A National Disgrace

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A National Disgrace

By Alan Bisbort

Published 05/30/02

So many outrages. So little time. Now I know how the millions of decent, trusting American Catholics must feel about the crimes of their priests and the cover-ups of their cardinals. Now I know because the president of the United States may have the blood of his own citizens on his hands.

Up until now, I admit that I've disliked George W. Bush. I've disliked him for the shady way he gained power, for his pretense of being "a uniter, not a divider" even as he pushed an agenda that, arguably, 75 percent of the American people do not share. For his secrecy, smugness and sheer laziness. For being a pampered frat boy accustomed to having others do his bidding. For calling to mind what F. Scott Fitzgerald (through Nick Carroway) said about Tom and Daisy Buchanan: "They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people come in and clean up the mess they had made."

But now I loathe George W. Bush. It does not feel good to loathe the leader of the country you love. It is no consolation to know that, as bad as I thought Bush would be as president before the election, he's much worse than my most pessimistic fantasies.

I'd like my fellow citizens to be angry. I'd like them to demand answers. I'd like them to take back their government from people who did not earn it and who've disgraced it with their actions and inactions (or, to use a Catholic metaphor, for their sins of commission and omission).

Yes, of course, it's an outrage that the president had advanced warning of the terrorist acts that occurred on Sept. 11 and either chose to do nothing or was just pathetically ineffectual. Or, worse, he couldn't be bothered because he was on one of his several unearned vacations. How does it make you feel, for example, to know that, even if he couldn't fathom these creeps would fly planes into buildings -- and I'm bending over backwards to give him the benefit of this doubt -- he did not choose, as the Boston Globe reported, to share with Logan Airport the intelligence that hijackings at American airports, as of August 2001, were imminent. I've flown out of Logan; my wife and child have flown out of Logan; you have no doubt flown out of Logan. We could, any of us, have been on those planes. And yet, George W. Bush did not share information with Logan that might have saved thousands of lives.

Conspiracy theorists will have a field day with Bush's reasons. But one does not need to be of a conspiratorial bent of mind, or even a genius, to see through George W. Bush, his posse of Enron felons and right-wing zealots. They are so transparently, gallingly open about everything they do. Indeed, the real George W. Bush has been hidden in plain sight for two years. Now the American people have gotten a whiff of him. My hope is that this horrific whiff will work as a stimulant -- it seems to have briefly revived the press -- and not an intoxicant.

Here's a telling aspect about Bush: Just as he did on Sept. 11, he's run the other way during this crisis. Instead of quickly coming before the American people and having an honest, open exchange with reporters, he sent flacks like Condi Rice and Ari Fleischer to tame the beasts -- with disastrous results.

Indeed, his goal of appearing candid only revealed how much more they're trying to hide. First, Rice and Fleischer say they had no advanced warning. Then, when that proves a lie, they say they had no advanced warning that planes would be used as missiles. Then, when that proves a lie, they make veiled threats against the press and any Democrats rightfully demanding a probe of the attacks. Pretty soon, the "Blame Clinton" strategy will be in full panic mode.

Ari Fleischer said recently: "Any time anybody suggests or implies to the American people that this president had specific information that could have prevented the attacks on our country on Sept. 11, that crosses the line."

And, which line might that be, Ari? The line in the sand? Or the line of Bush staffers who'll soon be forming to leap from this sinking ship of state? The line to the impeachment chamber?

Leave it at this: The biggest outrage is not that, as the ultra-conservative New York Post put it in typically subtle relief on its cover, "BUSH KNEW." The biggest outrage is: "WE KNEW ALL ALONG THAT HE KNEW."


Or, simply, "WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE?"

-- Cherri (whatever@who.cares), May 31, 2002


u r an i d i o t, cher

-- patti (patimrk89@msn.com), June 11, 2002.

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