Robert Sheer says: “Bush is such a liar. Or is he just out to lunch on the most important issue that he faces? In October, he charged that Iran’s nuclear weapons program was bringing the world to the precipice of World War III, even though the White House had been informed at least a month earlier that Iran had no such program and had stopped efforts to develop one back in 2003. Is it conceivable that Bush was telling the truth at his press conference Tuesday when he stated that he learned of the National Intelligence Estimate report, which contained that inconvenient fact, only last week? Even if Bush read the NIE report, he clearly doesn’t respect it, for at his press conference he said ‘the NIE doesn’t do anything to change my opinion about the danger Iran poses to the world–quite the contrary.’ Not that he has anything against the NIE, whose directors he handpicked. ‘I want to compliment the intelligence community for their good work. Right after the failure of intelligence in Iraq, we reformed the intelligence community.’ But whether or not the intelligence agencies are reformed, the president still ignores them. He didn’t listen when they told him he was wrong in claiming that Iraq had purchased yellow cake uranium from Niger and he doesn’t listen now when they tell him his alarms about Iran are without factual foundation. The difference this time around is that because Bush is a discredited lame duck the intelligence chiefs were a bit more forthcoming with their findings in a report that has, in part, been made available to the public. The whole episode shows that our democratic system retains at least some essential checks and balances, but it also is depressing to see that, in this instance at least, the fanatical leader of a theocracy seems to have a higher regard for truth than does the president of the world’s greatest experiment in representative democracy.” Click here for the rest.
We cannot now calculate the scope and depth of the harm the Bush-Cheney administration has inflicted–and continues to inflict–on the character of our republican democracy. Hundreds books, and doctoral dissertations will be written after the acute stress and demoralization–the utter helplessness that many of us experience under this soft dictatorial regime–finally comes to an end. We will then breathe a (premature) sigh of relief and begin the arduous task of rebuilding our credibility and whatever integrity we might have had prior to the onset the dark ages of the American presidency. Don’t misconstrue my point. The United States and its Constitution have never fulfilled its potential, not even remotely. But Bush-Cheney have shattered whatever democratic features the United States retained and created the first (and hopefully last) soft dictatorship. By “soft” dictatorship” I mean a regime which acts lawlessly, secretly and deceitfully to bring about certain ends without inflicting terror on the entire population. Indeed, a soft dictatorship can be designed to achieve certain goals, for instance, dominating the Mideast and its rich oil supply, without ever antagonizing the majority of ordinary Americans. What would happen if these Americans awoke from their slumbers and confronted our soft dictators? With luck we would depose them. Without it soft dictatorship is quickly transformed into a hard, brutal, and nefarious dictatorship. Vigilance in these circumstances is a moral imperative.
Sheer’s piece succinctly depicts the state of the American presidency, it soft dictatorial rule, and how this rule affects many of us: “It’s humiliating to all of us who believe in a free press, separation of powers and individual liberty that a system of government designed by its founders to hold leaders accountable can be so easily manipulated by an unremarkable loser who has been rewarded throughout his life for screwing up. It is hoped that this time around the truth will catch up with him before he gets us in yet another bloody war, just to show he can.” Americans need to do a great deal of soul-searching to find out just went wrong with American constitutionalism over the past eight years and, more importantly, how to fix it.
Credit for the Bush Image
Credit for the Ahmadinejad Image