Tomorrow, Mister Bush, I’ve planned to put as much distance as possible between myself and any device capable of carrying your image or voice. The sorrow and rage I feel every time I see one of your calculatedly stumble-tongue performances is bad enough. I usually pay attention anyway, since one never knows when you might announce the start of another war or two. But during the remembrance of the day on which “everything changed,” no way will I listen to you sanctify five years of international outlawry, torture and slaughter on the blood of those who died in Manhattan, Washington and Shanksville on September 11.

In the PR run-up to the Fifth Anniversary (and, of course, to the November elections), you’ve pummeled us with your “war on terror” prattle from the Salt Palace, the Capitol Hilton, the East Room, the Cobb Galleria Centre, and wherever the hell it is you tape your Saturday radio addresses.  I feel like the guy who fell onto the conveyor belt at the sledge hammer testing center. So, when I heard you would be visiting the three attack-site memorials on Monday but not giving speeches at any of them, I feeblemindedly hallelujahed that your handlers had chosen to exhibit a sliver of mercy, to let us keep one day untainted to do our mourning and meditating without encountering your bad imitation of a nuclear-armed Lonesome Rhodes. A single day with the conveyor belt off. Thank gawd for a small favor.

Which was soon scrogged by the announcement that you would deliver a televised Nine-Eleven address from the Oval Office. No surprise. The one thing I’ve been able to depend on since January 20, 2001, is that whenever I catch the slimmest glimmer of hope, you or one of your mentors or minions soon will trample it.

Only one speech would I listen to on Monday, Mister Bush: Your confession.
No lies. No exaggerations. No euphemisms. No selective intelligence readings. No hollow heroism. Every drop, the truth.

Like this:

Good evening. I want to take this opportunity to tell all Americans that the day after September 11, 2001, my team caught the nation in a vulnerable moment of patriotic fervor. We hijacked U.S. foreign and domestic policy as surely as Osama bin Laden’s chosen 19 turned those four airplanes into missiles.

If we had given two shits about what officials high and low were telling us to pay attention to, their attack might have been stopped. But we aggressively ignored them. Later, we tried to cover up that we had ignored them. I had a last-minute chance that August to order some heightened effort when I was told all signs indicated an attack was coming and where it might be. But I was on vacation then, pretending to be a rancher. I couldn’t be bothered.

So, while I sat in the classroom that September morning with “The Pet Goat” in my lap and a thumb up my ass, wondering how long it would be before someone would come to tell me what to do, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, who Vice President Cheney had handpicked for me, was seeing a vision in the smoke and flames rising from the twin towers – the end of Saddam Hussein and the beginning of the new American century.

I keep a bust of Winston Churchill in my office to remind myself of how great I am that God has chosen me to lead America at this time. When it comes to tough talk, however, Churchill doesn’t compare to Clint Eastwood. I was gleeful to say on TV that we were going to bring back Osama bin Laden “dead or alive.” Obviously, if any of us had been serious about bringing him back, he wouldn’t still be hiding out and the Taliban wouldn’t be on the rise again in Afghanistan. But it sounded great at the time. I wanted to wear my Stetson, but my advisors said no. It made me feel twice the man my father is to say, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

I suspect some of you know by now that when I said that, I didn’t just mean nation-states. I meant you and you and you. My advisors couldn’t have come up with a better excuse than Nine-Eleven for attacking the Fourth and Sixth Amendments, the Geneva Conventions and 60 years of diplomacy than if they had planned it and trained the hijackers personally. The falling twin towers primed you to accept anything we wanted to dish out. We were untouchable. We were revved. We could spend as much as we chose. We could go after whomever we chose. We could do whatever, whenever, however we chose. By definition, our definition, any of you who raised objections weren’t with us.

Even though we tried to find every way around it, we had to go to Afghanistan first. Rummy and the Vice President and I did what we could to pin Nine-Eleven on Saddam Hussein. We couldn’t get most of the intelligence community to go along. It was Osama, they said, Saddam had nothing to do with it, which we knew from the beginning. We needed cover to go after him. It was going to take a while to produce some. As you can imagine, I was angry that I wouldn’t be able to immediately finish the job that my dear old dad had been talked out of in ’91. But I knew that my 90% approval rating would suffer if we didn’t do something immediate in Afghanistan. So we did.

We ousted the Taliban, we stomped on al-Qaeda. Then, because I wouldn’t commit the troops needed to capture him, Osama got away. When we couldn’t find him, I got bored with the whole operation. Rebuilding an oil-scarce nation wrecked by 30 years of war is hard work. Anyway, I had my heart set on Iraq. We all did.

