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5/19/02


 

PAVLOV’S CHIMP

By David Podvin

Thanks to BushOrChimp.com

Throughout the charmed life of George W. Bush, his conditioned response to any stimulus has been to lie. More often than not he has lied poorly, and has always depended on the blindness of strangers. Bush has been deceptive about his childhood, his academic career, his free lance military stint defending Alaska from the Viet Cong, his illicit wheeling and dealing in the Texas oil patch, the municipal welfare grant he received from the city of Arlington, his criminal dalliances with controlled substances, the theft of the presidency, and literally any other subject that has arisen. He is the living embodiment of the conservative philosophy: “If something is worth talking about, then it is worth lying about.”

His performances during the presidential debates were a tour de force of deceitful versatility. On every issue from taxes to Social Security to national defense to restoring dignity to the Oval Office, Bush showed a relentless dedication to dishonesty that gratified his supporters in the mainstream media, while apparently leaving his opponent dazed in amazement. At one point, the Texas governor was nearing the thought-to-be unattainable fifty-six consecutive lie streak of the legendary Ronald Reagan.

Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Dubya treats the truth as though it has leprosy. Life has taught him that, in our country so richly steeped in the Judeo Christian ethos, there is nothing you can’t achieve if you’re just willing to take the time and make the effort to deceive enough people.

The lies that Bush and his operatives are now telling about last year’s terrorist attack are a fascinating case study in shameless audacity. They are the brazen lies of someone whose personal experiences have taught him that there are no consequences to getting caught when betraying a trust.  

Press Secretary Ari Fleischer is the mouth that Bush uses when he wants to communicate with the world in complete sentences. On 9/11, Fleischer, said that there had been no prior warning of an impending terrorist attack. He was lying. The FBI, the CIA, and the head of the counter terrorism unit had alerted the administration of an impending al-Qaeda attack within the United States. In fact, for three months CIA Director George Tenet had been so frantically insistent that al-Qaeda was preparing for a terrorist strike in America that administration officials had come to view him as a paranoid nuisance.

When confronted last week with evidence that he lied for Bush, Fleischer acknowledged that the administration had really been alerted to the danger in August. This was another lie, designed to create the false impression that there simply had been insufficient time to prevent the hijackings. The warning that al-Qaeda had mobilized for an attack on the United States was actually delivered in May, and the federal government had gone on the highest state of alert as of July 5. The Bush team then took a month long vacation and just kind of forgot about the state of alert thing.

While Bush was at the Crawford ranch manfully castrating bulls the old fashioned Texas way - using nothing but his teeth - he was officially briefed about the urgent threat posed by al-Qaeda . The briefing occurred on August 6, thirty-six days before the attack. On September 9, two days prior to the mass murder, Bush was presented with a military plan to launch a preemptive strike against bin Laden. And yet, after seeing videotape of a plane plowing into the World Trade Center, Dubya announced that his first thought had been, “There’s one terrible pilot.” We are left to wonder whether this individual is mentally defective or pathologically driven to lie.

Or both.

Ari Fleischer, Condoleeza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld have repeated the exact verbiage that they “had no advance warning that commercial airliners would be used as missiles to attack the World Trade Center”. Why such unnecessary and lockstep specificity? No one asked them about using airplanes as missiles to attack the World Trade Center. They were asked whether they had been alerted to an imminent terrorist attack, yet each responded with the same artful dodge. Why?

Even their artful dodge is false. Since 1995, the intelligence community has been aware of an al-Qaeda plan to use hijacked planes as missiles with which to bomb buildings. The target in question was CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. This technically means that the Bushites’ identical answers were merely extraordinarily manipulative falsehoods designed to mislead the listener, as opposed to lies.

The cynical rhetorical deception might pass for honesty among those Americans who live by the conservative credo that the ends justify the means. Unfortunately, the contemporary Washington model is the universally respected William Bennett Standard Of Phrasing Things So It Is Impossible To Misinterpret Them Or You Are A Lying Degenerate Who Is Responsible For The Decline Of Western Civilization. As a result, any moral person who loves God must reluctantly conclude that the sophistry of the Bush administration requires the immediate drafting of articles of impeachment.

