of Mass Confusion
August 6, 2002
back up a moment, to the couple of months preceding the 2000
election. Al Gore was being attacked for his choice of clothing
colors. George Bush was describing himself as a "moderate."
"Compassionate conservatism" was being touted, on the campaign
trail and in the press, as the answer to all of America's
domestic problems. Bush sought to convince the public that
he would defend the environment, Gore's strong suit, and would
defend the Kyoto treaty.
Now, on the eve of Bush's second month-long vacation, the
situation looks a bit different. "Compassionate conservatism"
has come to be seen as a means of wiggling the religious right
into position to receive lots of government dollars. Bush
has presented himself, once installed in office, as a bigger
right-wing threat than any thought Reagan to be. What remains
to be seen is if Bush is as somnolent and mentally disengaged
as Reagan was in office. The media hasn't helped at all in
this determination, just as its representatives were loathe
to describe Reagan, in office, as he actually was - hopelessly
out of touch with the country and the world, and barely in
touch with his own political philosophies.
Now, nineteen months into Bush's term in office, Bush, Cheney
and the Enron cronies they hired for White House positions
seem to be jokes, broad, big belly laughs on the theme of
"corporate responsibility." These people, by and large, wrought
disaster for their stockholders and now wish us all to kneel,
deferentially, at their feet. Gimme a break.
George Bush, the self-avowed Christian, is actively, foaming-at-the-mouth
frantic for a war with Iraq. No matter that internal strife
in Saudi Arabia is about to cause revolution there, and that
the Israel-Palestine intifada has not been diminished, in
neither degree nor kind, our faux Christian president is determined
to start a major war in the middle of that.
What have we gotten under the younger Mr. Bush? More war.
New threat of war. An economy which is unable to recover jobs
lost, and now threatens a so-called "double-dip" recession.
Substantial evidence that Bush's administration is obsessed
with secrecy. Substantial evidence that the FBI and CIA and
other services dropped the ball on 9/11 and even more substantial
evidence that this administration wants to hide and obfuscate
the evidence of those failures. Bush's desires to sweep away
any possibility of a truly independent commission to investigate
the 9/11 attacks have been consistent and insistent. That
Congress is complicit in that wish of Bush's is even more
New law which has diminished the rights of all Americans,
the text of which was simply laying in wait for 9/11, or any
other suitable pretext for its introduction, in the name of
the USA PATRIOT Act. Further rules from Mr. Ashcroft's Department
of Justice to undermine the FOIA, to introduce a program for
neighbors to spy on neighbors, in the silly name of TIPS (these
guys do, indeed, have a way with clever acronyms, but not
What else have we gotten? Lies. Before the election, there
were lies, and the public should have been able to make them
out, with or without the help of the press. After Bush's inauguration,
more lies, especially about the need for a war with Iraq.
Is the issue solely one of weapons of mass destruction? If
it were, we would be actively preparing for war against Israel.
Israel has quietly, with the help of American physicists,
developed, in comparison to its relative size, population,
and importance in the world, a huge nuclear arsenal, now estimated
to be 300-400 nuclear warheads. Most of the Middle East countries
which count Israel as one of its neighbors, are very fearful
about Israel's capabilities in this regard. In the past, Israeli
leaders avoided either mention of or use of those weapons.
Our starting a war with Iraq might, as it did in 1991, promote
attacks by Iraq on Israel. Israel resisted then, but may not
What nineteen months of yet another Bush administration has
proved, first, is that the American people cannot trust any
Bush to carry out American policy in their best interests.
There are those who will, as in a recent Mike Keefe political
cartoon, think that all is right with the world, despite layoffs,
lack of unemployment and destruction of retirement benefits,
because "W's gonna cream Saddam." But, there are other American
citizens who will think otherwise. Will think that America
has been forced, wholesale, into a right-wing, fascistic society
with a dry drunk at its helm.
The response from the loyal opposition? Most prominently
and recently from Al Gore in an editorial in the NY Times,
suggesting that the Bush administration has not done right
by the middle class, because of its adamant support of tax
relief for the rich. Hmmm. Let's just put this in perspective.
The people most in need of consideration by any party are
those who do not vote, because they have been left behind
by both parties, are now under the radar forever - the poor
and the working poor. The middle class spend their money.
They can contribute to the economy because they've been subsumed
by horrible levels of available credit. The poor and the working
poor have no such advantage. All they can do is work for marginal
wages to keep the economy going.
The roughly 20% of the working population who work for minimum
wage or near minimum wage aren't interested in politics, because
politicians aren't interested in them. As Barbara Ehrenreich
has amply demonstrated in her books and articles over the
years, these citizens, these potential voters, have been left
out of the process, and yet they represent in votes a more
powerful force than even the religious right in the polling
place. But, both Republicans and Democrats have left them
out of the process. In fact, both the Republicans and Democrats
have ignored the poor and conspired to make their lives more
difficult through so-called welfare reform which was intended
not to make their lives better, but to reduce the tax load
on the middle class and the wealthy.
How do the poor connect with the war on Iraq? More simply
than one might expect. They supply the sons and daughters
to fight that war. In the new order, there is no draft (at
least, not now). The poor, without access to education, because
of lack of money, use the military as a stepping stone to
education and a better life. With the coming conflict, those
sons and daughters of the poor may not have the opportunity
to use their benefits. They may, instead, return from service
in a body bag. If the reason for their deaths were good, and
sound, one could commiserate with their families and explain
those deaths in greater and more glorious terms.
However, there are no good reasons made manifest by the Bush
administration. None. All those who will die in any war promulgated
by yet another venal and self-interested Bush, American, Iraqi
and possibly British citizens, will not have a good reason
for their deaths. They will have died to further the interests
of a self-interested president and the interests of his corporate
friends. There is no pressing international interest in a
regime change in Iraq. Hussein is despicable, of that there
is no doubt. But, if America sacrifices its young and poor
to depose Hussein in the name of the American religious and
economic right, it opens itself up to further attack from
the Muslim religious right. Osama bin Laden thinks himself
no less a leader of his cause than does George W. Bush of
Without immediate and desperate cause, George W. Bush's insistence
on war with Iraq damages Iraq's ordinary citizens, and all
of us, as well, especially our working poor, for which our
government has done very little in the last two decades. We
have canonized the rich and powerful, in that time, but the
rich and powerful are not the ones to fight this coming war,
on the ground and in the trenches. And yet, this war is to
be fought for their benefit. When a Ken Lay or a George Bush
is an infantry rifleman getting shot at in a war fought for
their interests, I will think differently.
Maybe, as with much of George W. Bush's administration, there
are lies at the root of this war. It's the obligation of all
the people to discern the truth in this matter. At this juncture
in time, though, the Bush weapons of mass confusion seem to
be winning the war for popular support for this latest Bush
war against the enemies of American corporate interests.
punpirate is a writer living in New Mexico who remembers
American wars and the purported reasons for them being fought.