Evidence? Who Needs Evidence?
"I don't want to sound like a broken record." Yes, that was essentially the defense offered by George W. Bush in his sit-down with Tim Russert on"Meet the Press" this morning. I wanted to scream:"But you are, George, you are a broken record."
Faced with his own statements against"nation-building," made during the 2000 Presidential campaign, Bush simply repeated his neo-Wilsonian slogans for democratizing the Middle East. He's convinced, having spoken to a"Shiia fellow" he knows, Mr. al Hakim, that democracy will win in Iraq, which is"going to be a free society where you can worship freely."
He insists too that, given the situation in Iraq, the US was dealing not with an"imminent threat," but with a"grave and gathering threat," making this not a war of choice, but a war of"necessity.""America [could not] stand by and hope for the best from a madman [Saddam Hussein]." Once a threat becomes"imminent," says Bush,"it's too late. It's too late in this new kind of war, and so that's why I made the decision I made."
Great. So, let's take responsibility for the whole world. Let's invade every country run by a madman, so that we can achieve the Utopian Dream of a Risk-Free Existence, wherein Unintended Consequences are banished from social life.
Indeed, Bush practically tells us that this"is history's call to America." His foreign policy"is one that believes America has a responsibility in this world to lead, a responsibility to lead in the war against terror, a responsibility to speak clearly about the threats that we all face, a responsibility to promote freedom, to free people from the clutches of barbaric people such as Saddam Hussein who tortured, mutilated. ... that we have found a responsibility to fight AIDS, the pandemic of AIDS, and to feed the hungry. We have a responsibility."
A responsibility? To which I'd like to ask the perennial Randian question:"At whose expense?" For with this new"responsibility" that Bush has grafted onto the American polity, the expansion of U.S. government power at home and abroad goes unchecked.
Russert himself recited the now all-too-familiar statistics: In the first three years of Bush-Cheney, the unemployment rate has gone up 33 percent. There has been a loss of 2.2 million jobs. The budget has gone from a"surplus" (which was always suspect) to a $521 billion deficit, with the debt rising from $5.7 trillion to $7 trillion. (So, what else is new? Take a look at Wilson, FDR, LBJ, and Nixon, and Bush fits in nicely with the bi-partisan expansion of the welfare-warfare nexus.)
Russert told Bush that his"base conservatives," such as"Rush Limbaugh, the Heritage Foundation, CATO Institute [are] all saying you are the biggest spender in American history."
And in the face of overwhelming evidence against him, Bush simply responded:"Well, they're wrong."
This is becoming a typical Presidential retort.
Last week, Terence McAuliffe, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, had charged that Bush went AWOL in the Alabama National Guard. The Boston Globe and the Associated Press have found no evidence that he reported to Alabama duty in the summer and fall of 1972."There may be no evidence, but I did report," said Bush to Russert.
I see a pattern here: Regardless of the evidence, they are wrong. Bush is right.
If there's no evidence of WMDs, Bush is right (to wage war).
If there's no evidence of his service in Alabama, Bush is right (to say he did serve).
And if there is evidence that Bush is the biggest spender in American history, the evidence is wrong, and Bush is right.
Personally, I thought the cross-talk on the McLaughlin Group, which aired before the Russert-Bush interview, was a lot more entertaining, especially when Pat Buchanan fumed that nonexistent WMDs had been the pretext for a war that the neocons had planned long before 9/11.
Buchanan is wrong about a lot of things, but on this, he is so right.
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