James Leroy Wilson's blog

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Iraq is a lot like Racism

And I'm not just talking about the vested interests who make a living keeping both problems alive. Mike Tuggle compares Morris Dees of the Souther Poverty Law Center to President Bush:

Both men owe their success to their powers of communication. Both can expertly fill their audiences with absolute certainty that devils are about to take them in their sleep – unless they heed their warnings. Dees and Bush use trumped-up facts and fanciful terrors as precision tools to get what they want, and continued use has only sharpened their bright edges. In 1996, Dees pronounced his judgment that “racists” were behind a wave of arson targeting black churches throughout the South. When subsequent investigation revealed that the rate of black church fires had not increased, The Charlotte Observer concluded that Dees had "misinformed" the press. In a 1999 fundraising letter, Dees wrote, “The danger presented by the Klan is greater now than at any time in the past ten years.” The Klan’s miniscule numbers, bizarrely inept public relations (who’s ever been won over by a cross burning?), and non-existent political clout suggest otherwise. Nevertheless, Klansmen, neo-Nazis, skinheads, and radical libertarians lurk under the bed of every good-hearted liberal – that is, if one accepts Morris Dees’ unrelenting revelations.

Painting vivid pictures of threat and danger has made George W. Bush a venerated war president. In early 2003 he warned us that, "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” Trembling, we wondered, what kind of weapons? Bush decided we could handle the details: “Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."

And it got worse. Bush declared that Saddam commanded unmanned drones that could cover American cities in clouds of anthrax spores and blistering chemical agents. Saddam had bioterror vans that could roam America at will, bioengineering invisible killers as they cruised our interstate highways. But worst of all, Saddam was minutes, hours, days away from developing nuclear weapons, as Bush gravely informed a skittish nation in his 2003 State of the Union address:

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

They thrill us, chill us, and keep changing the facts to fit their stories, and we love them for it. Dees has been the subject of a made-for-TV movie, and is portrayed by the media as an heroic crusader against hate. Bush, our commander-in-chief in the war to preserve freedom, still commands the devotion of his followers, as evidenced by numerous prayer vigils, rallies, and the 2004 elections.

The most significant similarity these two men share is their Manichaean-Gnostic belief that they and their supporters are virtuous, and their enemies are evil.

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