"any activity we conduct/ is within the law"

Our country is at war

and our government has the obligation
to protect
the American people.

The executive branch
has the obligation to protect
the American people;

the legislative branch
has the obligation to protect
the American people.

And we are aggressively doing that.
We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice.
We are gathering information
about where the
may be

We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans.

Anything we do to that effort,
to that end, in this effort,

any activity we conduct,
is within the law.

We do not torture.

And, therefore, we're working with Congress
to make sure that as we go forward, we make it possible --
more possible
to do our job.
There's an enemy that lurks
and plots
and plans,
and wants
to hurt America again.

And so,
you bet,
we'll aggressively pursue them.
(George W. Bush, the last two stanzas from the collection President Bush Meets with President Torrijos of Panama)
And right there, in the middle of a sentence, President Bush shows his poetic skill. The great, well-oiled machinery of metaphor he has assembled over the course of the past years reach their logical conclusion. In a great puff of smoke and mirror, the lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed, with a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness, his metaphors shift the meaning of the familiar into the foreign. He redefines, changes law into will and assumes supreme command of moral authority. Poetry in motion. The poet as God.


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