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Jig's Up 

I had just enough duct tape to cover my TV screen and then my terrorism alert level went from orange to Arctic white. On the other hand, paranoia about our leaders increased tenfold. What are these guys doing? They are terrorizing us to prepare us for war with Iraq, but it's the Iraqis who should be terrified. They talk casually about the use of "tactical" nuclear weapons, a Pandora's box of horror that is terrorizing the whole world. They are conducting a public game of bait-and-switch between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein that would never wash if it wasn't done so blatantly. They talk apocalyptically about the battle between good and evil as if they were playing an evangelical video game. They are talking about the values of democracy and freedom while eliminating them by the bushel in the "war against terrorism." Official speak is pure Orwell. Speak of peace but deploy enough troops to make war inevitable. Peace means war. Hide from an invisible enemy you freely admit knowing very little about. Terror means freedom. We'll occupy Iraq to free the Iraqis. Freedom means occupation.

The American people have given this administration a lot of slack. Despite what the Europeans might think, we are not stupid; we know about the human weaknesses and failures of our leaders in the past. We are patient and willing to believe that nobody we elect (even barely) can be crazy, irresponsible and ideologically blind once in the actual seat of power. We believe that the office is itself a corrective device that eventually molds its temporary occupants into level-headed people willing to move the Republic forward in a responsible manner.

The honeymoon is over. The economy is in shambles and the Bushies are painting a doomsday picture by numbers. If I were a screenwriter, I'd throw this script to the top of the reject pile. I've resisted for a long time the temptation to do the Language Crystal on these guys: I refused to see "the field of ashes" in Ashcroft, the "tenets of the faith" in Tenet, the "cliff of despair" in Ridge, or the "bush-league" in Bush. The Crystal needs to be used responsibly so as not to scare people, but this is self-defense. They are trying to scare a free people into believing in doomsday and fear. It won't wash. This is America, folks, where a small right-wing conspiracy may sink a president, but it won't shrink a continent to the size of a suburban police station.


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