How Thirty Miles Can Seem Like a Million:
Let us say, and why not, that the President of the United States said what he meant and meant what he said on Wednesday over at the Naval Academy when he offered, "A time of war is a time of sacrifice... we honor the memory of every fallen soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman, and Marine." Let's just say for the sake of argument that George W. Bush and his administration actually believed this, that they just didn't titter to themselves at how easy it is to fool the rubes. No, let's stop our cynicism for just a moment and buy the line.

If you wanted the citizens of the country to believe you, then, why, why, why the fuck, at the exact same time the President is talking about death, destruction, and sacrifice in Iraq, would you have Laura Bush leading reporters around the White House for a tour of the expensive, exquisite, and utterly useless decorations there? No, really, and, c'mon, George's speech started at 9:45 a.m. and ended at 10:28 a.m. Laura's "preview" started at 9:58 a.m. and ended at 10:07 a.m. They were thirty miles or so apart in distance. But their voices, oh, their conjoined voices, spoke volumes.

That means that at roughly the point in his speech when the President said, "The terrorists in Iraq share the same ideology as the terrorists who struck the United States on September the 11th. Those terrorists share the same ideology with those who blew up commuters in London and Madrid, murdered tourists in Bali, workers in Riyadh, and guests at a wedding in Amman, Jordan. Just last week, they massacred Iraqi children and their parents at a toy give-away outside an Iraqi hospital," the First Lady was, shit you not, complimenting White House pastry chef Thaddeus DuBois for his gingerbread house (and, truth be told, it is one impressive fucker of a cookie).

It means that when Bush was lying about Iraqi forces leading the assault on Tal-Afar, the First Lady, immaculately dressed and coiffed, told reporters about the food and decorations, "So in a minute all of you are going to get to taste all of [chef]Cris's foods. But I wanted to point out the way we decorated in here with the pears -- the pear collars on the cache-pots and the pink tulips. Everything, again, is fresh and real."

When he was talking about dead soldiers and dreams of victory that'll involve "sacrifice," Laura was describing the art on the White House Christmas card, adding, "Barney and Beazley and our kitty made an appearance on the card"

Let's not belabor a point here - that the very idea of gloating over decorating the White House in a time of war is kinda stomach-churning. But, shit, everyone loves royalty and all its pretty accessories. No, this is about the timing of the two events. It says, in a very clear way, that the Bush White House is divorced from reality, that it's all a fantasy, from the gingerbread White House to the number of Iraqi forces, all one continuum of fantasy and disconnect from any reality.

And the reality was, to be sure, awful, as four more American soldiers and untold numbers of Iraqis died on the same day as Bush was telling us to sacrifice, on the same day that Laura was talking about "the magnificent tree that we have in the Blue Room that's covered with lilies this year." Those lilies may as well have been plucked from the graves of all 2100 American soldiers. It'd make a mighty impressive show on that Christmas tree.