“The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice.”
~~ Mahatma Gandhi
George W. Bush once told The Washington Post's Bob Woodward the great thing about being president was that he didn't have to answer to anybody. “I'm the commander,” Bush bragged. “See -- I do not need to explain why I say things...Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation...”
So that's it, then. Houston -- we have your problem. And, like they say in Texas -- anybody with half sense and one eye can see it's out of control. With this guy, the buck never seems to stop -- just veers crazily around corners, never turns back, thunders through the halls of the administration -- scares the hell out of those who try to corral it. The few times it has been caught in the glare of truth's headlights, its eyes were so wildly insane that hunters, even scandal-hardened ones like Woodward, quickly backed off.
It's time for the buck to stop. The guilty within this destructive administration must be held accountable for the massive damage they are causing throughout the world. Someone must pay for the pain and humiliation suffered by human beings under our care whom we so cavalierly torture -- literally -- to death. Someone must be held to account for the innocent men, women and children who are nothing more than collateral damage and who must die simply because they are there.
Life is NOT just a box of chocolates. Nor is it an endless video game or just one big television production. When American soldiers, sailors and marines are riddled with real bullets -- blasted apart by real bombs -- they don't get up, dust themselves off and go home after the “show.” They die. And they stay dead.
Somebody owes us an explanation.
But who? Truth is, there is no single person in charge. This country is run by a deadly, power-bloated committee whose entire cast of characters is without shame or conscience. Most had waited for more than a decade to gain control of the government in order to savage all regulatory corporate controls, pillage the U.S. Treasury, and to set into motion their imperialistic plans for a sweeping New World Order. Ironically, not one of them -- Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol, Donald Rumsfeld, Bill Bennett, Douglas Feith -- was presidential material. Hey -- not even the Supremes could have pulled that one off without sparking a revolution.
They struck oil -- a real gusher -- when they selected the frisky and mean-spirited George "Dubya" Bush as their front man. What a find! Bush, a blindly competitive bully, was totally self-absorbed, contemptuous of the disadvantaged masses and -- the best part -- he had no qualms about destroying innocent people to get his way. It worked to their advantage that Bush was as dumb as dirt with no sense of history because he very quickly proved he would do as he was told and would stick to the scripts written for him. Garbage in, garbage out.
Bush's cruel charm also made him an instant media darling. Their damage-control bits of journalistic derring-do to convince us that -- for Bush at least -- life does indeed begin at 40, are legend. The media was the wind beneath Bush's wings as he flew crazily to war, and throughout his rule, they have refused to expose his relentless, behind-the-scenes attack on the economy, the environment, and the overall health and welfare of Americans themselves. The media refuses to hold Bush to account, even as he stomps out of press conferences while furiously screaming, “Keep those motherfuckers away from me!” when asked an unscripted question. Which reminds me -- Bush is also a “born-again” evangelical Christian. Who is brave enough to court the wrath of a vengeful God by holding one of those folks accountable?
Asking Bush for an explanation can be a frustrating exercise. He can't remember ever making a mistake and, indeed, seems incapable of even mouthing the words, “I'm sorry.” In an April 13 press conference, Bush was asked to cite his biggest mistake since 9/11 -- not his biggest ever, just since 9-11 -- and what he learned from it.
Bush dissolved into a trembling, unscripted fool – “You know, I just -- I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hasn't yet,” he said, then continued babbling incoherently, “I hope I -- I don't want to sound like I've made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't -- you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.”
Under the spot? Strange that the relentless lies Bush told about WMD to whip the world into a frenzied, needless war didn't just “pop” into his head as maybe being a bit of a mistake. It sure pops into mine as a mistake of gargantuan proportions. Getting it to pop out is the problem, especially today, as the 1,089th coalition body bag is tossed onto the pile, and the stench of hundreds -- thousands -- tens of thousands -- of slaughtered “subhuman Islamic insurgent terrorist” Iraqi men, women and children wafts over the international landscape.
Someone must be held accountable.
Sometimes I wonder if, in hindsight, the Supreme Court regrets installing Bush as dictator in the 2000 coup. I wonder if they realize just how grotesque their act of destroying the natural dignity of democracy really is. Surely those five judges did not reach the pinnacle of judicial power without having a sense of history; without having read Thomas Paine's “The Rights of Man.” Surely they knew that those who seize power rule their subjects by “force and fraud,” and view with disgust the foolish rabble crying out against injustice. To reason with such men, Paine says, is to argue with brutes. Perhaps accountability should begin with the Supremes. Unfortunately -- like Bush -- they appear to feel they don't owe anybody an explanation...
