Friday, August 11, 2006

The Bush Administration: a study in failure, waste, and needless death

The GOP elephant labored mightily and delivered a flea! Terror, Iraq, and, most recently, efforts by the Bush administration to goad Israel into attacking Syria have all been miserable failures. [See: Israeli officials say Bush was "nuts" for egging on their government to attack Syria] Bush, meanwhile, says that it's a mistake to believe that there is no terrorist threat to the US. But, as to be expected, Bush misstates the terrorist threat and expects Americans to draw the wrong conclusions about it.

Bush's remarks and the events that compelled them must be placed in context. An AP-Ipsos poll this week paints the picture: Bush's overall approval rating drops to 33 percent, declining in nearly every issue but most significantly —the lost war in Iraq and his ham-fisted foreign policy. Bush lost ground even in the GOP friendly South where some 19 percent of those who supported Bush in 2004 now say they will vote Democratic.

It is not surprising that Bush will try to milk a foiled terrorist plot for all it's worth. But the old 911 magic may be gone forever. It was in those days, as you may recall, that Bush boasted: "Lucky me! I just won the trifecta". 911 propelled Bush to the heights of public approval amid promises that he would smoke out Bin Laden and bring him to justice, that he would treat the nations who nurture terrorism as terrorists themselves. In fact, he's done none of those things. And given the fraudulent nature of his war against Iraq, it is probably a good thing. [See: the FBI has recently stated that there was never hard evidence that Bin Laden had anything to do with the events of 911 anyway; Google search: NO HARD EVIDENCE]

Let's look at the cold, hard facts.

Iraq had nothing to do with 911

There is no evidence that Saddam ever participated or encouraged terrorist attacks on America in any way at any time. When the "terrorist" card didn't play, Bush played his trump —the spector of mushroom clouds over US cities. Saddam, Bushies said, had WMD! But, as long as there is a Fox Network, working assiduously to keep alive the big lie, it is necessary to repeat: Bush's assertions that Iraq had WMD was a bald faced lie.

Terrorism has been worse under GOP regimes since 1980

It was not too long ago that the GOP would poll higher than Democrats on the issue of "terrorism". The confidence was misplaced. Terrorism, in fact, grew worse over the two years Ronald Reagan waged his great "war on terrorism". The number of terrorist attacks on US interests increased significantly over a period of about two years, a pattern repeating under Bush. [See: Total Acts of Terrorism in the U.S. 1980-98, America's Response to Terrorism, The Brookings Institute (Based on FBI Statistics)]

There are two possible explanations. One, Reagan's war —not well thought out —was simply impotent and ineffective. It may even have been counter-productive, a rallying cry to legitimate critics of US imperialism as well as terrorists. The GOP loves to pretend to be fighting terrorism; but, in fact, GOP policies may be the cause of it. Such policies, of course, endanger American lives and, indeed, anyone who happens to get in the way. International terrorist attacks against the US declined under Clinton!

Bush's "War on Terrorism" is a miserable failure

The attack and invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with the "war on terrorism". There was never any evidence to support the Bush conclusion that the US was killing terrorists in Iraq, but real terrorists might have said with credibility that they were killing Americans in Iraq. Because Bush is a liar, Iraq —temporarily knocked off the front pages —remains the scene of chaos, civil war, brutality, and, most of all, meaningless and needless death. What Richard Nixon said of Viet Nam must be said of Iraq:
Never has so much military and economic and diplomatic power been used so ineffectively, and if after all of this time, and all of this sacrifice, and all of this support, there is still no end in sight, then I say the time has come for the American people to turn to new leadership not tied to the mistakes and policies of the past.

—Richard Nixon [as quoted by Buzzflash]

Bush isolated the US at the very moment in its history when it most needed the good will of the world. Cold War "liberals" were "internationalists" who sought to involve the United States positively in world affairs. But for a period of some 30 years, we have withdrawn, perhaps succumbing to Viet Nam syndrome. Clinton's good points aside, our current situation must surely be traced to the fact that the US has not had competent, "internationalist" leadership since Jimmy Carter managed to broker the Camp David Accords. The security of the world absolutely depends upon the US strengthening its ties with Europe, working throughout the Middle East as a truly honest broker, eschewing the temptation to prop up unpopular, puppet regimes with CIA skullduggery, death squads, and coups d'etat!

Bush's Political Survival Depends on Terror Threats

By William Greider, Posted August 14, 2006.

The president is trying for the third time to make terrorism his big campaign issue -- are Americans going to finally snap out of it?

An evil symbiosis does exist between Muslim terrorists and American politicians, but it is not the one Republicans describe. The jihadists need George W. Bush to sustain their cause. His bloody crusade in the Middle East bolsters their accusation that America is out to destroy Islam. The president has unwittingly made himself the lead recruiter of willing young martyrs.

