Column No. 46 By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH - FEBRUARY 3, 2005

Yes indeed, WMD have been discovered in Washington and actually put on very prominent display, by the Bush 2nd Inaugural.  No, these WMD are not the Weapons of Mass Destruction that the official US/Duelfer Report (AOL News, 1/12/05) says do not now and never have for quite some time now existed in Iraq.  They are the Weapons of Mass Distraction that President Bush revealed to the world in his address.

The United States faces a series of very serious problems both at home and abroad, many of them the result of Georgite policies.  Take foreign affairs: the Iraq catastrophe (first and foremost for the Iraqi people, but also for the US military); Afghanistan (where not much has changed beyond a few centimeters beyond the boundaries of the capital, Kabul, except that opium production is now at an all-time high); that the US has become the prime mover/motivator in producing, not controlling and eliminating, terrorists from Osama bin Laden up or down (depending upon your point of view) around the world; that Bush has become the world’s most hated leader since Adolf Hitler was in his prime; and that the reputation of the US as a whole has never been lower since there has been a US.

On the domestic side, there are the ever-expanding Federal deficit, the ever-expanding overseas trade deficit and the resultant foreign loan obligations, the tanking US dollar which is leading some central banks to move out of dollars into euros (Mark Tran, The Guardian UK, 1/24/05), a move that could lead to an earthquake-like foreign debt crisis for the US; the collapsing US health care financing system; the collapsing Federal program for defending pension funds; the record-high levels of personal debt, and so on and so forth.

So what does the President talk about in his speech?  How the US is going to spread “freedom” around the world. Others have spoken very well to this expression of the height of American arrogance, self-delusion, irrationality, and indeed hubris.  Let me mention briefly one other aspect of the speech that deserves some consideration.  I will consider a second that has not drawn too much attention yet either next week.

In the face of the above problem-list that would have drawn at least some attention in a Second Inaugural from every other President, what does Karl Rove have Bush do?  Distract, distract, distract. The Georgite propaganda machine is doing just what it did in the Presidential Campaign: control the agenda and make it fit Bush’s needs.  In the speech, Iraq, Afghanistan, the deficit, the trade problem, etc. were never mentioned.  Just some impossible-to-achieve-goal that the world wants to hear none of, from this particular American President anyway.

While the world is not fooled or distracted, however, many of the American people are, and that is the main objective of the whole exercise.  This speech, setting totally unachievable goals, was not for foreign, but rather for domestic consumption.  In the campaign, Bush did exactly the same thing.  He made sure that the agenda was not about him, but rather about certain aspects of Kerry’s.  If Kerry had managed to make the agenda the Bush record, even with the massive Republican electoral cheating that apparently occurred, he would have won.  But Kerry was simply unable to do that.  He let Rove, et al set the agenda: gay marriage, abortion, “security,” “patriotism,” “toughness.”

The Democrats must learn this lesson about agenda control.  If they do not, they will never win the White House again.  It is time, then, for them to go to school.  The first lesson concerns the Georgite WMDs --- Weapons of Mass Distraction.  The subject of the Bush Second Inaugural is just one of them in current use.

NB:  This column is based in part on my “Short Shot No. 40 that appeared on the weblog http://planetmove.blogspot.com/ on January 21, 2005.