The Madness of King George Part 2: / / / t h r o u g h t h e l o o k i n g g l a s s // / "We're through the looking glass here, people. Where white is black and black white." - District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) in'JFK"
/ IRAQ: A War of CHOICE, not Neccesity / "I've been to war. I've raised twins. If I had a choice, I'd rather go to war." / - Dubya doing a sterling job of belittling war and parenting at the same time, while also backhandedly manufacturing a war record for himself out of thin air, Jan. 27, 2002 / / "We have a deranged president. We have despotism. We have no due process." / - Gore Vidal, November 2003 / _____________________________________________________________________
by Harley Sorensen San Francisco Chronicle July 7, 2003
Folks, our God-fearing president, George W. Bush, who claims to start every morning on his knees praying, now says that he gets his orders from God Himself.
I kid you not.
I refer you to June 24 article by Arnon Regular in Ha'aretz, an Israeli newspaper. In the last paragraph of that article there's a Bush quote as related by Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. Here, according to Abbas and Ha'aretz, is what Bush said:
"God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you can help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."
That quote doesn't make clear whether God issues direct orders to Bush, or whether they discuss things first. but I'd guess discussions. It's hard to imagine God deciding anything of importance without without first getting input from Bush.
Over the years I've met a handful of people who regularly talk with God, but they usually do so only when they're off their medications.
Those who get instructions directly from the Almighty are twice blessed: They get their orders from the Highest Authority, and the orders are always to do what they would have done anyway.
Getting direct orders from God makes a president's life simpler. If God has spoken, the president doesn't have to observe the niceties with which presidents usually contend, things like getting congressional approval or United Nations agreement.
Bush's very own personal God connection explains a lot of things. Like Bush's disinterest in global warming.
Why should our duly elected president concern himself with global warming when God Himself has said, "Don't worry, be happy"?
Do you see how it works? With God in your corner, it matters not what you do, because God will protect you.
OK, I've been shilly-shallying around here, hesitant to come right out and say what I think, but I'm becoming convinced that our president, the man with his finger on the nuclear trigger, is a bona fide nutcase.
I really do. For him to say God told him to strike al-Qaida is just nutso. For him to say God told him to strike at Saddam, ditto. This guy is not dealing with a full deck.
To me, Bush's sanity has been suspect for a long time. He does so many things that defy logic, like his infamous tax cuts, approved by a thoroughly cowed Congress.
It doesn't make sense to reduce your income while increasing your spending and plunging into massive debt.
His blithe attitude toward the public debt he is creating indicates a failure to grasp reality.
"PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. "They cannot care because they are nuts." - Kurt Vonnegut
His cavalier entry into two wars within two years, in total disregard of world opinion on the second one, indicates a man who just doesn't care what anyone thinks. Now that his ill-planned schemes in Afghanistan and Iraq are coming apart, I sense a bit of panic in the man.
Bush knew what everyone knew, that our armies could conquer. But he had no idea whether they, or anyone, could maintain a peace in nations as splintered as Afghanistan and Iraq. They can't. They're not trained for that. That's not their mission.
Bush is a good salesman, which is almost certainly why his father's friends chose him to be the front man for the Republican Party. He's a charmer, no doubt of that. Because of his sales ability, he was able to convince most Americans that war with Iraq was a necessity.
"We have been conquered by psychopathic personalities who are attractive." - Kurt Vonnegut
But America needs more than a slick salesman to lead the world. We need, at the very least, a man with mental stability. We don't have that with Bush. His rapid rise to power, without truly earning it as most presidents before him have done, has gone to his head.
So what we have in the White House today is a megalomaniac with a messianic complex, a man who believes that he and he alone can resolve the world's problems.
"I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East," he said. I, I, I, I, I! With Bush it's always "I." In a job that requires great humility, we have an egomaniac.*
I don't expect many people to agree with my armchair psychoanalysis of a man I've never met. We don't like to admit that important people are crazy, or even that our relatives are crazy. Typically, we overlook their bizarre behavior until it gets so bizarre we can't ignore it anymore.
So, all I ask is that you pay attention. A man who claims to get orders from God, and who creates world-shaking events on the basis of those "orders," needs watching.
- San Francisco Chronicle, July 7, 2003
/"A man who claims to get orders from God, and who creates world-shaking events on the basis of those "orders," needs watching." /// "The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them. /// - George W. Bush
"They cannot care because they are nuts." - Kurt Vonnegut
BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY by Daniel Gilbert February 6, 2003
President Bush does not want the American public to forget that "Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction." That being said, Mr. Bush is looking a lot like his adversary these days...
Whether it began in April 2002 when President Bush told a reporter,"I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go," is uncertain. It is doubtful, however, that the omnipotent "I" reared its ugly head for the first time that day. It certainly was not the last.
From the earliest days of the Bush administration, those with views contrary to the Bush agenda understood it would be a very long four years. When given the rare opportunity to express such objections, a Philadelphia journalist was rebuffed by the President, who, while still smiling, said in complete seriousness, "Who cares what you think?"
Bush's perception of himself as exalted leader whose decisions are beyond reproach suggests a severe detachment from reality. "...I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation...." Thus, when President Bush decided that Saddam Hussein had to be removed as leader of the Iraqi government, he foresaw no obstacles blocking his path.
President Bush threatened United States military intervention under the auspice that United Nations weapons inspectors had not been allowed to work within Iraq since 1998, a violation under Security Council Resolution 1441. Thankfully Iraq relented, two days before a UN November 15 deadline, that they would allow weapons inspectors to return to Iraq and resume their duties. The standoff between Iraq and the United States continued, however, as the United States deployed both troops and warships to the Gulf. When the question was raised by a reporter if the United States was going to war against Iraq, President Bush indignantly responded, "You say we're headed to war. I don't know why you suggested that. I'm the person who gets to decide, and not you." President Bush once again grasped power by the neck and brutally choked it with reckless disregard.
The United Nations continually pushed for more time to let weapon inspections work, hoping for a peaceful resolution. Iraq, while not contributing one hundred percent, is, as a defeated nation does, offering their assistance with sad and beaten passivity. The United States, led by President Bush's daily rhetoric, continues to push for the use of force against Iraq -- recently announcing a plan to "secure" the oil fields. President Bush has said, "I will let you know when the moment has come [speaking about time running out on Iraq]." The Nobel Peace Prize can not be far off now.
"I'm willing to give peace a chance." This final statement by President Bush reveals much more than one might think. Mr. Bush is simply placating the world by his willingness to give peace a chance. Is Mr. Bush the hero or the villain? Is Mr. Bush ending the confrontation or inciting one? President Bush says he is willing. President Bush is probably the most powerful man in the world and he is only willing to give peace a chance. This will not do. President Bush must do more! He must find a way to create peace. He must find a way to help peace endure. He must do this for all Americans. He must do this for all Iraqis. He must do this for all people everywhere.
President Bush, there is no
"I" in WORLD PEACE.
BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________d/f / Bush, June 2005 (CNN): / "There's nothing farther from the truth." /0. "Somebody said, well, you know, we had made up our mind to use military force to deal with Saddam. "There's nothing farther from the truth," Bush said. "We worked hard to see if we could figure out how to do this peacefully," Bush said. "Nobody wants to commit military into combat. It's the last option." / Bush, March 2002 (CNN):
Those were the words of President George W. Bush, who had poked his head into the office of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. It was March 2002, and Rice was meeting with three U.S. Senators, discussing how to deal with Iraq through the United Nations, or perhaps in a coalition with America's Middle East allies. Bush wasn't interested. He waved his hand dismissively, recalls a participant, and neatly summed up his Iraq policy in that short phrase. The Senators laughed uncomfortably; Rice flashed a knowing smile. The President left the room. A year later, Bush's outburst has been translated into action, as cruise missiles and smart bombs slam into Baghdad. / - "First Stop, Iraq", by Michael Elliott and James Carney, CNN, March 24, 2003 / _______________________________________________________________ / / In early 2003, when the question was raised by a reporter if the United States was going to war against Iraq, President Bush indignantly responded, "You say we're headed to war. I don't know why you suggested that. I'm the person who gets to decide, and not you." / / ______________________________________
"Given Saddam's aggressive regional ambitions, as well as his ruthlessness and unpredictability, it may at some point be wise to remove him from power. Whether and when that point should come ought to depend on overall U.S. national security priorities. Our pre-eminent security priority -- underscored repeatedly by the president -- is the war on terrorism. An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counterterrorist campaign we have undertaken.
The United States could certainly defeat the Iraqi military and destroy Saddam's regime. But it would not be a cakewalk. On the contrary, it undoubtedly would be very expensive -- with serious consequences for the U.S. and global economy -- and could as well be bloody."
- "Don't Attack Saddam", by Brent Scowcroft, (Republican, National Security Advisor, Bush I), Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2002 / ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________d/f
By Mike Hersh Online Journal Contributing Writer September 12, 2002 /
Sources within the White House inner circle say George W. Bush is "out of control." An unprovoked attack against Iraq is imminent, because Bush believes he's on a mission from God to rid the world of Saddam Hussein, whether the world likes it or not.
