$4 Gas, $3 Trillion War but Who’s Counting?
Last Wednesday President Gumby held a press conference. Ironically, it was on the same day that the banner headlines of most of the nation’s daily gazettes revealed that the true cost of the war on Iraq would be $3 trillion.
And nary a one of the White House press corps even mentioned it.
Oh, a couple, namely CBS’s Bill Plante and NBC’s David Gregory, tried to wipe the sneer off his face, but ostensibly the nation’s best and brightest scribes and broadcasters essentially curled up in fetal position and gave him a pass. Another one.
Wonder why we’re in the shape we’re in?
Granted, blaming the media is missing the point, as we all know that 100 percent of the blame must be laid at the feet of the man who preemptively, immorally and illegally raped and pillaged a sovereign nation that was in no way connected to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. But we may fairly state that a compliant media that allowed itself to be duped, embedded and continually embarrassed by an administration that is so blatantly and transparently duplicitous, phony and arrogant certainly played a part in it. Without getting into an argument over the role of the fourth estate in a free society, let’s just say that the press has not acquitted itself admirably during the Bush reign.
Would one question, one lousy question, of the Duh Who Would Be King be too much to hope for from the folks who’ve risen to the top of their profession? Sure, I understand they are trying to show respect for the office, if not the man, but one freakin’ question, guys. Jeez Louise! Surely one query would have necessitated a follow-up, and perhaps even a little rope-a-dope may have ensued. It might have gone something like this:
“Mr. President, in early 2003 former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld predicted that the invasion of Iraq would cost perhaps $50 to $60 billion. Yet a report issued today by economist Joseph Stiglitz predicted that the war had already cost the country $3 trillion.”
“Let me reiterate my response to one of you guys awhallago when you said gas prices might rise to $4 a gallon: First I’ve heard of that.”
“Yes sir, it was in all the papers.”
“Well, let me re-reiterate what I’ve said many times: I don’t read newspapers. My staff gives me a daily brief, and they didn’t mention anything about that.”
“We wouldn’t make this up, sir. Any response?”
“What was that name again, Stiglitz? Sounds a little… well, let’s just say, he ain’t from around here, is he?”
“I don’t know where he’s from, sir, but he’s a Nobel-prize winner, a former World Bank vice president, teaches at Columbia Business School, and is a former economic advisor to President Clinton.”
“Clinton? Well, you just answered your own question, didn’t you there, hoss?”
“Well, no sir, I don’t believe I did. Are you saying that the noted economist purposely inflated the figures because he served under Clinton?”
“If the boot fits… heh, heh. Next question.”
“But sir, you didn’t answer this one. How could your calculations have been so far off, and was this war worth $3 trillion?”
“That’s two questions. Tried to sneak one past me didn’t you, chief?”
“No sir, it was merely a compound question.”
“Compound, you mean like the one we got down at Gitmo? Heh, heh.”
“Sir, if we may move on, the report went on to state that the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the credit crunch, and the housing bubble and consumption boom are a direct result of the Iraq war.”
“I had the consumption once. My grandmaw made me take some Kaopectate and chase it with vinegar. Tasted like h-e-double hockey sticks but it fixed me right up.”
“Mr. President, if I may, the report also calculated that of the almost $80-a-barrel increase in oil prices, as much as $35 of that figure is attributable to the war.”
“Is that a question?”
“Just trying to get your comments, sir, on the cost-reward ratio of the war in Iraq.”
“You mean the international war on terrorism and Islamo-fascism, don’t you?”
“Whatever. I’m just asking if the lives and treasure lost are worth it?”
“Well, let me ask you something, smart guy: Have you or anyone else on US soil been attacked since 9-11, since we launched this effort. We’ve been fighting them over there so we wouldn’t have to fight them here. How ’bout them apples?”
“Yes sir, I’m quite aware of that line of reasoning. It falls under several logical fallacies, most notably, Circular Argument, Straw Man, and Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc.”
“Say what? I gotcha propter here, homes.”
(Off mic) “Pssst. Mr. President, time to wrap it up.”
“Uh, yeah, right. Okay, been nice chatting with you fellas.”
“My mother tried to talk me out of majoring in journalism. Should’ve listened.”
Ogi may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, heard Tuesdays on “The Dusty Dunn Show” on WGOS 1070 AM, and seen on “Triad Today” hosted by Jim Longworth.