Balancing Present Lies With A Future Truth

by tristero

One more point about the disgraceful review of Disney's rightwing propaganda efforts in the NY Times. After inflicting on hapless readers - who have yet to imbibe a full cup of morning java - the Worst Analogy Ever (tm), in which she more than implies that Clinton deserves more blame than Bush for not doing enough to prevent 9/11, Alessandra Stanley types:
(It’s safe to assume that any future mini-series about American foreign policy will not delve flatteringly into Mr. Bush’s march to war in Iraq.)
Can you believe it?

She's saying don't worry, be happy, every little thing will balance out in the end, that if the 9/11 series is harsh and unfair towards Clinton, Bush will get his just as harshly and unfairly. That's because the Disney propaganda will be counterbalanced by a future, hypothetical mini-series on the Bush administration's marketing of the New Product in 2002 - the Iraq war - which will be equally inaccurate.

Once again, my mind boggles. It's a simple fact: The Disney propaganda series is laced with lies, bald-faced lies about the actions of the Clinton administration. That in no way is "balanced" by telling the harsh, despicable, and miserable truth about the Bush administration's wholesale effort to mislead the public into a pointless and ghastly war in Iraq. Real balance requires telling the truth both about what happened before 9/11* AND about the American public's bamboozlement regarding Iraq. Real balance leads to the inescapable, if frightening, conclusion that the Bush administration is incompetent, deceptive, violently delusional, and corrupt at a level that greatly exceeds any presidential administration within memory, including Nixon. (If not ever.) Real balance requires that story to be told as it is.

Let's get this straight. I have no doubt that every official dealing with al Qaeda in the Clinton administration wishes they had done at least some, if not many, things very differently. I'm sure each official has his or her personal and profound life-long regrets over their mistakes, "What if I had just done X instead?" In fact, Richard Clarke, to his credit, said as much in his eloquent public apology to the families of the 9/11 victims. It's not partisanship to recognize that the Clinton administration was far from perfect in its hunt for bin Laden. ** That's simple fact that no one disputes.

But those mistakes, as awful and as dangerous as they turned out to be are in no way is comparable to the willful denial of reality, the inexcusable refusal to listen to warnings, the insane obsession with non-existent threats that characterized the Bush administration in the first nine months of his presidency. Whatever the Clinton era mistakes were, these were not among them and they were (and are) far worse. That, too, is not partisanship. That's simple fact.

I truly am sorry that the man who is currently occupying the White House, arguably the most powerful person in the history of the world, is an incompetent, delusional liar, and that his administration has set new lows for corruption and criminal behavior.*** But that's the way it is. "Balance" isn't achieved by lying about Clinton in a vain attempt to make his administration appear as dreadful as Bush's. It wasn't. Not even close. Yes, Clinton was far from perfect, sometimes he made terrible choices. But 9/11, Iraq, Katrina, the deficit, the wholesale destruction of science and health standards, the high oil prices, the war profiteering, the debacle in Afghanistan, the shredding of the Bill of Rights and so on, so on, so on - those are Bush's full responsibility. He created many of them out of empty air. They are his fault.

And that is unfortunate. Very unfortunate. Because Bush has no idea what he is doing and he still has two more years plus to wreak even more damage, even if, mirabile dictu, Republicans lose either or both of their legislative majorities.

* Which happened, let's not forget, well over 200 days into the Bush presidency. Not to mention the months of transition prior to 2001 when the Bush candidacy and government-in-waiting were surely also warned repeatedly in no uncertain terms about bin Laden if, in no other way, than by simply reading the newspaper.

** And let's not forget that bin Laden predates Clinton. His grandiose delusions were directly stoked by the failure of Bush I''s Defense Secretary to honor his word to Saudi Arabia - the SecDef was a man named Dick Cheney by the way - and withdraw American troops immediately after Gulf War I ).

***It's sheer hell explaining Bush to my 10 year old. much harder than it is explaining Lewinsky, for example.

[Updates to original post: The footnote about Cheney during Bush I was added. The header of the post was slightly changed.]