T Nation

Bushworld

“Adventures in an Alternate Reality”
By Maureen Dowd

It’s there reality. We just live and die in it.

In Bushworld, our troops go to war and get killed, but we never see the bodies coming home.

In Bushworld, flag-draped remains of the fallen are important to revere and show the nation, but only in political ads hawking the President’s leadership against terror.

In Bushworld, we can create an exciting Iraq democracy as long as it doesn’t control its own military, pass any laws or have any power.

In Bushworld, we can win over Falluja by bulldozing it.

In Bushworld, it was worth going to war so Iraqis can express their feelings (“down with America!”) without having their toungues cut out, although we cannot yet allow them to express intemperate feelings in newspapers (“down with America!”) without shutting them down.

In Bushworld, it’s fine to take $700,000,000 that Congress provided for the war in Afghanistan and 9/11 recovery and divert it to the war in Iraq that we’re insisting that we’re not planning.

In Bushworld, you don’t consult your father, the expert in being president during the war with Iraq, but you do talk to your Higher Father, who can’t talk back to warn you to get an exit strategy or chide you for using Him for political purposes.

In Bushworld, it’s okay to run for reelection as the avenger of 9/11, even as you make secret deals with the Arab kingdom where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from.

In Bushworld, you get to strut around like a tough military guy and paint your rival as a chicken hawk, even though he’s the one who won medals in combat and was praised by his superior officers for fulfulling all his obligations.

In Bushworld, it makes sense to press for transparency in Mr. and Mrs. Rival while cultivating your own opacity.
In Bushworld, you can reign as the anti-terror president even after hearing an intelligence report about al Qaeda’s plan to attack America and then stepping outside to clear brush.

In Bushworld, those who dissemble about the troops and money it will take to get Iraq on its feet are patriots, while those who are honest are patronizingly marginalized.

In Bushworld, they struggle to keep church and state seperate in Iraq, even as they increasingly merge the two in America.

In Bushworld, you can claim to be the environmental president on Earth Day while being the industry president every other day.

In Bushworld, you brag about how well Afghanistan is going, even though soldiers like Pat Tillman are still dying and Taliban are running freely around the border areas, hiding Osama and delaying elections.

In Bushworld, imperfect intelligence is good enough to knock over Iraq. But even better evidence that North Korea is building the weapons that Saddam could only dream about is hidden away.

In Bushworld, the CIA says it can’t find out whether there are WMD in Iraq unless we invade on the grounds that there are WMD.

In Bushworld, there is no irony that so many who did so much to avoid the Vietnam draft have now strained the military so much that lawmakers are talking about bringing back the draft.

In Bushworld, we’re making progress in the War on Terror by fighting a war that creates terrorists.

In Bushworld, you don’t need to bother asking your vice-president and top Defense Department officials whether you should go to war in Iraq, because they’ve already maneuvered you into going to war.

In Bushworld, it’s perfectly natural for the president and vice-president to appear before the 9/11 Commission like the Olsen twins.

In Bushworld, you expound on remaking the Middle East and spreading pro-American sentiments even as you expand anti-American sentiments by ineptly occupying Iraq and unstingingly backing Ariel Sharon on West Band settlements.

In Bushworld, we went to war to give Iraq a democratic process, yet we disdain the democratic process that causes allies to pull out troops.

In Bushworld, you pride yourself on the fact that your administration does not leak to the press, while you flood the best known journalist in Washington with inside information.

In Bushworld, you list Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack as recommended reading on your campaign website, even though it makes you seem divorced from reality. That is, unless you live in Bushworld.

Objective gal voting for an objective newspaper. And clever too. Bushworld…that must have taken awhile to think up.

and yet again maureen dowd proves that she must have sucked a lot of cock to get where she is.

Bushworld is her book. People who want to sell books aren’t given to reasonable, disinterested truthseeking. They are interested in profits.

In two months, nobody will care about anything in this book. When was the last time anyone wrote a book on politics that wasn’t subject to the fifteen-minutes-of-fame rule? Bushworld is just one more piece of tripe to get her mindless sycophants nodding their heads in thoughtless, self-honoring approval. Yawn.