High ranking Republicans express strong dissent against Bush's plans. The Washington Post reports: "Brent Scowcroft and James Baker, respectively the national security adviser and secretary of state in the first Bush administration, have advised against invasion." International and congressional leaders support renewed weapons inspections, but White House sources say Bush himself demands removal of Saddam as his objective. Bush "talks a lot about the oppression of the Iraqi people, and liberating [them] from this madman." (New Plan On Iraq Emerges, Former Officials Urge U.S. Caution)
We aren't privy to the secret intelligence, but our allies and these top Republicans are. They all say Bush hasn't made the case that Iraq poses a clear and present danger. That's why our allies are not lining up to join the Bush "Crusade" against Saddam. That's why top elected Republicans and two generations of GOP wise men reject Bush's "cowboy diplomacy."
Rather than consider this counsel as he claims he's doing, Bush is stepping up his rush to war. This belies Bush's more placid public pronouncements, in which he claims he will respect Congressional prerogatives: "President Bush promised yesterday to seek congressional authorization before taking any military action to ensure Iraqi disarmament." (Bush to Seek Hill Approval on Iraq War)
According to inside sources, this is all for show. Bush has already made up his mind to attack Iraq. We must ask ourselves: Why war? Why now? The only credible answers are alarming. As during his campaigns, Bush is relying on others like Richard Cheney to present his anger to the public. George W. Bush is very angry today.
In private, Bush is lashing out against his Secretary of State, General Colin Powell for "undermining his authority." True, Powell informed the public about the "fierce debate within the administration over a possible confrontation with Iraq," however he defers to Bush: "Now that the holiday period is over and all the European colleagues are back to work, and the United Nations General Assembly will be meeting next week, I think you will see the president will pull all these threads together," said Bush's top diplomat. (Powell Cites -Real" Divide Internally on Iraq Policy)
Others are not so confident. The European Union and international elder statesmen oppose Bush's designs against Iraq. They hope to reach Bush via Powell and even former President Bush. The Washington Post reports "Former South African president Nelson Mandela expressed firm opposition to military action. Mandela said he had tried to speak to Bush and had instead spoken with his father, the former president. 'I asked him to speak to his son, and I have already spoken to Powell,' Mandela said. 'I have not given up trying to persuade the president not to attack Iraq.'" (Washington Post - Sep 4, 2002)
Colin Powell is no liberal or dove. As James Mann, a senior writer-in-residence at the Center for Strategic and International Studies wrote in the Washington Post: "Powell has been, throughout his career, a proponent of a strong national defense, an extensive military presence overseas and, more generally, a unique American role in the world. He supported the Star Wars program in the 1980s and resisted relaxing the ban on gays in the military in the 1990s." (The Left and Right Have The Secretary All Wrong)
Mann added: "Powell served comfortably as the loyal military aide to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, the most hawkish Cabinet member of that Reagan administration and the architect of unprecedented increases in the defense budget. Mann quotes Powell: 'To Weinberger and Reagan we owe the resurgence of the United States as a respected and credible military power.'" Bush is wrong to question his Secretary of State's loyalty because as Mann notes: "Powell turned down offers to become Clinton's secretary of state, primarily because he felt more in tune with the Republicans than with the Democrats on foreign policy." (Washington Post)
Powell is wrong if he thinks Bush seeks a diplomatic solution rather than a military confrontation. Even so, Powell is supporting Bush, at least so far. Therefore, the real divide between Bush and Powell has less to do with "undermining authority" than doctrinaire differences. The Powell Doctrine on use of force reads as follows: "US troops should be sent into conflict only when vital US interests are at stake, where there is strong public support, where the objectives are clearly defined and limited, and where overwhelming force is used to accomplish the objective." (Washington Post)
Bush is abandoning the Powell Doctrine for a new doctrine unprecedented in American history. Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger is perplexed by Team Bush's demands that America and the World's leaders should trust one man's judgment--without consultation or proof--as justification for an unprovoked attack. This is beyond a leap of faith. It is a mad jump to an illogical conclusion at odds with American honor and dignity. Our allies, military experts, and Republican Secretaries of State Kissinger, Baker, Eagleburger and Powell oppose this Bush Doctrine.
The US was founded as a nation of peace and commerce, not aggression and conquest. Powell-and over two centuries of American policymakers have always considered war the last resort. Bush's Doctrine starts with the first strike use of massive deadly force in defiance of every American principle. Bush's approach relies on "leveraged power"-threats and use of force, even unprovoked first strikes for arbitrary purpose. Even absent adequate force, vital US interests, and clearly defined and limited objectives. Even over Congressional, allied and public opposition.
One military expert compares the international arena to law enforcement. The police have no interdictory authority. Until there is a crime, under the rule of law, the police have no jurisdiction. That's been our policy since 1776. George W. Bush believes differently, based on his personal sense of power and divine guidance.
Bush's sense of unquestionable authority drives him out of control when anyone defies him. Court decisions declaring his and Attorney General Ashcroft's actions unconstitutional and excessive infuriate Bush. People are questioning him on Iraq, and that makes Bush very angry. Our allies nearly unanimously refuse to grant Bush blank check authority to attack Iraq. The Congress, the media and the American public express the same concerns. Bush is furious anyone dares "defy" his "authority" to declare war. This rage renders him unwilling to listen to anyone other than partisan political yes men. He is "out of control."
Top White House poltical advisors Karl Rove and Dan Bartlett joined Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld priming Bush for battle. Rove wants Bush to attack Iraq before the November elections to force Democrats and moderate Republicans to toe-the-line or look like "weaklings" (paraphrased due to vulgarity). That's the wrong reason to put 100,000s of American troops in harms way. But to Rove, that's a small price to pay for winning Congressional races.
Rumsfeld tells Bush to attack strong and hard, assuring him the Congress, our allies, and the American people will "fall in line." That may well be true, at least over the short run, but that defies the Powell Doctrine requirement of public support before committing to war. It also begs the fundamental questions. Why war? Why now?
Fellow Texan Republicans James A. Baker III and House Majority leader Richard Armey both made unprecedented public criticisms of Bush, cautioning against this unprovoked invasion and refuting administration claims that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States or our vital interests. They lead the calls urging Bush to rely on weapons inspectors rather than weapons. However their advice goes unheeded.
Bush is intent on ousting Saddam, and considers inspections part of a one-two punch, rather than an alternative to all out attack. Sources characterize the Bush policy as "send in the inspectors while we arm the missiles." This reckless doctrine makes Ronald Reagan's motto "Trust but verify" seem positively placid by comparison.
Bush's party leaders, his father's national security team, several Secretaries of State-including his own, and our top military planners all advocate alternatives to invasion. They all oppose Bush's first strike doctrine. Without support from his party, the public, or our allies in the Middle East and, and without any evidence Iraq poses a threat to us or the region, Bush is pushing for an imminent attack. The situation, under a steady boil at least since Bush branded Iraq an evil power during his State of the Union address, is now about to boil over. (War With Iraq Is Imminent)
Undaunted and untroubled, Bush sees confirmation in the unlikeliest places. He read former President Carter's recent statements as support for an invasion. Carter warned against a unilateral US war against Iraq, because Baghdad represents "no current danger to the United States." (Carter says Iraq poses "no current danger" to US, also, Carter Takes on "Belligerence" in Washington)
Carter's OP-ED published in the Washington Post concludes: "As has been emphasized vigorously by foreign allies and by responsible leaders of fom Baghdad." (Jimmy Carter: America's Policy Shift, The Troubling New Face of America)rmer administrations and incumbent officeholders, there is no current danger to the United States fro
Our source confirms Team Bush believes that "If that's what Carter says, then we must be right." This describes Bush as either deep in delusion, on an all consuming mission - or both. Adding to this harrowing unreality, Bush's top spokesman denies there is any conflict over Iraq within the administration.
Labor Day, Ari Fleischer told reporters on an Air Force One: "[Cheney and Powell] haven't spoken differently, they've spoken the same." Fleischer further enunciated "The American position, as the vice president said in his remarks, and Secretary Powell said, and as the president has said, is that arms inspectors in Iraq are a means to an end, but the end is knowledge that Iraq has lived up to its promises that it made to end the Gulf War, that it has in fact disarmed, that it does not possess weapons of mass destruction." (No Conflict on Iraq Policy, Fleischer Says)
For the record, Powell has called for return of weapons inspectors, saying "The president has been clear that he believes weapons inspectors should return." By contrast, Cheney told the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Aug. 26: "A return of inspectors would provide no assurance whatsoever of compliance with U.N. resolutions. On the contrary, there is a great danger that it would provide false comfort that Saddam was somehow 'back in his box.'" (Washington Post)
This is not merely an internal White House conflict. This is a three-body equation. First, Bush sees himself as the divine sword of retribution against Saddam. For him, nothing else matters. Second. Karl Rove and Dan Bartlett are trying to use this for partisan political advantage. The third leg - including Bush's own military advisors, Colin Powell, and top Republican elected officials and career diplomats - are resisting invasion.
Despite their wise counsel and his assurances to the contrary, Bush has already made up his mind. He will step up his actions because, as the White House sources tell us, Bush is "out of control." Bush believes he was personally called by God to lead America. Tim Russert and former NYC Mayor Giuliani discussed this on "Meet the Press" last year. At the time, most dismissed such talk as post-September 11th hyperbole.
However, Bush has embraced this notion of Biblical mission, and now operates with an absolute sense of supreme authority without qualification and without limitation. He stands poised to unleash American might full force against anyone who would dare to defy him. The Karl Rove camp hopes an attack on Iraq will humiliate Democrats in time to sway the mid-term elections. This means the late-October deadline reported by the media was no misprint. Bush and Rove see this as a date certain for reluctant Republican politicians, members of the opposition, and even our allies to stand "with us or against us."
