Thursday, November 3, 2011

Square peg, meet round hole

I've often wondered how the nation survived George W. Bush (though the jury is still out on whether we'll survive his legacy). Sure, he and his administration meant well -- but, damn, they screwed things up. Case in point: Condoleezza Rice, Dubya's National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, appeared on David Letterman last night to hawk her new book, No Higher Honor. During the course of banter about 9/11, Rice said, "Well, we had not been attacked on our territory since the War of 1812, when the British burned the White House." Well, she kinda forgot about Pearl Harbor. Oops. Now, Dr. Rice is one seriously bright lady, complete with a PhD. But under the glare of the Letterman klieg lights anybody can get discombobulated. That's forgivable. What's less forgivable is what she did next. After the show, Rice recognized that not mentioning Pearl Harbor may have made her look dumb. So she took to Twitter to reaffirm her history cred: "Don't worry, I didn't forget about Pearl Harbor either! It was a tragic attack on our military base in Hawaii (not yet a state at the time)." Then she tweeted: "The War of 1812 was the last time our homeland and our civilians had been attacked. Check out what I say about it in No Higher Honor!" Talk about splitting hairs. (Hawaii was still US "territory." Plus, American civilians were among those being attacked on Dec 7, 1941. But never mind.) In the scheme of things, this is a minor affair. A simple, good-humored "oops" from Rice was all that was required to rectify the error. Yet, by making a mountain out of a molehill, she perfectly encapsulated the mindset of Team Bush, circa 2001-2008. Rather than saying "we fucked up" and then fixing the problem, they looked for a bigger hammer to smash the square peg into the round hole. Amazing.

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