Bush’s speech to the National Endowment for Democracy was a long and tedious journey through the shadowy world of terrorism. It was loaded with the same wearisome phantoms and dreary evildoers that have appeared in every Bush speech since September 2001. Bush is beginning to sound like the three-wheeled ox-cart trundling down the road emitting the same shrill screech with every rotation. The man needs some new material.
His dismal performance last Thursday further demonstrated his inability to grasp reality or to deal with the mess he’s created. He dredged up the lackluster imagery of 9-11 to cobble together a 40-minute monologue that excluded every topic of national interest except terrorism. Even his audience, which was chock full of flag-waving jingoes and “democracy-spreading” zealots, appeared dumbstruck.
“Recently our country observed the fourth anniversary of a great evil, and looked back on a great turning point in our history,” Bush said. “We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.”
9-11, 9-11, 9-11, ad infinitum…
Bush’s penchant for repetition would leave Joseph Goebbels wincing. It’s simply impossible to reiterate the same mantra for four years without producing a jaw-dropping silence among one’s audience. That’s especially true given the latest polls that show that only 7% of Americans think that terrorism is the most important topic on the national docket. For Bush, however, terrorism is the last flimsy bit of straw that holds his presidency together.
“Our nation stood guard on tense borders; we spoke for the rights of dissidents and the hopes of exile; we aided the rise of new democracies on the ruins of tyranny,” Bush boomed. “In this new century, freedom is once again assaulted by enemies determined to roll back generations of democratic progress.”
Bush’s delusional ravings are increasingly reminiscent of his German forebears in the waning “bunker days” of the Reich.
Is there someone in the crowd who hasn’t heard of Bush’s threat to veto a Defense Dept. spending bill to preserve his inalienable right to torture prisoners? And yet, even while the bombs are falling on far off Tal Afar, or thousands of America’s poor and huddled masses have been shunted off to relocation centers, or hundreds of skeletal prisoners in Guantanamo waste away under Bush’s approving glare, the imposter-in-chief still rattles on about “freedom and democracy”.
Bush’s soliloquy contained all the shrill invective and empty-headed rhetoric we’ve heard a thousand times before; the same bedraggled metaphors the same fusty platitudes, the same scripted delivery.
“While the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane. Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism…. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom.”
Bush has joined fellow travelers Hitchens, Friedman, and Blair in pushing the errant theory that terrorism arises from an “evil ideology.” The assumption has been discredited by experts like Robert Pape, who have proved beyond a doubt that more than 90% of all terrorist attacks are a response to occupation not ideology. They hate our soldiers garrisoned in their countries not “our freedoms.”
“Figures show that Al Qaida today is less a product of Islamic fundamentalism than of a simple strategic goal: to compel the US and Western allies to withdraw combat forces from the Arabian Peninsula and other Muslim counties.” (Robert Pape, NY Times, July 9, 2005)
Still, we can’t expect Bush or his dissembling cadres to abandon their last frail shred of legitimacy.
If Bush was serious about “evil ideologies” he’d direct his attention to the neocon dogma that has already killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, with millions more entering the imperial crosshairs every day.
Who are the real terrorists?
“We know the vision of the radicals because they've openly stated it,” Bush averred. “The militant network wants to use the vacuum created by an American retreat to gain control of a country…. The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity. And we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror.”
Blah, blah, blah. There’s nothing here but pure, unalloyed fear mongering; five years of blather neatly wrapped in one fatuous paragraph.
What a pathetic creature Bush is; a tattered coat-on-a-stick waving his finger in the air in false bravado with head bobbing like it’s on a spring. What a poseur, a flimsy, cardboard cut out of a man, slapped on a TV screen in a blue suit, or with sleeves rolled up for a Crawford photo-op. If you could get close enough you could pass your hand through this pasty-gray hologram; this vacuous political light show that appears like an apparition and then vanishes into thin air; its 100% fakery from stem to stern.
How apropos that Bush would proffer his terror fantasies to the NED, that amalgam of global warriors who are under contract to spread the neoliberal message to the four corners of the earth; the modern-day Trostkyites who siphon money from the public till to topple regimes and bring in the corporate parasites from Halliburton, Bechtel and Blackwater. How convenient to have the forces of empire assembled under one bloodstained banner to reaffirm their lifelong commitment to pilfering the world’s oil and grinding the great mass of humanity into endless, crushing poverty.
Bush’s terror-speech will do nothing to boost his popularity. The latest polls all show Bush and Co. headed for the bottom of the political fish tank. Don’t expect a change in tactics though, Bush will ride bin Laden’s coattails to the bitter end. Terrorism is the grand deception; the “Big Lie” that animates the war machine and breathes life into the crusade of wanton destruction.
“The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our new century…. It’s like the ideology of communism…and explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life.
“Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples, claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent…. Those who despise freedom and progress have condemned themselves to isolation, decline, and collapse. Because free peoples believe in the future, free peoples will own the future.”
Yup. Four years later and they still “hate our freedoms”. They’re not seeking relief from the American soldier who has a boot on their neck, or who shoots them at check-points, or who humiliates them in their own home in front of their children, or who tortures them in Saddam’s prisons, or who bombs their wedding parties, or who poisons their land, or who steals their resources, or who savagely kills over 100,000 of their brothers and sisters.
Nope, it’s “our freedoms” they hate.
The people who tuned in to Bush’s speech thinking they’d hear something different, some willingness to change direction and put the ship of state aright, must have been sorely disappointed. The Bush loyalists are radicals to the core, unable to accept responsibility for their actions and incapable of reason. The speech was the culmination of five years of unrelenting deception and demagoguery. Nothing has changed. It’s futile to hope that fanaticism can be tempered or mitigated. It’s either rooted out or it spreads.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state, and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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