Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ironies abound

In speeches on Memorial Day weekend, the President, at Arlington, and the Vice President, at West Point, hoist themselves on their own petards.

Bush, standing amidst rows of white crosses actually said: "This is our country's calling. It's our country's destiny."

Earlier in the speech he noted, without considering Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, illegal wiretapping, free-speech zones, or national security letters: "The greatest memorial to our fallen troops cannot be found in the words we say or the places we gather. The more lasting tribute is all around us -- a country where citizens have the right to worship as they want, to march for what they believe, and to say what they think."

At West Point, Cheney guilelessly admitted the incompetence of the administration: "It is rare in West Point history for a class to join during wartime, and to graduate in the midst of that same war." And then rehashed the old mantra of "9/11 and Saddam Hussein":"We're fighting a war on terror because the enemy attacked us first, and hit us hard."

In describing "the enemy" he only seemed to be drawing a self-portrait: "These are men who glorify murder... Their cruelty is not rebuked by human suffering, only fed by it. They have given themselves to an ideology that rejects tolerance, denies freedom of conscience, and demands that women be pushed to the margins of society...(they are) defined entirely by their hatreds...(they) know what they want and they will stop at nothing to get it. By force and intimidation, they seek to impose a dictatorship of fear, under which every man, woman, and child lives in total obedience to their ideology...They view the world as a battlefield and ...And now they have chosen to make Iraq the central front in their war against civilization.

And, as has been noted, once again diminishes some of the most important agreements in our democracy: "As Army officers on duty in the war on terror, you will now face enemies who oppose and despise everything you know to be right, every notion of upright conduct and character, and every belief you consider worth fighting for and living for. Capture one of these killers, and he'll be quick to demand the protections of the Geneva Convention and the Constitution of the United States. Yet when they wage attacks or take captives, their delicate sensibilities seem to fall away. "

The full text of the speeches are here and here.

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