it to a Republican President – and Woody actually had to win a war to get his. I’d say George is a lot closer to Woody than Dick thinks.

In Bush's rhetoric, a war to rid Hussein of his weapons of mass destruction, a war to ensure that Condoleezza Rice's "mushroom cloud" did not appear over an American city, has mutated into an effort to reorder the world.

It’s a strategery thang. Once again, you have misunderestimated what’s going on, Dick.

"I also know that there's an historic opportunity here to change the world," Bush said of the effort in Iraq. But the next sentence was even more disquieting. "And it's very important for the loved ones of our troops to understand that the mission is an important, vital mission for the security of America and for the ability to change the world for the better." It is one thing to die to defend your country. It is quite another to do that for a single man's impossible dream. What Bush wants is admirable. It is not, however, attainable.

Obviously the illiberal part of Dick’s character is stronger than the utopian part. The urge to run away in the face of a dangerous challenge is strong!

Shortly after Sept. 11, Bush used the word "crusade" to characterize his response to the attacks. The Islamic world, remembering countless crusades on behalf of Christianity, protested, and Bush quickly interred the word in the National Archives or someplace.

Yes, crusade was one of many words used and then quickly retired out of sensitivity for those that lack the ability to differentiate between the 21st and the 12th centuries. Of course, it is so easily remembered by the Islamic world since so many of them are stuck in a time warp where the twelfth century crusades are more relevant than anything that has happened in the western world since the renaissance. Well, that and the constant prodding by the postmodern political proponents of victimization as a way of life. Would Dick be happier if the President resurrected the use of the word “crusade” and used it five times in a press conference?

Nonetheless, that is pretty much what Bush described in his news conference -- not a crusade for Christ and not one to oust the Muslims from Jerusalem but an American one that would eradicate terrorism and, in short, "change the world."

Works for me.

The United States, the president said, had been "called" for that task.

Uh oh. Now he’s “done” it. That “know-nothing” President has broken down “the wall” between “church” and “state.” Are they running a special on “irony” this week at Barnes and Noble?

Some people might consider this religious drivel and others might find it stirring, but whatever it is, it cannot be the basis for foreign policy, not to mention a war.

Some people might consider Richard Cohen’s anti-religious commentary drivel and others might find it stirring, but whatever it is, it cannot be the basis for intelligent criticism of foreign policy, not to mention intelligent criticism of a war.

Yet it explains, as nothing else can, just why Bush is so adamantly steadfast about Iraq and why he simply asserts what is not proved or just plain untrue -- the purported connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, for instance, or why Hussein was such a threat, when we have it on the word of David Kay and countless weapons inspectors that he manifestly was not.

Put the sword of Damocles back over our heads right now! Illiberal utopians demand imminent danger before acting, damn it! This yellow journalism predicated on yellow straw men merits another yellow card.

Bush talks as if only an atheist would demand proof when faith alone more than suffices.

Isn’t that something like the definition of an atheist?

He is America's own ayatollah.

Jeez, what’s Richard going to write about for the next seven months? There cannot be any worse insult to the President for the “in” crowd. This fleche merits a red card as Dick continues to talk past his opponent rather than to his opponent.

Several investigative commissions are now meeting in Washington, looking into intelligence failures -- everything from the failure to detect and intercept the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 to the assertion that Iraq was armed to the teeth with all sorts of awful stuff.

I guess somebody must have sprinkled some of that IBM pixie dust around Fallujah to create all those weapons and explosives in Iraq sometime after the end of major hostilities.

But what really has to be examined is how a single man, the president, took the nation and part of the world to war because, as he essentially put it Tuesday night, he was "called" to do it.

Dick. Dick. Dick. Dick. The vote in the Senate was 77-23 and in the House it was 296-133. And last time I checked Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Palau, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Tonga, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan were all sovereign countries not commanded by President George W. Bush. And, of course, the UN Security Council threatened serious consequences. Little did we (or Secretary of State Colin Powell) realize that “serious consequences” is French for “screw you.” All President Bush did was realize that we were already in a war and that we had to start fighting back. Bomb me nine times (the Lebanon Marine barracks bombing, the Khobar Towers attack, the attack on the USS Cole, the first attempt to bring down the WTC in 1993, the Kenya embassy bombing, the Tanzania embassy bombing, and then, of course, 9/11 -- WTC II, the Pentagon, and flight 93 for a target unknown) shame on you, bomb me ten times, shame on me.

If that is the case, and it sure seems so at the moment, then this commission has to ask us all -- and I don't exclude myself -- how much of Congress and the press went to war with an air of juvenile glee.

Glee? I understand juvenile as an adjective with respect to the press, but glee?

The Commission on Credulous Stupidity may call me as its first witness, …

Too easy. A self hit.

… but after that it has to examine how, despite our vaunted separation of powers, a barely elected president …

There he goes again. The 2000 (s)election – the gift that keeps on giving. Can’t we just get rid of this pesky constitution thing?

… opted for a war that need not have been fought.

There’s always surrender. It’s the most simplisme option.

This is Bush's cause, a noble but irrational effort much like the one that set off for Jerusalem in the year 1212. It was known as the Children's Crusade.

The original bad idea done For the Children™. That merits a black card.

Posted by Charles Austin at April 24, 2004 10:29 AM

I don't understand at all what the Children's Crusade has to do with anything. Other than it uses the word Crusade.

Posted by: Julia at 12:52 PM

How odd this moron invokes David Kay:

AN EXCHANGE BETWEEN SEN. JOHN MCCAIN AND FORMER UN WEAPONS INSPECTOR DAVID KAY: McCain: "Saddam Hussein developed and used weapons of mass destruction - true?"

Kay: "Absolutely."

McCain: "He used them against the Iranians and the Kurds?"

Kay: "Oh, yes."

McCain: "And UN inspectors found enormous quantities of banned chemical and biological weapons in Iraq in the '90s?"

Kay: "Yes, sir."

McCain: "We know that Saddam Hussein had once a very active nuclear program?"

Kay: "Yes."

McCain: "And he realized and had ambitions to develop and use weapons of mass destruction?"

Kay: "Clearly."

McCain: "If he were in power today, there is no doubt that he would harbor ambitions for the development and use of weapons of mass destruction?"

Kay: "There's absolutely no doubt."

McCain: "You agree ... that what we did was justified and enhanced the security of the United States and the world by removing Saddam Hussein from power?"

Kay: "Absolutely."

Posted by: eklektos at 10:54 AM