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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

U.S. Department of Irony Promotion.

Turns out it's not democracy that President Bush is promoting but a special case of what Keats called "negative capability." Here's Dan Froomkin on reactions to Bush's speech to the United Nations:

If the whole speech was a litmus test, this one sentence was the clincher:

"We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace," Bush said.

Some people see irony there. Others don't.

Those who don't see might consider taking their hands away from their eyes. Blind leading the blind, and all that.

But then I'm not sure what would help President Bush see what's happening in Iraq if he pays no attention to journalists and thinks his own intelligence agencies are "just guessing" when they say the three most plausible outcomes in Iraq are awful, even worse, or civil war.

Just for fun, let's pretend we're our president for a moment. First we hear from the "guessers" (aka our spies and professional intelligence analysts):

In a highly classified National Intelligence Estimate, the council looked at the political, economic and security situation in the war-torn country and determined that — at best — stability in Iraq would be tenuous, a U.S. official said late Wednesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

At worst, the official said, were "trend lines that would point to a civil war." The official said it "would be fair" to call the document "pessimistic."

But we're resolute and refuse to flip-flop, so we take this document with a Halliburton-size grain of salt and conclude that:

"The CIA laid out several scenarios that said life could be lousy, life could be OK, life could be better," Bush said. "And they were just guessing as to what the conditions might be like. The Iraqi citizens are defying the pessimistic predictions."

What an ironist! Let's translate Bush's worldview into everyday English:

  • "Lousy" means "civil war."
  • "Life could be OK" means cities under siege, increasing and widespread carnage, a paralyzed economy, regional instability, dozens of U.S. casualties every day. And, in the best-case scenario:
  • "Life could be better" means daily suicide bombings, targeted killings of middle-class professionals and police trainees, beheaded U.S. workers, and no economic development or infrastructure work by the U.S.

Everything's coming up roses!

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 22 September 2004 at 6:06 PM

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