Saturday, August 25, 2007

Rhetoric Over Reason, and Emotion Over Accountability

Do you want to know why people hate the Bush administration so much? It's not because of some stupid "Bush Derangement syndrome." It's because Bush and his entire administration seem hell-bent on making a "friends" and an "enemies" list, and on using rhetoric and emotional appeals to avoid actually discussing the issues that we need to face. It is also their attempt to avoid accountability for anything they have done.

No better example of this is recent days than the interview of former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleishcher by Mike Barnicle (sitting in for Chris Matthews) on the August 22 episode of Hardball. See the transcript of the episode here, and search for "FLEISCHER" with case sensitivity on.

Among the things that upset me are his desire to avoid acountability:

Mike, it is not about the 2002 decision to go into Iraq. It‘s about terrorism that exists in Iraq today... The 2002 debate is an old, stale debate about why we went into Iraq with Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction... Mike, you‘re stuck in the 2001-2002 timetable and debate. It is so far beyond that debate.

In other words, "do not hold us accountable for past mistakes, and do not judge our present predictions by our accuracy in the past." No one tries to elide over the past as irrelevant unless they did something wrong. Does anyone thinks that he would trotting out the irrelevance of 2001-2002 if we had found WMDs?

When asked how to repair the "broken military," Fleischer offers no solutions as to how to deal with the stresses, instead saying:

Mike, I don‘t remember anybody—I wasn‘t alive, but during World War II, saying, We can‘t fight unlimited amounts of time. There‘s no limit. I don‘t remember in the cold war people saying, Let‘s quit because who knows how long this will go.

So he doesn't actually offer a plan except to elide over the problem. Presumably he would perfectly okay then with simply extneding tours to 18 or 21 months and letting the soldiers work themselves to death as long as they were willing to sign up.

Then comes this doozy:

Mike Barnicle, clearly annoyed tha Fleischer won't actually offer plans on how to solve the overextended military problem, asks Mr. Fleischer:

Ari, do you remember reading about Franklin Delano Roosevelt asking the country to make sacrifices for World War Two? Do you remember that?

Fleischer, unbelievably, responds:

I think everybody in this country is making a sacrifice.

We all do every time a soldier loses his or her life.

When pressed, he continues:

No, Mike. You‘re missing the point about this military is all of our military, both the people who oppose the war and the people who are for winning this war. And every time a life is lost, we all lose. We all have made a sacrifice, some more than others.

WRONG. This is stupid rhetoric, along the lines of "no one is free when anyone is oppressed." All of the soldiers in Iraq could be tortured to death, and it would still not hurt me in any way that I would consider to be a sacrifice on my part. Sacrifice by proxy is a ridiculous concept, and all that Fleischer is trying to do is to make Bush into an FDR-like inspiring war-time leader by declaring things to be true by mere rhetorical turns of phrases.

Ari Fleischer is an a**hole.

That is all.

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