Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Wretched Years

The Wretched Years By William Rivers Pitt

George W. Bush gave a press conference this past Wednesday in an attempt to snatch back the conversation from North Korea's nukes and Mark Foley's instant messages. A reporter from CNN asked him about the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health report that puts the civilian death toll in Iraq at 655,000. "I am, you know, amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they're willing to - you know, that there's a level of violence that they tolerate," he responded.

Yes. That's what he said.

This is, to a degree, not terribly surprising. Mr. Bush has a penchant for casually saying the most abominable things imaginable without blinking. Recall, if you will, the days following the attacks of September 11th. A pall of poison smoke still hung low over New York City. Americans were suddenly living in fear of blue skies and airplanes. The as-yet-unsolved anthrax attacks on Congress and the media had us all collecting our mail with oven mitts while holding our breath.

On October 4th, 2001, less than a month after the attacks, Mr. Bush said, "We need to counter the shock wave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates."

Yes. That's what he said.

These two statements serve as bookends for the wretched years we have endured. The worst attack in American history is used to pimp a plan for tax cuts, and the unimaginable slaughter of Iraqi civilians is a platform for praising the survivors of the carnage because the are so darned good at tolerating it.

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