by Kim Petersen
April 26, 2003
The rulers of the State are the only ones who should have the privilege of lying, whether at home or abroad; they may be allowed to lie for the good of the State.
President Bush and his coterie have taken Plato’s maxim to astonishing extremes that would make the Nazi agitprop master Joseph Goebbels smirk. On 24 April, Mr. Bush spoke to the receptive workers at the plant in Lima, Ohio where the Abrams tank is produced. The declamations were repeated.
Mr. Bush told them that the US is “the best economy in the industrialized world.” But things aren’t 100%. Said Mr. Bush: “I don't like it when I hear stories about our fellow Americans looking for work and can't find a job.” So Mr. Bush “put out a plan that says that a family of four making $40,000 a year will have their taxes reduced from about $1,100 to $50. That's a thousand more dollars in their pocket every year, so they can spend, they can save, they can invest the way they see fit.”
That all sounds well and good; so what’s the catch? The catch is that while the family of four making $40,000 saves about $1050, the wealthy elites are making out like robber bandits. It is a well-controlled trickle down. Molly Ivins wrote: “
Bush also wants to accelerate the income-tax cuts slated for 2006. Look at this folly. The top 5 percent of taxpayers would get 70 percent of the benefits on that one. The bottom 80 percent would get 6.5 percent of the benefits. Ditto with accelerating the 2004 tax cuts: 64.4 percent to the top 5 percent of taxpayers; 7.7 percent to the bottom 80 percent. (1)
On the foreign policy front Mr. Bush pointed out that the world is still a dangerous place. Nevertheless “thanks to the courage and might of our military, America is more secure today.”
The logical antinomy is extraordinary. Are we still supposed to believe that the regime of the brute Saddam Hussein, which collapsed in less than a month on its own turf, was a threat? One would surmise that this swift victory would only demonstrate otherwise.
Mr. Bush had some advice to take back home to the children: “You tell your children when they see the images of war on their TV sets that we take the action we take, and you build the products you build, because we believe in peace in America. We understand we have an obligation to keep our nation secure. You build the weapons you build here because we love freedom in this country.”
A page straight from Big Brother himself: “War is peace.” That’s the message for the youngsters at home. And in a slight twist on George Orwell: Freedom is wage labor.
Mr. Bush basked in the fall out from the slaughter in Iraq. He boasted of the vanquishing of “a cruel dictator [who] ruled a country, ruled Iraq by torture and fear. His regime was allied with terrorists, and the regime was armed with weapons of mass destruction [WMD]. Today, that regime is no more.”
The claim is galling. The meretricious war pretext of WMD is still being bandied about despite the absence of WMD. It flies in the face of US and UK administration claims. (2) Mr. Bush states: “We are now working to locate and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.” It is as if the mere act of talking about WMD reifies them. At this late stage, with the Washington regime having firmly established its credentials for mendacity, any discovery of WMD is sure to be regarded with great skepticism.
Another reason the US is in Iraq, according to Mr. Bush, is “showing that we value the lives and the liberty of the Iraqi people.” There were at least 1955 civilian lives not valued the last time I viewed http://www.iraqbodycount.net/, and that is not counting all those surviving but blinded, permanently maimed, amputated, and other horrors. Yes, Mr. Bush the use of cluster bombs and depleted uranium showed great respect for Iraqi life. But the Iraqis already knew that from the 12 years of genocidal sanctions they languished under thanks in extreme part to the US. Yes, the Iraqis were liberated from the tyrant Mr. Hussein. Should the Iraqis also be grateful for the liberation from their infrastructure, hospitals, history, and oil. The Iraqis probably couldn’t stand much more liberation.
Mr. Bush was on a roll. “You see, Iraq is recovering not just from weeks of conflict, but from decades of totalitarian rule. The dictator built palaces in a country that needed hospitals. He spent money on illegal weapons, not on the education of the Iraqi children, or food for the Iraqi people.”
The so-called “illegal weapons” that the dictator spent money on are a mere spit in the proverbial bucket to the $400 billion investment in the military-industrial palaces of the US -- only in this case, the same weapons for the US are legal. That is how morality works in Washington. The same rules do not apply to the US that apply to other countries. As for two places US taxpayer dollars aren’t going, distinguished writer and academic Richard Reeves identified these as health and education. (3)
But things will be looked after in Iraq declared Mr. Bush. “We have sent teams of people over to Iraq to make sure that they have adequate food. We're restoring electricity. We're making sure the hospitals are full of medicine and staffed with people to help the people of that country.”
One might ask what took the US so long. Various aid agencies had been warning all along of a looming humanitarian catastrophe. Journalist Robert Fisk reported the liberated Iraqis asking, “Why, they ask, do they still have no electricity and no water?” (4)
In the vacuum left by the departure of Mr. Hussein, Mr. Bush “sent a good man to help the Iraqi people -- Retired General Jay Garner.” The sensitivity is exquisite; the “first whiff of freedom” by the Iraqi people is under an Israeli sympathizer. Probably the only scenario more abject for an Iraqi than rule by the former dictator was rule by a Zionist.
But back in Lima, Ohio they are secure under the aegis of Mr. Bush and his hawks. Mr. Bush assures the patriotic workers that the US is committed to Iraq; “we'll stay as long as it takes to complete our mission.” In the meantime Iraqis, appreciative of their newfound right to dissent, are holding mass demonstrations with the message that it is time for the US to go home.
Mr. Bush insists, “Iraq must be democratic… We will not impose a government on Iraq.” But that did not mean democracy would flow solely from Iraqis. US Secretary of State Colin Powell interviewed on 25 April by Henry Champ on CBC’s “The National” had this to say: “I think we have, ah, some, ah, some equity, some standing at the head of the class so to speak, to make sure this goes in the right direction so that our investment pays off, pays off not with a military victory, but pays off with a political victory, and a political victory is a new Iraqi government that is firmly based on democratic principles.” The comments of erstwhile US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were brazenly forthright about the wrong expression of democratic will by Chileans who had voted for the socialist Salvador Allende: "I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people." The US will protect their "investment" from any "irresponsibility" by the Iraqis.
Mr. Fisk observed firsthand the “new colonial repression” and ventured “an awful prediction. That America's war of ‘liberation’ is over. Iraq's war of liberation from the Americans is about to begin.” (5)
Kim Petersen is an English teacher living in China. He can be contacted at: email@example.com
(1) Molly Ivins, “Connect the Dots Folks: Bush Tax Cuts for Rich,” Boulder Daily Camera, 15 January 2003. Available on Common Dreams website: http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0115-05.htm
(2) Bronwen Maddox, “Reports of Weapons 'Greatly Exaggerated,'” Times/UK, 25 April 2003. Available on Common Dreams website: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0425-01.htm
(3) Richard Reeves, “Where Your Taxes aren’t Going – Health and Education,” Yahoo News, 26 April 2003: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=123&ncid=742&e=10&u=/ucrr/20030426/cm_ucrr/where_your_taxes_aren_t_going____health_and_education
(4) Robert Fisk, “This is Not Liberation But a New Colonial Oppression: America's war of 'liberation' may be over. But Iraq's war of liberation from the Americans is just about to begin,” The Independent, April 17, 2003. Available on the Dissident Voice website: http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Articles4/Fisk_Occupation.htm