Lack of space prohibits a complete rundown of the wounds Bush is inflicting upon this country. He had scarcely removed his hand from the Bible on inauguration day before he began trashing hundreds of domestic regulations put in place by President Bill Clinton. Bush began with a pre-emptive attack on wetlands and turned over the country's 155 national forests to the logging industry, kicked off a crusade to allow oil drilling in the nation's national monuments, and began an assault on job protections for both government and corporate workers.
And that was just the first day of his dictatorship.
To be fair, Clinton -- in a last-minute effort to protect the people and the environment -- left a stack of industry-opposed regulations, to include 800 pages of protections for Medicare programs. Bush made short shrift of those, while ending federal funding to groups that provide abortion counseling abroad, broke his campaign promise to regulate power plants for lower C02 emissions, and horrified the international community by trashing the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 for controlling global warming. Never worked up a sweat. For a listing of treaties and protocols shredded or rejected by the Bush regime, from Kyoto to land mines to women's rights, click here.
Few Americans realize the sheer scope of the damage Bush is inflicting upon us. The shock of 9-11, the rush to war, the litany of lies, the tragic loss of our servicemen and women and the metallic taste of fear as a result of sudden dire warnings of cold-blooded killers headed our way has forced most of us to “compartmentalize” our lives in order to retain our sanity.
The media refuses to hold Bush accountable for stealing billions from the WTC victims’ compensation fund, for cutting veterans health benefits, or for cutting Head Start and Leave No Child Behind programs in order to fund his tax cuts for the wealthy. Here in this country, real people are losing real freedoms and benefits. Those are real American children being deprived of education, social services, Medical care and, all too often, even of food and shelter because of the heartless decisions of the Bush regime. If you haven't been ravaged, it's probably because Bush's corporate “Rangers” and “Pioneers” haven't gotten around to you yet. It's a real cattle drive out there, folks. Yippee-ki-yoh...
Beginning on Monday, Aug. 23, as many as six million Americans will lose their right to overtime pay which, according to Ross Eisenbrey, director of the Economic Policy Institute, will give employers the “flexibility” to work their employees 50 or 60 hours a week without paying any more than they would for 40. Theft, pure and simple -- of citizens' money, their time and, ultimately, their lives. Eisenbrey points out, “It took 100 years of struggle to pass the Fair Labor Standards Act and create a 40-hour week. It has taken the Bush administration less than four years to turn back the clock.”
Bush's Labor Day Message to working Americans -- Go Cheney yourselves!
But the most egregious example of man's inhumanity to man was Bush pressuring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assure New York City residents that the air at or near Ground Zero was safe to breathe. Although tons of concrete, glass, furniture, carpets, insulation, computers and papers burned at the site until mid-December, EPA director Christine Todd Whitman was out there just one week after the twin towers collapsed assuring New Yorkers the air quality was safe.
According to a Reuters article, a study conducted by scientists at the University of California and released in Sept. 2003 found that, “The burning ruins of the World Trade Center spewed toxic gases ‘like a chemical factory’ for at least six weeks...” The study went on to say the White House “convinced the EPA” to delete cautionary statements. In other words, Bush -- who brays constantly that his mission is to “protect the 'Murikan people,” assured them with no thought for their safety that it was okay to breathe asbestos, lead, concrete dust and pulverized glass...
If there is a God, George W. Bush will be held responsible for this one heartless, barbaric and immoral act above all others.
I doubt that Bush can recall from speech to speech what he has promised, but those of us who have developed an ear for his rhapsodic prattlings know, as Freud said, his gaffes inevitably reveal his true thoughts. Bush told us long before his selection the direction his regime would take, but we were too busy laughing at his convoluted syntax to hear him. In January 2000, the Financial Times reported that, while at a gathering in South Carolina, Bush attempted to describe the world in which he lives with a tortured, “It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mental (sic) losses.”
In May 2000, he was at it again in Albuquerque when he said, “ ...You see, even though it's an uncertain world, we're certain of some things. We're certain that even though the ‘evil empire’ may have passed, evil still remains. We're certain there are people that can't stand what America stands for...We're certain there are madmen in this world, and there's terror, and there's missiles and I'm certain of this, too: I'm certain to maintain the peace, we better have a military of high morale, and I'm certain that under this administration, morale in the military is dangerously low.”
If you listen closely to him -- if you notice the security precautions that must be taken before he will venture out in public in his iron bubble -- it's easy to see that he's mightily concerned about protecting at least one American -- himself. Bush is far more terrified than we are. In his world, a terrorist lurks behind every tree, crouches under every bed -- and they're all out to get him.
Maybe so. But then, again, maybe all they want is for the buck to stop. Maybe they think he owes them an explanation.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer who spent the happiest years of her youth on a ranch in New Mexico. She is a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She will accept praise and atta-boys at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Complaints and death threats should be directed to her cousin, Junior Samples, at BR-549.
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