The Wrong House

Built on a false foundation, upon secrecy, a disdain for truth and science, incompetence and fear

By Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez
Published on LatinoLA: November 5, 2004

The Wrong House

The signs had all been there, even before the previous election. And they did not bode well for the nation.

The man who would be president was the son of a Yale-educated father who had been a congressman, former CIA spymaster and longtime White House occupant. Yet in the 2000 election, this son of privilege had tried to pass himself off as an outsider and a regular cowboy.

That's when the deceptions and language distortions began. Then came the banana republic-style 2000 election, involving his father's and brother's political machinery, with the loser being declared the winner by a partisan court. But instead of uniting the badly divided nation, he began to govern as though he'd been given a forceful mandate from corporate America.

And then came 9/11, and the world rallied with the United States against Osama bin Laden.

But the president wanted Saddam Hussein, and then it became: "You're either with us or against us in this war against evil." God bless America. That's when Cheney, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz took over. Then the president assigned Rice to make the argument sound coherent. What was absurd, she made sound (pseudo) intellectual. Then Powell -- the only administration official with a semblance of credibility -- was trotted out before the world with satellite photos. Only a few Americans were convinced.

It was never been about WMDs. It was about whether Iraq had constituted a threat to the United States. But with his father above directing his hand, instructing him to hurriedly do what his father below had failed to do, the president had no choice but to pre-emptively invade. It played out like an overwhelming SWAT force laying siege on the wrong house.

But even the immoral pre-emptive Bush war doctrine -- as with SWAT raids -- requires correct, not cherry-picked, intelligence.

Yet this was no mistake, and it wasn't a house that had been destroyed but an entire country -- one that had been decimated by the first Gulf War and neutered by more than a decade of sanctions and no-fly zones. If the commander in chief had been the chief of police, it would have cost him his job (plus a huge restitution). That's when being consistent -- consistently wrong -- became a virtue. And war was peace, freedom was on the march, and to ignore the United Nations and to discard the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions was a Patriot Act. We were all now safer, but we needed to be afraid, and to question was to be disloyal.

Yet one by one, the reports (before and after the war began) came in: wrong house. And since then, perhaps 100,000 Iraqis and 1,100 Americans have died.

And as a result, the country is in complete shambles. Theirs. Maybe ours, too.

All the signs were present before the 2004 elections. There were plenty of Lloronas (town criers) warning us about a divine kingship -- about the man who exploited religion and traded ideology over truth and who worked to ensure that the wealthy would plunder the Earth. And the man who could shatter this grand delusion -- who had fought for his country -- was assassinated. On the road to the White House, he became a tax-loving, abortion-loving, gay marriage-loving pagan. Pulling the trigger were a president and vice president who had not only skirted Vietnam, but whose associates have profited handsomely from their illegal war.

Despite this, the president's supporters continue to believe that it was the right house. And they believe in the president's new house here at home: the one being built upon a false foundation, upon secrecy and a disdain for truth and science, upon incompetence and, most of all, upon fear. And more satellite photos and taunts from Osama reaffirmed that only Bush could keep us safe from Kerry. Stay the course. He can run, but he cannot hide. (Wasn't that meant for Osama?)

Timid Democrats should perhaps be thankful that they'll not be cleaning up the president's mess.

The president has won a close vote. Ohio was not quite Florida, but the fact that so many voters were actively challenged is shameful and does not inspire great confidence. Again, there's no "mandate" or sanction for his ongoing crusade. The country remains divided, though there's a sliver of hope that this time wisdom may find a place inside the White House. The alternative is the president plunging the world into an age of darkness.

At least it always rains after a drought.

(c) Universal Press Syndicate 2004

About Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez:
The writers can be reached at

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