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Bush Awards Himself the Medal of Freedom

By Bernard Weiner
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers

August 22, 2006

In a ceremony that took place in the White House underground bunker, Mr. Bush today awarded the Medal of Freedom to Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Chief Policy Advisor Karl Rove, and himself.

"In addition to previous honorees Gen. Tommy Franks, CIA director George Tenet and Iraq administrator L. Paul Bremer, nobody has been more responsible for the successful policies of this Administration, both here and abroad, than these fine, dedicated public servants," Bush told a hastily-called news conference. "In all my years in office, I have never seen so many people work so hard to bring us to where we are today -- a respected leader in the world, and a country where all citizens are happily supportive of our policies.

"Well, yes, there were a few carpers and critics out there who called our military/foreign policy a failure, and accused us of going outside the Constitution to protect the lives and property of all American citizens from the Islamic fascists who are trying to kill us. But most of those terrorist-supporting nay-sayers have now been moved into FEMA's re-education camps, and we expect and hope they will rejoin their normal, law-abiding fellow citizens with a new, positive attitude.

"Naming myself as an honoree may seem self-serving to some, but I take this action to demonstrate to the public my confidence in my policies. Further, today I have ordered myself to conduct a thorough investigation of any possible mistakes or wrongdoing that I may have committed; a report has been submitted by me and is now on my desk, and without giving away too much, I was delighted to read that it completely exonerates me."


Bush also announced that he had granted a full pardon to I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, whose trial was scheduled to begin early next year.

Libby -- Cheney's former chief of staff and national security advisor, and special assistant to the President -- was indicted by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the case of Valerie Plame Wilson. The covert CIA agent's identity was made public by White House officials (widely believed to include Libby and Rove) when her husband publicly said Bush had twisted intelligence to support going to war against Iraq. Libby was facing charges of lying and obstructing justice in the case; Rove may still be under investigation, but Bush said he pardoned him pre-emptively, "just in case."

"I took this action today," Bush said, "because both Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove are loyal patriots, who were only following orders from me to do everything possible to ensure that our war against the terrorists in Iraq went smoothly. As Commander-in-Chief, I am authorized to declassify information, and I did so and properly told Mr. Libby in particular to offer such information to the press as part of a national security operation.

"Ms. Plame and her husband, who attempted to obstruct our war aims and thus aided and abetted our enemies, have been detained and rendered to a secure location, where they will stay until the war on terrorism has been won.

"The pardon of Mr. Libby and of Mr. Rove will ensure that classified details about our war on terrorism will not make their way into the court record and the press. I must protect the secrets of this administration since they all touch on highly sensitive national-security matters. Mr. Libby will join my staff as a special national security adviser. Remember, this all has to do with national-security."

"I will now answer a few questions. David?"


Question: Mr. President, the midterm elections are just a few months away. Are you worried that these aggressive moves against your political opponents may influence many middle-of-the-road voters to move toward the Democratic candidates rather than stick with your party, which many moderate conservatives find to be too extreme?

Bush: The American people have demonstrated, by not demonstrating, that they are behind our policies 100%. They understand that whatever actions I take are taken for the good of the country and all of our good citizens. They will not change buses in the middle of a stream of war, I mean not change horses in a time of great battle, during wartime. Everything changed on 9/11, except the Democrat Party, which continues to clearly demonstrate that they are on the side of al-Qaida.

Question: A follow-up first, if I may, Mr. President. Virtually all the polls in recent months indicate that it's not just the Democrats who believe Iraq is a disaster and was a terrible mistake -- about two-thirds of the American people believe that and are ready for some sort of plan for withdrawal. Are you saying that all those citizens are doing al-Qaida's work, that they all are un-American by speaking out?

Bush: Not at all, David. The terrorists hate us for our freedoms, you know, and one of the most important is freedom of speech. Everyone has the right to speak out. But you have to watch what you say, because the terrorists are listening and will act accordingly. So if you have something critical to say, I advise you to think twice before saying it, or anything. Loose lips sink boats; loose talk helps boats go aground -- you know what I mean. Helen?


Question: A federal district court judge has accused you of behaving like a king in authorizing the National Security Agency to conduct warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens' phone calls and emails -- which conceivably could mean listening in on your political enemies. Can the American people be assured that you will obey the law and honor the court's decision?

Bush: This is another bad decision by an activist judge, one appointed by a Democrat, I might add. But this ruling cannot be allowed to stand, since our terrorist-surveillance program is aimed at terrorists. So those who we choose to spy on must be terrorists or in cahoots with terrorists. We are taking this un-American decision to the appeals court and, if we don't win there, to the U.S. Supreme Court where we are confident that more patriotic activist judges will rule in our favor. In the meantime, we will carry on our listening-in program because we need to know what the terrorists know. American citizens can be assured that we only intrude on their privacy when it is absolutely necessary, like when they make or receive phone calls or emails.

Question: A follow-up about the spying, Mr. President. The Supreme Court told you that your treatment of detainees is unconstitutional, and now another federal court has decreed that your domestic spying program is unconstitutional. But you are leaning on Congress to grant you absolution for your illegal behaviors and to authorize you to carry them into the future. You once said you wouldn't mind a dictator system of government as long as you could be the dictator. Don't your actions lend credence to the idea that you're trying to establish yourself as a dictator in our democracy?

Bush: Helen, the answer to your long speech and to your question is No. Jeff?


Question: Various bloggers and even reporters in this room don't hesitate to ask vicious, partisan questions to the President of the United States of America. Isn't there something the government can do to rein in the internet crazies and traitorous reporters?

Bush: Freedom of the press always must be respected. But this is wartime and members of the media must be especially careful not to step over the line of lawful questioning to insulting The Leader. Nobody is above the law in this country -- except me, of course; since I am the final decider on the law, any action I take to protect Americans is legal. Reporters and judges should remember that before they open their mouths. Another question. Wolf?


Question: Your Administration has been roundly criticized for not moving quicker to stop the destruction and deaths in Lebanon. One critic said your policy seemed to be not to support a cease-fire until there were no more deaths in the war, but a cease-fire is supposed to interpose itself between the warring parties so there won't be any more deaths. Can you explain your rationale, sir?

Bush: We didn't want to support a cease-fire without going to the root causes of the war in the first place. We--

Question: So you wanted to try to solve Palestinian/Israeli conflict first?

Bush: No. By "root causes," I meant that Syria and Iran were using Hezbollah to exacer--, to extrawariate, to attack Israel, the one democracy in the Middle East. So we wanted there to be a quieting down of the situation before we supported a cease-fire in Lebanon to quiet down the situation. I mean --

Voice: Thank you, Mr. President.

Copyright 2006, by Bernard Weiner

Bernard Weiner, a poet and playwright, has written a great many satires and parodies about the Bush Administration. A Ph.D. in government & international relations, he has taught at various universities, worked as a writer/editor with the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org).  To comment: >> crisispapers@comcast.net  <<.

Crisis Papers editors, Partridge & Weiner, are available for public speaking appearances