As an addendum to my previous blog, reflecting on my experience at the Johnston Center’s (University of Redlands) outstanding summer seminar on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, I’d like to offer an excerpt from a writing project which I shared with my fellow seminar participants exactly two weeks ago tonight (the penultimate night of the seminar was sort of performance and art night; poems were read, songs sung, stories shared, and ART created!).
I introduced the following text with a little background about my career as a political artist and writer, explaining one general approach I’ve taken to sharing the benefits of my political self-education over the last 15 years: embedding essential, usually neglected FACTS (about U.S. history/policy) in popular entertainment vehicles like graphic novels, screenplays, etc. — the more that can be turned into video, the better, in terms of reaching the largest audience. The hope is that my stories can edify others by providing drama that is grounded in the real world, providing gravitas, even, to a comical account of a fictionalized President Bush (President George Washington Brash, Jr.) working on his memoirs…
* * *
Decider Points — The unauthorized autobiographical memoir of President George Washington Brash, Jr., reflecting on my time in office (only for real, this time)
“There are known unknowns (things you know you don’t know), and then there are the unknown unknowns (which you don’t even know you don’t know), and most confounding of all, there are the unknown knowns (things you know darn well, but just plum forgot about – willikers, what do you mean ‘torture as an interrogation tactic can backfire in all kinds of ways!’)”
— Defense Secretary, Ronald Dumbsfeld
“Nosce me ipsum” – Apollo’s maximum, meaning “Know My Self”
This book is dedicated to:
– Family first (comprising two First Families): Lara, my lovin’ wife; Poppy & Ma-Bar; and of course Jed, Neal (before Zod), Melvin, and Prince Bindar Brash…
– Also to Carl Rave and Usama bin Rabid (who’s combined, if uncoordinated, efforts gave me a 90% approval rating, briefly, and two terms in office)…
– To the men and women of the U.S. armed services who fought so committedly to defend my many decisions …
– And finally, to the SCOTUS-Five and Kenny-Boy, for making it all possible (say “hello” to Jesus for me, Ken… or Lucifer – whoever’s closest; I wouldn’t want you to go out of your way).
And now a word for my critics:
I know a lot of you will take the information in this book and do a lot of crowing about it, claiming vindication: “Oh boy, he admits to authorizing waterboarding! Looky here, he acknowledges that there were no WMDs! Hey, he was “warrantless wire-tapping” mostly domestic phone traffic months before 9/11!” (and so on).
But you must also acknowledge, after reading these memoirs, that I’m not the cartoon villain you made me out to be (neither was my Vice President, Dick Veyder, for that matter)… and you weren’t in my shoes when those planes struck our homeland.
And I was the Decider.
The simple truth is that nothing I did in office stands out all that conspicuously from the Executive actions of several of my predecessors, especially those who ruled during times of war. FDR locked up thousands of ethnic Japanese-Americans in camps; and my immediate predecessor, Bull Clanton, tolerated genocide in Africa and bombed plenty of civilian targets in Serbia and Sudan. Furthermore, my dad, when he was president, killed lots of Panamanian and Iraqi civilians (albeit nowhere near as many Latin American civilians as was killed by my real hero, the Gapper, President Raygun, himself).
Clanton, though (that famous “liberal”) did many of the exact things I got lambasted for: he practiced a form of rendition, used GITMO as a legal black hole for detainees, and had a number of folks “tortured” (as some like to call it) — only he didn’t make it national policy to use U.S. personnel, including military personnel, in such a hands-on way as I did.
All my administration did was formalize — and make legal — a lot of informal practices that had already been tried by past presidents… and not just “Dicky” Dick Noxin.
Were we hardball-playing partisans? Hell yes, we were! If you know Washington, D.C. at all, you know that we had to politicize agencies and offices across government… especially those with law enforcement, electoral, or military functions! Consider the case for war alone: with CIA analysts, nuclear experts at Energy, and others refusing to support our “mushroom cloud” claims, we had to go with Bud Fayth’s “Special Plans” office in the Pentagon, supplemented with lots of “Swerveball” intelligence (all given front page treatment by the nation’s biggest media outlets, I’d like to point out).
Did we persecute members of a minority group in the wake of a terrorist act of war? Hell yes, we did! We lumped together all manner of Muslim-, Middle Eastern-, and Arab- troublemakers (and charities) into one big group we called “Islamic terrorists” (giving some of them common cause with al Qaeda, it turns out) and we became the world’s policeman — nudging the world toward becoming a police state: biometrics on everybody; borderless, endless war; ubiquitous cameras and checkpoints; unmanned drones; mercenaries; blast walls — you know, “democracy”).
Did we take the country into war on a load of half-baked nonsense? Well, that’s for History to decide. Personally, at the time, I believed most of the things we were saying were either true, essentially true, or true enough, following a certain logic (close enough to “true” to put in a State of the Union Address, anyway).
This book reveals that, whatever mistakes were made (search me), I have always done my best to serve this country and defend Freedom… even here in America.
George W. Brash, Jr., Thorty-Fird Presidnet of the United States