6/14/2004

The Way of the Weasel:
How many kinds of "oh, shit" went through George W. Bush's head this morning while he was listening to Bill Clinton speak at the unveiling of the Clintons' portraits? We will talk tomorrow about the incredible shrinking president, but suffice to say, in one sentence, seemingly tossed off and devoid of politics, Clinton destroyed Bush's entire tenure in office: Clinton talked about politics as a "noble" pursuit and he hoped for a time when politicians could get back to talking about "right and wrong" instead of "good and bad."

Oh, but all the right would like us to remember about Clinton is the word parsing and the blowjobs. But one thing that the Bush administration reminds us over and over and over again is it's all about the legalities and nuance of language. See, as long as you're not technically lying, then you're in the clear. Even the mainstream press is on board this time, as they note that when Bush "answered" questions at the end of the G-8 summit on the old slave plantation in Georgia, he avoided one quite conspicuously.

Bush was asked several times about the Justice Department memo regarding torture, which said that torture may be justified and here's how we can weasel out of the Geneva Convention and, oh, by the way, here's some ways you can torture people. Each time, Bush answered "that anything we did would conform to U.S. law and would be consistent with international treaty obligations." When pushed, Bush, as usual became as snippy as a chihuahua with a hard-on and only a doberman to fuck: "The instructions went out to our people to adhere to law. That ought to comfort you. We're a nation of law. We adhere to laws. We have laws on the books. You might look at those laws, and that might provide comfort for you. And those were the instructions out of -- from me to the government." As the Washington Post, MSNBC, and others have noted, this doesn't answer any questions about the legality of torture because, as the memo states, there might be weasel room on whether or not U.S. law allows torture or whether the President has any obligation to the law, which, after listening to John Ashcroft, no, we're not comforted at all.

It is the way of the weasel, the uncomfortable collision between "ethics," "morality," "truth," and "law." In other words, Jack might get caught being given a blow job by Ted but Jack can claim he's not "gay" because Jack did not actually place his cock in Ted's mouth. Ted, in fact and action, took the cock and shoved it into his mouth. Thus, Jack's dick was placed in the mouth for him. And, thus, the sucking began to happen. And, really, what chance did Jack have at that point except to roll back his eyes and enjoy the fellating. And, really, at that point, ignoring the brush of Ted's chin scruff against his balls, did it really matter if Jack was getting blown by a man or woman?

Oh, the ways of the weasel are legion. See, we may hear "imminent" in every word the President said about Iraq's threat, but, ahh, sweet weasel, he never actually said "imminent." Hell, the frightening truth is, everything offers weasel room in our universe of legalistic relativity, even the President's oath of office.

That reads: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." If a President violates this oath, why, then, ideally, he (or some future she) is impeached. But the weasel room is there and the implications are really terrifying: perhaps Bush is doing his job "to the best of [his] ability." Now there's something no court in the country could argue with.

Always, always the powerful seek the solace of the weasel room. Reagan, Clinton, every CEO you can think of. But when it comes to things like torture and life and death, goddamnit, it shouldn't matter not a whit what the definition of "is" is.