It's of no small moment that Russia with its thousands of nuclear missiles recently embraced not only Saddam but Iran and North Korea-Bush's entire "axis of evil." The implications of their approach should give Team Bush pause, however like an MBA focused on the next quarterly report, he's ignoring long-term ramifications. His top political team and Rumsfeld support and enable Bush's messianic mission. There is no sign of caution or consideration of consequence in their analysis.
As the Bush Administration rushes headlong into war, we should pause and consider the law. International law doesn't support an attack on Iraq, but I am concerned with an even more basic law: Isaac Newton's laws of physics, specifically the one stating: "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." We would be foolish to ignore this immutable law. We simply cannot afford Bush's approach fiscally, legally, or geopolitically. (Bush's Iraq Attack Risks Reaction)
The White House is already implementing its plans for Bush to strong-arm domestic and international allies. Bush was scheduled to begin making phone calls this morning, September 5, speaking bluntly and personally to international leaders. Bush, Rove and others seek to "leverage" every strength of the US against leaders reluctant to back invasion plans. Cautioned about potential adverse consequences on international trade and economy as well as other policy issues, Bush said, "There is only one issue."
President Carter disagrees. He wrote: "Fundamental changes are taking place in the historical policies of the United States with regard to human rights, our role in the community of nations and the Middle East peace process-largely without definitive debates (except, at times, within the administration). Some new approaches have understandably evolved from quick and well-advised reactions by President Bush to the tragedy of Sept. 11, but others seem to be developing from a core group of conservatives who are trying to realize long-pent-up ambitions under the cover of the proclaimed war against terrorism." ("The Troubling New Face of America")
Carter is not alone questioning the ideological and partisan political underpinnings of this new dangerous doctrine. Former Weapons Inspector and Marine Intelligence Officer Colonel says this right wing cabal has captured our national security policy and are putting their narrow partisan interests above our national interest. Colonel Ritter says the man he voted for is planning to invade Iraq to improve his party's chances at the polls this November. We all know the "wag the dog scenario." It's no secret Republicans are in big trouble heading into the November elections. Lately it seems war is the only GOP issue, as the economy sinks into a Double Dip W. Bush recession. (AWOL Bush Aims America At Iraq, and RED ALERT - October War in Iraq)
Warning signs still under the media radar suggest a worse situation, if that's possible. Some among Bush's trusted White House staff fear what they are seeing and where Bush is taking us. His state of mind hauntingly reminds them of Richard Nixon's Final Days. They fear Bush is becoming Nixonesque . . . or worse. Although Bush lacks Nixon's paranoia, he may entertain even more dangerous notions.
George W. Bush sincerely believes God sent him to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Bush's monomania about Saddam and his sense of divine purpose scare some of his closest advisors. His resentment of dissent and refusal to credit counsel alarm many from the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations. Even top officials from his father's administration fear the worst, and former President Bush is among them.
Top Republicans past and present oppose Bush's plans for an unprovoked invasion. Our closest allies around the world loudly and clearly announced they will not support an attack against Iraq. Polls show the American public does not want America to go it alone. Experts from the US, the UN, and the Middle East all advise we inspect Iraq, not attack. Bush is intent on bucking all of them. (Inspect Iraq, Don't Attack)
USA Today reported "many congressional leaders - including those who support the use of force against Saddam - worry that the administration needs a clearer justification than the belief that Iraq has developed weapons of mass destruction." Although "Bush administration lawyers have concluded that establishing a link between al-Qaeda terrorists and Iraq would provide the legal justification the White House needs to attack Saddam Hussein's regime," Armed Services Committee Chairman Delaware Senator Joseph Biden says Bush has "no Constitutional authority to invade." Biden expressed hopes the Bush administration have the "resolve" to do the right thing. (Connection sought between Iraq, al-Qaeda)
John Warner of Virginia, the ranking Republican on the committee also contradicts the Bush position. Senator Warner said Bush will "have to come to Congress" for authorization because "no existing resolutions of a general nature would suffice to meet that political - not legal - requirement." Warner is the Senate's leading expert on military matters. He authored the resolution empowering former President Bush to launch the Persian Gulf War in 1991, and his support is crucial to this Bush in 2002. His opposition should give Bush, Rove, Cheney and Rumsfeld pause. But apparently it hasn't and won't. (USA Today)
So why war? Why now? Because Bush sees himself as the divine sword of retribution. Because Karl Rove and other shortsighted partisan-minded White House insiders are trying to exploit war for political advantage. Against this, the voices of reason are resisting invasion. Who will prevail in this triangular test of wills?
Will we go to war for Republican partisan political advantage? Will Bush lead us on a crusade based on his misguided sense of divine missionary purpose? Will American forces kill and die for all the wrong reasons? It all depends on media responsibility reporting the facts, public awareness and opposition, and Congressional courage. In other words, prospects appear bleak.
Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas is about 25 miles away from the burned out site of the Koresh Branch Davidian compound outside Waco. Now people wonder: Is Bush's state of mind that far from Koresh's?
Who would have thought 1988 would prove so relevant to the Y2K presidential election? In recent weeks the media and candidate George W. Bush have cited a memo written that year by an aide to Al Gore, advising the senator and presidential hopeful to choose his words on the campaign trail with care. Today the memo is regarded as proof that even Gore's own staff believed he stretched and bent the truth.
Arlie Schardt, who was Gore's press secretary in 1988, penned the infamous memo. Though not involved in the current campaign, Schardt has condemned the media's misuse of his words. He told a reporter for TomPaine.com that his memo "is being blown astronomically out of proportion. I certainly didn't write it because I believed Al exaggerated or misrepresented things. That was the farthest thing from my mind."
Gore's credibility problem is based on much more than an old memo mangled by the media. But in an atmosphere where many talking heads are so stupid or partisan as to accuse him of "lying" when he joked to a labor group that the song "Look For the Union Label" served as his lullaby, it's only fair to parse each exaggeration allegation. Robert Parry (Washington Monthly), Sean Wilentz (American Prospect) and Mollie Dickenson (TomPaine.com) have shown in several cases that it is Gore's accusers -- including campaign reporters at the Washington Post and New York Times -- who can't separate fact from fiction.
Schardt's memo is not the only controversial 1988 communication that reflects on the values of a Y2K presidential contender. George W., at the time a key operative on his father's campaign staff, said a mouthful with a single word.
As reported by Jake Tapper in the April 9, 1999 edition of Salon.com, at the 1988 Republican Convention, Hartford Courant associate editor David Fink asked W. this question: "When you're not talking politics, what do you and [your father] talk about?" "Pussy," he replied.
Yes, George W., as late as 1988, enjoyed talking with his soon-to-be-president father about the same thing that Vernon Jordan and President Clinton talk about on the golf course. (On the Feb. 15, 1998 edition of 60 Minutes, Jordan revealed to Mike Wallace what he and the president chat about on the links.)
Twelve years is a long time to wait to ask follow-up questions, but here are several worth posing to the Republican candidate:
· That 1988 conversation with the Courant editor took place two years after Billy Graham helped you recommit your life to Christ. Would Jesus approve of two devout Christian married men -- a vice president and his son, no less -- talking about "pussy"?
· What exactly do you mean by "pussy"? Do you and your dad actually talk about female genitalia? Or do you talk about women, who by definition are equipped with female genitalia?
· If the latter is the case, does your definition of "pussy" incorporate all women?
· If it doesn't incorporate all women, what makes some of them "pussy" and others not? Appearance? Attitude? Marital status? Do soccer moms qualify? How about female members of your family?
· If appearance is a factor, do you have a special term for those females who lack the "pussy" look? One of your supporters, talk-radio superstar Rush Limbaugh, has described women and girls (including pubescent daughters of presidents) who don't measure up to his exacting standards of beauty as "dogs." Do you ever use that term?
· Define "dehumanization."
· When your wife and your mother are not talking politics, do they talk about "dick"? If Laura told a newspaper editor that she and Bar did indeed "talk dick," how would you feel?
· Define "objectification."
Dennis Hans is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Post (Canada) and online at TomPaine.com, MediaChannel.org and The Black World Today (tbwt.com), among other outlets. He can be reached at HANS_D@popmail.firn.edu
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________d/f // . Can an Entire Country Go Mad? by Ernest Partridge Dissident Voice, April 28, 2003
Can an entire country go mad?
Of course it can!
And history provides many examples:
the Salem Colony during the witch trials (and its 20th
century counterpart, the McCarthy mania), Nazi Germany,
Cambodia under Pol Pot, and arguably the United States
under George Bush.
Worse yet, most people living at a time of national derangement, perceive that condition as perfectly normal, and even "moral." And pity the poor soul who sees things differently: the "one-eyed person in the land of the blind."
If we are even to suggest
that the American public has, by and large, gone bonkers, we should
begin with a definition of "sanity" and, by implication,
Perhaps Sigmund Freud said it best: a sane person is someone with an operating "reality principle" someone who checks his beliefs against the readily-available promptings of "the real world."
Of course, each and every one of us falls short of complete congruence with "reality" it's the price we pay for our finitude, our mortality.
"Sanity" does not mean perfection; it merely means sufficient commerce with the real world to allow us to survive both day-by-day and in the long term thus "sane" individuals obey traffic laws, learn from their mistakes and practical experience and, in the case of moral sanity, they recognize in others their worth and their capacity for joy and suffering. Furthermore, sanity implies a capacity to critically evaluate one's experience, to distinguish fact from fiction, and to further adapt to the real world through that experience and knowledge.
Insanity, by implication, suggests a kind of "habitation" in an unreal, made-up world. The megalomaniac who believes he is Napoleon, to put it bluntly, is not Napoleon. The schizophrenic hears voices that nobody in fact utters. The paranoid is in constant fear of non-existent threats. The psychopath can not recognize the human worth and the capacity for pleasure and pain in others, and so on.
A deranged society is often, but surely not always, made so by a deranged leadership. This is especially likely when that leadership has effective control of the media. Then the leaders possess the means to convey their delusions to much of the public at large.
"We have a deranged president. We have despotism. We have no due process." - Gore Vidal
Now I don't wish to claim that one George Bush has lost all his marbles, though I suspect that he may be "a few bulbs short of a full marquee" (Garrison Keilor). George Bush's "world" may, to a disturbing degree, be out of sync with the real world.
That's a startling charge to level at "our leader" and, by extension, at our compatriots. So let's look at the evidence:
"Solipsism" is the philosopher's term for the assertion that "all that exists is my mind and its ideas." It is epitomized by the opening sentence in one of Arthur Schopenhauer's books: "the world is my idea." Of course, no sane person believes this (including Schopenhauer). However, the challenge of "escaping solipsism" leads to the core issues of epistemology: how do we demonstrate the existence of other minds and of an independent "outside" physical world. (My late friend, the novelist Edward Abbey, had an ingenious solution: "if someone tells you he is a solipsist, throw a rock at his head. If he ducks, he is a liar.")
Now, of course, Bush and his gang are not solipsists, and the term, "national solipsism" is meant figuratively. (Literally, the term is self-contradictory "national" entails a plurality of minds).
In this figurative (and I suspect original) sense, "national solipsism" is a belief, still better an "attitude," that the world beyond our borders is just what I want it to be and believe it to be, and nothing more. To Bush and his neo-con "handlers," ours is an uncomplicated world free of unintended consequences. This world need not be studied in order to be understood the opinions of "experts" are of no interest. Rather, the state of the world is best apprehended by "gut feeling." So we are free to violate a batch of treaties, to defy the United Nations, and to invade an unthreatening country. And what will the excluded "community of nations" think of this behavior? How will the Arabic and Islamic nations react? Can they retaliate in any troublesome way? We don't know and we don't care. Anyhow, we can always bribe or bully our way through, as we did when we collected the "coalition of the willing." In brief, in the world of the "national solipsists," our nation is the sole actor; all other nations are completely passive.
"PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts." - Kurt Vonnegut
Case in point: Syria. When asked "what is the message of the Iraqi attack" to other countries in the region, Richard Perle casually said: "you're next!" To Perle and others of like mind, the governments of Syria, Iran, North Korea, or wherever, upon hearing this and contemplating the fate of Iraq and its leader Saddam, will simply passively await their fate in fear and dread, making no alliances or other preparations that might surprise us. Instead, they will wait helplessly, like condemned prisoners in their cells, awaiting the sentence of the court.
And that kind of an assumption is just plain crazy.
In point of rational fact, the remark "You're next!" must surely provoke strategic planning in Syria, etc., and for that matter in numerous nations throughout the world. Similarly, reactive strategic planning is the certain response abroad to the Bush regime's flagrant violation of treaties, and its disregard of international law and institutions. We are not the only nation on earth with "national interests" to attend to, although the neo-cons behave as if this were so.
Suppose one were to directly confront Perle, or Wolfowitz or Rumsfeld with the question, "Do you really believe that other countries will stand idly and passively by as they contemplate the fate of Iraq, as they read the text of 'Project for a New American Century,' and as they hear that taunting remark, 'you're next'?" Surely they would reply, quite truthfully, that they don't really believe in the complete passivity of nations abroad. But the essential point is that they act as if they believed this! Provocative remarks ('you're next!"), violations of treaties, habitual lying, unprovoked attacks upon harmless and disarmed countries all this is done by the Bush team as if they firmly believed that the U.S. government and its military can do whatever it damned pleases, without fear of "surprises" and retaliation from other regimes and non-governmental organizations such as al Qaeda.
In short, their beliefs in rational reflective moments are fundamentally disconnected from their actions and their policies. And that is clinically insane behavior. Moreover, to the degree that this disconnection between certifiable knowledge ("justified-true-belief") and operative foreign policy doctrine infects the general public, via the "vector" of a compliant media, that public "catches" a bad case of the crazies from its government.
Sooner or later, the Bushistas and the American public will find out, to their astonishment and chagrin, that "the world" beyond will not tolerate this behavior much longer, and moreover, that the community of nations, comprising the "other" 95% of the world's population, is quite capable of devastating, albeit non-military, retaliation.
"... We are going to be destroyed by the hatred of the rest of the world." - Gore Vidal
Science be damned -- "the world is my idea"
Solipsism, or "subjectivism gone mad," is reflected in Bush's attitude toward science, and in the consequent policies of his administration. According to the Bushevik subjective metaphysic, the physical world is also just what we want it to be, scientific expertise and proof be damned. And so, when the threat of global warming is affirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, consisting of 2000 of the leading atmospheric scientists of the world, and when the IPCC findings are confirmed by the National Academy of Sciences, the Bush regime responds by "shooting the messenger" by arranging the firing of the IPCC Chairman, Thomas Watson. Furthermore, the Bush EPA then removes a section on climate change from its annual report. Similarly, Bush energy policy is apparently based on the belief that petroleum reserves are infinite contrary to scientific information and economic statistics. . "We don't want to believe what the scientists tell us, so it ain't so."
Economics is not a "hard science" to say the least of it. Nonetheless, there are a few compelling economic principles that are ignored at the peril of society. One is that huge deficits far into the future, with no indication of reversal, leads inexorably to fiscal collapse. Another principle is that the way to "stimulate" an economy is to direct funds to those who will spend and/or invest in the near future (that's most of us), and not to those who will send these funds to offshore banks or to set up low-wage industries abroad (i.e., to the fortunate top 2%). But never mind all that. George Bush has "a promise to keep" to his political contributors. And, at least in this case, he keeps his promises.
Another bit of economic lunacy: "Compulsive behavior" persisting in an activity that has clearly been shown to be useless or even counter-productive is a compelling indicator of some loose screws in the cognitive clockwork. In extreme cases, it calls for strait-jackets and padded cells. Now consider "supply-side," "trickle-down" economic policies (i.e., "reverse Robin-Hoodism" throwing money at the rich), which proved to be a colossal failure during the Reagan and Bush-I administrations. When Bill Clinton dumped "supply side," two conservative Texas Professors of Economics, (and Senator and Congressman respectively) Dr. Phil Gramm and Dr. Richard Armey, predicted economic disaster. Instead, there followed eight years of unprecedented growth and prosperity. But never mind that, with Bush the Sequel we get supply side, the sequel. Experience refutes supply-side economics, and ten Nobel Laureate economists have denounced it. But so what? George Bush's "gut" says otherwise, therefore "supply side" theory is true.
Psychopathology: "Who cares what you think?"
Psychopathy the failure to recognize, much less to empathize with, the personal human dignity, rights, and feelings of others, is displayed in the Bush administration de-funding of Medicare, Social Security, veterans' benefits, and furthermore, in the callous disregard of the lives and safety of the unfortunate Iraqis beneath the U.S. military's cruise-missiles, shells, and bombs. Sure enough, the Bush word-smiths recognize compassion as a politically potent concept hence "Compassionate Conservatism." But the astute citizen will (untypically) follow Richard Nixon's advice: "don't pay attention to what [they] say, pay attention to what [they] do."
"By their works shall ye know them." - Matthew 7:16 / (M.O.W. editorial insert)
"The Truth is Out There"
The Bush administration has an uncanny ability to concoct lies and, when "found out," to "move on" unscathed. This accomplishment stands as a tribute to their mastery of the black arts of public relations and propaganda.
Consider the "justifications" for the attack on Iraq in particular, those presented by Colin Powell to the UN Security Council. (a) Saddam Hussein is producing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), and (b) Saddam Hussein is in close cahoots with al Qaeda terrorists. As it turns out, the case for WMDs was based on a collapsing structure of plagiarized term papers, forged documents, rumors and false reports, even as the UN inspectors were failing to find any independent evidence of WMDs. And even the CIA reported that there was no evidence linking Saddam with al Qaeda. Furthermore, it was a plain verifiable fact that none of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqi. And yet, so effective is the Bush propaganda machine, that a majority of the American public now believes that Saddam had WMDs "at the ready," and that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks. Significantly, the corporate media has taken no great pains to disabuse the public of these flat-out misconceptions.
In other words, the American public's "reality principle" was, in these cases, deliberately and effectively sabotaged, resulting in a case of mass-derangement.
"The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.... The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact." - "The Danger of American Fascism by Henry A Wallace, The New York Times, 1944
And yet, "the truth is
out there." The facts about Saddam, WMDs, al Qaeda, 9/11 are
not secret, nor are the opinions of atmospheric scientists, petroleum
geologists. The opinions of world-renowned economists are on the
record, and if that doesn't suffice, the economic statistics
unemployment, consumer confidence, inventories, stock prices,
etc. are published for all to see.
Yet, to the neo-conservative and fundamentalist dogmatists in the Bush administration, none of this matters. "Screw reality, we have our doctrine and we have the interests of our 'sponsors' to tend to."
Likewise, although the facts are out there in front of the eyes of the public, yet they refuse to see. Meanwhile, the subservient corporate media have instituted a successful campaign of "mass distraction," while the Congress and the Courts are no help, since they no longer work for "We the People."
and despotism, like cockroaches, scurry for cover when the light
is cast upon them. Thus
the most dependable route out of this pit that we the people find
ourselves in, is the route prescribed by Thomas Jefferson and
fellow founders of our republic: a free and diverse media,
a vigorous and well-funded system of education, and the resulting
open discussion of competing ideas. Unfortunately, now that
the corporate media at home have abandoned us, we must now look to the
foreign press and the internet for our news and information.
And reality won't budge an inch to accommodate our fantasies.
Dr. Ernest Partridge is a philosopher with a specialty in moral philosophy (ethics) and environmental ethics, who resides in the San Bernardino mountains, east of Los Angeles, CA. He has taught at several campuses of the University of California and at the University of Colorado. He is the editor and sole writer of the website, The Online Gadfly. He is also co-editor of The Crisis Papers with Bernard Weiner, where this essay first appeared (http://www.crisispapers.org).
- Thomas Jefferson
/ dabab . dabab
"...And then this man stepped forward. A man that has acknowledged that he prays in the Oval Office." / / "A man that's in the White House today because of a miracle." "You think about how he got in the White House. You think about why he's there today." "And this man has been put in the White house to lead our nation in such a time as this." /
NBC NEWS - Oct. 15, 2003
NBC News has learned this highly decorated general has a history of outspoken and divisive views on religion - Islam in particular. These are quotes from recent speeches by Lt. Gen. William Boykin to evangelical church groups.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, BROKEN ARROW, OKLA., JUNE 30, 2002 (SLIDE SHOW)
/ "We will export death and violence to the four corners of the Earth in defense of our great nation."
[PICTURE OF OSAMA BIN LADEN] "And then we began to see this face--the face of Osama bin Laden. And finally we said, 'There's the enemy. That's our enemy. That's the man that hates us. And all of those that follow him."
[PICTURE OF PRESIDENT BUSH] "And then this man stepped forward.
A man that has acknowledged that he prays in the Oval Office. A man that's in the White House today because of a miracle. You think about how he got in the White House. You think about why he's there today."
"As Mordecai said to Esther, 'You have been put there for such a time and place.' And this man has been put in the White house to lead our nation in such a time as this."
"But who is that enemy? It's not Osama bin Laden. Our enemy is a spiritual enemy because we are a nation of believers. You go back and look at our history, and you will find that we were founded on faith. Look at what the writers of our Constitution said. We are a nation of believers. We were founded on faith."
[PICTURE OF SATAN] "And the enemy that has come against our nation is a spiritual enemy. His name is Satan. And if you do not believe that Satan is real, you are ignoring the same Bible that tells you about God. Now I'm a warrior. One day I'm going to take off this uniform and I'm still going to be a warrior. And what I'm here to do today is to recruit you to be warriors of God's kingdom."
CHURCH, SANDY, ORE., JUNE 21, 2003
'CELEBRATE AMERICA' EVENT
"And we ask ourselves this
question, 'Why do they hate us? Why do they hate us so much?'
Ladies and gentlemen, the answer to that is because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian. Did I say Judeo-Christian? Yes. Judeo-Christian.That means we've got a commitment to Israel. That mean's it's a commitment we're never going to abandon.
"Go back and read the history books. Go back and read what the early founders of this nation said about Israel, about the Jews. John Adams wrote extensively of, he called it the Hebrews, the contributions they had made to our concepts of liberty and the importance of their contributions to the founding of this great nation.
"Thomas Jefferson* and Benjamin Franklin each, independently, when asked to come up with a national symbol for this new nation, both came up with a national symbol that reflected on our Jewish heritage.
"One had Moses standing over the Red Sea with his staff and the water parting.
"The other had the Israelites coming out of bondage in the desert being led by a ball of fire. They recognized the importance of our relationship to the Jews and to Israel. Ladies and gentlemen, we will never abandon Israel, we will never walk away from our commitment to Israel because our roots are there.
Our religion came from Judaism, and therefore these radicals will hate us forever."
CHURCH, DAYTONA, FLA., JAN. 28, 2003
"There was a man in Mogadishu named Osman Atto. You see him in the movie ["Blackhawk Down"], smoking a big cigar and talking philosophically. How many of you have seen the movie? Acting like a big shot. Well let me tell you something. That's not what Osman Atto did. The reality was Osman Atto was Aideed's closest ally. He was Aideed's top lieutenant. He was a multimillionaire financier for Aideed's clan. And we knew if that if we could capture Osman Atto and take him away, that we could destroy Aideed's network. So we went after Osman Atto about two weeks before the battle.... We went after Osman Atto. We got into a terrible fight. And I'm sad to say a lot of Somalis were killed as we went after Osman Atto.
But we missed him by seconds. He walked out of the facility that we raided, he walked down the street and blended in with the crowd and we missed him.
"And then he went on CNN and he laughed at us, and he said, 'They'll never get me because Allah will protect me. Allah will protect me.'
"Well, you know what, I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol. But I prayed, Lord let us get that man.
"Three days later we went after him again, and this time we got him. Not a mark on him. We got him. We brought him back into our base there and we had a Sea Land container set up to hold prisoners in, and I said put him in there. They put him in there, there was one guard with him. I said search him, they searched him, and then I walked in with no one in there but the guard, and I looked at him and said, 'Are you Osman Atto?' And he said 'Yes.' And I said,
- Groucho Marx
NEWSWEEK - Oct. 27 issue
And He's Head of Intelligence?
This is surely the first time a conservative evangelical has argued that Bill Clinton's election was caused by divine intervention
President Bush's commission on public diplomacy recently noted that in nine Muslim and Arab nations only 12 percent of respondents surveyed believed that "Americans respect Arab/Islamic values." Such attitudes, the commission argued, create a toxic atmosphere of anti-Americanism that cripples U.S. foreign policy and helps terrorists. To address the problem the commission suggested a major reorganization of the American government, hundreds of millions of dollars of funding and the creation of a new cabinet position. I have a simpler, more urgent suggestion: fire William Boykin.
"According to The New York Times, President Bush was genuinely surprised to learn from moderate Islamic leaders that they had become deeply distrustful of American intentions. The report on the "perception gap" suggests that the leader of the war on terror has no idea how badly that war -- which must, ultimately, be a war for hearts and minds--is going.
Why won't the administration mollify Muslims by firing Lt. Gen. William Boykin, whose anti-Islamic remarks have created vast ill will, from his counterterrorism position?
The answer is that in these cases politics takes priority over the war on terror. Moderate Muslims would have more faith in America's good intentions if there were at least the appearance of a distinction between the U.S. and the Sharon government , but the administration seeks votes from those who think that supporting Israel means supporting whatever Mr. Sharon does. It's sheer folly to keep General Boykin in his present position, but as Howard Fineman writes in a Newsweek Web-exclusive column, the administration doesn't want "to make a martyr of a man who depicts himself as a Christian Soldier, marching off to war.
Muslims are completely wrong to think that the U.S. is engaged in a war against Islam. But that misperception flourishes in part because the domestic political strategy of the Bush administration, no longer able to claim the Iraq war was a triumph, and with little but red ink to show for its economic plans, looks more and more like a crusade."
--Paul Krugman, A Willful Ignorance, The New York Times 10.28.03
Howard Fineman, NEWSWEEK http://www.msnbc.com/news/983600.asp#BODY
"...Fear of the latent
power of that same coalition (conservative Catholics , evangelical
Christians and Orthodox Jews) is the logical explanation for why
the Pentagon - and the president - have not penalized Lt. Gen.
William G. "Jerry" Boykin for his incendiary remarks.
In a series of recent speeches at evangelical Christian churches,
the general, recently appointed undersecretary of Defense for
intelligence, depicted the war on terrorism as a fight against
a "spiritual enemy," and branded as idolatrous the Muslim
faith of a militia leader he fought against as a field commander
in Somalia in 1993.
The remarks have caused a predictable firestorm in the Arab and Muslim press - and generated a cascade of negative editorials in American newspapers, too. But even though Bush distanced himself from Boykin's remarks on Wednesday, a top aide to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the general would not be fired.
Why? Well, Boykin was literally preaching to the choir. Many evangelical Christians believe that the war on terrorism is a battle between good and evil - a battle predicted in the Bible as a precursor to the End of Days and the Second Coming. Even if they don't believe it in a strict scriptural sense, many Christians - led by preachers such as Franklin Graham - see Islam as a problematic faith, at best. Firing Boykin would, in these eyes, be seen as a capitulation.
The last thing Bush wants is to make a martyr of a man who depicts himself as a Christian Soldier, marching off to war. If Boykin has to go, Bush's handlers will arrange it to look like a mass execution by the Washington mob - a mob the president had no choice but to mollify. In other words, they'll pin it on the Democrats.
By the way: I take the White House's handling of Boykin to mean that Karl Rove's game plan for 2004 doesn't include Michigan, which has the nation's largest, most vibrant and political Arab-Muslim community."
