Here I Go, Here I Go, Here I Go Again


The United Nations investigative report, which Bush called “deeply disturbing,” made a link between high-ranking Syrian officials and their Lebanese allies in the car bombing that killed Rafik Hariri and 20 others in February.

The findings and the reaction to them marked the latest escalation in tensions between the United States and Syria. U.S. officials have accused Damascus of harboring terrorist groups and permitting fighters to cross into Iraq to attack U.S., Iraqi and other forces there.

The report, issued Thursday to members of the U.N. Security Council, did not implicate Syrian President Assad directly, but said his government did not cooperate with the inquiry.

Bush spoke in California after helping dedicate a new pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

He said he had telephoned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier in the day and instructed her to call on the United Nations to convene a Security Council session “as quickly as possible to deal with this very serious matter.”

And lest anyone think this is anything less than political theater designed to draw interest away from the fact that Bush’s White House is melting down in public, there’s this from later in the story:

Bush was not specific about what steps the international community should take. He said the United States has started talking with U.N. officials and with Arab governments about that.

“Today a serious report came out that requires the world to look at very carefully and respond accordingly,” Bush said

You know, I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: the danger in the aftermath of Iraq is that we cannot believe our government when they tell us about threats to our safety. At a time when the country is focused as it has never been before on issues of security, this Republican government has utterly and completely forfeited its credibility.

And what’s worrisome about that to me is that there are real threats to our security. Terrorism is a real danger. North Korea’s got the kinds of nuke capability Bush only dreamed of finding in Iraq. On any given day there are at least a dozen nations whose leaders despise us.

But this is the Administration That Cried Not Only Wolf But Lion, Tiger and Bear. So now it’s Syria that’s the problem. Iran was pulling ahead there in the race to be the next country to be gifted with our Freedom Bombs, but now it’s Syria in the lead. The problem isn’t that we know or don’t know if these countries are threats or not. The problem is that whatever Bush and Rumfeld and Cheney and Rice tell us, whatever comes out of their mouths, we can’t possibly believe it.

So now will all “liberal hawks,” in a desperate attempt to seem “tough on national security,” roll out opinion columns declaring that despite having voted Democrat, now it’s time to put partisanship aside and go kick some ass?

Will there be a race to see which Democrats, scared of being classified as anti-war, step up to hug Bush in the Rose Garden and say “We’re with you, Mr. President?” Will there be a race to see which Democrats can come up with the most fiery anti-Syria rhetoric, the funniest potshots at whatever country doesn’t get on board with our newest war?

Will Bill Keller, on the heels of his positively abject mea culpa over Judy Miller’s lies and fabrications, assign reporters to actually fact-check the administration’s claims this time? Or will it be like the days after 9/11, when anchors somberly intoned about how much more seriously they took their jobs now (as if nothing deserved their attention before, as if it was world events and not their attitudes that were to blame), and then, oh, then there was a runaway bride, and man, Navy SEALS really do rock, and when the president says it’s time to go to war, well, people do hate it so when we reporters are negative.

Are we gonna swallow it again, all of us out here in America, watching TV? I’d like to say no. I’d like to say we’ve learned enough to know that these people can’t be trusted to tie their own shoes, much less tell us what needs “serious action” or not. But here’s the problem. They’ve always got enough doubt out there, because the issue they’re playing with is a serious and a scary one. They’re always going to be able to say, better safe than sorry, and it will always make a certain degree of sense if people don’t think about it too hard.

The only thing that’s been clear the entire time they’ve been in power is that we’re not safe. For that, I’ve never seen any indication that they’re sorry.