TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2003
SEARCHING FOR WEAPONS OF MASS PROPAGANDA: Here at THE HOWLER, weve never doubted that Saddam had WMDs. In fact, wed be surprised if he didnt. We think antiwar types set themselves up for a fall when they crow about the lack of quick discovery.
Did the scientist actually say these things? If so, are his statements accurate? And what did the government find in the ground? At the moment, theres no way to tell. In fact, Miller has nothing to go on in this matter beyond what her government minders have told her; she hasnt been allowed to meet the scientist, or examine what her minders have found. But one thing is abundantly clear. The government may be having troubling finding WMDs. But this unnamed scientist is the greatest propaganda discovery since the end of the recent war. According to Millers government sources, this unnamed scientist has told them every thing the U.S. government would like you to hear. Saddam did have WMDS, he has said. Saddam was tight with al Qaeda, he claims. And oh yes, Saddam sent the WMDs off to Syria (translation: Dont expect that well actually find them). These statements may be perfectly accurate. On the other hand, they may be a pile of pure cantand they are currently being bruited wherever Admin story lines are sold.
Miller doesnt know if these claims are true. She doesnt know the scientists nameor if the scientist is really a scientist. Beyond that, she doesnt know what precursors the government found (if any) or if these materials have some innocent use. Give Miller kudos for her scoop, Shafer writes. Sorry. In an age that is driven by pure propaganda, we plan to hold off for a while.
In 2001, Bush got his big tax cutthe one hed so carefully budgeted for. But since then, budget realities have massively changed. Were now spending massive chunks of Soc Sec cash to cover our annual budget expensesexactly what Bush said we wouldnt have to do. But despite that, Bush is proposing more tax cutscuts which have almost nothing to do with jump-starting the sluggish economy. Whatever one thinks of these budget proposals, they seem to have almost nothing to do with the program on which this man ran.
But major scribeseven those opposing his proposalsrefuse to see the emperors new plan. In Mondays WashPost lead editorial, the eds politely noted, for the ten millionth time, that Bushs cuts wont provide short-term stimulus:
THE POST: Mr. Bush talked a lot in the Rose Garden [last week] about the need for tax cuts right away, to do it now, for immediate tax relief. But if the point is to stimulate the economy, his package isnt particularly well crafted to do that. Just a sliver of the proposed $726 billion in tax cuts5.5 percentwould take effect this fiscal year, and only one-fifth would occur by the end of fiscal 2004.But why must we keep pretending that Bush isnt aware of these obvious facts? And why must we pretend that absurd presentations actually do make some sense? Bush says we must do it nowbut most of his cuts dont take place for years. Why must our poobahs politely pretend that they cant see this emperors problem?
Years ago, in a fabled kingdom, editorial writers avoided seeing a notable flaw in an emperors clothes. Bush mocks the budget program he ran on. Why wont timorous editors simply say so, and ask this great man why he changed?