In a famous interview about two years ago, a high White House official—my guess would be Karl Rove, but this has never been confirmed—told Ron Suskind that he, Suskind, belonged to “the reality-based community,” which habitually analyzed the day’s events carefully and judiciously to reach a reasonable conclusion. “But we’re an empire now,” the official said, “and we create our own reality.” Some months after that, I heard indirectly that Rove had told a reporter that the truth was what he said it was, and that if he could convince 51% of the American people he was right that was all that mattered. (When I reached the man who reportedly had heard Rove make this statement, however, he declined to confirm it.) Those of us hoping to keep the country on track would do well to keep those quotes in mind, in order to remember that our leadership is essentially running a propaganda operation rather than actually trying to govern. Some of the bitterest controversies of the last six years have involved its attempts to control reality. The leak of Valerie Plame’s name, I have been told authoritatively, was not designed to publish a former Ambassador, her husband, but rather to intimidate her Agency, the CIA, from leaking any more unpleasant truths that would reflect badly upon the White House. But what is more frightening is that, based upon what one reads and does not read in the news today, Rove was right.
This occurred to me again last week as I finished Peter Galbraith’s new book, The End of Iraq, which I mentioned last week. A long-time adviser to the Kurds, Galbraith has been deeply involved in the occupation of
Buried earlier in the book, however, is a truly extraordinary fact. Galbraith describes a meeting in early 2002 between President Bush and three prominent Iraqis living in
Ron Suskind has also discovered that the market for revelations about the Bush Administration has plummeted since he and Paul O’Neill wrote The Price of Loyalty in 2003. His new book, The One Per cent Doctrine, is an inside account of the development of the Bush Administration’s anti-terror policies. Buried within it is a story, which Suskind claims to have definitely confirmed, that the
There is every reason to believe, in short, that Rove and company may successfully keep control of reality within the