Dowd is a partisan hack - that’s what she is paid to do. She and Coulter cancel each other out and the rest of the world with a brain reads better books.

Think of all the poor little liberals on November 2nd.

They’ve forged, lied, and made complete fools of themselves.

All to no avail.

By the way, a person wouldn’t go wrong by voting or believing exactly the opposite of what the nyt, dowd, moore, gephardt, maxinewaters, kerry, algore, and billary believe.

In fact, you could say that the right answer lies 180 degrees from everything they say.

I’m having fun!!!

JeffR

Jeffr,

One exception on your list, in my view, is Gephardt. A genuine populist in a party of pretenders, I find Gephardt to be true-blue.

That doesn’t mean I agree with him, but at least I can respect him.

[quote]hedo wrote:
Objective gal voting for an objective newspaper. And clever too. Bushworld…that must have taken awhile to think up.[/quote]

She’s an Op-Ed columnist who seems to dislike Bush. The first ammendment, thankfully, grants her the right to speak out about as often as she’d like – and she’s quite good at it!

See, she doesn’t make any bones about her sharing HER OPINION. Unlike, say, the folks at FOX who push a right-wing agenda under the guise of the tagline “Fair and Balanced” – this is outright lying.

How does one know that the NYTimes is leftist and not just, well, objective?

[quote]biltritewave wrote:
and yet again maureen dowd proves that she must have sucked a lot of cock to get where she is. [/quote]

She must have struck your chauvinistic nerve, huh?

LOL – hey ZEB, is what bilt said “hateful?” What would it have been if I said it?

Here’s more from the “partisan hack.” However, she seems pretty tough on both candidates here to be considered partisan…

“Guns and Peanut Butter”
Maureen Dowd, 4.29.2004

So let’s see. What’s our swell choice here?

A guy who mimed being a fighter pilot on a carrier versus a guy who mimed throwing his medals over a fense?

An incumbent who sticks with the wrong decisions based on wrong facts versus a challenger who seems unable to stick to one side of any decision, right or wrong?

A Republican who’s a world-class optimist, despite making the world more dangerous and virulently anti-American, versus a Democrat who looks like a world-weary loner, even as he pledges to make the world safer and more pro-American?

A president who can’t go anywhere without his vice president to give him the answers versus a candidate who can’t go anywhere without his campaign butler/buddy to give him peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?

Bush campaign strategists don’t seem worried that every positive development the administration predicted would happen if we invaded Iraq has soured into the opposite.

As an article on Monday in the Times noted about the growing ranks of angry Muslims: “The call to jihad is rising in the streets of Europe, and is being answered.”

Communing with the Higher Father and the Almighty, President Bush has either stumbled into a holy war or swaggered into one.

In their new book, The Bushes, Peter and Rochelle Schweizer, who interviewed many Bushes, including the president’s father and his brother Jeb, quote one unnamed relative as saying that W. sees the war on terror “as a religious war”: “He doesn’t have a PC view of this war. His view of this is that they are trying to kill the Christians. And we the Christians will strike back with more force and more ferocity than they will ever know.”

Bush strategists seem to believe that the worse Mr. Bush makes things, the better off he is, because nervous Americans will cling to the obstinate president they know over the vacillating challenger they don’t know.

Senator Kerry’s talent for turning a winning proposition into a losing one is disturbingly reminiscent of Al Gore, who somehow managed to lose an election he won. So is Mr. Kerry’s sometimes supercilious manner, and his habit of exacerbating a small thing with an answer that is not quite straight.

When they senator was asked last week whether he owned a gas-scarfing Chevy Suburban SUV, he replied, “I don’t own an SUV,” only to have to admit, when pressed further by reporters, that his wife owns the SUV. “The family has it,” he said lamely. “I don’t have it.”

The White House pounds Mr. Kerry for not playing straight on small-bore stuff, even as they don’t play straight on huge-bore stuff.

The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, pronounced the administration “in denial” yesterday, after hearing Condi Ric’s briefing for House Democratic lawmakers.

