Frank da Cruz
29 October 2004
Postscript (3 Nov 2004): Well I guess I didn't sway the election. It seems we are spared the pain of a protracted struggle over a handful of votes, but the world will not be spared the pain of the continued US imperium, and we will live with crushing debt and the contempt of most of the planet for the foreseeable future. Within four years, expect our new streamlined government (Executive, Legislative, and Judical branches forged into a single efficient engine) to revoke the Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, civil rights, privacy, and what little remains of labor law and environmental protection. The only bright spot is that if Kerry had been elected he would have inherited an unfixable mess and would have taken the blame for not fixing it, thus ensuring eight more years of Republicans after his first and only term. At least this way, when disaster comes in Iraq and elsewhere, as it surely will, there will be absolutely no doubt who caused it. The rest of the planet can be pushed only so far before it strikes back. Remember, there are only 300 million of us, but six billion of them. And they have the oil, the products, and the jobs. As for the USA itself, it got exactly what it wished for. Some recent press commentary from overseas that all Americans should read:
- George W. Bush and the Politics of Fear (Patrick Seale, The Daily Star)
- And now ... 4 more years of war?, Patrick Seale (The Daily Star)
- Value-added victory (Pepe Escobar, Asia Times)
- No Let up in suffering of Iraqi innocents (Cesar Chelala, Japan Times)
- What we call peace is little better than capitulation to a corporate coup, Arundhati Roy (Melbourne Indymedia)
No Child Left Behind: On the news this morning, a local public high school barely functioning with no money for books, supplies, chairs, anything, running at 150% capacity with kids crammed into classrooms and sitting on the floor. (I don't have a link for this one, it was on the radio.) Schools everywhere are struggling to stay afloat, and increasing numbers of states – including Republican ones – are rebelling against what they clearly perceive as an unfunded mandate:
A new study estimates 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead in the current war:
Not conclusive, but 10,000 or 100,000, that's a lot of blood on our hands. This, in a week when the US death toll reached 1111:
By the time you read this, of course, it's higher. The situation deteriorated dramatically the following day:
The lost high explosives are in the news again:
How much does the Bush administration really care about Iraq except for "securing" the oil fields and asserting its power? Bush's claims about how precious every human life is ring increasingly hollow. His own FBI is investigating his administration for corruption – Halliburton again, it won't go away:
Resistance in the ranks… The unrest in the military is starting to show. Military families of dead and maimed soldiers are asking what it was all for. Units are refusing orders. 1/3 of all reservists called back to active duty have not reported:
And many of the troops feel the war is being mishandled:
Much of the general staff detests Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz, who have forced them to abandon doctrine developed from decades of bitter experience and to put troops unnecessarily at risk:
Meanwhile, the "iraqization" of security is a sick joke, these people will have us there forever:
Yet the longer we stay there, the worse the situation becomes because we ourselves are the primary irritant. A recent survey shows virtually no popular support for the Iraq war outside of the USA, Israel, and Russia:
British military families are furious at the transfer of Black Watch troops from an area they had pacified (primarily by treating people with respect, rather than kicking in their doors and putting bags over their heads) to a dangerous area to "clean up America's mess" so that more American troops will be able to participate in the attack on Fallujah, thus further alienating Iraqis and the rest of the Islamic world. The British unit had been scheduled for rotation back to the UK when they got their marching orders; now instead of home free they're entering the hornet's nest we left for them:
Nevertheless, a new report says Bush will ask for another $70 billion for the war upon reelection, even as our own hand-picked Iraqi interim government is getting increasingly fed up with us:
And that's just from this week's news. (If many of these stories seem to come from the overseas press, that's only because they are difficult to find in our own Fair And Balanced media.)
It's a good thing for George Bush that the Iraqi election is not until January, because (assuming it comes off at all and that non-hand-picked-by-us candidates are allowed to run and the results are not rigged) that's when we find out how much they hate our guts and that it was all for nothing.
Besides his other faults, George W. Bush is the most divisive president we have ever had. His campaign (whatever part of it that isn't schoolyard taunting, name-calling, and blatant distortion and character assassination) is US-VERSUS-THEM, where "them" = the latté-drinking, Volvo-driving, school-busing, fetus-killing, tree-hugging, gun-fearing, "reality-based", morally relativist and secular humanist "liberals". And that's what he says. What he doesn't say is that "them" also includes Blacks, Latin-Americans and immigrants (except for the older generation of Cubans), scientists, educated people, organized labor, people who believe in values such as tolerance and fairness, etc etc; in short, anybody who might not vote for him, as we can clearly see today by the areas the Bush campaign has targeted for challenging voter registrations. Some democracy! After having gerrymandered every state beyond recognition to hijack the House of Representatives, the ruling party now aims to prevent people from voting in statewide and national elections.
"Them" also includes poor and working people but the President doesn't attack them openly because he wants their votes and needs them to enlist in our all-volunteer armed forces, which they are starting to not do. He makes their life a living hell in his quest to undo the great mistake of the American Revolution and reinstate the preindustrial caste system – a wealthy aristocracy overseeing the impoverished rabble – and yet still get the rabble's vote by scaring them (us!) to death.
"The terrorists hate America, they are coming after us."
"If you're not with me, you're against America."
"If you're not with me, you're for the terrorists."
I'm not super-enthusiastic about John Kerry but compared to George W. Bush he is a reasonable, thoughtful, and courageous man. Unlike Bush, he does not seek to drive a wedge between those who follow him and those who don't. This might be the single most compelling reason to vote for him¹.
Hang on to your hats, it's going to be a bumpy ride to Tuesday!
If Bush wins, I'm afraid it will be a bumpy ride for the rest of our lives.
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