dinsdag, januari 28, 2003

State of the Union: Anticlimactic Disappointment Ahead?

A week ago, in what one thought might be a hint of tonight's Big Speech, the White House released a document it called an Apparatus of Lies, Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda 1990-2003. This report takes a broad look at Iraqi deception, illustrating Saddam's commitment to deception and his contempt for the truth. It provides facts and contexts that should be applied to the statements and images forthcoming from the Iraqi regime.

One might have believed that with the nation on the brink of war, Bush has an onerous task of convincing Americans why they should go to war with Iraq. Apparently not. Apparently, listening to quixotic polls that show Americans want him to focus more on the economy, this speech will instead try to focus more on fringe issues which, considering the potential $45 billion to $200 billion price tag of an invasion of Iraq, are essentially likely to be irrelevant within a short period of time.

"Most of the State of the Union will not be about Iraq," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. "Most of the State of the Union will be about improving America's economy and providing greater access to health care for millions of American people, including senior citizens."

To counter concerns about Iraq, Bush intends to reiterate his assertion that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and is linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, officials said. But new evidence of those charges will not be revealed until next week by Secretary of State Colin Powell, perhaps at the United Nations, officials said.

Mark Davis, who wrote President George Bush's speech to a joint session of Congress in September 1990 that laid out the case for what became the Gulf War indicated that the balance for the president "is to find some way to get people sufficiently alarmed about the emerging threats to this country, but not so alarmed that they lose confidence in the future. That's a very delicate task."

"I think that's a false dichotomy, because the stock market and investments are on hold until he resolves this anyway," said David Gergen, a former speechwriter for Richard Nixon who also worked in the Ford, Reagan and Clinton White Houses. "And if he successfully resolves the Iraq crisis, there will be overwhelming support for him in the Congress, and that will smooth the way for passage of most of his economic programs. In my judgment, his Iraq policy is his economic policy."

Of course it's a false dichotomy. First of all, where are these phantasmal polls anyway and why are they given such high importance? Polls are misleading, inaccurate and using them as a guideline for domestic and foreign policy is further indication that beyond the parrot-like repetition of the "Time is Running Out" mantra, the Bush Administration is essentially a rudderless war machine looking for a fight. Gallup, one of the world's largest management consulting firms notes that prior to the Super Bowl, 51% of Americans picked the Raiders to collect a fourth Vince Lombardi Trophy, while just 32% choose the Buccaneers. That should give you an indication of the wisdom of allowing poll results of random Americans to influence your decisions. There has never been any confusion about the fact that most of the population of America appears handicapped by some sort of congenital stupidity. What else would explain a repeat of another failed Bush Administration kicking off a war against Iraq?

[The war in Iraq is] a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times...a NEW WORLD ORDER can emerge. --Bush the Elder, before Congress on September 11, 1990.

More than twelve years later the only New World Order that has emerged is the Order of Chaos, a hidden fractal order underlying all seemingly chaotic events which repeat basic patterns but with an infinity of variations and forms.

Or, if you prefer, you could just consider that these are still troubled times. The looming war in Iraq is "not the center of the peril, merely a symptom of it", as David M. Shribman notes.

Bush shouldn't give more than a cursory wave at the economy because regardless of polls, Americans are going to be ALOT more affected by a war with Iraq than they are a handful of tax breaks to the rich or the frivolity of senior citizen health care. A State of the Union speech that ignores what seems like the inevitability of war with Iraq will be more like a State of Evasion speech.

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