25 May 2004

well, he's done it. bush has given his most ruthlessly disingenuous speech yet, a masterpiece of conflicting internal logics, buck-passing, bald-faced lying and smiley-faced symbolic gesturing. when the nyt headline showed up on my computer last night ("us forces to demolish abu ghraib," or some such), i gave a "holy shit." alyssa, turning from her own work, said she couldn't quite believe it was the times and not the onion.

i couldn't bear to read the news story about the speech...so i stuck to the transcript, which was bad enough. the italics are mine.

"...[The decapitation of Nick Berg] shows a contempt for all the rules of warfare and all the counds of civilized behavior. It reveals a fanaticism that was not caused by any action of ours and would not be appeased by any concession...the man with the knife was an Al Qaeda associate...He and other terrorists know that Iraq is now the central front of the war on terror."

see, here's where bush tries to persuade you that iraq was always a terrorist stronghold, that in fact al qaeda and iraq have been tight, like, forever...except, oh wait, guess i shouldn't have said now if i was going to make that in any way consistent or believable.

bush goes on to refer to pre-war iraq as "a source of terrorist violence and instability."

...and a few paragraphs down, he blithely refers to "America's ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte." so apparently the object is to remove a mythical source of violence and instability, replace it with an interim source of violence and instability, and eventually place our relations with iraq in the hands of a man who has built a career on sowing violence and instability.

do you know how sad and tired this all makes me? and yet i plow through the cursed transcript. next up: a long discussion of the government of iraq. you know, the one that doesn't exist yet but i'm sure it'll be just like that pretty soon, so never you worry.

as far as i'm concerned, the defining moment of last night's speech came in these two paragraphs:

"A new Iraq will also need a humane, well-supervised prison system. Under the dictator, prisons like Abu Ghraib were symbols of death and torture. That same prison became a symbol of disgraceful conduct by a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values. America wil fund the construction of a modern maximum security prison. When that prison is completed detainees at Abu Ghraib will be relocated. Then with the approval of the Iraqi government we will demolish the Abu Ghraib prison as a fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning."

HO LEE SHIT. does he still want us to believe these things? does he still think we'll swallow them? that under saddam it meant death and torture, but when american troops are doing the killing and torturing it's just "disgraceful conduct?" that the torture was the work of "a few?" that we can whitewash the total failure of our chain of command, and this final proof of the nefarious motives for the attack and occupation, by demolishing the physical place?

i feel as if i'm on a different planet than george bush. i literally cannot understand how a man such as this has gained control of my country, and placed that control in the hands of conquistadors whose motives and intentions have led to such horror. listening to (or reading) this speech with any degree of attachment to reality leads only to the conclusion that mr. bush is either stupider than we ever thought; actually, diagnosably delusional; or straightforwardly bad. any of those options should give people who care about this country some serious pause.

i can't fucking wait 'til november.