Jus’ Doin’ the Right Thang
There was Boosh again, this time on a television politics show, mangling logic with the bludgeon of his Texas syntax, having to admit that the substance of his Iraqi war argument no longer holds water, so now the rhetorical justification must be moved to the foreground of his causus belli . In the court of Boosh’s 40-watt mind there is no difference between imputed “intent” and “action”: the mere assertion that Saddam Hussein intended to re-build his stick of WMDs is—“what’s the difference?” Diane—is the same as actually having them and getting a lot of people killed on and Easter egg hunt when the chickens have already flown the coop. And now he is sitting with Tim Russert, who’s smile is even less Martha Stewart-ish than Sawyer’s, droning his mantra that, even if he was mistaken (?) misled (?), mis-informed(?), he “did the right thing for America.”
That’s it. That’s the castle keep of this front man of a sneaky, secretive, conniving cabal of neo-cons. Slap on that arrogant puss, tell the people your the one who knows best (and if you can’t prove your case blame it on Tenet, or get somebody to drop a dime on Plame), even if you have to lie to the people. Hell, that’s easy as pie. Most of them actually think you were elected president, then huge majorities of them were made to believe that Iraqis flew those planes into the WTC and Pentagon, they’re credulous about the “voodoo” (daddy Boosh’s term) of supply-side fiscal policy, so they’re sure gonna buy the “imminent threat” of that nasty s.o.b. Saddam, who hangs out with his Al-Qaeda buddies, playing with their WMDs. If you have to cook the intel, put the dots so close together that the all but connect themselves, then you do it—because you’re doing the right thing for America (oh, and Dick’s Hallibuton stock value).
This is the good ole “the end justifies the means,” the same logic that created the “Final Solution,” Stalinist purges, the Khmer Rouge, and numerous other applications of military power and political prevarication.
And yes, also 9-11.
And that’s the hard part with the end justifying the means. If this is indeed a new day, (and some pretty good minds, like Thomas Friedman’s, have struggled with it) and this is a “duel to the death” of “civilizations,”—East and West, modern and traditional, another “crusade” between” Christendom and Islam—then maybe, some would say, the end does justify the means. The stakes are too high now, they say. This is not some macho European kings setting off in the 12 th Century to the Holy Land to whack infidels in a sandbox; this is everywhere, anytime, and by any means, including those WMDs. It could be us, or them. They drew first blood. So the end could justify the means, if its US who we want to be standing in the END. That’s the attitude that makes the “what’s the difference” lie seem OK, justified. And the “clash of civilizations,” good versus evil (axis) scenario gets presented as “factual” as those illusive WMDs. It’s not up for proof or even debate, it’s just doing “what’s right for America.” It’s the new “don’t ask, don’t tell.
There might be some elements truth in that scenario. But one has to be very stupid, or very scared, or both, to think that not knowing all the truth justifies making it up to suit your ends, and, worse yet, conflating your ends for those of then nation. That way, the real end to this adulteration of our democracy may be far worse than what frightens us now.
Hey, George, how about the next time you’re on with Sawyer or Russert, or anybody, how about you strap on a polygraph. I just love watching things explode.
©2004, James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 2.10.2004)