or the Age of Lies
I wonder why it is that the United States, a country so great in all things, has so often had such small presidents. George W. Bush is perhaps the smallest of them all. This man, with his mediocre intelligence, abysmal ignorance, confused communication skills, and constant succumbing to the irresistible temptation of pure nonsense, has presented himself to humanity in the grotesque pose of a cowboy, who has inherited the world and mistaken it for a herd of cattle. We don't know what he really thinks, we don't even know if he does think (in the noble sense of the word), we don't know whether he might not be just a badly programmed robot that constantly confuses and switches around the messages it carries around inside it. But to give the man some credit for once in his life, there is one program in the robot George Bush, president of the United States, that works to perfection: lying. He knows he's lying, he knows we know he's lying, but being a compulsive liar, he will keep on lying even when he has the most naked truth right there before his eyes — he will keep on lying even after the truth has exploded in his face. He lied to justify waging war in Iraq just as he lied about his stormy and questionable past, and with just the same shamelessness. With Bush, the lies come from very deep down; they are in his blood. A liar emeritus, he is the high priest of all the other liars who have surrounded him, applauded him, and served him over the past few years.
George Bush expelled truth from the world, establishing the age of lies that now flourishes in its place. Human society today is contaminated by lies, the worst sort of moral contamination, and he is among those chiefly responsible. The lie circulates everywhere with impunity, and has already turned into a kind of other truth. When a few years ago a Portuguese prime minister — whose name for charity's sake I will not mention here — stated that "politics is the art of not telling the truth," he could never have imagined that some time later George W. Bush would transform this shocking statement into a naive trick of fringe politics, with no real awareness of the value or the significance of words. For Bush, politics is simply one of the levers of business, and perhaps the best one of all — the lie as a weapon, the lie as the advance guard of tanks and cannons, the lie told over the ruins, over the corpses, over humanity's wretched and perpetually frustrated hopes. We cannot be sure that today's world is more secure, but we can have no doubt that it would be much cleaner without the imperial and colonial politics of the president of the United States, George Walker Bush, and of the many — quite aware of the fraud they were perpetrating — who allowed him into the White House. History will hold them to account. (2008)