May 20, 2004
THE NEW YORK TIMES
WASHINGTON -- It's their reality. We just live and die in it.
In Bushworld, our troops go to war and get killed, but you never see the bodies
In Bushworld, flag-draped remains of the fallen are important to revere and
show the nation, but only in political ads hawking the president's leadership
In Bushworld, we can create an exciting Iraqi democracy as long as it doesn't
control its own military, pass any laws or have any power.
In Bushworld, we can win over Fallujah by bulldozing it.
In Bushworld, it was worth going to war so Iraqis could express their feelings
("Down With America!") without having their tongues cut out, although
we cannot yet allow them to express intemperate feelings in newspapers ("Down
With America!") without shutting them down.
In Bushworld, it's fine to take $700 million that Congress provided for the
war in Afghanistan and 9-11 recovery and divert it to the war in Iraq that you
are insisting you are not planning.
In Bushworld, you don't consult your father, the expert in being president
during a war with Iraq, but you do talk to your Higher Father, who can't talk
back to warn you to get an exit strategy or chide you for using Him for political
In Bushworld, it's OK to run for re-election as the avenger of 9-11, even as
you make secret deals with the Arab kingdom where most of the 9-11 hijackers
In Bushworld, you get to strut around like a tough military guy and paint your
rival as a chicken hawk, even though he's the one who won medals in combat and
was praised by his superior officers for fulfilling all his obligations.
In Bushworld, it makes sense to press for transparency in Mr. and Mrs. Rival
while cultivating your own opacity.
In Bushworld, you can reign as the antiterror president even after hearing
an intelligence report about al-Qaida's plans to attack America and then stepping
outside to clear brush.
In Bushworld, those who dissemble about the troops and money it will take to
get Iraq on its feet are patriots, while those who are honest are patronizingly
In Bushworld, they struggle to keep church and state separate in Iraq, even
as they increasingly merge the two in America.
In Bushworld, you can claim to be the environmental president on Earth Day
while being the industry president every other day.
In Bushworld, you brag about how well Afghanistan is going, even though soldiers
like Pat Tillman are still dying and the Taliban are running freely around the
border areas, hiding Osama and delaying elections.
In Bushworld, imperfect intelligence is good enough to knock over Iraq. But
even better evidence that North Korea is building the weapons that Saddam could
only dream about is hidden away.
In Bushworld, the CIA says it can't find out whether there are WMD in Iraq
unless we invade on the grounds that there are WMD.
In Bushworld, there's no irony that so many who did so much to avoid the Vietnam
draft have now strained the military so much that lawmakers are talking about
bringing back the draft.
In Bushworld, we're making progress in the war on terror by fighting a war
that creates terrorists.
In Bushworld, you don't need to bother asking your vice president and top Defense
Department officials whether you should go to war in Iraq, because they've already
maneuvered you into going to war.
In Bushworld, it's perfectly natural for the president and vice president to
appear before the 9-11 commission like the Olsen twins.
In Bushworld, you expound on remaking the Middle East and spreading pro-American
sentiments even as you expand anti-American sentiments by ineptly occupying
Iraq and unstintingly backing Ariel Sharon on West Bank settlements.
In Bushworld, we went to war to give Iraq a democratic process, yet we disdain
the democratic process that causes allies to pull out troops.
In Bushworld, you pride yourself on the fact that your administration does
not leak to the press, while you flood the best-known journalist in Washington
with inside information.
In Bushworld, you list Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack as recommended reading on your campaign Web site, even though it makes you seem divorced from reality.
That is, unless you live in Bushworld.
New York Times News Service