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Peter Daou

Peter Daou

Posted: March 28, 2006 10:05 AM

Scandal Fatigue Helps Bush Avert Another Political Disaster


Maha writes: "When The Guardian reported last February about another Downing Street memo in which President Bush suggested luring Saddam Hussein into war by "flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours," there was much scoffing and hoo-hawing from the Right. But today the New York Times reveals that the memo is real."

The implications are staggering, but the nation's collective response? A big yawn.

Maha quotes the Peking Duck, who explains: "In ordinary times, it would be a bombshell: A secret memo proves that our president told his people a series of lies leading to wanton and needless death and destruction. He had planned to wage his war no matter what, and was even prepared to create fake evidence to justify the invasion.... In ordinary times, he'd be impeached. But these aren't ordinary times. We are all so used to this sort of thing that it has almost no effect at all. It's just another day in the Age of Bush, where we're always winning the war and we're always right and no mistakes are ever made."

And here's the kicker from the Agonist: "CNN - Two teams of government investigators using fake documents were able to enter the United States with enough radioactive sources to make two dirty bombs, according to a federal report made available Monday."

Getting back to the Triangle metaphor, what would happen if the progressive netroots, the Democratic establishment, and responsible media figures worked together to treat these two stories with the gravity and intensity they deserve? It would be a major political crisis. Sadly, the system is not in place, the coordination of the various components of the progressive message machine is lacking, and as we saw in the NSA fiasco, the trajectory of these stories is all too easy to predict.

So what we end up with is confirmation of the most dire concerns of the anti-war movement (i.e. that Bush was itching for war and was ready to do whatever necessary to provoke it), coupled with evidence that all the national - I hate the word 'Homeland' - security blather on the part of the administration since 9/11 is hot air; we're as vulnerable as ever. Once again, impeachable offenses drifting into an endless stream of impeachable offenses, receding into oblivion...

Part of me wishes I could fast forward twenty years just to get enough distance and perspective to realize how bizarre a time this really is.

Update - Media Matters weighs in: "Media ignored, underreported NY Times disclosure of explosive Bush-Blair memo"

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