“This is an administration that told us that our troops would be welcomed with roses,” Representative Pelosi said. “Instead, it’s rocket-propelled grenades. This is an administration that told us that the Iraqi government would be able to pay for its own reconstruction, and soon. And now it’s costing nearly $200 billion to the American people.”

She added: “And it was expressed by the national security adviser now that yes, there was disappointment–disappointment?–about the Iraqi security forces not being able to secure the region that they were assigned to. And this is the judgment that the American people have placed their confidence in?”

Mr. Kerry errs on the side of giving the answer he thinks people want to hear, even as Mr. Bush errs on the side of giving the answer he expects people to accept as true.

When the president was asked yesterday by a reporter whether it would take an all-out military offensive to put down the violence in Falluja, and whether this would impede the transfer of power on June 30, he was reassuring, despite news of the aerial bombardment of Falluja by U.S. gunships and the seventy-ton battle tanks being rushed into aid Marines in the escalating fight.

“Most of Falluja is returning to normal,” the president said, presumably defining normal as flattened.

Anyway, is that ten minutes to normal, as Karen Hughes would say? Or ten years to normal? And what on earth is normal, when you’re talking about Iraq chaos theory?

“Unlike, say, the folks at FOX who push a right-wing agenda under the guise of the tagline “Fair and Balanced” – this is outright lying.”

RSU:

You are so lost that you don’t even realize that CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN The New York Times and many other “journalistic” institutions have been leaning toward the democratic party for years. Were they lying outright? It’s almost a miracle that a Republican ever got elected. Since they lean your way, you don’t mind.

Dan Rather just got caught attempting to discredit President Bush with bogus documents. No one is surprised at this, as we all know that he and the other media elite have been lying to the populace for years, one way or the other. You just hate when something like FOX comes along to give a little balance. You really are a riot kid…another funny post!

Now how about taking me up on my challenge? What do you say, let’s get the week off on the right track with a real T-Man bet on the election. You are a T-Man right? Hmm

RSU,

“Here’s more from the “partisan hack.” However, she seems pretty tough on both candidates here to be considered partisan…”

Then do some homework. She’s an op-ed journalist, she’s paid to be partisan. You’re obviously not that familiar with Ms. Dowd. She trafficks in all sorts of fatuous claims about anyone who isn’t to the Left of Terry McAuliffe.

Dowd, like many left-liberals, are not exactly trumpeting Kerry as their champion. It’s clear Kerry is too moderate for her taste.

And that’s fine - she makes a great living doing what she does. But Dowd’s writing doesn’t command much attention outside of her left-wing echo chamber.

Kind of like Michael Moore, except smarter.

Thunder,

Your point is well taken, but I have to say that each of these articles echo sentiments about Bush in particular that cleverly surmise many people’s opinions about him and his administration.

Actually, unless something new has come up, they are so far “unable to prove” the documents weren’t bogus – this is not the same thing.

In any case, you are accusing him of knowingly using false documents, which is a bit harsh, considering he has since come out and apologized.

At the same time, and importantly, the gist of the documents was confirmed. Let’s not lose sight of the bits of information that actually do come out.

RSU

You are correct she does not hide the fact that she is partisan…which I think is honest.

Re: the NYT’s I think a look at the coverage and the slant they put on it would lead most to believe it leans to the left almost all of the time. I have read the Times all my life and the shift started in the 70’s, in my opinion.

I think the Times and the Wall St. Journal are really the two great newspapers we have in the US and it is interesting to note they have staked out positions to the right and to the left.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Dan Rather just got caught attempting to discredit President Bush with bogus documents.

Actually, unless something new has come up, they are so far “unable to prove” the documents weren’t bogus – this is not the same thing.

In any case, you are accusing him of knowingly using false documents, which is a bit harsh, considering he has since come out and apologized.