We stepped up the efforts Rummy had begun before the first piece of glass from the North Tower hit the street. We doctored, we manipulated, we fabricated, and we packaged intelligence. We campaigned to convince you that Saddam had connections with al Qaeda. It worked. At least half of you still think he personally helped carry out the Nine-Eleven attacks. We told you that he had weapons of mass destruction and that he was an imminent threat to the United States. This also worked. Half of you still believe we found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

I love to shout “Semper Fi” when I’m addressing my betters at some base. But my team’s own motto is “indifferent, ignorant, incompetent, corrupt and dishonest.” We didn’t just lie our way into Iraq, we were stone deaf to the advice of generals and analysts. We managed to do what you would have thought couldn’t be done: We made Iraqis worse off than they were under Saddam.

We couldn’t get oil production back up to speed or around-the-clock electricity flowing, not even in Baghdad. But we still wouldn’t listen to anybody’s advice.

We encouraged our friends to steal billions of your dollars.

We committed atrocities. We tortured and humiliated. We appalled our friends and added fresh recruits to the ranks of our enemies.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis are now dead because of my lies. As many Americans have died in Iraq for my lies as died on Nine-Eleven.

We wiped our asses with the Constitution, with treaties, with your trust. We sneered at checks and balances. We did what we could to get around Congress. We blocked investigations, watered down reports, leaked classified documents when it served our ends. We didn’t care if this helped terrorists as long as it made us look good.

We broke the law to spy on you. Just as we spied on members of the Security Council to see which way they would vote on resolutions about Iraq.

We would have wiped our asses with the media, except they were so much more useful in other ways. Pundits not directly in our pocket, we bought, ones we couldn’t buy we smeared. Unimbedded reporters, we shot at. Others we threatened. When our many, many shills weren’t enough, we created fake journalists to ask us questions at press conferences. We planted phony stories in foreign newspapers, which made their way into American newspapers.

We named our crusade the “war on terror.” But it’s only a war when we say it is. We refused to treat captives as dictated by rules our predecessors agreed to long ago. Instead, we turned them into non-persons. Many I ordered sent to Guantánamo Bay Naval Base. My legal advisors outdid themselves. They argued that Cuba had no control since Guantánamo is permanently leased to the United States, and since it’s leased, not owned, it’s not U.S. property. At Guantánamo there was to be no law but what my advisors and I decided was law. We shipped hundreds of non-persons into this nowhere land.

Irving Kristol once said: “There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people. There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn’t work.”

We followed his advice. We told you one kind of truth. We kept the true truth to ourselves because secrecy is the secret of success. We secretly violated the laws of other democracies. We secretly seized people off their streets. We moved them from one secret location to another. We secretly sent some to countries where there is no public fuss about torture. We built a secret prison in Morocco. We made secret deals with the likes of Musa Kousa, the American-educated Libyan intelligence official who plotted the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie. We secretly outed a CIA agent, something my father’s generation thought should be grounds for going to prison.

Our policies have caused hundreds of millions of people around the world who once thought of America as a friend and Americans as good people to despise us. We’re so trigger-happy our allies flinch every time I give a foreign policy speech.

Since day one, I have betrayed the memory of those who died on Nine-Eleven. In their name my team has attacked the foundations of liberty in the name of liberty. Despite my promises, we have failed to capture or kill those directly responsible for what happened that day. Osama remains free. Terrorist attacks have increased worldwide.

We have spent tens of billions of dollars on Homeland Security but failed to undertake the most basic safety measures to protect our ports. Our budget policies have short-changed the needs of paramedics, police and firefighters whom we depend on first in any emergency. On my watch, helped by my policies, the public health system, which is crucial to the nation’s security, has continued its downward slide. I’ve weakened the military, undermined public education, pawned the economy to cut taxes for the rich. All these policies have made you less safe.

Just as I have frequently used the anniversary of Nine-Eleven for political ends, like I did that first year atop the rubble at Ground Zero with my cheerleader’s bullhorn, I’m at it again. For the last few weeks, Rummy and I and the Vice President have been giving you reason to believe that Democrats are a greater danger than Osama, that they love terrorists. I don’t read all those books the press secretary says are on my list – I hate reading, especially history – so when I suggest my critics are appeasers just like the appeasers of Hitler, I’m talking out of my ass.

Until November, I’ll be talking more out of my ass than usually. I may not remind you every time about Nine-Eleven, but I won’t ever be done squeezing that day for every ounce of political juice I can.

Whether I am bad-mouthing my critics or softening you up for an invasion of Iran, you can be sure I will never shrink from putting my interests and the interests of my cabal above those of the nation and the planet while invoking the spirit of the Nine-Eleven victims and the images etched in your brain on that day. You should never forget that I have no respect for the rule of law, I don’t care about civilized values, and the only remorse I have is for actions that hurt me in the polls.

I cannot believe any of you would vote for candidates who think my behavior since Nine-Eleven has been anything but a slap to the face and a spit on the graves of those who died five years ago today. But I am glad that so many of you will.

Thank you for listening.

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