Bush Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta has said that he warned the airlines of an impending attack. The airlines - all of the airlines - say he never did. The pilots’ association denies Mineta’s claims that they were alerted. Is another functionary lying to protect Bush? Could this possibly occur in an administration that Dubya pledged would avoid “even the appearance of impropriety”? Or are the airlines and their so-called “pilots” engaged in the most nefarious conspiracy since Obstructionist Daschle colluded with arctic caribou to persecute the American Petroleum Institute?

The administration is telling a myriad of lies to direct attention away from the fact that their malfeasance allowed our nation to be victimized and our countrymen to be slaughtered. But more importantly, at least for those of us who cherish family values, there is great moral strength to be drawn from the fact that no one on the Bush team has yet been evasive about oral sex.

Why is the administration wallowing in deceit when it appears that it could have just told the truth without suffering any consequences? Why has the Bush propensity for being dishonest suddenly morphed into a tidal wave of transparent lies by everyone involved? This is a case with many loose ends that requires skillful investigative reporting.

If only John Stossel were still alive…

This is not to suggest that anyone in the Bush Administration would ever do anything untoward, or even have impure thoughts. To imply such a thing is to undermine the future of this country, as Dick Cheney announced on Thursday.

Ever since I saw “The Godfather”, I have wondered what happened to the other end of that horse. Now I know: it is just a heartbeat away from the presidency. Cheney has questioned the patriotism of anyone who asks Bush about the regime’s many lies surrounding the events of 9/11. Cheney is an established expert when it comes to lacking patriotism; he supported the Vietnam War, but was unwilling to fight in it because military service would have conflicted with cruising the streets of Wyoming while in a drunken stupor.

The mainstream media certainly does not want to be unpatriotic, at least not if it involves harming Bush. Both Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post and Michael Isikoff of Newsweek have implored Americans to understand that the Bush White House has never believed in sharing information with the people it governs. They argue that it naturally follows Bush should receive credit for being ethically consistent by sheltering the public from the truth about what really happened leading up to 9/11.

Kurtz and Isikoff were not being sarcastic. They represent the prevailing view of the mainstream media that the importance of gathering and disseminating information to consumers of news is highly overrated. It remains to be seen whether the Fourth Estate can convince the American people that Bush should be exalted for consistency, as manifested by his willingness to always lie.

Thus far, the most incriminating statements about Bush have not come from the fluffers in the corporate press or the timid congressional Democrats, but from the friendly fire of talk radio. Rush Limbaugh and his callers have excused Dubya for not protecting America from the worst terrorist attack in our history because the ruffians in the ACLU and the Hollywood left would have assaulted their guy with harsh words if he had taken preventative action. This spirited conservative defense is thundering across the fruited plains: “Bush had to let three thousand Americans be annihilated because he was justifiably frozen in fear at the prospect of being verbally assailed by Barbra Streisand”. The message is being especially well received in the pious red states, where majorities of the citizenry call their favorite aunt “Ma”. From the right wing perspective, Bush is completely innocent, regardless of whatever he did - or failed to do - because liberals are a herd of nagging yentas. This really is the current conservative rank and file defense of Bush, and they believe in it passionately.

The Senate Democrats do not believe in anything passionately. They have the means to expose Bush and bring him to justice by using the subpoena power of the Intelligence Committee. They could methodically demonstrate to the American public that Bush has been completely derelict in his duty to protect this nation, and extremely dishonest in attempting to cover up his failure. They could explain that Dubya rejected the Gore plan to spend an additional two billion dollars on airport security - a plan that would have stopped clowns with box cutters from terrorizing the most powerful country in the world – because Bush wanted to give the money to Enron. They could carefully deconstruct the cover-up to expose whatever he is hiding. They could effectively checkmate lies with truth.

