Information Landmine

"The Americans keep telling us how successful their system is. Then they remind us not to stray too far from our hotel at night." - An un-named EU trade representative quoted during international trade talks in Denver, Colorado, 1997.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

This just in. Bush not stupid, just evil.

If you're enough of an insomniac to be watching BBC News 24 at 1:30am, you'll have noticed that, in an apparent effort to diversify their coverage (“The UK government version and the US government version? Oh come now, Mr Director General, you're really spoiling us…”) they give us half an hour of the ABC evening news before skipping back to rotating coverage of what Brown and Blair are saying about each other. Whilst nobody's really surprised any more about the way that US media will roll over for US Government on most issues, every so often individual pieces still have the ability to completely flabbergast me. Such was the power of Charles Gibson's interview with George W. that I saw the other day. To be fair to him, Gibson did point out the whole problem with the whole Iraq-as-part-of-the-war-on-terror strategy that the Republicans seem to be trying to wheel out and dust off for the elections:
…loathsome as he may have been, Saddam Hussein was not connected to al Qaeda.”

Now I'm going to take it as read that every sane person outside (and most of those inside) the USA knows this. I'm damn certain that Bush does, as evidenced by the reply:

No, I understand that people ask, 'How can this be a connection, between the war on terror and,' you know, 'How can Iraq be a connection when Saddam Hussein didn't order the attacks?' And you know, I understand that concern, because he didn't order the attacks. The enemy, however, believes that Iraq is a part of the war on terror. Osama bin Laden has called Iraq central to the war on terror.

Damn right they said that. After we invaded! Gibson, whose job one would assume required at least a basic grasp of current affairs, failed to quiz him any further on this.

Now for most people this is just one in a very long catalogue of lies, and nothing special. But I think it may be the first time I've noticed the man saying something that it's not even possible that he could believe. He's said some preposterous things, but I've always actually had half a mind that, through a combination of wilful stupidity, careful choice of advisors, close identification with his local yokel persona, selective memory and a healthy dose of that basic human capacity to see only what we want to see, especially when it makes us like ourselves more, HE at least might have believed what he was saying. Cheney, Bolton etc. were obviously lying to our faces, but I thought Bush was plenty dumb enough to think he was acting in good faith, and maybe just covering up a bit for what he probably thought were minor errors of judgement (you know, Katrina, global warming, stuff like that…).

Not so. If he can form complete sentences (and, every so often, he can), he can see the problem with the argument that the invasion happened because of stuff that happened after the invasion. I'm sure everyone else had decided this before, but I thought I'd share anyway.


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