Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Is George Bush DUMBER Than Tom Cruise?

Tonight, I will attempt to figure out who is nuttier - the President of the United States, the Admiral of Atrocity, George W. Bush, or Scientology expert and cock-respecter extraordinaire, Tom Cruise-Holmes.

First, let's consider Tom Cruise's recent behavior. Dancing around like a nutjob on Oprah, reacting angrily after being squirted in the face with water, advancing highly illogical arguments on "The Today Show," looking like he may, at any moment, pounce on Matt Lauer like a frightened puma. Check. Definitely nutty.

But NOW let's take a look at the President's speech tonight from Fort Bragg. I think his brand of delusional religious fanaticism tops Tom's any day. After all, how many massive technologically-advanced militaries does Tom Cruise control? Not many!

My greatest responsibility as president is to protect the American people, and that is your calling as well. I thank you for your service, your courage and your sacrifice. I thank your families, who support you in your vital work. The soldiers and families of Fort Bragg have contributed mightily to our efforts to secure our country and promote peace. America is grateful and so is your commander in chief.

George likes to do this...he refers to himself in the third person, but gets away with it by using his official title - "Commander in Chief" - rather than just saying George Bush. Or, you know, "me." It sounds less egomaniacal. For example, I saw him give an interview (to Bill O'Reilly, that veteran newsman) where he defended that embarrassing "Mission Accomplished" aircraft carrier landing..."The troops like to see their Commander in Chief," Bush explained, probably because he's sound super-ridiculous saying "The troops wanted to see me!" like he's their favorite uncle or something.

"Oh, gee whiz, General, isn't Uncle Traveling George coming to visit this Thanksgiving."

"I don't know, Private...He gets awful busy around the White House this time of year...Maybe if you're really really good and he's desperately in need of a photo op..."

The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror. The war reached our shores on September 11, 2001. The terrorists who attacked us and the terrorists we face murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent. Their aim is to remake the Middle East in their own grim image of tyranny and oppression by toppling governments, driving us out of the region and by exporting terror.

Way to hit them talking points, Chimpy! I haven't heard these same facile arguments from you a thousand times before. Blah blah blah freedom is on the march blah blah blah tyranny and oppression. I get it. We all get it. Now shut the fuck up.

To achieve these aims, they have continued to kill in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali and elsewhere. The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows they can force us to retreat. They are mistaken. After September 11, I made a commitment to the American people: This nation will not wait to be attacked again. We will defend our freedom. We will take the fight to the enemy.

The enemy, of course, being random Iraqis, chosen seemingly at will. That wasn't really the commitment he made to the American people. You may recall that commitment, as it's a speech the Republicans dredged up again and again and again and again during Campaign 2004. The President, in the rubble of the World Trade Center, promised the workers and citizenry gathered there that the people responsible for that tragedy would "hear you."

Well, the people actually responsible for that tragedy have heard about it, all right, but they don't seem to really give a shit. We haven't caught Osama, we haven't really seen any dramatic improvement in public safety here in America or in a decrease in world terrorism.

So, yeah, the President made a commitment. And then gave up on it and went after Saddam Hussein.

Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington and Pennsylvania. There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home. The commander in charge of coalition operations in Iraq, who is also senior commander at this base, General John Vines, put it well the other day. He said, "We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us."

I told you he was tricksy. I told you he was false.

This is pretty deceiving, I have to say. Karl Rove, you are good. See, the only reason Iraq is the "latest battlefield in this war" is because we went and randomly invaded it. There was no battlefield in this war, which is what makes it a difficult war to fight. But randomly inventing a battlefield doesn't really work out so well, as the citizens of Baghdad would probably tell you at this point.

See, the President has this weird notion about a finite number of terrorists. This plan only makes sense if the terrorists have a set number of guys, and we can wear them down over the course of a few months and destroy them all.

If that were the case, it would make sense to lure them out into the open and then take them down.

But of course, that's not the case. The case is, the more brutal, unfair, random and heinous American policy turns towards the Middle East, the easier it will be for terrorists to recruit, and thus the more terrorists there will be. So it's not like we went to Iraq and lured out a few thousand terrorists, and are right now merrily gunning them all down in the streets, like in that old Nintendo game "Duck Hunt." It's more like we created a horrific gauntlet of chaos in what used to be a country, like in that old Ninetendo game "Contra." And chaos breeds further chaos, just as violence breeds further violence. We're digging a hole deeper and deeper, not burrowing our way out of one.

