The Dance of Death: Ignorance on the March

Written by Chris Floyd 30 August 2005 4304 Hits

Two stories from the Guardian today give blazing illumination to the death-dealing ignorance of that hideous conglomeration of bagmen and fanatics known as the Bush Faction.

First, Bush's hypocritical pandering to religious extremists is killing people in Africa, as the UN's special envoy for AIDS reports:
Bush Accused of AIDs Damage to Africa

Next, Bushist bagmen for Big Oil are cracking down, Joe McCarthy-style, on leading climate change experts:
Republicans accused of witch-hunt against climate change scientists

In Africa, Bush's extremist "base" is throttling condom distribution, thus crippling one of the continent's most effective anti-AIDS programs and condemning thousands of people -- mostly children -- to an early, agonizing death. This in the name of their "Christian" faith.

Of course, as anyone who has ever read the scripture knows, Jesus of Nazareth didn't apply a sexual, racial, political or sexual litmus test before helping the afflicted. Although he might give a gentle admonishment to "go and sin no more" afterwards, his ministrations were offered unconditionally. But then, as Harper's magazine recently pointed out, studies show that the majority of "Christians" in America have no idea what the Bible actually says. And it's an absolute dead certainty that the gibbering poltroon in the White House can be found among this ignorant throng.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the anti-earth faction has a new hero in Texas congressman Joe "Bonehead" Barton, left. Bonehead is a Big Oil bagman from way back, and as chairman of the House committee on energy and commerce, he's been carrying water for his masters for 11 years. Now he's taken aim at America's leading climate change scientists, demanding that they turn over all their sources of funding, methods and everything they have ever published. Barton will then hold public hearings into the "validity" of their work.

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The Not-So-Lost Cause

29 August 2005 6782 Hits

Jim Crow is back in the catbird seat:

Justice Deparment Approves Georgia Voter ID Law. (AP)

The problem for which this law was ostensibly designed is, of course, non-existent; i.e., huge numbers of illegal voters showing up at the polls with fake non-photo IDs.

But the problem for which this law was really designed is, of course, all too real: i.e., huge numbers of legal voters of dusky hue showing up at the polls and voting against Republicans.

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Ranch Hands Flatter Crawford Caligula While Real Journalists Die

29 August 2005 3654 Hits

While the fawning White House press corps chit-chats with Bush about baseball 'n kids at an intimate get-together on his fake ranch, here's what happens to real reporters who are out there reporting real news:

US Sniper Kills Reuters Soundman in Iraq (AFP)

Excerpt:
US forces in Baghdad shot dead a Reuters television soundman and wounded a cameraman, Iraqi police said.....

Two Iraqi colleagues who arrived on the scene minutes after the shooting were also briefly detained, then released, Reuters said. They said that Khaled was still alive when they reached him, and that US troops refused to give him water despite the blazing sun. "They (US soldiers) treated us like dogs. They made us, including Khaled who was wounded and asking for water, stay in the sun on the road," Reuters quoted a television crew member Mohammed Idriss as saying….

"Entry and exit wounds could be seen on the face indicating shots from the victim's right. There were several bullet holes in the windscreen and at least four wounds in the chest," Reuters quoted its correspondent as saying. "His US military and Reuters press cards, clipped to his shirt, were caked in blood. In one, there were two bullet holes," it said….

"As Waleed's tearful relatives inspected the body at the scene, a US soldier said: 'Don't bother. It's not worth it'. A few other soldiers joked among themselves just a few meters (feet) from the body", it added.

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The Commander Grovels

Written by Chris Floyd 26 August 2005 3048 Hits
From Juan Cole:
The New York Times says that President Bush called Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the Shiite leader. But the call seems to have been to no avail if the Shiites did not come to Barzani's home for negotiations. The Americans are annoyed that the Shiites recently came up with this demand for a southern confederation and are urging them to compromise with the Sunni Arabs, fearful that any other course will prolong and exacerbate the guerrilla war. Poor Bush, who once ordered mighty armies into war and tampered with the US Constitution through his Draconian "PATRIOT" act, now is reduced to pleading with a pro-Iranian cleric to please make nice with the ex-Baathists. And he isn't even succeeding in the plea!
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The Fire Sermon: A Spark is Lit in the Texas Scrub

Written by Chris Floyd 26 August 2005 4979 Hits

Published Aug. 26, 2005, in The Moscow Times

 

In his inaugural speech last January, President George W. Bush repeatedly invoked images of unbridled, ravaging destruction as the emblem of his crusade for "freedom." Fire was his symbol, his word of power, his incantation of holy war. Mirroring the rhetoric of his fundamentalist enemies, Bush moved the conflict from the political to the spiritual, from the outer world to the inner soul, claiming that he had lit "a fire in the minds of men."

