This turkey is fake.
If you believe the corporate newsmedia, we are supposed to feel warm fuzzies about President Bush’s surprise visit to Baghdad. Why are we supposed to feel good about it? Because he made a very public and very scripted show of
supporting the troops which consisted of a whopping three hours with 600 (no doubt carefully selected) troops? Or perhaps because his conduct of a bloody, senseless war and a bloody, pointless occupation has turned the Iraqi people against him so much that he has to sneak into Baghdad like a thief in the night?
You might think that my cynicism about George Bush’s personality is getting the better of me: these lies, for example, are ultimately quite inconsequential bits of venality on the White House story-tellers. Isn’t it kind of petty to harp on them, especially when Bush’s bigger lies led us into an unjustified and illegal war?
Well, in one sense this sort of thing is venal and inconsequential. But in another sense, it goes right to the rotten heart of the Bush administration—that is, a man who is essentially petty and venal at his own core. Bush is, after all, the same man who evidently delights in hollow Caesarian triumphs like the landing on the U.S.S. Lincoln back in May, parades around in the bomber jacket that he earned by going AWOL on a cushy Air National Guard post during Vietnam, and who continues to set new standards for contemptuous official secrecy and scripting of press conferences. It has become common on the Left to see George Bush as the diabolical figurehead of a neferious Right-wing conspiracy against truth, justice, and the American way, with resources bordering on the limitless and motives bordering on the Satanic. But he is nowhere near as grandiose in his wickedness as all that (very few evil people actually are — Dante was closer to the truth about the Devil than Milton). Bush is, ultimately, a sad little man with sad little pretensions to the alleged glory of power. If the Bush administration seems like a political Leviathan at the moment, it’s only because it is bloated up with a lot of gas: the best way to deal with it is not to assail it with apocalyptic rhetoric but rather to deflate it, and show it up for the sorry mistake that it is.