Sometimes I feel like our era is caught in the grip of a strange fable called The Terrorist And The Errorist. The terrorist, of course, is Osama bin Laden. Dangerous, yes, but somewhat limited without the aid of his inept mirror-image other - the Errorist. And that, of course, is the great blunderer himself, President of the United Mistakes of America George "Burning" Bush.
Bush, in this fable, is a bumbler, but if you can play him as bin Laden is clearly doing, you can amplify your own evil impact a millionfold. All you do is use him as the terrorists used airplanes - as a kind of knee-jerk dumb bomb, an error bomb.
Once you've triggered him into that first misstep, you crash him into the great alliances. You hold him like a box-cutter to the throat of the Iraqi people. The Errorist completes the Terrorist. He multiplies the deaths and terrors and opportunities of the terrorist. He ramps up the conflagrations and radiates the horror full-spectrum.
I am thinking of the 10,000 Iraqi civilians killed and maimed so far in Bush's War in Error. I am thinking of the nearly 6,000 Iraqi soldiers and the 800 American military personnel who have died because of the WMDs that aren't actually there.
Right from the start he made the mistake of calling it a "crusade." Then there was the supreme moment of error, that "mission accomplished" speech, all dressed up like the Hogan's Hero of hubris. Bush's war reeks of error. It's up to its elbows in blunder.
You might think Error had drunk its fill of Iraqi blood. But Error is still thirsty, it seems. There are greater miscalculations yet for the well-played fool to make.
How does the fable end?
If you want the happy ending, the reign of Error gets stung by its own tail. Its own fallacious nature ultimately turns on itself. Because it would be a mistake for the Errorists to take photos of one another torturing people, they must make that mistake. It's inevitable. Their own locked-in jinx gets them. Click! They're exposed.
In this ending, the great munition in the war on error is the ballot, not the bullet. Kerry wins the election, Bush is ousted, Osama is foiled, and the "error alert" finally goes back down to "elevated." In the really, really happy ending, Bush is put on trial for war crimes.
It's a nice fantasy, but I fear it will go differently. What if, as predicted, all those voting machines turn out to be errorist devices, and instead of getting Kerry we get another four-year Reign of Error from the Bush cabal?
Don't forget what Old Joe Stalin said: "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."
I hope I'm wrong.