Okay, America. Calm down. I know that some think that Bush and company might have finally bit off more than they can chew. New reports that the administration has been illegally spying on the American people, and has been less than candid about it, come only a couple months after the indictment of I. Lewis Libby and the scandals of Plamegate and the Niger uranium forgeries finally got attention in the MSM.
And who knows? Top officials in the administration might soon have to join Scooter in taking a long vacation from the highest positions in public service. At first, they might do so as martyrs, but it is not beyond reasonable speculation to expect these scandals to finally bring down the man in charge of it all — and maybe even George Bush as well.
A loud outcry of people who hate America and love the terrorists is being heard. According to an informal poll of over 150,000 visitors at MSNBC, a small, anti-American extremist fringe — well under 90%, in fact — currently think Bush should be impeached. (A scientific poll from a couple weeks back puts the real percentage of anti-Americans at a mere 32%.)
Come on, America. Let us get a sense of perspective, here. Sure, the Bush administration has refused to treat the Bill of Rights like a suicide pact — or as a limit on his powers in any sense. Sure, he lied America into an orgy of mass slaughter and destruction, sacrificing into the fire of geopolitical power worship the lives of tens of thousands of people. But it’s not like he lied about sex.
If you recall, Bill Clinton — ooooh, the name just makes me cringe with disgust — deceived the American public about a certain other affair — one that didn’t happen in the hardly concrete world of American telecommunications, nor in an irrelevant land thousands of miles away, but rather right there in the Oval Office, the heart of the White House, the soul of the national’s capital, the very core of America and the Free World itself.
When Clinton smiled for the cameras, biting his lip in that oh-so-patronizing way, and swore to the American people that he did not have sexual relations with the intern — now that was treacherous, lecherous and vile. Do you even remember, America? Or are you so preoccupied by a couple of fibs Dubya told to protect us all from the terrorists and liberate Iraq, that you do not remember that other liar in the White House, who dared to lie about something truly icky and inappropriate?
And to do so under oath! And not just under a meaningless oath, like the one presidents take to uphold and defend the Constitution. No, no, no. Slick Willy lied to special prosecutors and federal investigators! What a bad example he set to the world and the world’s children.
There is precedence for presidents to lie about war, and Bush is the last in a proud line of them. James Polk did it to wage war with Mexico. Abraham Lincoln did it to invade the South. William McKinley did it to rationalize war with Spain. Woodrow Wilson did it to sneak America into the First World War. Franklin Roosevelt did it to open up a backdoor into the Second World War. Lyndon Johnson did it to get America into the game of keeping dominoes from falling. George Bush the Elder did it to launch Operation Desert Storm. And George W. Bush did it for war with Iraq. Since when has a little white lie for a splendid little war been a sin — much less an impeachable crime?
And to fault him for concealing secret surveillance? Give me a break, already! We are talking about the Commander in Chief here — hello!? He is supposed to have all kinds of powers he keeps hidden from the people, and he’s expected to keep an eye on everyone. FDR did it. LBJ and Nixon did it. The idea that the president should have to tell the American people that he’s conducting warrantless wiretaps of the citizenry smacks of Communism and anti-Americanism. Orwell is spinning 360 degrees in his grave, unable to keep up with the surreal Big Brother crusade against the president.
To reiterate, it’s not as though any of those wonderful wartime presidents lied about sex. When JFK or Andrew Jackson covered up sexual affairs — now there might have been a case for impeachment. But no American president has ever been brought down by war deception or sneakily spying on the people, and, for the sake of the future of this Home of the Brave, let us hope none ever is!
Now, some will defend Clinton, saying that he lied about war and civil liberties violations too. Sure, but the Republicans didn’t impeach him for that. They didn’t hassle him over his good lies to protect national security. They wouldn’t have dreamed of it. No, when he was bombing Serbia, the conservatives tried not to get too much in his way. Remember: Mass violence is sometimes necessary, which is why it usually gets an R rating. The Republicans only seriously challenged Clinton on the truly horrible deceptions regarding his X-rated behavior.
There is also a line of thought that Clinton didn’t really lie about sex because the activity he actually engaged in does not qualify. Yeah, right. And Bush didn’t lie about Saddam trying to get nuclear weapons materials from Africa! Hah-ha-hah-ha-hah-ha-hah! Oh, good one.
Seriously, though, we know that both Bush and Clinton lied. One of them is famous for having lied about sex in the Oval Office. The other’s famous lies concerned war and secret surveillance.
So the question for America is: Which is worse?
Anthony Gregory [send him mail] is a writer and musician who lives in Berkeley, California. He is a research analyst at the Independent Institute. See his webpage for more articles and personal information.