Some statements go down in history with such a painful belly flop that one can never again quote them without thoroughly soaking them in the deceptively soothing balm of irony. It’s not quite Chamberlain’s immortal “peace in our time,” but the words uttered by President George W. Bush on Sept. 5, 2001, little more than seven months into his first term, clearly fall in this category. That day, the Bush White House was hosting its first official state visit. President Bush stood next to Mexican president Vicente Fox on the South Lawn and earnestly declared, “The United States has no [...]
With the advent of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and the unfolding of the Lewis Libby perjury trial, the famous “16 words” are back and, in the most literal possible sense, with a vengeance. It is not only on MSNBC or in the pages of the Atlantic Monthly — which had a cover story on Presidential lying — that “Bush lied!” is again the order of the day. In Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Iraq last month, one Senator after another seized the opportunity to assail the administration’s credibility. “I have not been told the truth again [...]
The mosque’s golden dome gleamed like a fallen sun, burning out the mud-colored city of Samarra with its broken shops and acres of cinderblock poverty. Two slender minarets framed the dome in regal style and a grid of delicate scaffolding wound around it, suggesting repairs planned and then stalled, probably because of the war. From the neighborhoods beyond, streams of black smoke bled into the winter sky above satellite dishes and slack electric wires. I watched the dome through the battered back window of a U.S. medevac helicopter as it descended to retrieve wounded soldiers at a makeshift landing zone. [...]
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