If Montanans are confused about what’s going on in politics these days, they’re not alone. In the last week, the escalating level of doublespeak coming from politicians at both the state and national levels has been numbing. Ominously, both state and national identities are slipping away as the citizenry wanders confused, apathetic and more cynical by the day.
Take the latest news on what is being called “the Ramadan Offensive.” First, a Blackhawk helicopter in Tikrit is shot down and destroyed by rocket-propelled grenades. Hours later, the very center of the U.S. Occupation Headquarters in Baghdad is attacked by a barrage of rockets launched from what looked like a “portable power unit” towed into place across the street from the hotel by a pickup truck.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, one of the prime architects of the Iraq War, was there on an official visit. The attack took out the 16th floor of Baghdad’s most luxurious hotel, which the Occupation Headquarters had reserved, but missed Wolfowitz, who was on the 17th floor. It killed a colonel and 17 others and wounded many more. It could have been twice as bad, but half the rockets failed to launch.
Shortly thereafter, the entire U.S. Occupation Headquarters staff was evacuated from the hotel. International press interviewed Wolfowitz and described him as “shaken.” Iraqis who were interviewed said it was too bad they didn’t kill Wolfowitz, and denounced the U.S. occupation.
Within hours, a series of coordinated car bombs exploded throughout Baghdad, killing dozens and wounding hundreds more. Three police stations and the Red Cross office were the targets of the message: “Death to the collaborators.”
After the blasts, President Bush told the nation that the success of our efforts was making Iraqi “killers” desperate. For good measure, we were assured that Wolfowitz wasn’t a target, despite the fact that he had left Tikrit only an hour before the chopper was downed and was at the hotel when it was attacked.
Our critics—and we have many in the world these days—say the U.S. occupation of Iraq is to blame, and that it must end.
Now, I don’t know how you read it, but if we’re so successful, why are they trying so hard to kill us? If the occupation of Iraq is going so well, why would someone use a rocket launcher to force the American Occupation Force out of its headquarters? Did they recently change the definition of the word “success,” or is Bush just shuckin’ and jivin’ us?
Just a week earlier, Sen. Conrad Burns said he was “upbeat” about Iraq’s future, and exhibited his deep understanding of the situation in an interview with a Washington D.C. reporter: “They are rastlin’ with this thing,” Burns said. “They are dealing with this Islam thing.”
What that means is anyone’s guess. The whole nation is Muslim, Islam is their religion, and I’m not sure who’s rastlin’ whom over what “thing.” But it sure sounds like the Conrad Burns we know—the same U.S. Senator from Montana who once made national news for calling Arabs “Ragheads.”
In stark contrast, the language in a column to which Burns signed his name last week is entirely different and considerably more literate: “...a stable and prosperous Iraq will create a corridor of stability and commerce from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, with Israel, Jordon, and Iraq as active partners in commerce…regardless of their ideological differences.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m having a tough time believing this was written by the same guy who called the world’s largest religion “this Islam thing,” and its practitioners “ragheads.”
Burns is trying hard to fool Montanans into believing two things—that he wrote that column, and that the situation in Iraq is just as fine as his buddy George W. Bush claims. To believe either, a quick lobotomy might help.
But the doublespeak isn’t limited to discussions about Iraq. Bush and Martz say “Forest Health” means cutting down more trees, especially that pesky old growth.
In another prime example, Bush’s “Clear Skies Initiative” exempts aging power plants from pollution requirements, making the skies even dirtier. On the Eastern Seaboard, where they get to suck the nation’s extensive exhaust just before it blows out to sea, 12 states just brought suit against the U.S. over the pollution.
Here at home, all Martz can talk about is the need to build new transmission lines. But her claim is oddly out of whack with our current energy production and consumption profile. Since Montanans only consume half of the electricity we already produce, why do we need so many more new transmission lines?
Although claiming to be a “states’ rights” advocate, Gov. Martz says the feds should use eminent domain and force condemnation of Montanans’ property to make way for power lines heading out of state.
If you’re wondering when we decided to dump the “Big Sky State” motto in favor of the “Big Transmission Line State,” the answer is “we didn’t.” Martz and Bush “collaborated” to slice Montana into a series of transmission corridors so the international energy cartels can create more unnecessary pollution to make even more unwarranted profits.
These stunning changes are taking place before our very eyes, and the impact of the political doublespeak is blurring the image of who we are, both as a state and nation. Make no mistake, our future is being sculpted, but not by our hands. Across the board we are being told one thing, but all the while, another thing entirely is happening.
Bush and Burns can claim the occupation of Iraq is a success while the U.S. headquarters goes up in flames—and maybe someone, somewhere, will believe them. But just wait until the lying politicians and their megacorporate armies start “occupying” the property of Montanans with drill rigs and power lines.
United We Stand? That’s hilarious.
When not lobbying the Montana Legislature, George Ochenski is rattling the cage of the political establishment as a political analyst for the Missoula Independent.