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When you sweep away the hype, the lies and the politics of George W. Bush’s so-called "war on terror," you are left with one inescapable conclusion: The President of the United States is at war with freedom.
In Bush’s myopic view of the world, freedom is expendable. Freedom has no place in a Presidency where power is everything and the only opinion can be his.
As Bush’s already fragile mental state dissolves in front of a nation that is no longer the land of the free, we see more and more evidence of a madman bent on absolute control of a totalitarian state where dissent is banned, independent thought is not allowed and different opinions are not tolerated.
The ugly reality that is Bush’s deranged, paranoid, megalomaniacal obsession with power surfaced during his out-of-control performance at a press conference last Friday where he declared that any disagreement with his views are "unacceptable."
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann put it best in a stinging, spot-on, commentary Monday night:
The President revealed this last Friday, as he fairly spat through his teeth, words of unrestrained fury directed at the man who was once the very symbol of his administration, who was once an ambassador from this administration to its critics, as he had once been an ambassador from the military to its critics.
The former Secretary of State, Mr. Powell, had written, simply and candidly and without anger, that "the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism."
This President’s response included not merely what is apparently the Presidential equivalent of threatening to hold one’s breath, but within it contained one particularly chilling phrase.
"Mr. President, former Secretary of State Colin Powell says the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism," he was asked by a reporter. "If a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state feels this way, don’t you think that Americans and the rest of the world are beginning to wonder whether you’re following a flawed strategy?"
"If there’s any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it’s flawed logic," Bush said. "It’s just – I simply can’t accept that. It’s unacceptable to think that there’s any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective.
Of course it’s acceptable to think that there’s "any kind of comparison."
And in this particular debate, it is not only acceptable, it is obviously necessary, even if Mr. Powell never made the comparison in his letter.
Some will think that our actions at Abu Ghraib, or in Guantanamo, or in secret prisons in Eastern Europe, are all too comparable to the actions of the extremists.
Some will think that there is no similarity, or, if there is one, it is to the slightest and most unavoidable of degrees.
What all of us will agree on, is that we have the right – we have the duty – to think about the comparison.
And, most importantly, that the other guy, whose opinion about this we cannot fathom, has exactly the same right as we do: to think – and say – what his mind and his heart and his conscience tell him, is right.
All of us agree about that.
Except, it seems, this President.
With increasing rage, he and his administration have begun to tell us, we are not permitted to disagree with them, that we cannot be right, that Colin Powell cannot be right.
And then there was that one, most awful phrase.
In four simple words last Friday, the President brought into sharp focus what has been only vaguely clear these past five-and-a-half years – the way the terrain at night is perceptible only during an angry flash of lightning, and then, a second later, all again is dark.
"It’s unacceptable to think," he said.
It is never unacceptable to think.
Unfortunately, to George W. Bush, it is unacceptable to have any view of the world but his own. It is unacceptable, in Bush’s eyes, to challenge his thinking, to question his conclusions or doubt his integrity even after he has been caught in lie after lie, mistake after mistake and incorrect assumption after incorrect assumption.
Bush and those who follow him have systematically dismantled the Constitution and the freedoms we once enjoyed under its protections. They have created a police state where the government routinely spies on its citizens, monitors its phone calls, reads its emails and videotapes its actions.
In Bush’s flawed view of America, dissent is tantamount to treason and those who dare challenge his imperialism must be treated as traitors. Anyone who does not march in absolute lockstep to his beliefs, even those proven wrong time and again, must be punished.
And don’t even think of opposing his dictatorial rule.
Because, in George W. Bush’s world, it is unacceptable to think.