Setting the Bush
Molly Ivins, Creators
Syndicate. Molly Ivins is a syndicated columnist based in Austin,
Published September 9,
AUSTIN, Texas -- The wire services reported
Monday that we lost seven Marines in Fallujah, Iraq. To use
journalist Linda Ellerbee's line, "And so it goes . . ."
way it does not go is as claimed last week at the Republican
National Convention. I feel like the janitor in that photo of
Madison Square Garden after the party, facing a sea of garbage that
needs to be collected and thrown out. Even after several days and
with alert bloggers to help, it's hard to catch all the lies. The
number of things Sen. John Kerry is supposed to have said that he
never said was the largest category.
- Kerry never said we
need to have a "sensitive war." (Bonus points if you can find
President Bush's references to our need for more
- Kerry never said we need other countries'
permission to go to war.
- Kerry has never failed to "support
our troops in combat."
The whole list of defense programs
Kerry supposedly voted against mostly came out of one vote against a
huge defense package in 1990--he supported a smaller package, as did
then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. I especially like the
inclusion of the Apache helicopter in the list of weapons opposed by
Kerry--that's the one that kept crashing.
The United States
has not gained jobs under George Bush. The net loss is 1.1 million
jobs, according to the Bush Department of Labor.
bonus points for the novel charge by Cheney that Kerry wants to
"show Al Qaeda our softer side." Showing real imagination
Then we have what can most kindly be called
differences of interpretation. Are things peachy-keen in
Afghanistan? Hunky-dory in Iraq? Or are the only things that have
fully recovered in Afghanistan the warlords and the opium trade?
What have we created in Iraq--freedom or more terrorists? In either
case, none dare call it peace.
Well, last week's news was not
all about lies. This investigation of alleged spying for Israel out
of Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith's office has now
broadened to include Harold Rhode, also of Feith's office, David
Wurmser of Vice President Cheney's office and Richard Perle of the
Defense Policy Board.
I am indebted to several bloggers for
the reminder that retired Gen. Tommy Franks, according to journalist
Bob Woodward, once called Feith "the dumbest [expletive] guy on the
Perle had an especially bad week, having been
blasted to smithereens by the new report on the Hollinger
International media debacle, in which Conrad Black and Perle
allegedly engaged in looting the company.
Let me put in a
word of caution here about any so-called "spy charges." Recall that
we have a bad habit of charging people who are quite innocent (Wen
Ho Lee) and missing those who are quite guilty (Aldrich Ames and the
FBI's Robert Hanssen).
In fact, what we're looking at across
the board is evidence of massive incompetence. Turns out the U.S.
Justice Department can't even prosecute terrorists straight. It has
always seemed to me a bad idea to put a party full of people who are
against government in principle ("Government is not the solution,
government is the problem") in charge of running it. They just don't
seem to do a very good job. In case you hadn't noticed, we have gone
from massive surplus to massive deficit, and the only people who
really benefited were the richest 1 percent of Americans. That
leaves the other 99 percent of us worse off than we were four years
I really had to take a deep breath after Bush declared
that he wants to "get government on your side." Where has he been
for the last four years? Almost every program he mentioned, saying
he wanted to build them up, he has already cut, including job
training. And I am truly dazzled by "the noive of him" in claiming
that the No Child Left Behind Act, which is massively underfunded,
has somehow mysteriously become a great success. If you believe
that, have I got a bridge for you.
His peculiar contention
that our policy in Iraq is a triumph is close to bizarre. What we
have there is dangerous chaos. Does anyone honestly think this
occupation is going well?
I thought the saddest theme was
about how Sept. 11, 2001, had united us--and then, for reasons never
explained (except by Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) at his worst), half
the country and most of the rest of the world just sort of drifted
away. How could that have happened? Could Bush and Cheney have had
anything to do with it? For example, did they tell us a lot of
things that aren't true? Republicans seemed to find it all a great
Helpful hint to Cheney: Oratorically speaking, when
the call-and-response segment of your speech consists of getting
your audience to boo, you are probably not on a positive
Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune