Vidal still vital, but still no one listens

Gore Vidal is not afraid to offend, bless him.

America's most controversial writer Gore Vidal has launched the most scathing attack to date on George W Bush's Presidency, calling for an investigation into the events of 9/11 to discover whether the Bush administration deliberately chose not to act on warnings of Al-Qaeda's plans.

Vidal's highly controversial 7000 word polemic titled 'The Enemy Within' - published in the print edition of The Observer today [JAW--I actually bought the Sunday Observer today, since the full text is not avalable online] - argues that what he calls a 'Bush junta' used the terrorist attacks as a pretext to enact a pre-existing agenda to invade Afghanistan and crack down on civil liberties at home.

Vidal writes: 'We still don't know by whom we were struck that infamous Tuesday, or for what true purpose. But it is fairly plain to many civil libertarians that 9/11 put paid not only to much of our fragile Bill of Rights but also to our once-envied system of government which had taken a mortal blow the previous year when the Supreme Court did a little dance in 5/4 time and replaced a popularly elected President with the oil and gas Bush-Cheney junta.'

Vidal has always seemed to annoy even those who would be expected to agree with his arguments, but I have always thought it is basically because he comes off as an aristocrat (he is) and because he comes off as a faggot (he is), and not enough Americans are comfortable with either.

Actually, I think we should be very grateful for the product of both of his outsider identities.

He represents much of the best of both of these eccentric elements of American society (one waning quietly while the other waxes loudly), and that, after sufficiently crediting his intelligence (and who said real intelligence is valued in America?), his solid position within those unpopular orders explains much of the power of his social and political criticism.

The novels are still a guilty pleasure, but the essays really do it for me.