Cartoon by the great Ted Rall. (Yes, I said great).
It is August, the month with a very bad rap. While I don't agree with all of his assessments, this article by David Plotz has become somewhat famous since it does sum-up a lot of reasons to dislike August (and it helps that Slate re-posted it in 2006). But what makes it worth reading each year for me is the context in which it was written. Look at the original date. Remember those times? Those were the days, right?
What were we talking about by the water cooler seven Augusts ago? We had a missing, white, female intern in Washington (what was her name again?). We had rumors that Bobby Fischer was resurfacing in Internet chat rooms. We were content with our economy, despite the dot-com bust. And according to our president, we lived under the false notion that the Atlantic and Pacific oceans protected us. But George W. Bush knew better. He was working hard to protect us from attack, right?
He was in Crawford, Texas all that month. But make no mistake, it was a working vacation. On August 6th, he was handed a Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) that sprung him to action. It had an unmistakable warning in its title. What was the title, again? Anyone?
Dr. Rice, maybe you remember? You weren't there in Crawford, but you were the NSA Director. You might know.
Riiiiiiight. Bin laden Determined to Strike in US. Thank you for feigning the recall of that title, Doctor. Nice effect.
And George W. Bush applied his success in August 2001 to other crises that occurred in future Augusts. Like this one in late August 2005. Imagine the catastrophe that would have ensued had FEMA not recognized that the citizens of New Orleans were unable to evacuate, and that the levees were likely to break. Imagine that.
So sleep tight, America. There's no need to worry about our leaders. They are waking-up every morning with our safety and security as their top priority. They will protect us. I have no doubt.