 

But words are recalcitrant things; they have their own magic, and they will often find their own meanings, outside the intentions of those who use them. Bush has indeed inflamed the minds of men – and women – with his military crusade. But it is not the "untamed fire of freedom" that scorches them: it is the fire of grief and outrage at the lies that have consumed the bodies of their loved ones. This bitter flame burns in the rubble of blasted houses in Iraq and in the quiet, leafy suburbs of America, where the dead are mourned and the mutilated are left as the enduring legacy of Bush's cruel, wilful and unnecessary war.

 

This "fire in the mind" has now found its own symbol, in the unlikely figure of Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a slain American soldier. Here again, Bush's war-rousing words have gotten away from him. Sheehan's campaign – which began as a lonely vigil outside Bush's vacation ranch and has now spread across the country – centers on a single, simple request: that Bush explain to her what he means when he describes the war as "a noble cause."

 

Sheehan is no professional activist, no savvy insider or political junkie. She's an ordinary citizen, whose unadorned speech has none of the sweep and grandeur of Bush's expensively tailored rhetoric. But she has one thing that his professional scripters can never put in the presidential mouth: truth.

 

They must labor in the service of a lie, but Sheehan has read the Downing Street memos, the Duelfer WMD report, the September 2000 manifesto of a group led by Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld calling for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the top-level revelations by Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill, Seymour Hersh and many others. She knows the mountain of freely available, credible evidence that shows unequivocally that Bush and his minions sought this war of aggression from their first day in power; that they openly longed for "a new Pearl Harbor" to use as justification for their plans; that they deliberately manipulated, "stove-piped" and fabricated intelligence to concoct a false case for war; that they used UN diplomacy as a cynical sham to mask their military intentions and then invaded before the weapons inspection process which they themselves had insisted upon was even halfway complete.

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What Fresh Hell is This?

23 August 2005 5198 Hits
These are the hells that Bush has created with his "liberation" of Iraq:

Under US noses, brutal insurgents rule Sunni citadel. (Guardian) Excerpts:

Under US noses, brutal insurgents rule Sunni citadel

The executions are carried out at dawn on Haqlania bridge, the entrance to Haditha. A small crowd usually turns up to watch even though the killings are filmed and made available on DVD in the market the same afternoon. One of last week's victims was a young man in a black tracksuit. Like the others he was left on his belly by the blue iron railings at the bridge's southern end. His severed head rested on his back, facing Baghdad. Children cheered when they heard that the next day's spectacle would be a double bill: two decapitations. A man named Watban and his brother had been found guilty of spying...

...Alcohol and music deemed unIslamic were banned, women were told to wear headscarves and relations between the sexes were closely monitored....The court caters solely for divorces and marriages. Alleged criminals are punished in the market. The Guardian witnessed a headmaster accused of adultery whipped 190 times with cables. Children laughed as he sobbed and his robe turned crimson...Two men who robbed a foreign exchange shop were splayed on the ground. Masked men stood on their hands while others broke their arms with rocks...DVDs of beheadings on the bridge are distributed free in the souk. Children prefer them to cartoons...

From the Washington Post:
Militias on the Rise Across Iraq
Excerpts: Shiite and Kurdish militias, often operating as part of Iraqi government security forces, have carried out a wave of abductions, assassinations and other acts of intimidation, consolidating their control over territory across northern and southern Iraq and deepening the country's divide along ethnic and sectarian lines, according to political leaders, families of the victims, human rights activists and Iraqi officials....

...In Basra in the south, dominated by the Shiites, and Mosul in the north, ruled by the Kurds, as well as cities and villages around them, many residents have said they are powerless before the growing sway of the militias, which instill a climate of fear that many see as redolent of the era of former president Saddam Hussein...