Our mission in Iraq is clear. We are hunting down the terrorists. We are helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We are advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are removing a source of violence and instability and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren.

I think we can all agree on most of this stuff as our "mission." Like the President says, I'd like to see an Iraq where terrorists were being hunted down, Iraqi civilians were founding a legally sound sovereign nation out of the ashes of the old despotic system and that whole part of the world were much less violent. OF COURSE that's what we want to see happen...you don't need a press conference to say that.

But we're not doing any of these things. We're hunting down terrorists, fine, but we wind up imprisoning mostly innocent people, and our tactics for rounding up evildoers has caused more problems than it has solved. Iraqis aren't anywhere close to being able to build a free nation, defend themselves or even provide basic requirements for civilization like power and water. We're not advancing freedom in the broader Middle East, we're propping up other dictatorships because we need allies. (Pakistan? Saudi fucking Arabia? These are nations dedicated to freedom?) And we're not removing a source of violence or instability, we are a source of violence and instability.

The work in Iraq is difficult and it is dangerous. Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed. Every picture is horrifying and the suffering is real. Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it, and it is vital to the future security of our country. And tonight I will explain the reasons why.

But this is a lie too. Bush may very well see the images of violence and bloodshed, but Americans don't because our corporate-controlled media won't beam us the images. You can find them online (mainly as published in the Middle Eastern or European press) if you really search for them, but the American government only wants you to see their version of the war, and it's for the most part bloodless. Occasionally, some young American dies and they can't totally ignore it, and we get a fleeting photo on the news or a small article buried in the paper.

But Bush isn't attending these funerals, we're not seeing any caskets on TV, and some right-wing media companies won't even run an episode of Nightline in which Ted Koppel reads the names of the American casualties of the Iraq War. So, no, Mr. President, you're keeping us from seeing those pictures you call "horrifying" depicting the "suffering" your war has caused. But we should see them. (Also, how dare this man, who has had every priviledge provided to him for his entire life, even talk about the sacrifice of military families and how their sacrifice is "worth" his extended socio-political goals?)

Some of the violence you see in Iraq is being carried out by ruthless killers who are converging on Iraq to fight the advance of peace and freedom. Our military reports that we have killed or captured hundreds of foreign fighters in Iraq who have come from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and others. They are making common cause with criminal elements, Iraqi insurgents and remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime who want to restore the old order. They fight because they know that the survival of their hateful ideology is at stake. They know that as freedom takes root in Iraq, it will inspire millions across the Middle East to claim their liberty as well. And when the Middle East grows in democracy, in prosperity and hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors, lose their recruits and lose their hopes for turning that region into a base for attacks on America and our allies around the world.

Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: "This Third World War is raging" in Iraq. "The whole world is watching this war." He says it will end in "victory and glory or misery and humiliation."

Okay, he's doing the same thing again. He's pretending that the terrorists chose Iraq as the battlefront in the War on Terror, when they clearly did no such thing. He's saying, "Look, all these terrorists are fighting us there! That's why we need to be in Iraq!" But they're only there because of us. We started the fight, and now he wants to use the fact that they are fighting back as proof the fight was important in the first place. It's totally nonsensical.

It would be like taking a dump in your neighbors yard, and then going back the next day and installing an outhouse. "Hey, if people are going to shit here, you might as well have a bathroom!"

I also like that Osama quote at the end there. It's maybe the first time I've ever heard the President openly declare that we might lose the War on Terror. He doesn't say "the terrorists know they must win this battle, but of course, they can't beat us! We're America." He just says, "they need to win."

The terrorists know that the outcome will leave them emboldened or defeated. So they are waging a campaign of murder and destruction. And there is no limit to the innocent lives they are willing to take.

See? The "outcome" used to be certain for GW. Is he conceding the point that the future is unknown? But hasn't God already assured him that we're totally gonna kick ass?

Also note that sentence..."There is no limit to the innocent lives they are willing to take." Isn't that true of us, as well? What if the Senate had a proposal in front of it to litter the Middle East with bombs? We'd kill all the terrorists, but a lot of innocents as well, hundreds of thousands maybe. But we wouldn't have to fight the War on Terror any more. It would be over, we won, the world is safe from suicide bombings. How do you think most Americans would vote? I'm not sure...but I'm tempted to say a surprising amount of them would go for the deal.

