February 14, 2005
The politics of not making sense
By James Goodman
I moved from Madison to New Zealand in January 2003, shortly before the U.S. attacked Iraq. One of the things that was obvious to me and nearly everyone else here at the time, but barely acknowledged in the U.S. press, was the lack of a link between the terrorist activities in the U.S. and the war on Iraq.
For more than a year, people asked me, "How does attacking Iraq relate to the terrorist attacks?" I could only point out that, for reasons I did not understand, this question was not even being discussed in the U.S. media, leading to a discussion of press freedom--a topic where the U.S. is regarded as backward. What was clear to everyone here was that the administration was using a tragic event to push its own agenda.
Today President Bush is again using a manufactured crisis to push his agenda, and again, the lack of a connection is readily apparent. The "crisis" is the claim that "Soc-Security" is in trouble. The "solution" is to dismantle one of the few American domestic programs that is universally admired. The obvious question is, "How does diverting funds from Social Security solve the problem of a small shortfall in the long term?" The answer, of course, is that it doesn't: This is no solution at all. It aggravates the very problem it is claiming to solve.
The idea of proposing a "solution" that does not address a problem is now a well-documented strategy in the Bush administration's playbook. But where is the outcry? This case is so clear-cut and obvious that it is hard to understand how knowledgeable people can take the Bush proposal seriously. What is wrong with the U.S. media that it can simply ignore this fraud? Have we entered another McCarthy era?
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