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My sister Stylesweet is that rare Texan nowadays, a liberal Democrat. She shared a note circulating in her town recently, one recalling a theme I earlier marked in Home on the Range of Texas Gobbledygook. Adding a few passages fit to its substance — or lack thereof — I thought to share it today.

Her friend Bob G. wrote last Friday in Bandera about recent Memorial Day ceremonies there under this title:

"GET OVER IT?  NOT JUST YET!"

As the Memorial Day parade rolled by the Bandera Courthouse, the Democrats' entry came into view, prompting the yell: "Get over it. Get over it."

Citing his continuing pique at such Republican gloating, Bob G. dealt in particular with President Bush's Iraq war policy, especially in light of what's been known since May 1 as the Downing Street memo:

Why wasn't the explosive secret British intelligence report leaked a month ago, front-page news [Bob G. asks]? It confirms that Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz used weapons of mass deception to justify invading Iraq.

If you've not read this leaked report, here is its key paragraph, one citing a British officer's take on some talks in Washington reported on July 23, 2002.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

Mark Danner, reporting in The New York Review of Books this week (in The Secret Way to War), happily recalls the real, but sadly quite unfront-page warranting assumption still fixing the policy — by chance recorded last October in Ron Suskind's well-titled article, Without a Doubt:

In the end, the Downing Street memo [Danner claims], and Americans' lack of interest in what it shows, has to do with a certain attitude about facts, or rather about where the line should be drawn between facts and political opinion. It calls to mind an interesting observation that an unnamed "senior advisor" to President Bush made to a New York Times Magazine reporter [Ron Suskind] last fall:

The aide said that guys like me [i.e., reporters and commentators] were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Just in case you haven't grasped the full import of why it's still difficult, as Bob G. rightly claims, to "Get Over It," you might consider yet another Danner quotation, this by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels:

There was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, and this will always be "the man in the street." Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology.

Naturally, I trust you'll now see why I still think truth, enlightenment, and judiciousness matter — even, in Texas, maybe, to "The Man in the Street."

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Wow. Thanks for pulling this together for us, Styles. Tonight, I'll share it with my students.

Posted by loretta Markle on June 9, 2005 01:56 PM


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