We Are Waking Up From a Natural Disaster
by Karen Kwiatkowski
Speaking of natural disasters, I notice George W. Bush seems to be shrinking.
It's as if a little girl has thrown a bucket of water on the wicked witch of the West, er… our little President, and lo and behold, instead of fire and brimstone, we see his impotent flailing rage and catch the stench of his nervous sweat.
Maybe that sounds a little harsh. After all, Georgie Boy remains the unitary executive; all hail the Commander-in-Chief, genuflection (at this time) optional. Happily, Tony Snow keeps saying "Freedom of speech is a glorious thing," and I sincerely believe him.
But our dwindling el presidente is indeed under duress. He is accused of being dull and tiresome, reading books about goats when he should be reading his intelligence daily briefs. He is accused of wanting war, when all he ever wanted was peace and freedom and Saddam Hussein's head on a platter.
He is accused of misleading and lying to the American people. When he points out that he was just relying on the intelligence "they" gave him, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence says gingerly "Not so fast!" While the two partial preliminary "Phase II" reports are a suitable match to the timid and politicized Phase I report, they still incriminate the White House.
As of now, Poor Dubya can probably handle the lazy and reluctant findings of the SSCI. Indeed, "politicization of intelligence," and whether "Facts were being fixed around policy" won't be addressed — surprise, surprise — until after yet another coming election. Perhaps it is better that way. A majority shift in the House will allow improved freedom for Congressmen and the media to ask hard questions, subpoena a real witness or two, do that which is currently unthinkable and unspeakable.
When the House changes, many inside the Bush administration, political appointees and others who owe their jobs to GOP proximity and loyalty will reassess their situation, look at their mortgages and their kids' educational expenses, and maneuver themselves into something a bit more profitable, or at least reliable.
This means ever more "insider" books of the month or stories of the week that shift blame towards Bush and his corrupt crowd of acolytes. It means a quiet shifting of alliances within the Leviathan that will not be to Bush's benefit. Perhaps that realignment in government has already started. That would help explain the odor of fear wafting from the White House.
Congressional and judicial uprisings must seem, to our shrinking President, to be as bold and destructive as thousands upon thousands of Iraqi and Afghan insurgents, nationalists, terrorists, liberationists, bent on victory against an infidel. Could this be why he consistently compares and equates those who even mildly challenge his executive-ness with the moniker "terrists?"
Bush is fading fast. The ongoing rise of the Tories in the United Kingdom foreshadow a long-overdue flushing of noxious and indigestible neo-conservatism here at home.
White House and GOP legal problems, the crookedness and lying of staff and subordinates, the strategic quagmire in Iraq and increasingly Afghanistan, Bush's destruction of any remaining military or political leverage we once had in the Middle East and around the world — even the weakening of neo-conservative lobbies and thinktanks in Washington — all of these weigh heavy on the troubled mind of our strutting executive. After all, he's not finished making war yet!
It is a bad sign when the usually friendly Supreme Court and the eager-to-please U.S. Army both push back on executive desires to torture at will and to be held retroactively exempt from legal culpability for past torture committed. It is a bad sign when CIA officers sign up in droves for insurance designed to pay for lawyers and defense teams in the case of apparently expected charges of wrongdoing, even though they were "just following orders."
These are indeed dark days for Mr. Bush. He has been accused in the past of surrounding himself with only the most loyal of loyals, of creating a bunker-like decision-making environment that suffers no dissent, and brooks no reality.
Thus, in times of great darkness, Bush speaks of sensing a "Third Awakening," a needed renewal of faith. He speaks for himself, for his political friends and advisors. He speaks for the Republican Party, that gross and devilish perversion of conservatism. He speaks for the stable of declining, compromised Congressmen in both parties, who mutter over their stinking brew at their ungrateful constituents.
But he does not speak for the country. As Americans, we speak for ourselves. This country has stirred, and it is already moving into the light. We watch our government more closely then we have in decades, and we believe almost to a person, that if a politician's lips are moving, he or she is lying. Our awakening has been slow and uncomfortable, but it has indeed begun. We have come to realize we borrow and buy much but make and retain little. We understand now that we own an expensive oversized military that can literally do nothing to defend or protect us. We hear never-ending talk of freedom, but we see each day more constraints on our freedoms — of speech, movement, association, ownership, choice, and economic productivity. Congressmen discuss a "national service" draft, and even as they speak, these false sages in Washington suspect that this — yet another federal security mandate — will be met with utter contempt by millions here at home.
George W. Bush is a lonely, frightened, declining little man, obsessed with image and power, living out the early stages of a public shunning. It will get much worse, and he knows it. He needs a stiff drink and a trusted friend, and he has easy access to neither. America is waking up after a damaging natural disaster of government. As we do, like Dorothy, we face our fears and our mistakes, and begin to find our way home.
September 18, 2006
Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com, hosted the call-in radio show American Forum, and blogs occasionally for Huffingtonpost.com and Liberty and Power. Archives of her American Forum radio program can be accessed here and here. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here.
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