At the same time, and importantly, the gist of the documents was confirmed. Let’s not lose sight of the bits of information that actually do come out.[/quote]

I presume you read different sources than I do, but actually the gist of the whole story, and the documents is against the weight of the evidence. The only two things in the story were the documents, and the former Lt. Governor’s testimony saying, to paraphrase, he got Bush in the guard, along with some other connected folks, without being asked, in the hope their parents would repay the favor. However, his daughter has said he told different versions of the story previously, saying he did not help Bush get into the guard. Also, there was not a waiting list for the pilot program in the TANG, due to the physical and educational requirements (in other words, there wasn’t a waiting list of qualified people).

The documents in Rather’s story were proved false to everyone except CBS - I guess you want CBS to be the final arbiter of the documents’ accuracy?

BTW, if there were anything to the documents, don’t you think they would be following up on it as hard as they could?

RSU,

“Your point is well taken, but I have to say that each of these articles echo sentiments about Bush in particular that cleverly surmise many people’s opinions about him and his administration.”

You hit on a great point. Dowd is very clever. So are many of the Bush critics in the media.

And that’s my criticism - it’s all about being clever, campy, and sarcastic with the Dowd crowd: snarky commentary that makes like-minded folks chuckle with self-superiority. All well and good for a half hour in front of the Daily Show. So much energy spent trying to come up with new ways to catch Bush in a bumfuzzled look in a photo, so many sound bytes, so many sarcastic faux journalism pieces.

But where is the real analysis? Where is the alternative? Where is the reasoned critique of the Left’s political adversaries? Where is the answering of fundamental policy questions by the Left - like why bombing campaigns in the Balkans received approval but the Iraq war didn’t, just as an example? Who is offering a new direction, not just Monday morning quarterbacking with one-liners?

To me, that’s a huge problem. I expect two strong points of view in this country, at least. The best the current state of the Left can provide is cleverness, but cleverness don’t make hard decisions in the middle of the night about war and peace.

Dowd, etc. are good for a laugh. Very witty. But not the kind of thinkers and writers that contribute to the national debate. That’s why I don’t put much stock in the likes of Dowd. I hold her to a higher standard of her current output. She’s whining critic, the easiest job in the world.

RSU - I am so sick of people saying fox news isn’t fair and balanced. You are a moron plain and simple and yes that was a personal attack because you are flat out lying or stupid. (sorry everyone for the anger here.)

Watch fox news for one day and tell me how many times they interview a republican or a conservative without also hearing the other side from a liberal or a democrat. That is what they do, Show both sides and let us decide. That is what O’reilly prides himself on. He will admit he is right leaning but he says it up front, he then bring people who disagree with him on and argues with them. Sometimes he wins the arguments sometimes he looses. For instance, I thought jenna jameson tore bill up and down when he was trying to tell her what a terrible life she was living and what a bad role model to her kid she was. She totally crushed him.

If you ever see a one sided argument on fox they always state “such and such was asked to appear or comment but they declined” Which usually means they don’t have a leg to stand on.

Luckily the other news orginazations are sick of getting the shit kicked out of them by fox so now they too are starting to have both sides comment or argue a point. This is good for all stations. Unfortunately there are still a lot of people that hear catch phrases and repeat them like a parrot untill they are blue in the face.

One other point RSU, if Fox is so right leaning as you say, then certainly you will agree that CNN is left leaning and the two balance eachother out? Which to a democrat who loves freedom of speach and balance should be a great thing? The only other problem I can see is who is there to balance out the left leanings of ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN Headline News, The people who can only get the first three because of no cable tv service don’t even have the option to watch a “right wing” nes station as you would call it.

Vegita ~ Prince of all Sayajins

BB:

It is diffiuclt for ultra left wingers to admit that CBS attempted to trick the American voter.

“RSU…you are a moron plain and simple”

You just keep picking up fans on this forum. Ouch!

Great take on Maureen Dowd - no one serious takes her seriously anymore (I never actually did…):

http://www.belgraviadispatch.com/archives/001557.html

MoDo is the Marionette

I used to respect MoDo’s keen wit and fierce independent streak. But sadly, over the past couple of years, she’s wholly swallowed a far-too-easy, breezy quasi-Mooreian narrative that has transformed her into a willing and increasingly shrill mouthpiece for anyone with a bone to pick with the Bush Administration. In this so-simple, dumbed-down world–Rummy and Cheney baby-sit kid Georgie, the neo-cons hijacked U.S. foreign policy and imposed a loony doctrine of pre-emption that has grossly unsettled a heretofore peaceful and idyllic international system, and the Administration is full of moronic Panglossians who think all is going smashingly swell in Mesopotamia.