And the attitude of George in the War on Terror all along has been "we will fight these guys at any cost," "this is a war we must win," all that stuff.

We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who exploded car bombs along a busy shopping street in Baghdad, including one outside a mosque. We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who sent a suicide bomber to a teaching hospital in Mosul. And we see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who behead civilian hostages and broadcast their atrocities for the world to see.

All these things are true. I won't deny that fanatical Islam is a worthwhile opponent, something we should be working against. But I do wish he would be more selective about his choice of language. The President constantly talking in terms of "enemies" is so creepy, so backward. Can't we for once focus on positive, forward-thinking proposals, and stop fear-mongering for one little speech? Is it so much to ask?

These are savage acts of violence but they have not brought the terrorists any closer to achieving their strategic objectives.


Osama bin Laden has achieved all of his strategic objectives from 9/11 and then some. I dare say, the entire enterprise probably worked beyond his wildest expectations.

(1) He has united most of the world against America

Even people that aren't Muslim and hate terrorists are united in their present opposition to American foreign policy. Hell, I'm united in my hatred for American foreign policy and I fucking live here. Remember, you don't have to like terrorists to hate the way America has behaved in the last several years.

Plus, that Abu Gharib-Gitmo stuff? That is like a 2 hour sloppy wet blowjob for Osama bin Laden. That is like every birthday present he ever got times 1000, and he grew up fabulously wealthy so you know the guy got some cool birthday presents.

(2) Terrorist recruitment is through the roof

All these young kids whose parents and siblings and friends we're arresting and torturing and murdering en masse? They're the future of al-Qaeda. The more we decimate their homeland, the more anxious they'll be to decimate ours.

(3) We're involved in a protracted land war in the Middle East, for which we have no exit strategy

That's what they want! Obviously, al-Qaeda doesn't have an Air Force. We're not going to fight them on the High Seas like in fucking Master and Commander. If they're going to kill infidels and beat us down, they have to do it on their own turf, guerilla style.

Seeing as our nation was founded by guerilla warriors, you'd think we would catch on to this, but we keep marching into these kind of situations over and over and over again, like Napoleon if he had that amensia disease from Memento. It's retarded.

(4) Everybody is still fucking talking about al-Qaeda

Pre-9/11: Osama bin Laden is some bearded buttmunch whom Americans can't tell apart from any of those wacky Muslim sheiks. Or Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia for that matter.

Post-9/11: Osama bin Laden can release a video tape and beat out Lindsay Lohan for the front page. Think about that...He's not more important than Lindsay Lohan.

You can't buy that kind of publicity. You can only earn it by crashing planes into large skyscrapers when a trained ape happens to be president.

(5) Americans are losing faith in their government, their economy and their military

Isn't that really what terrorism is all about? Fear? Panic? Isn't that how you'd describe the American mood post-9/11? I wish some brave politician would come out and admit the truth - we as a society have played right into Osama bin Laden's hands, and it's time to look at our own behavior and how it affects the world instead of trying to arrest every brown, bearded guy.

So, yeah, George, explain again how Osama bin Laden didn't achieve any objectives? You were saying?

The terrorists, both foreign and Iraqi, failed to stop the transfer of sovereignty. They failed to break our coalition and force a mass withdrawal by our allies. They failed to incite an Iraqi civil war. They failed to prevent free elections. They failed to stop the formation of a democratic Iraqi government that represents all of Iraq's diverse population. And they failed to stop Iraqis from signing up in large numbers with the police forces and the army to defend their new democracy.

Do I even need to point out how pathetic this is as an explanation? Okay, I'll do it quick, because it's immensely feeble.

This is really the meat of this speech. This is his defense of our position in Iraq. This is why he thinks we are winning the war. And it's a fucking joke.

First of all, he uses the same incident - there was an election - over and over again, as if it were different successes we'd won in Iraq. Yes, there was an election. That means there was a transfer of sovereignty, a government has formed and there is a new democracy.

He doesn't discuss how this is a democracy in name only. How the people in charge are not permanent, how large sectors of the country didn't vote, and how many of the government's key officials are US puppets. Also, how there's no real organization for the government yet, and it hasn't even been decided, most importantly, how long the US will have a presence in the country, and how the constitution will be drafted.

