Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 400, January 7, 2007

"Clumsily, the world's thinking mammals move towards liberty."


New Rules For Stating The Obvious
by Jonathan David Morris

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

George Bush recently described America's performance in the Iraq War like this: "We're not winning, we're not losing."

This means we're losing.

Here are six other things you probably didn't know:

1. The sky is blue.

2. The Earth revolves around the sun.

3. Blacks and whites can now legally marry.

4. Birds fly.

5. Fish swim.

6. Any number times zero is zero.

It's nice of George Bush to finally kind of, sort of admit what most of us have already known about Iraq for several years. Unfortunately, his remarks were designed to sound somewhat courageous, as if he was saying, "Look, I was wrong about the weapons. I'm not sure why we invaded. This war is hard. And to be quite honest, it may well have been a mistake." Instead, what George Bush is saying is basically this: "I have to state the obvious now. I have no choice but to state the obvious because people are seriously starting to doubt my grip on reality."

Not winning plus not losing equals a quagmire. A quagmire is exactly what anyone who's been paying attention has been saying we were in for years.


There needs to be a new set of rules on stating the obvious, so politicians can't get credit for stating it when they already have no choice.

First of all, if you're a politician and you're thinking of stating the obvious, no more landing on aircraft carriers, waving banners that say "Mission Accomplished," then waiting three and a half years before changing your mind. Iraq went to hell roughly seven minutes after George Bush said the war part of the war was over. You mean to tell me it's only now you realize we didn't actually win anything? You mean it took you this long to realize we're probably not even winning?

From now on, there needs to be a moratorium on this kind of willy-nilly change in perspective. The moment your actions (uprooting Saddam) make your pet issue worse (Iraq), you have exactly six months from the time you declare yourself successful to come out and declare that you've failed. If you trot out Donald Rumsfeld to call your enemies Nazis, or get pregnant army chicks to point at the wieners of naked Iraqis (drug addicts, homeless persons, etc.), you forfeit the six months and no longer get to work on your pet issue.

This is for the best.

Rule No. 2: If it gets to the point where the only way to defend your policies is to tell your supporters the media's lying, you are no longer entitled to change your mind and state the obvious. We all know the media suck in this country, but where was George Bush's "We're not winning, we're not losing" speech about a year ago when the cool thing amongst war supporters was to say we were winning but the media played up the bad stuff? It doesn't matter if the media played up the bad stuff. The media always play up the bad stuff. That's what the media do.

You invaded a country. Its inhabitants are voting and blowing themselves up now. It's a package deal.

(Speaking of which, you have to wonder if Bush really believes we're neither winning or losing. Maybe the media just want you to believe he believes that. Maybe the truth looks much different. . . you know, on the ground.)

Finally, Rule No. 3: If you're going to state the obvious, state it before an election, not after. Stating the obvious after an election is also called "lying."

These rules should be easy to follow for pedestrians, citizens, and political leaders alike.

Jonathan David Morris writes from Philadelphia. He can be reached at


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