[Mb-civic] NYTimes.com Article: Amnesia in the Garden
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Amnesia in the Garden
September 5, 2004
By MAUREEN DOWD
The Manichaean Candidate sees the world only in terms of
good and evil, black and white.
He scorns gray, nuance, complexity, context, changing
circumstances and inconvenient facts. Real men make their
Trying to match John Kerry, who roused the base at his
convention with a line bashing the House of Bush-House of
Saud coziness, George W. Bush roused the base at his
convention with a liberal-media-elite-bashing line.
Painting himself as the noble agent for "the
transformational power of liberty" abroad, he said "there
have always been doubters" when America uses its "strength"
to "advance freedom": "In 1946, 18 months after the fall of
Berlin to Allied forces, a journalist in The New York Times
wrote this: 'Germany is a land in an acute stage of
economic, political and moral crisis. European capitals are
frightened. In every military headquarters, one meets
alarmed officials doing their utmost to deal with the
consequences of the occupation policy that they admit has
failed.' End quote. Maybe that same person's still around,
She isn't. Anne O'Hare McCormick, who died in 1954, was The
Times's pioneering foreign affairs correspondent who
covered the real Axis of Evil, interviewing Hitler, Stalin,
Mussolini and Patton. She was hardly a left-wing radical or
defeatist. In 1937, she became the first woman to win a
Pulitzer Prize in journalism, and she was the first woman
to be a member of The Times's editorial board.
The president distorted the columnist's dispatch. (download
a PDF of the original column)The "moral crisis" and failure
she described were in the British and French sectors. She
reported that the Americans were doing better because of
their policy to "encourage initiative and develop
self-government." She wanted the U.S. to commit more troops
and stay the course - not cut and run.
Mr. Bush Swift-boated her.
The Manichaean Candidate's
convention was a brazen bizarro masterpiece. The case to
sack John Kerry featured the same shady tactics used to
build the case to whack Saddam - cherry-picked facts,
selective claims and warped contexts.
W. took a page from Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Total Recall,"
a futuristic movie about inserting fully formed memories
into the minds of unsuspecting victims.
The president and vice president ignored all the expert
evidence now compiled indicating no link between 9/11 and
Saddam, and no Saddam threat to U.S. security. After
talking about "the fanatics who killed some 3,000 of our
fellow Americans," Dick Cheney boasted: "In Iraq, we dealt
with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam
Though the convention mythologized Mr. Bush's bullhorn
moment at ground zero, there was no mention of Osama, the
fiend W. vowed to catch that day. The speakers did not
acknowledge the brutal spiral in Afghanistan and Iraq, or
the re-emergence of the Taliban, now finding sanctuary with
our ally, Pakistan.
Mr. Cheney, king of hooey, bragged about a "Taliban driven
from power," even though just as the convention got under
way, at least seven people, including two Americans, were
killed by Taliban fighters in Kabul.
W. stormed ahead with the discredited domino theory of
democracy promoted by the neocons and Ahmad Chalabi -
ignoring the widening F.B.I. probe into alleged leaks from
neocon central at the Pentagon to Mr. Chalabi, an accused
Iranian spy, and to an Israeli lobby. "Because we acted to
defend our country, the murderous regimes of Saddam Hussein
and the Taliban are history," the president said, adding
that "democracy is coming to the broader Middle East."
The $445 billion deficit? Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney erased
it. In their inside-out universe, the economy is
blossoming, there's money to pay for Mr. Bush's to-do list
and No Child Left Behind is more than an empty slogan.
W. suddenly proclaimed himself a compassionate conservative
again, even though extra-chromosome conservatives, as Lee
Atwater called them, were in closed meetings calling for a
culture war to curb the rights of women and gays.
Mr. Bush even tried to implant in our heads that he is the
son of Reagan. He didn't give his dad a speaking slot,
though the last two Democratic presidents spoke in Boston,
and he spent more time in his speech lionizing Gip than
Inside Madison Square Garden, W. kept insisting he'd made
the world safer. Outside, the exploding world didn't seem
safe at all.
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