Conservative columnist THOMAS FRIEDMAN (writing as 'SADDAM HUSSEIN'):
"So far, I feel pretty good. As isolated as I am in my bunker, I know that my view of this war - which is that you Americans have come here to put the Arabs down and steal our oil - still dominates Arab public opinion. I am bolstered by the fact that ill-qualified, intolerant Arab religious educators, spiritual leaders and "intellectuals" - who have long dominated our schools and mosques because tyrants like me found them useful - still feed this view to our youth. They think the only reason we are backward is because you put us down.
As long as the Arab street is locked in this view, I win. Because it means the people would rather have a cruel Arab leader like me or bin Laden - who momentarily lifts their pride by sticking a finger in your eye - than looking in the mirror and admitting that our society, religious leaders and culture have failed to prepare our people to succeed at modernity.
Changing all this is what this war of ideas is all about, and I am so pleased you are so bad at it. As long as you let one of your top generals and your pals on the Christian right spew hate against the Prophet Muhammad, you only strengthen the will of my young people against you."
- Thomas L. Friedman, Letter From Tikrit, The New York Times, ,November 27, 2003
"....Thanks to its war in Iraq and its unconditional support for Ariel Sharon, Washington has squandered post-9/11 sympathy and brought relations with the Muslim world to a new low.
And bear in mind that Mr. Mahathir's remarks were written before the world learned about the views of Lt. Gen. William "My God Is Bigger Than Yours" Boykin. By making it clear that he sees nothing wrong with giving an important post in the war on terror to someone who believes, and says openly, that Allah is a false idol , General Boykin denies that's what he meant, but his denial was implausible even by current standards, Donald Rumsfeld has gone a long way toward confirming the Muslim world's worst fears.
Somewhere in Pakistan Osama bin Laden must be enjoying this. The war on terror didn't have to be perceived as a war on Islam, but we seem to be doing our best to make it look that way."
- Paul Krugman, Listening to Mahathir, The New York Times
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army general under investigation for anti-Islamic remarks has been linked by U.S. officials to the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, which experts warned could touch off new outrage overseas.
A Senate hearing into the abuse of Iraqi prisoners was told on Tuesday that Lt. Gen. William Boykin, an evangelical Christian under review for saying his God was superior to that of the Muslims, briefed a top Pentagon civilian official last summer on recommendations on ways military interrogators could gain more intelligence from Iraqi prisoners.
Critics have suggested those recommendations amounted to a senior-level go-ahead for the sexual and physical abuse of prisoners, possibly to "soften up" detainees before interrogation -- a charge the Pentagon denies.
Congressional aides and Arab-American and Muslim groups said any involvement by Boykin could spark new concern among Arabs and Muslims overseas the U.S. war on terrorism is in fact a war on Islam.
"This will be taken as proof that what happened at Abu Ghraib (prison) is evidence of a broader culture of dehumanizing Arabs and Muslims, based on the American understanding of the innate superiority of Christendom," said Chris Toensing, editor of Middle East Report, a U.S.-based quarterly magazine.
One Senate aide, who asked not to be identified, said any involvement by Boykin could be explosive. "Even if he knew about the abuse, that would be a big deal," he said.
Boykin has declined comment, and defense officials could not say what the extent of his involvement or knowledge about the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners might have been.
Boykin touched off a firestorm last October after giving speeches while in uniform in which he referred to the war on terrorism as a battle with "Satan" and said America had been targeted "because we're a Christian nation." He said later he was not anti-Islam or any other religion.
President Bush distanced himself from Boykin's remarks, but the Pentagon said it would not fire the general, who played a role in the 1993 clash with Somali warlords and the ill-fated hostage rescue attempt in Iran in 1980.
CALLS FOR REASSIGNMENT
Hussein Ibish, communications director for the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, said his group and others had repeatedly called for Boykin to be reassigned to a less sensitive job until the Pentagon inspector general completes his investigation of Boykin's remarks.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner and congressional Democrats have also urged Boykin to step aside, but the Pentagon has defended his right to free speech.
Defense officials said the IG investigation, begun last fall, was nearly done and a report could be issued next month.
"I'm not saying Boykin is directly responsible. ... But there is a collective failure here," Ibish said. "There is a tolerance in our society, in our government, in our media for hateful rhetoric when directed against Arabs and Muslims.
"It definitely contributes to a climate in which these young MPs apparently felt it was ... OK to abuse Muslim and Arab men like this."
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations, chided the Pentagon for not acting promptly to discipline Boykin and the delayed engagement of top military leaders on the prisoner abuse scandal.
"It creates a climate in which ... the perpetrators believe they're carrying out the policies of those above them, whether those policies are explicit or not," Hooper said.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________d/f // "As the contempt of the religion of a country by ridiculing any of its ceremonies, or affronting its ministers or votaries, has ever been deeply resented, you are to be particularly careful to restrain every officer from such imprudence and folly, and to punish every instance of it. On the other hand, as far as lies in your power, you are to protect and support the free exercise of religion of the country, and the undisturbed enjoyment of the rights of conscience in religious matters, with your utmost influence and authority." / - George Washington to Benedict Arnold, September 14, 1775 from The Washington papers edited by Saul Padover ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________d/f '//
- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, testifying before Congress on the Abu Ghraib scandal, May 7, 2004 tergtwq \ \ ______________________________________________________ dcdcd U.S. "S.S." CREATED BY RUMSFELD the "Strategic Support Branch" APPOINTS BOYKIN HEAD (NOT a joke) ______________________________________________________ vas
"...the Pentagon's new special-ops units are headed up by notorious religious fanatic, Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who calls the U.S. Army "the house of God" and Islamic insurgents "agents of Satan." He warned Muslims, "my God is bigger than your god, which is an idol."
Boykin's command will now dispatch post-modern Christian crusaders to cleanse the world of Satanic Muslims and other miscreants. The Pentagon's new special forces will be able to run operations of which the CIA knows nothing."
"... In other words, using U.S. soldiers to kill or arrest Americans, acts that have been illegal since the U.S. Civil War." '/ "They're now going to lock up anybody they want to, silence anybody they want to. Those powers are now theirs, the dreamed-of powers for the state. The state will come out of this very, very powerful, and We the People, in or out of Congress assembled, will come out much weaker. That said, we glory in the fact that we are the United States of Amnesia. We won't remember a thing the next day. What has emerged is nothing less than a police state. There's no euphemism for it." - Gore Vidal
The film Seven Days In May is one of my all-time favourites. The gripping 1964 drama, starring Burt Lancaster, depicts an attempted coup by far rightists in Washington using a top-secret Pentagon anti-terrorist unit called something like "Contelinpro."
Life imitates art. This week, former military intelligence analyst William Arkin revealed a hitherto unknown directive, with the Orwellian name "JCS Conplan 0300-97," authorizing the Pentagon to employ special, ultra-secret "anti-terrorist" military units on American soil for what the author claims are "extra-legal missions."
In other words, using U.S. soldiers to kill or arrest Americans, acts that have been illegal since the U.S. Civil War.
This frightening news comes as Washington is gripped by reborn, Cold-War-style paranoia, ominous threats of war against Iran from the real president, Dick Cheney, and a titanic bureaucratic battle just won by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Instead of being fired for the grotesque military-political fiasco in Iraq and the shameful torture scandals, Rumsfeld has just managed to create a new, Pentagon spy/special ops organization, blandly named "Strategic Support Branch," that will replace or duplicate many of the CIA's tasks.
The CIA has been sent to the doghouse. Too many CIA veterans criticized or contradicted Bush's and Cheney's phony claims over Iraq and terrorism. So Bush has imposed a new, yes-man director on the agency, slashed its budgets, purged its senior officers, and downgraded CIA to third-class status.
Rumsfeld's new, massively funded SSB will become the Pentagon's CIA, complete with commando units, spies, mercenary forces, intelligence gathering and analysis, and a direct line to the White House. The Pentagon has just effectively taken over the spy business.
Used Terrorism Hysteria
Mind you, the Pentagon and its Defence Intelligence Agency have been deeply involved in intelligence around the globe for 50 years. U.S. Army intelligence and its covert sub-branches have long conducted "black ops," including missions in the U.S. as well as assassinations and sabotage abroad. The Pentagon consumes three-quarters of the total U.S. intelligence budget.
Rumsfeld has skillfully used terrorism hysteria to wrest control of intelligence and make the Pentagon supreme in Washington's bureaucratic power struggles.
The Pentagon's new spy arm will be largely excluded from Congressional oversight or media examination. Its special operations teams will roam the globe, all under cover of "deep black" missions of which no records will be kept, and no questions asked.
Equally worrying, the Pentagon's new special-ops units are headed up by notorious religious fanatic, Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who calls the U.S. Army "the house of God" and Islamic insurgents "agents of Satan." He warned Muslims, "my God is bigger than your god, which is an idol."
Boykin's command will now dispatch post-modern Christian crusaders to cleanse the world of Satanic Muslims and other miscreants. The Pentagon's new special forces will be able to run operations of which the CIA knows nothing.
The 9/11 Commission called for improved intra-agency co-operation and data sharing -- instead, the U.S. will get far less co-operation, as the Pentagon goes its own, secret way.