Big important decisions, those. My point is, it's a little early to talk about a democratic government that represents all the people. Stop-gap, semi-official elections held during a time of chaotic violence and warfare in the streets is hardly something to crow about from the rooftops.

The lesson of this experience is clear: The terrorists can kill the innocent but they cannot stop the advance of freedom. The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like bin Laden. For the sake of our nation's security, this will not happen on my watch.

There it is for you, clear as day. George Bush wants your friends and family to willingly die for an abstract. An abstract that happens to be really important to him, but also extremely vague. I'm not saying it's always wrong to die for an abstract. Millions of people throughout human history have, and I can't deny that often times, it's noble. But that's a decision each man and woman must make for themselves. Is this idea worth dying for?

I think most Americans would say that they concept of a democratically-elected Iraqi government is not really, to them, worth the lives of their children, parents or friends. Now, maybe, if you said, "I'll kill you, but your death will immediately cause Iraq to be free, and controlled by a benevolent, fairly elected governing body," a lot of American swould go for it.

But that's not dying for an ideal. Dying for an ideal is..."your death will mean something toward the cause of worldwide freedom." Umm...okay...I guess...but couldn't I live a while longer?

Bush goes on and on and on (this is so far only Page 1 of 3 in the speech transcript), and frankly, there's no need to continue fisking the speech like this. You see where the guy is going. It's just more mindless horseshit, signifying nothing at all.

America has done difficult work before. From our desperate fight for independence, to the darkest days of a Civil War, to the hard-fought battles against tyranny in the 20th century, there were many chances to lose our heart, our nerve or our way. But Americans have always held firm, because we have always believed in certain truths. We know that if evil is not confronted, it gains in strength and audacity and returns to strike us again. We know that when the work is hard, the proper response is not retreat, it is courage. And we know that this great ideal of human freedom entrusted to us in a special way and that the ideal of liberty is worth defending.

Ugh...What balls...He's equating a war he started with the war against the British Crown, the Confederacy, Nazis. Hey, FDR didn't lie about Hitler, pretending he wanted to invade other countries and kill Jews, when really he had two panzers and a couple of underground bunkers. Der Fuhrer had already invaded a couple countries when we joined the war effort.

And, yes, Iraq invaded Kuwait in the early 90's, and we stepped in and got them out, and then left. In 2003, all they did was fail to let in Hans Blix for a few days, before finally letting him in anyway.

Not quite the same thing.

Using this kind of rhetoric, he could excuse any war. Any war. Think about it. "The ideal of liberty." How exactly is this a fight for the ideal of liberty? It's not. It's a fight over who's going to run this faraway country, and whether or not we're going to set up shop there permanently. It has nothing to fucking do with liberty.

Next week, our nation has an opportunity to make sure that support is felt by every soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman and Marine at every outpost across the world. This Fourth of July, I ask you to find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom by flying the flag, sending letters to our troops in the field or helping the military family down the street.

This is his grand design? This is the big plan at the end of his speech to give us hope for teh future? Fly the fucking flag?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?! Is he fucking serious?

I can't even go on. That's it for me.

So, who's dumber, Cruise or Bush? All I have to say is, if our President is a measure of sanity, then I'll take Xenu and the exploding "Dianetics" volcanoes any day of the week.


benny said...

Dude... I thought you'd wanna see this. It's off topic, but whatever.


Konrad said...

Sometimes I think reading one post of you is like reading a book :-)
I think that George W. is more dangerous, because he has more power than Tom. But maybe the effect in the media of Tom should not be underestimated. George W.'s intellect is mediocre, or maybe that's what he wants people to think about him. They don't take him serious but still, he is president. I think that is a dangerous combination. A mediocre powerful man. Scary. On the other hand Tom, the brilliant actor with a deep perception. Everybody listens what he has to say or pretends to be. And that has a large effect as well. But it's hard to compare.

Lons said...

Hey, it was a long speech. I could have kept going, actually, but I got fed up.

Steve said...

Ah, Lons - thanks for feeding our Canadian smugness complex. I used to think our countries were pretty much indistinguishable, then I saw George Bush get not only elected, but *re*-elected, and I realized we must be missing something in our water up here.


P.S. We legalized gay marriage yesterday.

Lons said...

Yes, yes, your country is better than mine. I think we all know that by now.

We, however, invented the chili cheeseburger. So maybe it's closer than you think.