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The Original Trifecta
April 21, 2004
By David Fitts

It is disturbing to contrast George W. Bush's performance defending his policies on Iraq and the War on Terrorism, with the glee he exhibited in proclaiming "I hit the trifecta!" shortly after 9/11. Bush is supposed to be a simple man, with a sincere air in expressing his pain at the loss of life on 9/11 and in Iraq. Then why use these topics of death for levity?

Recently, Bush shared a video with journalists where he feigned looking for WMDs in the White House. Maybe this would be humorous, except for the certainty with which this administration expressed that Saddam had them and the fact that there are many people now dead as a result of these convictions.

Bush also once said that his job would be easier if he were dictator. If elements of the Patriot Act and Homeland Security are any indication, he is well on his way to assuming that role. Granting him four more years may be all he needs to accomplish this "vision."

This "fortunate son" must certainly feel blessed, particularly with his sense of entitlement to power. He served so "admirably" in the Air Guard that barely any of his superiors even remember him. He has also demonstrated his ability to drive businesses into the ground then turn around and sell them to those seeking influence with his then-well-placed father.

Yes, it's a tough life at times, even for those of "privilege." Bush the younger must have been sweating bullets on election night in 2000. He had lost the popular vote by a half million but it came down to Florida, which was too close to call. The fact that tens of thousands of likely Democratic voters had been stricken from the voter rolls there didn't sway the Supreme Court from a 5-4 decision to place Bush in the White House. They didn't need no stinkin' recount!

So here we find ourselves, more than two years into the "war on terrorism" and one year into Iraq being led by a man who won't read, but seems sincere in his desire to kill and help his friends make a killing through government contracts. It's hard to tell if he is sincere in his belief in the "rapture." And yet, the "Anybody But Bush" folks may be somewhat disillusioned to find that there is power behind this throne: The Original Trifecta.

What is The Original Trifecta? It is the three forces primarily responsible for George W. Bush's ascendancy to power, as well as the setting of policy, both foreign and domestic.

They are: 1) the think tank "Project for a New American Century" (foreign policy), 2) The Christian Right (foreign and domestic policy), 3) Corporations (foreign and domestic policy).

Project for a New American Century (PNAC) - Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearle, Jeb Bush, among others.

PNAC was formed in the 1990's in the wake of the first gulf war. Their primary concern and objective was to establish U.S. military dominance in the world and through this, spread democracy. Many of the group's ideas are said to have their origin in ideas floated by Henry Kissinger in the 1970's. This think tank has been the most visible proponent of the so-called neoconservative philosophy. Their most basic belief is in hegemony. Hegemony relegates the role of the U.S. military to one of being the police of the world, with or without U.N. approval.

Their impact in setting the foreign policy of the Bush administration is undeniable and made very clear though Richard Clarke's book, Against All Enemies. This group also has no problems with profiting from these policies.

In 1997, the group proposed U.S. participation in three theater-scale wars. Here we find the origin of the axis of evil, Iraq, Iran and North Korea being PNAC's targeted rogue regimes. PNAC called for the first war to take place against Iraq, ostensibly to establish a democracy in the Arab world. Also figuring prominently in their reasoning: oil and strategic location. The Bush administration justified the U.S. invasion of Iraq on its certainty that Iraq's evil ruler Saddam had both weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda, which posed a threat to those of us who love democracy and freedom.

Just prior to the election in 2000, PNAC released a paper that called for U.S. invasion of Iraq whether or not Saddam was still in power. They also acknowledged the need for a "critical event to galvanize American public opinion" to support such an invasion. While the Republican Party platform of 2000 included regime change in Iraq, the attacks of 9/11 were perceived by PNAC members in the administration as the needed critical event. PNAC member Donald Rumsfeld called for an invasion of Iraq immediately after 9/11. George Bush also asked Richard Clarke and others to find a connection between Iraq and 9/11, though many in the intelligence community were convinced that no such connection existed. The public was subjected to the constant refrain that this war "isn't about the Oil," (a direct contradiction to PNAC's stated objectives) and the constant mentioning of Saddam and Al Qaeda in the same sentence. That Saddam had no love for Al Qaeda, who branded him as "infidel," has been firmly established. After all, Al Qaeda's version of radical Islam was more suited to the Shiite in Iraq, a traditional enemy of Saddam's. Why Saddam would support a movement that called for his overthrow was never established by the Bush administration.

