Horner: George W. Bush, the Ironic Giant

Timothy Horner

Irony makes things interesting. It teaches us that life is not a neat little line of ducks all in a row. It shows that people often do and say things that do not make sense. Irony can be funny, but usually we do not like to recognize irony in our lives because it can look an awful lot like hypocrisy. The irony of a social worker who abuses their own children is ironic, but not funny. The fact that I am a faculty member writing a column in a student newspaper when I wrote nothing as an undergrad is ironic: funny and slightly sad, but ironic.

But when it comes to irony, there is someone who can only be described as The Ironic Giant. One of the main platforms of the Bush re-election campaign is national security. The angle is this: We are involved in an ongoing and endless “War on Terror” and it is vital that we keep our current administration because we just don’t know what someone else will do. It is important that we “stay the course.” Any shift in leadership spells victory for the enemy. Plus, there is no one more vigilant and concerned about national security than president Bush. No one! OK, here comes the irony.

If you were the president who was most concerned with national security and you got a memo one month before 9/11 from the FBI entitled: Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US, what would do? Would you take it seriously? Would you call the FAA and tell them to beef up security on all domestic flights? Would you maybe even allocate a few million dollars (petty change) to make cockpit secure after takeoff? Would you perhaps request more information from the FBI? Would you have assigned some people to check out this report and assess exactly what we knew about Bin Laden in August of 2001? Would you have done anything? Remember, you are the president who has the security of the American citizens at the forefront of your agenda. Well, if you said yes to any of these things, you would be wrong. Because our president did nothing. The memo was not considered important enough to warrant any action from our president. It was just historical. It was read to him and then he moved on to other business. As fate would have it, the memo came true. (Irony alert: This memo was read to him and when terrorists hit their targets, he was reading to a group of school children. I doubt if they were listening either.)

President Bush has not only refused to admit that he did anything wrong (no apologies forthcoming), but he is also trying to tell us that he is the only one that can keep Americans safe! And about half of us actually believe him! Personally, I wonder what other memos are sliding across his desk.

The world is safer with George W. Bush? Oh yeah, we got those terrorists on the run now. We just went in there and smoked ’em out of their caves! They are no match for American might! Fallujah is basking in the warm of sun of American democracy (or is that a burning car?). Don’t worry about the rising death count and the chaos in Iraq and across the world. Stay the course and add more troops for good measure. Democracy will win, we just have to keep pushing it down their throats: irony ends here.

We are safer now? President Bush the national security president? I don’t buy it. They keep saying it over and over and over again, but there is nothing to back it up. Quite the opposite. When you have to repeat it so many times, doesn’t that say something? We don’t need an ironic president, they cost too much and it is never the funny kind of irony.