Deaf Man Talking
No one is as deaf as the man who will not listen
Maybe it’s the newly appointed speech writer. Maybe Peter Feaver has been locked away in some windowless sub basement of the White House, without access to the outer world. Maybe he can do little more than recycle earlier speeches about the war in Iraq. Maybe he and everyone else in this administration have become trapped in a bizarre and crippling time warp. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s that George Bush is hard of hearing.
That has to be the explanation. After listening to his delirious portrayal of progress today and of victory tomorrow in war-torn Iraq, there is only one conclusion: the President of the Untied States is nothing more than a deaf man, talking.
It’s not as if anyone in this administration has ever listened with a discerning ear. Standard operating practice at the White House has been to listen only to those who furthered their agenda, and to absolutely no one else.
But this time, the man at the helm of a sinking nation has gone a bit too far. This time he has gone stone, cold, deaf.
George W. Bush and his handlers have a lengthy history of hearing problems. For more than five years, they selectively closed their ears to those who knew things they chose to ignore. For more than five years, they dismissed the advice of the experienced, and the knowledgeable. They heard nothing that was critical or challenging. They heard nothing that questioned their ill fated policies or their inaccurate conclusions. They heard nothing but their own applause.
George Bush developed a severe hearing malady early in his presidency. From day one, he turned a deaf ear to warnings that his policies were dangerous and destructive. Fortunately for the administration, the corporate media under-reported or simply ignored the advice of experts with as much disdain as the White House.
Just think about how the President absolutely and intractably refused to listen when:
• Scientists warned about teaching Intelligent Design
• Educators warned about serious flaws in No Child Left Behind
• Environmentalists warned about pollution and global warming
• Health experts warned about the dangers mercury levels
• Economists warned about an inquitable tax policy
• Researchers warned about cutting stem cell projects
• Ecologists warned about deforestation
• Engineers warned about New Orleans levees
• Civil libertarians warned about the Patriot Act
• AIDS organizations warned about ignoring condom education
And yet, George Bush chose to hear the words of the most extreme voices on the religious right and the most self indulgent arguments of corporate America. His selective hearing set the standard for every one of his regressive and injurious domestic policies.
No matter. George Bush was president and he knew better even without his hearing. He had the answers before the questions were ever raised. He was right. Everyone else was wrong. He had no reason to listen.
It was an outrage for the President and his henchmen to totally ignore the advice and expertise of anyone who disagreed with their self-serving agenda. It was, in effect, an irresponsible surrender to special interests and supporters who would help keep George Bush in power. But, perhaps, it was politics as usual.
Perhaps it was. Domestic policies often deteriorate into partisan food fights, regardless of the toll on the people at large.
But in the wake of 9/11, George Bush’s hearing took a far more serious turn for the worse. His festering malady became a chronic affliction. In time, his condition became more and more noticeable and more and more debilitating.
Looking back, we now can see that 9/11 was the prelude to a long planned war against Iraq, When it came to the attacks or to the march to his war, George Bush found himself unable to hear a great many voices. Once again, the media were cooperative and complicit by selectively underreporting the warnings as well.
Consequently, among the voices that went unheeded by the President were:
• Intelligence sources who warned about impending attacks on US soil, using hijacked airliners
• CIA insiders who warned of the increased ‘chatter’ in the summer of 2001 that signaled that something was brewing among Al Qaeda operatives
• Families of 9/11 victims who demanded an independent investigation into the attacks
• Intelligence reports discounting any connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda
• Weapons Inspectors in Iraq who insisted there were no WMD’s. but begged for more time to complete their mission
• Experts who knew the Middle East and warned that a war against Iraq would foment civil war and instability in the entire region
• The major nations of the world, with the exception of the UK and the bribed coalition of the billing, who warned about the consequences of an illegal preemptive or preventive war against a non belligerent nation.
• Millions of people around the world who marched in protest to the impending invasion
• A bipartisan group of US Military and Diplomatic experts who warned about the recklessness of a war against the people of Iraq
• The Army War College experts who warned that GW Bus was “…on a course of open-ended and gratuitous conflict with states and non-state entities that pose no serious threat to the United States.”
• Experienced military men such as Generals Shinzeki and Zinni, who openly criticized the poorly laid plans for invasion and the horrific management of the occupation.
• Any an all voices in opposition to the Bush/PNAC dream of global domination.
• Instead, George Bush listened intently to the words of his PNAC partners who had waited so patiently for the chance to invade Iraq. And yet, he listened to Ahmed Chalabi, a felon convicted of embezzling millions in absentia, who said that an invasion of Iraq would be a cake walk. Instead, he listened to people who had no clue as to the realities of war, or the cultural and tribal entanglements of the Iraqi people.
Instead, he went to war. And the war became a quagmire. And the quagmire became a nightmare. And the nightmare began to show in the polls.
And so, something had to be done. That something was another series of speeches by the President to shore up support for his war. That is why George Bush came before the American people once again to introduce a redundant and meaningless National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.
When George Bush gave the first of his scheduled speeches, his otic infirmity could no longer be hidden. Sadly, his second address to the nation simply reinforced the obvious: the President of the United States is completely and totally deaf.
No matter how he tried, there was no way to conceal it. In his effort to regain public support for his invasion and occupation of Iraq, George Bush made it perfectly clear that he was incapable of hearing anything even remotely related to reality. In order to distort his failed war policy, he turned a deaf ear to the devastation and chaos that define his war of choice. He closed off any and all warnings that a military victory in Iraq is not possible.