While the Bush administration strives mightily to defend it's pretexts for invading Iraq, the designs and goals of PNAC are clearly influencing policy. Bush's expressed desire for democracy in Iraq is consistent with one of PNAC's expressed goals. His policy on Venezuela and the democratically elected Hugo Chavez indicates a distaste for democracy when it doesn't serve other desired ends (i.e. oil). In spite of Bush's public statements, it seems clear that the PNAC wing of this administration is committed to its stated objectives for being in Iraq: oil and strategic location. While Bush states that the oil there "belongs to the Iraqi people," he conveniently neglects to inform the American public of the executive order he put into effect on the day of the invasion: the U.S. government claiming ownership of any state-owned property in Iraq (read oil). With privatization being the ultimate goal, who will really be allowed to own the oil in Iraq? The stated objective of bringing democracy to Iraq will be sorely tested the minute the Iraqi people vote the U.S. out of their country.

Will the PNAC neocons so easily give up the oil and strategic location in the name of democracy? Is this why this administration had no exit strategy for Iraq? The arguments for keeping Iraq from civil war and becoming a hotbed of terrorism seemed to be designed to assure U.S. military presence there for a long while to come.

The Christian Right - and "fundamental" values. That George W. Bush is the darling of the Christian Right is no secret. While the pro-life supporters and faith based initiatives are the most visible components of this leg of the trifecta, the fundamentalist beliefs at the basis of this administration's policies and vision remain largely unknown to the public. Except for Bush's use of the word "crusade" (a hot button term with many in the Islamic faith) in describing the war on terrorism, he has sought to distinguish between Islam in general and militant fundamentalism in particular.

The same can not be said of Bush's right wing, Christian fundamentalist brethren, many of whom sought to distinguish their god from the god of Muslims, a historical inaccuracy that Bush has seen no need to correct. The dogma of the Christian right says that all Muslims are bound for hell, unless they accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Just like the heathens in the U.S., whom many prominent fundamentalist preachers publicly castigated as being morally responsible for the acts of 9/11, a stern retribution from the Almighty

Whether or not they believe that the violence we unleashed on Iraq is also part of God's retribution, they certainly seem to have no problem with raining death on innocents and insurgents. How this flushes with "loving thy neighbor as thy self" and "doing unto others, as you would have them do unto you," they don't bother to tell us.

The irony here is the similarity between the fundamentalism here and the fundamentalism there, the mutual belief that "God is on our side," and the total disdain for the lives of un-believers.

The conundrum for the Christian Right is whether or not to hurry Armageddon along. Biblical prophecy, and their beliefs about it, figure prominently in what they want to see happen in the Middle East, the invasion of Iraq being part and parcel of the process. Given the popularity of the series of books Left Behind, the Rapture must be just around the corner, and "true Christians" will soon be receiving their just rewards in heaven. The rest of us poor slobs will be left behind to deal with the tribulation that the "true Christians" have a hand in bringing to reality.

Assuming the Rapture doesn't take place between now and election day, George Bush can count on the support of the Christian Right. If it does happen, Bush, being the good Christian man he is, will presumably be "raptured" along with the rest. This will leave John Kerry and Ralph Nader as the main contenders for leadership of the free world in a time of tribulation. God bless us one and all!

Corporations. That George Bush has been good for corporate America in particular and the rich in general, can't be denied. Whether it's cutting taxes, doling out Federal contracts (creating a record deficit in the process), loosening environmental regulations or deregulation in general, this privatizing president has, indeed, been good for business. In large part, they helped finance his losing effort to win the Presidency. Still, his corporate supporters had to have been pleased with the appointments Bush made to his administration, which very much resembled a "who's who" list of a corporate America.

The secret energy policy meetings held by Dick Cheney offered industry insiders the opportunity to have a say on national policy with no scrutiny or oversight. The extent of corporate influence on this administration, from writing legislation to recommendations for deregulation, could fill several volumes. Corporate gouging, as well as out-and-out thievery have consistently made headlines since Bush has been in power. His largest single campaign contributor, Enron, first bilked billions out of California consumers, then collapsed like a house of cards under the weight of cooked books. Bush's friend and former Enron CEO "Kenny Boy" Lay has still managed to avoid indictment (yes, oil men love having oil men in the White House).

Enron might have been saved if the planned natural gas pipeline through Afghanistan had become a reality. In spite the millions given to the Taliban by the Bush administration during the spring of 2001, not even the promise of "a carpet of gold," nor the threat of "a carpet of bombs," could convince the Taliban to allow the pipeline. The events of 9/11 gave Bush the opportunity to deliver on the threat.