Now, George W. Bush, who clearly believes he holds the mandate of heaven after being re-elected by the less mentally active half of American voters, has decided to "unleash" special forces and all sorts of irregular units, including mercenaries, uniformed bounty hunters, and mutants sporting t-shirts proclaiming "kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out." These militarized thugs and video arcade Rambos are sure to run amok, dragging America's once good name ever deeper into the mud.
(MOW editorial insert)
We have evidently learned nothing from the wars in Indochina and Central America.
Have we reached Seven Days in May?
Not yet, but the second Bush administration has been taking dangerous steps that continue to curtail personal rights, further emasculate the supine, cowardly U.S. Congress, and empower ideological or religious extremists and shadowy agencies with unrestrained powers that endanger Americans at home, and all abroad suspected of troubling the Pax Americana.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________d/f / LT. GENERAL WILLIAM BOYKIN'S FORMAL PRESS Q&A TO QUELL FEARS OF MILITARY INSENSITIVITY TO THE SATANIC NON-FAITH OF THE GLOBAL TURBANISTA MENACE (click here) mnjneth
MS. THOMAS: Thank you, Mister Lt. General. You have repeatedly been quoted telling church audiences that your mission is "a battle with Satan," and that "we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian ... and the enemy is a guy named Satan." How do you respond to charges that these remarks are not only divisive, but also serve to inflame and propagate religious hatred?
LT. GENERAL BOYKIN: How do I respond? War is hatred, cup of
pudding. I mean no ill will to these Islamian cockroaches. I say,
they have the freedom to worship whatever idols they wish to worship.
No matter how false or ridiculous. They also have a right to instantaneously
disintegrate before my archangel's blade. I do not spread religious
hatred. I spread religious purity. Like boiling water. Kills the
impurities. Clean water. Water to wash your hands in. Sanctify
your hands, your holy hands. Yes. Clean. Jesus washed the feet
of whores. My feet are clean. Where I walk, my footprints pool
with the blood of the enemy. Muslims are Christians who don't
know that until I send them to hell.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________d/f // / "I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's." / - Mark Twain, "Mark Twain in Eruption" / ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________d/f
? The Religious Warrior of Abu Ghraib By Sidney Blumenthal The Guardian U.K.
Saving General Boykin seemed like a strange sideshow last October. After it was revealed that the deputy undersecretary of defence for intelligence had been regularly appearing at evangelical revivals preaching that the US was in a holy war as a "Christian nation" battling "Satan", the furore was quickly calmed.
Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, explained that Boykin was exercising his rights as a citizen: "We're a free people." President Bush declared that Boykin "doesn't reflect my point of view or the point of view of this administration". Bush's commission on public diplomacy had reported that in nine Muslim countries, just 12% believed that "Americans respect Arab/Islamic values". The Pentagon announced that its inspector general would investigate Boykin, though he has yet to report.
Boykin was not removed or transferred. At that moment, he was at the heart of a secret operation to "Gitmoize" (Guantanomo is known in the US as Gitmo) the Abu Ghraib prison. He had flown to Guantanomo, where he met Major General Geoffrey Miller, in charge of Camp X-Ray. Boykin ordered Miller to fly to Iraq and extend X-Ray methods to the prison system there, on Rumsfeld's orders.
Boykin was recommended to his position by his record in the elite Delta forces: he was a commander in the failed effort to rescue US hostages in Iran, had tracked drug lord Pablo Escobar in Colombia, had advised the gas attack on barricaded cultists at Waco, Texas, and had lost 18 men in Somalia trying to capture a warlord in the notorious Black Hawk Down fiasco of 1993.
Boykin told an evangelical gathering last year how this fostered his spiritual crisis. "There is no God," he said. "If there was a God, he would have been here to protect my soldiers." But he was thunderstruck by the insight that his battle with the warlord was between good and evil, between the true God and the false one. "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."
Boykin was the action hero side of his boss, Stephen Cambone, a conservative defence intellectual appointed to the new post of undersecretary of intelligence. Cambone is universally despised by the officer corps for his arrogant, abrasive and dictatorial style and regarded as the personal symbol of Rumsfeldism. A former senior Pentagon official told me of a conversation with a three-star general, who remarked: "If we were being overrun by the enemy and I had only one bullet left, I'd use it on Cambone."
Cambone set about cutting the CIA and the state department out of the war on terror, but he had no knowledge of special ops. For this the rarefied civilian relied on the gruff soldier - a melding of "ignorance and recklessness", as a military intelligence source told me.
Just before Boykin was put in charge of the hunt for Osama bin Laden and then inserted into Iraqi prison reform, he was a circuit rider for the religious right. He allied himself with a small group called the Faith Force Multiplier that advocates applying military principles to evangelism. Its manifesto - Warrior Message - summons "warriors in this spiritual war for souls of this nation and the world ... "
Boykin staged a travelling slide show around the country where he displayed pictures of Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. "Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army," he preached. They "will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus". It was the reporting of his remarks at a revival meeting in Oregon that made them a subject of brief controversy.
There can be little doubt that he envisages the global war on terror as a crusade. With the Geneva conventions apparently suspended, international law is supplanted by biblical law. Boykin is in God's chain of command. President Bush, he told an Oregon congregation last June, is "a man who prays in the Oval Office". And the president, too, is on a divine mission. "George Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters in the US. He was appointed by God."
"Go forth and smite, my Chosen One. Forget all that other peace stuff I said before."
Boykin is not unique in his belief that Bush is God's anointed against evildoers. Before his 2000 campaign, Bush confided to a leader of the religious right: "I feel like God wants me to run for president ... I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen."
/ (M.O.W. editorial insert)
Michael Gerson, Bush's chief speechwriter, tells colleagues that on September 20 2001, after Bush delivered his speech to the Congress declaring a war on terror, he called Gerson to thank him for writing it. "God wants you here," Gerson says he told the president. And he says that Bush replied: "God wants us here."
But it's Bush who wants Rumsfeld, Cambone and Boykin here.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. t r u t h o u t has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is t r u t h o u t endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)
/ "Sometimes when I sleep at night I think of 'Hop on Pop." / - George W. Bush, in a speech about childhood education, Washington, D.C., April 2, 2002
/ The Incredibly, Unbelievably, Stupendously, Incurious George Bush / by Cenk Uygur Huffington Post December 8, 2006
Cenk Uygur is co-host of The Young Turks, the new morning show for Air America Radio, 6-9AM ET. GO TO ORIGINAL
Never has there been a public official more unequipped to be President of the United States of America than George W. Bush. The man is simply not up to the job. Even if he really wanted to be or cared to be an effective president, he ... could ... not ... do ... it.
He can't do it on a boat, he can't do it with a (pet) goat. He can't do it in the Green Zone, he can't do it back at home. This man cannot be a good president, Sam-I-Am.
He flat out does not have the intellectual capacity to carry out the requirements of the job. This is not some mean-spirited speculation as to the level of his intelligence. The facts are in. There is nothing left to speculate on. And today we have yet another example of his sheer inability to form a cognitive thought.
is a Republican. He
was the Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush and was
a prominent figure in the Reagan administration. He is
a party stalwart and one of the bastions of the Republican establishment.
This man obviously wants George W. Bush to succeed. When he met
with President Bush, along with all of the members of the Iraq
Study Group, he said that after they presented their findings
asked no questions.
Eagleburger remarked, "I don't recall, seriously, that he asked any questions."
Stop. Think about that for a second. There are 79 recommendations made by the group. They took nine months and talked to everyone involved about the situation in Iraq. They have interesting, sometimes controversial positions, some of which Bush theoretically agrees and disagrees with - and he asked absolutely no questions. Not one.
That is beyond unbelievable. You would have to be stupendously stupid, mentally stultified and intellectually inoperative not to be able to come up with one question to this group who has presented the most important report of your presidency to you.
No one can be that callous. Forget his legacy, there are people dying on the ground every day. Even if you don't care at all about your own presidency and don't care about the thousands of Iraqis dying every month, you have to care about the American servicemen and women you sent in to die in Iraq. You'd have to be inhuman not to care about that. No one could be callous enough to receive incredibly important recommendations on how to rescue this mission and not ask a single question.
You know why he didn't ask anything? Because he's stupid. He is afraid that he is going to ask a dumb question, or it's possible that he doesn't even have the capacity to formulate one in his tiny, little mind. So, instead he sits there like a bump on a log. The ISG members must have been at a loss for what to do. I can't imagine any of them anticipated that there would be no interaction with the president. That he would just sit there with a dumb look on his face and not make one comment or have one question.
That might explain some of their harsh comments about the president afterward. Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson intimidated that Bush is so stubborn that he stinks of it. The dude is clearly aggravated.
Later Bush actually bragged about reading the report. He said that most reports don't get read by anyone in Washington, but that he went through the trouble of reading this one. Would you like cracker, Mr. President?
( M.O.W. editorial insert)
Bush often brags about doing the simplest things related to his job, like meeting with the commanders. He is often fond of saying that he has met with his commanders and his advisers. Of course!!! That's what you're supposed to do. Everyone, except you apparently, already knew that. That is the beginning of the job, not the end.
If this was just one incident, you could rightfully say I might be blowing it out of proportion, but this is part of a very clear pattern in most of the important moments in George Bush's presidency.
Remember the famous meeting before Hurricane Katrina where federal officials warned that the levees might not hold. His response? Not one question.