Today, in the most widely read and prestigious opinion page in American print media (the Sunday New York Times), she simply parrots Joe Lockart’s ‘Allawi-as-Bush-parrot’ slur–unwittingly showcasing that she is much more of a marionette and puppet than the Iraqi PM–given how slavishly she goes about doing Joe Lockhart’s bidding without even a hint of judiciousness or fair play. It’s worth quoting at some length:

[Begin Dowd excerpt]  President Bush has his own Mini-Me now, someone to echo his every word and mimic his every action.

For so long, Mr. Bush has put up with caricatures of a wee W. sitting in the vice president's lap, Charlie McCarthy style, as big Dick Cheney calls the shots. But now the president has his own puppet to play with.

All last week in New York and Washington, Prime Minister Ayad Allawi of Iraq parroted Mr. Bush's absurd claims that the fighting in Iraq was an essential part of the U.S. battle against terrorists that started on 9/11, that the neocons' utopian dream of turning Iraq into a modern democracy was going swimmingly, and that the worse things got over there, the better they really were.

It's the media's fault, the two men warble in a duet so perfectly harmonized you wonder if Karen Hughes wrote Mr. Allawi's speech, for not showing the millions of people in Iraq who are not being beheaded, kidnapped, suicide-bombed or caught in the cross-fire every day; and it's John Kerry's fault for abetting the Iraqi insurgents by expressing his doubts about our plan there, as he once did about Vietnam....

Just as Mr. Cheney, Rummy and the neocons turned W. into a host body for their old schemes to knock off Saddam, transform the military and set up a pre-emption doctrine to strike at allies and foes that threatened American hyperpower supremacy, so now W. has turned Mr. Allawi into a host body for the Panglossian palaver that he believes will get him re-elected. Every time the administration takes a step it says will reduce the violence, the violence increases.

Mr. Bush doesn't seem to care that by using Mr. Allawi as a puppet in his campaign, he decreases the prime minister's chances of debunking the belief in Iraq that he is a Bush puppet - which is the only way he can gain any credibility to stabilize his devastated country and be elected himself.

Actually, being the president's marionette is a step up from Mr. Allawi's old jobs as henchman for Saddam Hussein and stoolie for the C.I.A.

It's hilarious that the Republicans have trotted out Mr. Allawi as an objective analyst of the state of conditions in Iraq when he's the administration's handpicked guy and has as much riding on putting the chaos in a sunny light as they do. Though Mr. Allawi presents himself as representing all Iraqis, his actions have been devised to put more of the country in the grip of this latest strongman - giving himself the power to declare martial law, bringing back the death penalty and kicking out Al Jazeera. [End Dowd excerpt]

I don’t think I’ve ever read a more cretinous screed in the New York Times–which I’ve been reading for about 15 years virtually daily. Let’s pause and take in a bit of Dowd’s intellectually lazy and (even) morally defunct Sunday musings.

  1. First, let me explain what I mean about the morally defunct part. MoDo castigates Iyad Allawi for “bringing back the death penalty.” Bringing it back? Herein Dowd’s absurd adoption of the moronic Moore-like narrative that depicts Saddam-era Iraq as a rosy socialist playground full of kite-flying, cheery weddings, equal wages for all(!)–a Titoist Yugo-paradise of sorts. Maureen Dowd should take time out of her busy schedule and read Samantha Power’s excellent “A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide”–focusing, in particular, on what Power calls the “Kurdish Hiroshima”–the horrors of Halabja. She should read over such accounts of Saddam’s massacres of Kurds and Shi’a Marsh Arabs. Power puts Saddam’s actions in a narrative of 20th Century genocides that begins with the Armenians, proceeds to the Jews, and continues on with the Cambodians, Iraqis, Rwandans, and Bosnian Muslims. Saddam’s crimes rank among the greatest of the 20th Century. Dowd’s fevered insinuations that Iyad Allawi is a thug on par with Saddam are, truly, morally corrupt allegations–and wholly divorced from reason and fact. But her (and Dave Shipley) don’t appear to give a shit. Well, too bad, I guess.