In his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned us of the military industrial complex and its potential for abuse. The Bush administration is living proof that Ike's warning was not heeded. George Bush Sr. is a major player with the Carlyle Group, deeply involved in the military industrial sector. Dick Cheney had been CEO of Halliburton, another company that benefited hugely from the military actions of this administration. Cheney should have divested his interests in Halliburton, said he had, but it turns out that he had not. There was a time in our country when conflict of interest represented a serious crime. My, how times have changed!

Halliburton and others have been caught price gouging in Iraq. It's good that they were caught but can the Pentagon catch all or even most of the accounting "errors?"

Consider that the Pentagon can't account for more than a trillion dollars of its own spending. Halliburton has made sure that its highly paid security force all have body armor and drive armored vehicles. A real shame that the Pentagon couldn't produce the same result for military personnel.

The industry most responsible for allowing this administration to tread where none have dared tread before is the corporate news media. Corporate media has been a large contributor to campaigns, and for their generosity they have been handsomely rewarded. The FCC deregulated media ownership rules, as lobbied for by the major players, in the summer of 2003. The already large media conglomerates were allowed to grow larger still. Americans relying on these media are getting an increasingly narrow exposure to and interpretation of events. But campaign contributions alone were not enough for what the media got, nor is it all they gave. While Fox News, Clear Channel radio and others have been blatant cheerleaders for Bush administration policies, other media outlets ignored or let slide much of what this administration has done or not done.

In the run up to the Iraq invasion, the media utterly failed to cover what was happening with suspect, or in some cases, manufactured intelligence, and the heavy lobbying by the PNAC wing on the intelligence agencies to provide what was needed to justify invading Iraq. They didn't let the American people know the stated intentions of PNAC were to invade Iraq before Bush was ever appointed President.

They also failed to investigate with any depth the claims being made by both Intelligence and State department employees that this evidence was suspect. Finally, corporate media refuses to show the American people the reality of the U.S. occupation and military actions on the civilian population in Iraq. Would Americans who support this action continue to do so after bloody doses of reality on the nightly news? Consider that the Arab nations, as well as others, do bear witness to these effects.

Another area where Bush has given corporations preferential treatment is in supporting the corporate version of globalization. Millions of jobs have been lost to outsourcing and moving operations overseas. This administration has used our tax dollars to teach businesses how to ship jobs overseas. American based companies are relocating in countries that have little regard for human rights and even less for the environment.

While NAFTA and the World Trade Organization were not passed under Bush, he has pushed for similar agreements such as the Free Trade of the Americas Act (FTAA). The prior agreements did little for human rights and the environment. These agreements went so far as circumventing the U.S. justice system in favor of corporate run tribunals in trade disputes, with the power to overrule even U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Clearly, the corporate interests supporting Bush have no interest in an economically strong America, save their own bottom line, if it requires them to honor human rights, environmental protections and our national sovereignty. In their version of "globalization" none of these have a place at the table.

Bush seems to be sincere about wanting freedom for all the world's people. Rather than invading other countries to bring freedom, he should start by demanding human rights provisions in trade agreements and as a criterion for granting Most Favored Nation trading status. Given that laws such as the Patriot Act and Homeland Security have severely encroached on Americans' freedoms at home, it is highly doubtful that Bush will press for human rights as a criterion for trading with foreign countries. Along the same lines, we shouldn't expect him to make similar demands on protecting the environment abroad while his record on the environment here is so abominable.

The Trifecta Revisited

The administration of George W. Bush is being driven by forces who: 1) want to make the U.S. the dominant military force in the world, to be used for "policing" and economic plundering, 2) believe that Armageddon is just around the corner and are doing what they can to hurry things along, 3) personify greed, want no government oversight or regulation, want to pay no taxes and are hell bent on a global economy with rules that favor the fattening of their bottom lines and display reckless disregard for our national sovereignty.

So, if you find any or all of these to your liking, cast your vote for four more years. If, however, you are of reasonable intelligence and in control of your faculties, the choice in this election is very clear.

Ultimately, the future health of our nation rests as much on the shoulders of we, the people, than any individual leader. We must endeavor to avail ourselves of the facts of what is taking place in our communities, states, nation and the world. Our knowledge must translate into action that will make a difference. It is here that we have the opportunity to most vividly express the love we have for our country. Keep the faith, keep paying attention and stay active.

David Fitts has worked professionally as an educator, as well as spending more than a decade in the financial services industry. He has BA in Political Science. David's activist background covers a wide range from working with the Democratic Party, several environmental groups, The Hunger Project, RESULTS (lobbying at the National level on hunger and development issues), as well as being involved in a number of other local issues. He is currently working on a book, "Democracy for Idiots."

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