But, in a really bad move, he also turned a deaf ear to the American people.
The American people are asking questions, and George Bush refuses to hear them. Instead, he offers public relations sound bites to a nation that is beginning to demand the truth.
So far he has refused to give the nation any explanations about what is really happening in Iraq. So far, George Bush has refused to address:
• the failure to plan for our role as occupiers in Iraq
• the chaos and bloodshed that intensify every day
• the lack of water and electricity for the people
• the failure of any significant reconstruction
• the daily kidnappings and rampant crime
• the mass exodus of doctors and other professionals
• the use of torture by both Americans and the new Iraqi regime.
• the widespread corruption and missing billions
• the terrible effects of depleted uranium
• the illegal and devastating use of white phosphorus
• the fundamentalist government that is now in charge
• the lack of body and vehicle armor for our troops
• the tens of thousands of Iraqis who died at his hand
• the claim by his own man, Ayad Allawi, that things are worse in Iraq now than under Saddam.
• the five billion dollars a month being spent on the war
• And George Bush refused, above all, to present a cohesive and specific strategy for ending the terrible war he began.
People all across this nation wanted to know what went wrong and why. And they wanted to know how their President planned to fix it. But George Bush has closed his ears to the growing concerns of a majority of Americans. He simply refuses to hear them.
He has chosen, instead, to revert to type. He has chosen, instead, to remain deaf to facts that had been revealed about his war. He has chosen, instead, to ignore the truth about the tragic and deadly catastrophe that was the war in Iraq. He has chosen, once again, to lie.
George Bush speaks only before courteous audiences. Assured of applause at appropriate intervals, he can comfortably hold both hands over his ears and refuse to acknowledge that he had led the nation into an endless morass.
He cannot tell the truth, we know that. So he did what he does best. He lied. But, the irony of it all is that more and more Americans are on to the lies by now. Just for starters, they know that:
• There is no connection whatever between the invasion of Iraq and his trumped up war on terror. And yet, George Bush opted to use the word “terror” FIFTY TIMES his first strategy speech, and continued to the same harangue in the second.
• The insurgency in Iraq is composed of dozens, possibly as many as 100 cells working independently. And yet, George Bush identified only three sources of insurgent activity – and placed much of the blame on “the brutal terrorist, Zarqawi – al Qaeda’s leading operative in Iraq.”
• American marines, not Iraqi security forces, led the incursion into Tal Afar. And yet, to make them appear battle-ready, George Bush gave full credit to the Iraqi security forces for leading the attack.
• Former supporters of the war, such as Vietnam veteran John Murtha, are convinced that a military victory in Iraq is not possible. And yet, George Bush repeated his old, weathered war cry, “There will be no withdrawal without victory.”
• General William Odom has called the war in Iraq a failure. And yet, George Bush touts the “amazing progress” of the occupation.
• More than 2130 Americans and 200 coalition troops have died for his illegal and immoral war of choice, and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis are dead as well. And yet, George Bush still insists that he has “taken the fight to the terrorists,” and that his bloody war will “lay the foundation of peace for generations to come.”
• Progress in Iraq cannot be measured by the number of buildings being rebuilt after being destroyed by US bombs. Instead, that is exactly what George Bush insists is so.
• Progress in Iraq cannot be measured by the number of cell phones being used. And yet, that is how George Bush measures it.
• Oil revenues are not going to the Iraqi people, but to foreign oil companies. And yet, George Bush claims that increased oil production was a sign of progress.
• There is no definable victory possible. And yet, George Bush insists there is.
• But George Bush has no clue about what the public knows. The man is as deaf as a door post. But his impairment is one of choice, not affliction. He believes he can use his hearing loss as a cover for his ineptitude and his obstinacy. In his world apart from reality, George Bush continues to believe that he can fool all of the people all of the time.
But this time, the American people are not buying it.
We are approaching day 1,500 of this outrageous war, and the mood of the nation is changing. The winds of opposition are gaining strength across the vast expanse that is America. George Bush and his PNAC handlers are pretending not to hear the calls for an end to this terrible war. But they hear it. They really do.
The turning point, of course, was triggered by Congressman John Murtha, whose opinions can no longer be countered by the usual rhetoric from the White House. Murtha spoke with the tacit encouragement of his close friends in the Pentagon who cannot speak out personally, but who fully understand the hopelessness of ‘staying the course,’ His message clearly signaled the beginning of the end.
But it won’t be easy. There will be distractions in the form of token withdrawals, and the war will go on. More people will die. The mayhem will continue. But the voices of protest will get louder and louder.
And George Bush will continue to make speeches. He will recite the words of his new speech writer with gusto and sincerity. He will continue to sell his war as if it were a product on the open market. And he will remain deaf to those who oppose and those who criticize and those who demand that the war must end.
He can do this because the voices of protest are still muted. They will only be heard if they become loud enough to penetrate the ears of the deaf man who is in charge. George Bush is the Commander in Chief. He calls the shots. He sits in the safety of the Oval Office and sends people to their death.
The tragedy is that right this minute, as he still dreams of a glorious victory in Iraq, he doesn’t hear a thing.
Maybe one day soon, before thousands more die, if their outcry is loud enough, George Bush will hear the voices of the people he once swore to serve; then again, maybe not.