...Across northern Iraq, Kurdish parties have employed a previously undisclosed network of at least five detention facilities to incarcerate hundreds of Sunni Arabs, Turkmens and other minorities abducted and secretly transferred from Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, and from territories stretching to the Iranian border, according to political leaders and detainees' families...."I don't see any difference between Saddam and the way the Kurds are running things here," said Nahrain Toma, who heads a human rights organization, Bethnahrain, which has offices in northern Iraq and has faced several death threats.... Add a comment
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Blood of Victory

23 August 2005 6223 Hits

 Meanwhile, the "victory" in Afghanistan just keeps on giving. From the NYT's remarkable Carlotta Gall (a former colleague of mine at The Moscow Times):

GI Death Toll in Afghanistan Worst Since 2001

"This year is already the deadliest for American soldiers in Afghanistan since the war of 2001, and the violence is likely to intensify before the nation's legislative elections on Sept. 18. Four soldiers were killed Sunday, meaning that 13 have been killed in August alone. Sixty-five Americans have been killed this year...

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Serious Business

23 August 2005 5427 Hits
 Below is an excerpt from the newly revised Empire Burlesque, the book-length collection of columns and new material that comprises an alternative history of history of Bush Regime. The e-book version is being updated right now (the current edition ends in June 2004), and should be available shortly.

The piece deals with a point that I think is very important to remember, although it doesn't seem to get much attention in the dissident media -- the fact that whatever happens in Iraq, Bush and his faction have already won. In a very real sense, it's been a win-win situation for them all along -- and that's probably one big reason why they've been so slapdash with the occupation: deep down, they don't give a damn how the country is sorted out -- because they've already accomplished their main objective. But more on this below.

From Chapter Seven: Serious Business (January-August 2005)

....By summer's end -- with grieving mother Cindy Sheehan standing vigil outside his ranch -- Bush seemed thrown back on the defensive, stumbling, trying to find a new line of patter, a new propaganda ploy to regain the initiative. But it was obvious that the war was lost. The only "successful" outcome possible was the installation of an unstable, violence-ridden Islamic state. There was no way that Bush and his supporters could pretend that this was their goal when they sent the troops in. Yet even this Pyhrric victory seemed increasingly unlikely as Iraq slid inexorably toward a multi-sided civil war.

In the midst of this great darkness, some dissidents spied a ray of hope. Surely, they thought, the magnitude of the American defeat in this pointless, illegal war -- a defeat compounded at every turn by the reckless incompetence of Bush and his colonial viceroys -- would at last rouse the American people to reject the Regime and restore some measure of sanity to the Republic.

But these good souls had made a fundamental mistake in their analysis -- as had most war critics throughout the ordeal. The United States may have lost the war -- but Bush had not. The invasion and occupation of Iraq was a resounding victory for the Bush Faction in the only area that really matters to them: enriching themselves and their cronies in the war-related industries. Even if the conquest were to blow up in the worst possible way, with full-scale civil war spilling over into neighboring countries, setting the whole region -- and perhaps the world -- in flames, the resulting chaos and global instability would mean even more money for the war profiteers. After all, the greater the insecurity, the bigger the budgets for "military servicing" and "security" firms. Add a comment
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Extremist Mullah Calls for Assassination of American Leader

23 August 2005 2902 Hits
That's Pat Robertson, of course, calling on his good Christian friend, George W. Bush, to murder Hugo Chavez, elected leader of the South American nation of Venezuela. (via Media Matters).

In his frothing rant, Pat manages to accuse of Chavez of being an agent of both "communist infiltration and Muslim extremism" -- a pretty neat trick. If I may be forgiven a personal note, it reminds me of the very first piece of hate mail I received as a young college columnist after publishing some criticism of Ronald Reagan (who had not yet ascended to bipartisan sainthood in those days). A furious Reaganite wrote in to accuse me of being -- I kid you not -- a "Hindu Marxist Nazi." The young cretin was, in his ignorance, simply spewing out any word that he could think of which would denote a feared and despised "Other" in his mind.

The old cretin Pat Robertson is doing the same thing -- but not out of ignorance. Robertson is as wily and wordly as they come, a well-educated son of wealth and privilege who has been in top reaches of the national elite his entire life. (His father was a U.S. Senator.) He knows full well the violent enmity between militantly secular communism and Islamic extremism. But he wants to associate any critic or opponent of the American Empire with whatever might call up the image of the feared and despised Other in the minds of his viewers -- most of whom, it must be said, are far more ignorant than Pat Robertson. (Which is why he has played them for suckers all the way to the bank for lo these many years.) Add a comment
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