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"We wish we had been more aggressive"

On Wednesday, the New York Times admitted that it had too often failed to scrutinize pre-war claims that Iraq represented a clear and present danger. The Times now wishes that it had practiced more aggressive journalism, and not passively fed the public every wild and unsupported claim that Chalabi and Bush administration neocons were making in favor of starting a war.

That's nice. It's a little too late, though, since the yahoos have succeeded with every deceptive, self-serving plan they ever had for putting our armed forces smack in the middle of the Iraqi oilfi... uh, Iraqi desert. We gave the rabid neoconservatives as much rope as they wanted, and then they hung us with it. Good and high. Now we're just kicking our feet, mewling ineffectual apologies about how sorry we are that all our genuflecting before Bush-Cheney prevented us from thinking for ourselves. I'm a little tired of it.

Folks, the hard right has been running this country for too long. Ever since Ronald Reagan, and maybe even earlier, we've deferred to the conservatives whenever they chose to make their arguments forcefully. With a little bit of feeling and a good Southern accent thrown in just to prove that God was on their side, the conservatives have gotten whatever they wanted. Tax cuts? Got 'em. Welfare reform? Got that too, from Clinton no less. Wars? Who cares if we have to start them ourselves. Our conservative, Bible-thumping, free-market idolizing, deregulating, free-trading, right-wing Republican masters should not be denied. They should not be crossed. After all, they're "real American patriots" with the cojones to tell those left-leaning, tree-hugging, pot-smoking, gullible, naiive, limp-wristed, morally bankrupt pathetic losers on the Left just exactly what they are: too spineless in the clutch to be taken seriously.

During the Clinton years, when the stock market was booming and Gary Condit was the only threat we had to worry about, we could tolerate the left. We could even give internet-inventing Al Gore the most votes. Nothing was really at stake. Then September 11 happened. All of a sudden, we needed to get serious. We had to turn to the hard right. They were the only ones who were "tough enough" to keep us safe. Of course the New York Times shouldn't have practiced aggressive journalism if it meant that Bush and his yahoos would be inconvenienced in their obviously superior approach to terrorism. Of course the silly arguments of the Left were too silly because... because they were made by leftists. We all knew the leftists could contribute nothing when the times get tough. When John Ashcroft sat in front of a Senate committee and accused anyone who opposed the Patriot Act as traitorous, no one uttered a peep of disagreement, let alone got angry. It was time for the Left to sit down and shut up.

So the New York Times is apologizing for rolling over and wagging its tail, when it should have been practicing journalism. Sigh. So what. What I'd like to see is some aggression. John Kerry could, and should, tear Bush a new asshole, but so far he's chosen not to. Strangely enough, Al Gore seems to be the only big-name politician willing to demonstrate that Bush can be attacked. Resignations can be called for. The neocons can be called out.

But no one seems to be noticing. Sure, Bush has gotten us all into a fix. But we're all waiting, it seems, for this Abu Ghraib thing to blow over, and for Cowboy Bush to get back on his horse and ride to the rescue. We're at a fork in the road. We're holding our breath.

How much bullshit will it take for us to wake up and realize that the hard right might not have all the answers? I certainly don't know, yet, how much bullshit it will take. But four years from now, I hope we won't have to read any more heartfelt apologies. I don't want to hear later that, in the face of a President who obviously never knew what the hell he was doing, who's surrounded himself with stooges of the oil industry and Machiavellian powermongers who'd rather cut off their left testicle (or equivalent feminine appendage) to avoid telling the American people what's going on at Guantanamo, and whose idea of America doesn't include people who don't think morality is exhausted by chewing tobacco and quoting the Bible--I don't want to hear later how sorry we are for not being aggressive enough.

The Right doesn't, after all, have all the answers. They have no secret magic powers. We've tried their ideas, and they've failed. Enough is enough.

It's time to get more aggressive.



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