George W. Faces the Nation


George Bush’s appearance on Face the Nation was as well choreographed as any presentation you’ll see of the Bolshoi ballet. Ensconced in the cozy confines of the Oval Office Mr. Bush looked comfortably presidential, and was convincing in rebuffing the charges that have been leveled at him since the war’s end.

Impresario Tim Russert was equally effective in his role as “probing journalist” looking to get the real scoop on the elusive WMDs.

“Saddam was a dangerous man” the President averred. (Russert nods approvingly.)

“I have to make the hard decisions” Bush opined. (Again, Russert looks on with sympathy for the great man who must bomb defenseless countries to save innocent American lives.)

The entire performance was risible in the extreme, especially the fact that so little respect is shown for the intelligence of the average American.

At this point, even the die-hard Bush loyalists know in their hearts that the whole affair was a charade, and yet, they sill insist on putting on this dismal Kabuki. Do they really think anyone is buying this blather from our blow-dried leader?

And what can we say about the bulbous Russert? It’s always difficult to tell if he’s trying to affect a look of concerned engagement or if he’s just low on his thyroid medication.

This type of political theatre is always offensive, but under the Bush Regime it’s hit rock bottom. NBC has been a reliable friend of the administration from the very beginning; cheerleading on the war effort to the point where they actually used the Pentagon’s favorite euphemism, “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, to introduce their nightly segments on the war. As Amy Goodman said, “How much closer do you get to state TV?”

How much closer, indeed?

Now that war appears to be dragging on indefinitely, NBC has jumped on board to provide free air time for Bush to acquit himself.

“I expected to find weapons. And I made my decision upon the intelligence in the context of the war against terror. In other words, we were attacked, and therefore every threat had to be reanalyzed.”

What the President means to say is that the US committed a flagrant act of aggression against a defenseless enemy, but it’s probably okay because we were attacked on 9-11. Apart from tax cuts and snake oil, 9-11 seems to be the only trick left in the Bush medicine bag, and he doesn’t hesitate to use it.

He’s also eager to point out that he is a “war president”. The fact that he and his claque are the perpetrators of these conflicts is tacitly ignored, but the plaudits that come with such a designation are never understated. As a matter of fact, Bush mentioned “war” 33 times during the interview, which indicates that he must have been thoroughly prepared by his Goebbelsian mentor, Karl Rove. And, to his credit, Bush looks to be a “quick study” when it comes to grasping the rudiments of demagoguery. Fear mongering is the duct tape that holds the Bush Administration together. Without that, people would probably notice the venal assembly of criminals that now occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

While Bush was making his pitch on national TV, former chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, was offering his own observations on what transpired in the run-up to the war. Blix said that the “intention was to dramatize it (The danger of the WMD) just as the vendors of some merchandise are trying to increase or exaggerate the importance of what they have.”

The gentlemanly Blix has maintained his dignity and statesmanlike demeanor throughout. His restraint only illustrates his unwillingness to indulge in “mud-slinging”, even though he knows, for all practical purposes, he’s describing a pack of liars.

MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at:


MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at