Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Irony 101

This current president forces on me the serious study of irony, head-work I'd just as soon avoid in favor of, say, studying when best to plant peas, but if you're paying the least amount of attention, you can't fail to notice the disconnect between what George W. says versus what he does and versus, actually, REALITY. Michael Tomasky, at The American Prospect, has posted an intense discussion of that very thing, following hard on the heels of El Presidente's astounding statement over the weekend that the newly released memo ("Bin Laden Determined to Attack inside U.S.") said nothing about an attack inside the U.S.:


For a group of people who have spent a lot of time over the last 25 years or so lecturing the rest of us about "personal responsibility," Republicans sure don't seem to have any passion for displaying any of their own.

It's incredible that President Bush could go before reporters -- as he just did -- and assert that the August 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing said "nothing about an attack on America." In the narrowest possible sense, arguably true; the briefing said nothing about a specific attack on a specific place on a specific date. But it clearly said quite a lot about the potential for future attacks, and Bush danced around this (which is a distinct advantage of taking about four questions).

The fact that he tried not to answer questions wasn't so remarkable; all politicians try not to answer questions. But what was disturbing was his manner. We saw the usual mental confusion and frighteningly long pauses as his mind scoured its grim landscape for an appropriate word. But the main thing we saw was an appalling nonchalance about the most tragic day in the history of this country. We didn't have information, Bush said; it was all about vague intentions, and we couldn't act on intentions.

Ponder, by the way, the audacity of that: We were pushed into war over Saddam Hussein's supposed intentions, at least as they were described to us by the administration. Those intentions, which weren't even true, were worth 600-plus American lives. Osama bin Laden's intentions, which were quite real, were vague, ignorable, and not worth the attention of serious people. ...


The pressure's sure ON for this evening's live, prime-time press conference. Frankly, our money's on El Presidente's handlers to have him so prepped that he'll handle the corporate drones of the White House Press Corps. They haven't got the guts anyway.

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