Saturday, January 21, 2006

We Have Always Been At War With Eastasia

The title refers to George Orwell's 1984 and is shorthand for telling you that I'm an ivory tower elitist latte-sipping liberal who has read at least one book in her long life. It's also, sadly, an extremely apt and short way of summarizing what is going on in this country right now, and it is the exploitation of the human fear of dying.

Karl Rove is back in the saddle because George Bush fears horses. All the rest of us will be made to fear and to fear and then to fear some more. We are going to be scared of those dark shadows hiding in the corners and of dirty bombs and of dark-haired men with beards:

What Rove underscored in his stripped-down presentation was the degree to which the White House is gearing up for another "He Protected Us Against Osama bin Laden Even If We Can't Find Him" election. For terrorism remains the most potent political argument for reelecting a Republican Congress.


Other presidents, particularly Bill Clinton, needed the Permanent Campaign to sustain them politically. As Rove demonstrated Friday in his first out-from-hiding speech since November, Bush and the Republicans are banking everything politically on the Permanent War.

Permanent War, against a shadowy enemy with no country, no government. An enemy we cannot find or kill, an enemy which might disappear from the book of the living and we wouldn't know that this had happened. An eternal world of war, with all peacetime laws suspended. How do you like that, my friends? But it's because of the terror, the possibility that right at this moment an evil terrorist might be building a bomb, might be putting it into a box and might be writing your name and address on the box.

What wouldn't we give up to be safe? How about everything that Osama bin Laden wanted to destroy? For that is where we seem to be heading.