New Orwellian Heights

New York Times Op/Ed
October 13, 2002

Texas on the Tigris

WASHINGTON – This has always been a place where people say the opposite of what they mean. But last week, the capital soared to ominous new Orwellian heights.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton voted to let the president use force in Iraq because she didn't want the president to use force in Iraq. Giving Mr. Bush bipartisan support, she said, would make his success at the U.N. "more likely, and, therefore, war less likely."

The White House feigned interest in negotiation while planning for annexation without representation.

The Democrats were desperate to put the war behind them, so they put the war in front of them. They didn't want to seem weak, so they made the president stronger, which makes them weaker. Mr. Bush said he needed Congressional support to win at the U.N., but he wants to fail at the U.N. so he can install his own MacArthur as viceroy of Iraq. (Poor Tommy Franks may finally have to leave Tampa.)

Mr. Bush says he's in a rush to go to war with Iraq because it's so strong, but he's in a rush to go to war with Iraq because it's so weak. In his Cincinnati speech, he warned of a menacing Iraqui drone that could fly across the ocean and spray germs or chemicals on us. But Pentagon experts say the drone could not make the trip and would have to be disassembled, shipped over, sneaked in and reassembled.

Mr. Bush said he wanted an independent 9/11 commission to investigate more broadly what went wrong with the government before 9/11. But now he's trying to kill the panel because he already knows just about everything went wrong before 9/11. He doesn't want us to know. Doesn't he know that we already know?

The president's father lamented in his diary in 1991 that his Persian Gulf war didn't have a clean end because "there is no battleship Missouri surrender." Now the son wants to skip the surrender and turn Baghdad into Houston East, putting a branch of the Petroleum Club at the intersection of the Tigris and the Euphrates.

Tom Daschle, Dianne Feinstein and other doubters came around on Thursday to the view that Iraq is an urgent threat after the C.I.A. director, George Tenet, sent Congress a memo on Monday stating that Iraq is not an urgent threat. Mr. Tenet, a Clinton holdover, is desperate to please Mr. Bush. Senators joke that he gives the president intelligence briefings while polishing Mr. Bush's shoes. So the C.I.A. chief was embarrassed to find himself insinuating that W. is hyping his war. After providing the smoking gun to show that Mr. Bush has no smoking gun, the usually silent top spook was frantically calling reporters on Tuesday night to insist that there's no daylight between him and the president on Iraq.

Let's see: Mr. Tenet says Saddam is unlikely to initiate a chemical or biological attack against us unless we attack him, and Mr. Bush says Saddam is likely to initiate a chemical or biological attack so we must attack him. The C.I.A. says Saddam will use his nasty weapons against us only if he thinks he has nothing to lose. So the White House leaks its plans about the occupation of Iraq, leaving Saddam nothing to lose. The president says Iraq is linked to Islamic terrorists so we must attack, while the C.I.A. says that Iraq will link up with Islamic terrorists only if we attack. Mr. Bush says the war on Iraq will help us in the war on terrorism. But somebody forgot to tell the Osama lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri, who says the war on Iraq justifies more terrorist attacks. Mr. Zawahiri's taped message has incited Al Qaeda warriors to new attacks while we're preoccupied with our post-occupation.

When asked if Iraq in 2003 would look like Japan in 1945, Ari Fleischer said no, it would look like Afghanistan in 2002. But Afghanistan is now even more dangerous than the suburbs of Washington. We have lost interest in Afghanistan because we are too busy trying to turn Iraq into Japan.

The Nobel committee gave Jimmy Carter the peace prize as a way of giving W. the war booby prize. Still, George Bush, the failed Harken oil executive, and Dick Cheney, the inept Halliburton chairman, will finally get their gusher.

One day, the prez was shootin' at a dictator bein' rude, and up from the ground came a bubblin' crude. Oil, that is. Black gold. Baghdad tea.


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