07/31/2004: Thought for the Day:
Unlike a chef d'état who has the technique down pat, Bush made the amateur's mistake. He, his spokesmen and women, his spinners and weavers of untruth, his propagandists, all fell into the trap of answering back, elaborating, retracting, and adding on. Instead of the Big Lie, simple and pure, the official U. S. government story grew more ornate and complicated as the date Bush had set for the invasion came closer. Instead of one good reason to go to war, swarms of bad reasons were proffered, which gave skeptics in other countries material to pick his little white fables apart.
A corollary to keeping things simple is to refrain from offering evidence. Where there is no evidence there can be no refutation. Bush, however, trumpeted that he had warehouses full of evidence-which, as it happened, consisted of tons of used paper towels and soiled Kleenex. Once exposed to air and light, the truckloads of proof positive turned into proof negative; the often-cited smoking gun was revealed to be a dribbling water pistol. The more evidence the world's last remaining superpower brought forth, the goofier or more dangerous Mr. Bush appeared to foreigners, who saw him as either a gibbering bobble-head doll or an international menace. In one of the UN's more memorable afternoons, the world heard American Secretary of State Colin Powell, who a year earlier had said that Saddam was toothless and "has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction," explain to the Security Council that a photograph of what looked like a couple of rusty, abandoned Good Humor ice cream trucks actually showed traveling war germ factories. The ice cream trucks, he told his global audience, many of whom must have been rolling on the floor laughing, were making biological weapons of mass destruction.
--Nicholas von Hoffman
Len on 07.31.04 @ 03:36 PM CST