Unfortunately, Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham is already making soft whimpering noises that sound suspiciously like a prelude to capitulation. Too bad. What magnificent payback it would be for a Democrat from Florida to end an illegitimate presidency that was born during a fascist riot in Dade County. It would be conclusive proof that the Hindus are right about karma, and might well compel legions of grateful Democrats to start worshipping cows.

However, the issue of Bush lying about 9/11 is beginning to more closely resemble the Florida recount. Having been caught in lie after lie, the Republican strategy is to chant in unison that the Democrats are “despicable”. As always, the Democratic strategy remains a closely guarded secret, but it appears to again consist of confidently waiting for Sandra Day O’Connor to do the right thing.

The anguished corporate media is certainly ready for this “tempest in a teapot” to end. When reporters rose to question Fleischer about his serial deceit on behalf of Bush, they were solicitous to the point of being apologetic. Repeatedly, White House correspondents prefaced their questions with the preamble, “We’re not accusing anyone in the administration of doing anything wrong…” They know that their multinational corporate employers are financially indebted to Bush. America’s mainstream journalistic guardians of the truth desperately want Dubya to weasel out of this mess so they can return to the comfortably familiar terrain of bashing Clinton, Daschle, or anyone else whose name happens to appear on the shit list of the Chamber of Commerce.

If Bush would just come out and say, “I completely screwed up”, the corporate media would lavish him with praise for candor and humility, contrasting him positively with the Evil One who preceded him. Even if Bush admitted to planning and organizing the attack on the World Trade Center, you just know that the Wall Street Journal and Fox would cite this as conclusive evidence that his liberal detractors should feel humiliated for underestimating his logistical skill. All he has to do is come clean, because liberals are only capable of holding grudges against each other. There is no Democratic Tom DeLay to obsessively pursue the opposing party’s leader. If Bush just tells the truth about 9/11, then he’s home free, no matter how foul the truth is.

What remains unclear is whether he is capable of telling the truth, even if doing so would benefit him.

After Nixon was forced to resign, the right wing vowed to never let it happen again. They created a political infrastructure of think tanks and pundits to shield conservative presidents from the consequences of committing felonies. As a result, Reagan and Poppy Bush survived the Iran Contra assault on the Constitution that should have landed both of them in prison. It is highly unlikely that Dubya will ever be held legally accountable for any crime he commits, if for no other reason than the majority on the Supreme Court has a vested interest in keeping him sanitized. Even if Bush gets caught red handed, he will skate. And politically, the modern Democratic Party couldn’t work up the courage to impeach him if he set the American flag on fire and then used it to club Pope John Paul II to death during Easter services on live national television.

But Bush is in danger nonetheless. Given that he is not known as a make-work type guy, the vast campaign of lies about 9/11 must be hiding something really horrible; there would be no other reason to exert all that effort coordinating a cover-up that ranges through several Cabinet departments, the Pentagon, and the intelligence community. Bush has always chosen to coordinate his lies only with his tight inner circle, but this matter now involves a lot of people collaborating to deceive the public. Why?

If history serves as a guide, the courts and the politicians and the mainstream press will go into Three Monkey Mode in order to avoid finding out what Dubya is so intent on obscuring. Yet ominously, over the last few days the alternative media has featured one well researched story after another dealing with the fraudulent Bush account of 9/11. It has become clear to many talented and industrious journalists around the world that the actions of Bush and his handlers are consistent with the behavior of people who are covering up something grotesque. The genie appears to have escaped from the bottle, and so it would be unsurprising if whatever the former Texas governor is lying about this time ultimately is dragged into the sunlight.

Should that happen, Bush would still have a corporate convoy of political and media sycophants to shield him from democracy. Regardless of what he has done, the right wing will be as hysterically frenzied in defending their guy as they were in attacking Clinton.

It might not matter this time. The terrorizing of the United States and the subsequent lies of George W. Bush are so serious that there is the very real potential – finally – for the reflexive dishonesty of Pavlov’s chimp to be his undoing with the American people.

More David Podvin

Podvin, the Series

 


Last changed: December 13, 2009