First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, Then as Big-Budget Disaster Movie?

One of Philip K. Dick’s favorite tropes (one that he recycled repetitively, sometimes effectively, often tediously) involved the premise that the losing side in a war actually wins by provoking the winning side to adopt the losing side’s values and ideology.

I keep thinking about that as the secret history of the Bush administration unreels. This morning an NPR reporter described the recent developments in the NSA phone data-mining operation, saying, “The furor is causing more problems for Michael Hayden” — But I heard, “The Führer is causing more problems. . . .” No, George Bush is not a new Hitler — but we can’t afford to refuse to acknowledge and name certain characteristics that the Bush regime shares with governments against which the U.S.A. has waged war in the name of freedom and human rights. We do not win a “War Against Terror” by sacrificing the ideals to which the U.S.A. aspires on the altar of an illusory, idolatrous “Security.”

In the weeks between now and the Fourth of July, I will re-read the Declaration of Independence once or twice, checking the description of the grievances that the founders charged against King George. “King George. . . .”

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