More to the point, it is equally true that Bush desperately needs the terrorists. They are his last frail hope for political survival. They divert public attention, at least momentarily, from his disastrous war in Iraq and his shameful abuses of the Constitution. The "news" of terror -- whether real or fantasized -- reduces American politics to its most primitive impulses, the realm of fear-and-smear where George Bush is at his best.

So, once again in the run-up to a national election, we are visited with alarming news. A monstrous plot, red alert, high drama playing on all channels and extreme measures taken to tighten security.

The White House men wear grave faces, but they cannot hide their delight. It's another chance for Bush to protect us from those aliens with funny names, another opportunity to accuse Democrats of aiding and abetting the enemy.

This has worked twice before. It could work again this fall unless gullible Americans snap out of it. Wake up, folks, and recognize how stupid and wimpish you look. I wrote the following two years ago during a similar episode of red alerts: "Bush's 'war on terrorism' is a political slogan -- not a coherent strategy for national defense -- and it succeeds brillantly only as politics. For everything else, it is quite illogical." ...

Here's an update from CNN:

Chertoff: No sign plotters targeted U.S.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- "Current evidence" does not show the people involved in an alleged plot to blow up airplanes planned to conduct any operations in the United States, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Sunday.

"The current evidence does not show any plotting occurring inside the United States or any plan to conduct operations within the United States," Chertoff told CNN's "Late Edition."

Chertoff's remarks came three days after police in England arrested about two dozen people allegedly involved in a plot to use liquid explosives to blow up as many as 10 passenger planes during flights from the United Kingdom to the United States.

That prompted an immediate ban on liquids and gels in carry-on luggage in the UK and U.S. that resulted in widespread flight cancellations and delays. (Watch why checking in bags may not keep planes safe -- 1:58)

On Sunday, the Transportation Security Administration exempted small doses of liquid medications, glucose gel for diabetics, solid lipstick and baby food from the list of items passengers are not allowed to take onto planes. All aerosols are prohibited.

The TSA also said it will require all passengers to remove their shoes for X-ray screening.

"These tweaks are aimed at making a smoother process at the checkpoint," TSA Assistant Secretary Kip Hawley said in a news release.

Asked about suggestions that some of the alleged plotters had telephoned people in the United States, Chertoff said, "As of now -- and of course it's subject to change -- we do not see any plotting inside the United States or any indication of operational activity by these plotters inside the United States."

Chertoff described the alleged plot as "sophisticated," but said officials have not determined whether it was the work of the al Qaeda terrorist organization responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks....

Does this mean that Bush's "War on Islamic Fascists" is over? What a turn around! Just a few days ago the MSM hypervented —wailing that hundreds of thousands of Americans might have died in another nefarious Al Qaeda plot. Now, it appears that the great "Satan" was not even in Al Qaeda's cross hairs. Dare we hope that the MSM will eventually admit that the term Islamo-fascism is a stupid, sophomoric non-word that Repuglicans just made up?

Mine is not the only "Existentialist" blog on the net. Here's a good precis of the origins of Existentialism in Descartes' cogito as well as a good take Camus:

Killing Arabs: Bush, Camus and the Politics Of The Absurd

Oh. My. God. Bush has been reading Camus:
Bush puts down his summer reading -- including Albert Camus' "The Stranger," and two books on Civil War President Abraham Lincoln -- in favor of presidential briefing books.
I find this particularly disgusting because L’Etranger (The Stranger) is my favourite Camus book.

For those not familiar with the name, Albert Camus was a famous French-Algerian writer whose work is synonymous with the concept of absurdity.
”At any street corner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face.” - Camus
Along with Jean-Paul Sartre and other intellectuals, Camus developed a school of thought known as Existentialism. Adherents simply refused to believe anything that could not be universally proven to be true. And what can be proven to be true, other than the simple fact that we exist? As Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” All else is conjecture.

Stripped to such bare bones, even the basic concept of life itself becomes absurd. Most of us find such a stark reality unpalatable. We lean on various psychological props – religion, wealth, fantasy - to help us ignore this core dilemma of existence. But Camus and his fellow Existentialists bravely embraced such absurdity as the foundation for an ultimately life-affirming philosophy.
“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” - Camus
For a telling recent example of the absurd, nothing can match the Bush administration's Weapons of Mass Destruction ruse. Bush sent a team of men scouring the desert sands of Iraq for more than a year, searching in vain for Saddam’s “elusive” WMDs. And yet at least some of the senior figures in the Bush administration knew those WMDs did not exist – because they themselves had set up a secretive Office Of Special Plans to help fabricate the WMD ruse. As a metaphor for man’s life on earth, Camus cited the eternal task of Sisyphus: repeatedly pushing a rock to the top of a mountain, only to watch it roll down the other side. The mission of Charles Deulfer’s Iraq Survey Group was no less absurd.
”The only real progress lies in learning to be wrong all alone.“ – Camus
To fully appreciate Camus, it is important to distinguish between absurdity and similar concepts such as irony and ridiculousness. For example, it is ridiculous that an intellectual lightweight like George W. Bush ever became President of the USA. ...

Bush Out

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