Remember what Paul O'Neill, the former Treasury Secretary, said about him during their first one-on-one meeting. After O'Neill spoke for an hour about all of the important budgetary and domestic issues in the country, he turned to the president. His response? Not one question.
Remember when he received the Presidential Daily Briefing warning "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." His response? Not one question. But in this case, to rub salt into the wounds, he added to the CIA official giving the dire warnings, "All right. You've covered your ass, now."
His contempt for and ignorance of the necessities of the job are stunning. At first when Michael Moore made a big deal about how President Bush read "My Pet Goat" for seven minutes after he was told the nation was under attack, I thought he was being a bit unfair.
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
I thought at the time that Bush was thinking about what to do and didn't want to freak out the kids by rushing out of the room. But now the weight of experience leads me to realize that it was no such thing. The tiny wheels inside that vacuous mind were turning and churning, and in the end he had nothing to show for it. Zip. He had no idea what to do.
He didn't ask Andy Card who attacked us? What hit the buildings? What precautions we should take? What actions and reactions we should engage in immediately? How do we go about defending ourselves? What's happening on the ground in New York?
When he was told we were under attack on 9/11, what was his response?
Not one question.
Cenk Uygur is co-host of The Young Turks, the new morning show for Air America Radio, 6-9AM ET.
- George W. Bush, from an interview conducted by Bob Woodward in Crawford, Texas, for 'The Washington Post, 20 November 2002 / ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________d/f
By MAUREEN DOWD New York Times April 25, 2004
It's their reality. We just live and die in it.
In Bushworld, our troops go to war and get killed, but you never see the bodies coming home.
In Bushworld, flag-draped remains of the fallen are important to revere and show the nation, but only in political ads hawking the president's leadership against terror.
In Bushworld, we can create an exciting Iraqi democracy as long as it doesn't control its own military, pass any laws or have any power.
In Bushworld, we can win over Falluja by bulldozing it.
In Bushworld, it was worth going to war so Iraqis can express their feelings ("Down With America!") without having their tongues cut out, although we cannot yet allow them to express intemperate feelings in newspapers ("Down With America!") without shutting them down.
In Bushworld, it's fine to take $700 million that Congress provided for the war in Afghanistan and 9/11 recovery and divert it to the war in Iraq that you're insisting you're not planning.
In Bushworld, you don't consult your father, the expert in being president during a war with Iraq, but you do talk to your Higher Father, who can't talk back to warn you to get an exit strategy or chide you for using Him for political purposes.
In Bushworld, it's O.K. to run for re-election as the avenger of 9/11, even as you make secret deals with the Arab kingdom where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from.
In Bushworld, you get to strut around like a tough military guy and paint your rival as a chicken hawk, even though he's the one who won medals in combat and was praised by his superior officers for fulfilling all his obligations.
In Bushworld, it makes sense to press for transparency in Mr. and Mrs. Rival while cultivating your own opacity.
In Bushworld, you can reign as the antiterror president even after hearing an intelligence report about Al Qaeda's plans to attack America and then stepping outside to clear brush.
In Bushworld, those who dissemble about the troops and money it will take to get Iraq on its feet are patriots, while those who are honest are patronizingly marginalized.
In Bushworld, they struggle to keep church and state separate in Iraq, even as they increasingly merge the two in America.
In Bushworld, you can claim to be the environmental president on Earth Day while being the industry president every other day.
In Bushworld, you brag about how well Afghanistan is going, even though soldiers like Pat Tillman are still dying and the Taliban are running freely around the border areas, hiding Osama and delaying elections.
In Bushworld, imperfect intelligence is good enough to knock over Iraq. But even better evidence that North Korea is building the weapons that Saddam could only dream about is hidden away.
In Bushworld, the C.I.A. says it can't find out whether there are W.M.D. in Iraq unless we invade on the grounds that there are W.M.D.
In Bushworld, there's no irony that so many who did so much to avoid the Vietnam draft have now strained the military so much that lawmakers are talking about bringing back the draft.
In Bushworld, we're making progress in the war on terror by fighting a war that creates terrorists.
In Bushworld, you don't need to bother asking your vice president and top Defense Department officials whether you should go to war in Iraq, because they've already maneuvered you into going to war.
In Bushworld, it's perfectly natural for the president and vice president to appear before the 9/11 commission like the Olsen twins.
In Bushworld, you expound on remaking the Middle East and spreading pro-American sentiments even as you expand anti-American sentiments by ineptly occupying Iraq and unstintingly backing Ariel Sharon on West Bank settlements.
In Bushworld, we went to war to give Iraq a democratic process, yet we disdain the democratic process that causes allies to pull out troops.
In Bushworld, you pride yourself on the fact that your administration does not leak to the press, while you flood the best-known journalist in Washington with inside information.
In Bushworld, you list Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack" as recommended reading on your campaign Web site, even though it makes you seem divorced from reality. That is, unless you live in Bushworld.
© 2004 The New York Times Company
Octavia Estelle Butler (June 22, 1947 February 24, 2006) was an American science fiction writer, one of very few African-American women in the field. She won both Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.
///O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation's ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder.
We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced
What, to the American slave,
is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more
than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty
to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is
license; your national greatness,
swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless;
of tyrants, brass fronted impudence;
of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns,
and thanksgivings, with
all your religious
parade and solemnity, are,
to Him, mere
deception, impiety, and hypocrisy --
veil to cover up crimes
which would disgrace a nation of savages.
There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.
Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival....
- Frederick Douglas, On July 5, 1852, in a speech at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence
"Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- the guy lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. I look forward to sitting on the porch." / - George W. Bush, Sept 2nd, 2005 /
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________d/f ;/\ United States of Shame / By MAUREEN DOWD New York Times Published: September 3, 2005
And when you combine limited government with incompetent government, lethal stuff happens.
America is once more plunged into a snake pit of anarchy, death, looting, raping, marauding thugs, suffering innocents, a shattered infrastructure, a gutted police force, insufficient troop levels and criminally negligent government planning. But this time it's happening in America.
W. drove his budget-cutting Chevy
to the levee, and it wasn't dry. Bye, bye, American lives. "I
don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees,"
he told Diane Sawyer.
Shirt-sleeves rolled up, W. finally landed in Hell yesterday and chuckled about his wild boozing days in "the great city" of N'Awlins. He was clearly moved. "You know, I'm going to fly out of here in a minute," he said on the runway at the New Orleans International Airport, "but I want you to know that I'm not going to forget what I've seen." Out of the cameras' range, and avoided by W., was a convoy of thousands of sick and dying people, some sprawled on the floor or dumped on baggage carousels at a makeshift M*A*S*H unit inside the terminal.
Why does this self-styled "can do" president always lapse into such lame "who could have known?" excuses.
Who on earth
could have known that Osama
bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings?
Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence
Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports.
Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl.
In June 2004,
Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish,
fretted to The Times-Picayune in New Orleans: "It appears
that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle
homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the
price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be
finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case
that this is a security issue for us."
Not only was the money depleted by the Bush folly in Iraq; 30 percent of the National Guard and about half its equipment are in Iraq.
Ron Fournier of The Associated Press reported that the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans last year. The White House carved it to about $40 million. But President Bush and Congress agreed to a $286.4 billion pork-filled highway bill with 6,000 pet projects, including a $231 million bridge for a small, uninhabited Alaskan island.
Just last year, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials practiced how they would respond to a fake hurricane that caused floods and stranded New Orleans residents. Imagine the feeble FEMA's response to Katrina if they had not prepared.
Michael Brown, the blithering idiot in charge of FEMA - a job he trained for by running something called the International Arabian Horse Association - admitted he didn't know until Thursday that there were 15,000 desperate, dehydrated, hungry, angry, dying victims of Katrina in the New Orleans Convention Center.
Was he sacked instantly? No, our tone-deaf president hailed him in Mobile, Ala., yesterday: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
It would be one thing if President Bush and his inner circle - Dick Cheney was vacationing in Wyoming; Condi Rice was shoe shopping at Ferragamo's on Fifth Avenue and attended "Spamalot" before bloggers chased her back to Washington; and Andy Card was off in Maine - lacked empathy but could get the job done. But it is a chilling lack of empathy combined with a stunning lack of efficiency that could make this administration implode.
When the president and vice president rashly shook off our allies and our respect for international law to pursue a war built on lies, when they sanctioned torture, they shook the faith of the world in American ideals.
When they were deaf for so long to the horrific misery and cries for help of the victims in New Orleans - most of them poor and black, like those stuck at the back of the evacuation line yesterday while 700 guests and employees of the Hyatt Hotel were bused out first - they shook the faith of all Americans in American ideals. And made us ashamed.
Who are we if we can't take care of our own?
/ "...To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable medical diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete's foot. The classic medical text on PPs is "The Mask of Sanity " by Dr. Hervey Cleckley. Read it! PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!
And what syndrome better describes so many executives at Enron and WorldCom and on and on, who have enriched themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country, and who still feel as pure as the driven snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And so many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick.'
__________________________________ / "We're through the looking glass here, people. Where white is black and black white" - District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) in'JFK" / =
"In that direction," the [Cheshire] Cat said, waving its right paw round, "lives a Hatter: and in that direction," waving the other paw, "lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad." xcvxcvvsacavsaca "But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. xcvvsaca "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." xcvvsaca "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. xcvvsaca "You must be," said the Cat, twytyt "or you wouldn't have come here." sd sv ~
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