Neoconservatives from the left, right and middle, including George W. Bush, believe that they create their own reality, live in their own world, and make their own history.
It’s kind of funny how they don’t want to talk about it right now.
Freshly ironed World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, when asked about the Downing Street Memoranda, had this to say:
"There will be a time and place to talk about history,” he added, “but I really don’t believe it’s now."
Highly classified and eyes-only official government records, written by the British counterpart to George Tenet at the time, record the Bush decision in early 2002 to invade Iraq — long before the Congress or the American public was alerted by the administration to any national security risk involving Iraq.
The Downing Street memoranda also indicate that the George W. Bush administration crafted and disseminated half-truths and falsehoods to Congress and the media to support this predetermined policy.
I saw it, many others saw it, and we could not stop it. Each and every day since the war in Iraq was illegally launched, long before actual invasion in March 2003, people have died as a result. Cities and entire nations have been destroyed as a result. Billions and billions of U.S. borrowed money — added to the oppressive tab already owed by our children and grandchildren — has been wasted as a result.
These memoranda from Downing Street, circa 2002, also indicate that the Bush administration was attempting — through increased military attack beyond enforcement of the Northern and Southern No-Fly Zones and through an obscenely oppressive international inspection regime — to goad Saddam Hussein into some action that could then be used to justify a military action by the United States.
Tragically for the neoconservatives, Saddam Hussein did not take the bait. He sat passively as the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy attempted to soften up the Iraqi battlefield. Saddam Hussein eagerly welcomed the most intrusive inspection regime imaginable. The inspectors had full access, and they — like David Kay’s team after them — found no weapons of mass destruction. No stockpiles, no existent capability, no programs.
But Wolfowitz prefers not to discuss such history. He remains, in his own mind, a hugely successful instrument in gaining the war he had long fantasized and craved. What’s not to like?
Where is Donald Rumsfeld on the Downing Street Memoranda? Increasingly, Rummy seems to embody the utter dementia that permeates the current administration. He seems to not to understand questions, not to have seen the news, not to have heard of the policy, not to be aware of the facts, not to conceive of the gravity of his personal situation in historical terms.
Ah, but there is time for that later, they say.
Dick Cheney, beyond identifying and denunciating presumed enemies of America behind every shrub at the Naval Observatory and beyond, has had little to offer. While Cheney makes history — for himself, Halliburton, Iraq, energy policy and American neoconservatism — discussion of that history can wait. Let’s not talk about it now.
George W. Bush gave another speech this week, regarding energy. It occurred to me again, as I watched and listened to his words, that we have elevated only knaves and fools to Washington. Like Spanish conquistadors witnessed for the first time, we believe them gods and kneel.
Perhaps a better analogy is seen in The Gods Must Be Crazy, where a Coke bottle dropped from an airplane leads to a new "culture" of worship for an African tribe — a culture filled with hatred, envy, and discontent.
Young George spoke this week about future energy technologies, ethanol from corn, and bio-diesel from soybeans. He said taxpayers should be glad that he is spending "our money" to pay for programs to teach people to conserve energy and to subsidize research into energy saving practices, devices and vehicles.
Higher oil prices — made higher by wars and threats of war and embargoes and government managed international trade and expansion of unpopular U.S. military operations around oil pipelines and fields — in another world, would amply fuel this type of alternative energy research.
But no, the American government needs to extract more tax receipts and can somehow spend it more smartly than the marketplace of a billion choices could do. This fatal conceit is shocking. That it spews forth from a so-called Republican in the White House is in itself historic, or on second thought, perhaps not. Maybe the Whigs are back.
But of course, let us study all that later.
And who says the Congress has sat idly by? Why, there is a bipartisan move to repeal the 22nd Amendment, to remove the restriction that a President serve only two consecutive terms. The Senators fuss over the idiotic Bolton nomination while they vote 100 to 0 for the REAL ID and grant more of "our money" for the President’s every whim. They quibble over Bolton’s mediocre incompetence while smoothly confirming the far more deadly and corrupt Negroponte as super-intelligence czar, and integrating domestic and foreign intelligence and law enforcement in a constitutionally inscrutable way. J. Edgar Hoover would have been so proud.
Imagine what history we could postpone talking about if we repealed the 22nd Amendment! You’d think that the Democratic and Republican sponsors of the 22nd Amendment Repeal bills in the House and Senate could think of some other stupid laws to repeal, like say, the Patriot Act, the Intelligence Reform, the REAL ID. Perhaps they could eliminate funding for the illegal war they were seduced into supporting. But no, they can only get it up for giving some future President the right to be a permanent ball and chain in Washington, bequeathing to the rest of us an American version of the aging and interchangeable Presidents and Prime Ministers of France. Who knew?
History in the reality-based world, that is to say — real history — is made by individuals, who simply put, act.
Like North Carolina Republican Representative Walter Jones who, following his father’s advice to "vote my conscience first, my constituency second, and my party third," publicly repudiated the President’s past and continuing lies about Iraq and called for an exit.
Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush don’t want to talk about the Downing Street evidence. Perhaps this is on the advice of counsel. But if I may recall a Chaucerian phrase, "Time and tide wait for no man."
When the Coke bottle worshipping Bushmen realized the utter nastiness of life in thrall of a piece of trash, they sent out one of their own to simply throw the garbage out. That strategy sounds really good about now.
June 24, 2005