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Two and a Half Years of Regression
July 11, 2003
By Joseph Arrieta

Just two and a half years into Bush's term the United States is greatly weakened, its voice effectively muted and its democracy vastly more vulnerable than it was in 2000.

Consumption of disgracefully sycophantic United States journalism would leave the average American completely unaware of current American feebleness. Are we not the biggest bad-asses on the planet? Don't ICBMs, aircraft carriers, troops with night vision, and invisible bombers that span the globe with one refueling abound?

All very true. Yet with all that amazing technology, why is Iraq quickly sliding into a state of anarchy, violence and death? Why hasn't one spent nuclear fuel storage pool been secured against an airplane attack? Why is the Taliban back in the game in Afghanistan? Why are gas prices still so high? Why aren't more Americans employed?

American power doesn't reside in its armed forces capability - never has, never will. It still has not sunk in with the Bush administration that wielding military power without other critical elements of US democracy functioning means nothing - in fact, application of military force absent in a country where other democratic and economic institutions are crippled and weakened will inevitably make things much worse.

President Bush lied in his State of the Union address when he stated Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger. If he didn't lie, the intelligence agencies of the US (annual price tag: $30 billion) are criminally incompetent.

It no longer matters - in one way - whether the truth over Bush's alleged lying is positively confirmed or not. It's far too late - only registered Republicans among all the humans on the planet think Bush told the truth. The rest of the country and world thinks Bush grossly lied to start the Iraq war.

"It really comes down to the administration misrepresenting the facts on an issue that was a fundamental justification for going to war," Joseph Wilson said July 8th. "It begs the question, what else are they lying about?"

The credibility of the United States is shot and its voice has been muted. No one believes anything Bush says - if he was willing to lie or pass on grossly incorrect information of the utmost importance, how on Earth is anyone supposed to believe anything else he flaps his lips about?

How could all those Army divisions, Navy ships, Marines, and Air Force assets still result in an assessment of "weakened?" Because merely the application/potential of force is never its sole source of power - the reasons for using force form the bedrock of US strength, not the assets themselves.

Since the reason we went to war in Iraq is based upon a rank lie or shamefully untrue information the country can no longer accurately assess a real threat. If President Bush suddenly appears and rants that Iran or Korea is an immediate, urgent threat he simply will not be believed.

Furthermore, troops in the field who bear the actual brunt of killing, dying and enforcing occupation based upon lies or untruths have their morale ripped to shreds. Hard to keep the faith in your country when the day before your best friend got shot in the face for a lie. [1]

The assets of the armed forces are still there, but the human will and faith to use them has been shattered. The populace cannot perceive a real threat, and the troops have no faith in their leadership. United States armed forces are significantly weakened without the human potential will to use them. [2]

The day after it became crystal clear that the Niger uranium story was false (July 8th), zero mention of story can be seen on the home web pages of the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, San Jose Mercury News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, or the Sacramento Bee, to name a few.

The United States journalism corps, so crucial to the health of the country, is crippled and captured. The President lied or put forth grossly untrue information to start a war? Never mind! Falcons tickets are going fast! Stock options are back!

Congress, allegedly the great check on Presidential power, is an emasculated shell of the Framer's intention. War was allowed to occur without a formal declaration - power that kills American sons should have been held tightly to the bosom of the American people through their reps in Congress, but the institution simply didn't function, simply giving its power and duty away.

Congress and the journalism corps are failing badly. As long as this reality is present United States democracy is horribly vulnerable: there is no way to spread or learn the truth, there is no trust in the leadership and no check on the Executive. The news should be screaming from every newspaper, computer and television in the land that US democracy is crippled and vulnerable, but there is only mostly silence.

This is what happens when the great American military machine is let loose based upon lies and faulty information with crippled democratic institutions. The United States ends up weakened, almost muted and its democracy much more vulnerable to seriously degrading forces than before. Sure didn't take long.

1. It also doesn't help that Bush is screwing the Army out of his campaign promise for better pay, housing and benefits. After enough hours in the sands it probably just sounds like another lie.    BACK

2. Some would argue here that the reasoning is bogus, since Bush is a megalomaniac who will use force whenever he feels like it. Given the absurdly broad powers granted Bush by Congress in 2002 for the Iraq war, the idea merits real concern. Lawrence Eagleburger flatly stated Bush would be impeached when Rumsfeld wanted to go after Syria, a rather optimistic prediction for one of the worst Congresses of all time. Still, after no WMDs have been discovered in Iraq even this Congress will never authorize Bush pre-emptive powers again.    BACK

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