  2. Related to 1 above, this grossly hyperbolic relativizing of Saddam with Allawi, she describes the new Iraq PM as formerly a Saddam “henchman.” Of course, anyone with any ambitions in 70’s era Iraq would (much like joining the Communist Party in the Soviet Union) have had brief flirtations with the Baathist Party. From Nasser’s Egypt, to Asad’s Syria, to Iraq–the prevalent political philosophy of the day in the region was a Baathist-like fusion of Arab nationalism and socialism.

So was Allawi some noble Solzhenitsyn or Sakharov-type? No, of course not. But was he simply a Saddam henchman? Equally forcefully, one must conclude no. Which is why he was forced into exile in the U.K. in the 70s. And why he was almost axed to death by, yes, Saddam’s real henchmen–and had to endure a lengthy period of convalescence. Isn’t it revolting that MoDo would describe a man who almost died at the hands of this brutish tyrant as one of his very own henchmen?

  1. Finally, this whole puppet thing–that MoDo tries to turn around on Bush (“Mr. Bush doesn’t seem to care that by using Mr. Allawi as a puppet in his campaign, he decreases the prime minister’s chances of debunking the belief in Iraq that he is a Bush puppet”). Dowd appears to charge Allawi with being a Bush mouthpiece because a) he indicates all is rosy in Iraq, b) appears so appreciative of Bush action’s in unseating Saddam, and c) conflates the fight against terrorists and insurgents with the global war on terror.

Let’s take each allegation in turn. Re: (a) above, and as anyone who read Allawi’s speech is well aware–it wasn’t all rosy, sunshine (“I know, too, that there will be many more setbacks and obstacles to overcome.”) And, re: (b) above, frankly, why can’t Allawi show some gratitude to the American government and people for unseating a bloody tyrant responsible for the death of hundred of thousands of his country-men? Really, why?

And, finally, yes–Allawi’s speech placed the counter-insurgency effort in Iraq within the larger context of the post-9/11 global war on terror. But these comments weren’t meant to reinforce wild Myloriean-style claims that Saddam personally planned 9/11 and dispatched Iraqi intelligence agents to Prague to hobnob with Mohammed Atta. Allawi’s comments were meant differently, of course. After all, he is hardly alone in describing his government’s goals as part of the larger war on terror. So does Vladimir Putin and Arik Sharon. So does New Delhi and Islamabad. So does Karzai. And so will other countries going forward. Everyone and their mother are now using the war on terror as a kind of rationale for facing down domestic opponents and varied geopolitical threats. Each case must be viewed on its merits (for instance, Putin’s conduct of the Chechen war has been extremely brutish–to wholly accept the placing of his efforts there within the rubric of the GWOT sullies the moral integrity of the struggle).

But the point here is that, yes of course, Allawi is going to place his difficult counter-insurgency efforts as part of the larger struggle between barbaric fanaticism and civilization. And, while you can disagree, he is doing this because he is faced with mammoth challenges and wants to succeed and garner as much international support as possible–not because he is some Bush stooge, parrot, marionette. No, the real puppet here is an increasingly lazy Maureen Dowd–who is simply rounding out the next inning of Lockhart’s puppet slur to give it greater exposure and willingly play campaign flak for Kerry. It’s the type of rank partisanship more nuanced and serious op-ed writers like Jim Hoagland, Dave Ignatius or Anne Applebaum would never stoop too–but that has become the increasingly routine, tiresome, and twice-weekly gruel she dishes up for all her cheerleaders in precincts Upper West Side and Berkeley. It’s a pity–because she’s better than that. But, like so many others, irrational Bush-hatred has gotten the better of her so that she is now simply embarassing herself.

MORE: Yes, I know the CPA abolished the death penalty–but such a hugely disingenuous technical reading would make a Bill Clinton blush and, of course, doesn’t change the above analysis a whit.