Sometimes I feel like the little boy in the cortege at the end of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Someone, tell me, how long will the Bush administration be granted the people’s credulity in the matter of its honesty and forthrightness?
In the beginning, the President and his then National Security Advisor professed “shock and awe” that Islamic terrorists bent on slaying the beast of American Imperialism would ever hijack planes and fly them into iconic symbols of our culture in a suicidal quest for the fruits of Allah’s great beyond.
Further investigation and public testimony revealed they had in fact been put on notice of precisely such a likelihood, and that the President and his advisors had been, at the time, more concerned with “clearing brush” and cultivating a folksy image than with protecting American lives and national security interests.
Immediately thereafter, the administration committed the nation to an unending war on terrorism, promising to capture, “Dead or Alive,” Osama bin Laden –alleged mastermind of the September 11th attacks.
After a flurry of bombing runs over an already desolate Afghanistan and a cursory rout of its chimeric tormentors, the Taliban, the President and his entire administrative apparatus began bleating and wailing about the imminent threat of Saddam Hussein and his massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. The world hadn’t been faced by such a dangerous man since Hitler, they cried; and managed to obtain nominal backing for an invasion of Iraq from Congress and a paltry, but vocal, international “coalition of the willing”.
Three years, over $150 Billion, 1500 American, and countless thousands of Iraqi lives later, we’ve found not enough WMD to make anyone even sneeze.
Oh, but Hussein is out, and the Iraqi people are free. They conducted robust democratic elections for the first time in fifty years last week. The shining light of freedom is “on the hunt” in the Middle East, which was really the plan all along.
Just today another report on the actual goings on at the FAA during the incipient months of the Bush administration revealed that, despite “dozens of intelligence reports that warned about Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, some of which specifically discussed airline hijackings and suicide operations,” Bush administration officials were “more concerned with reducing airline congestion, lessening delays, and easing airlines’ financial woes than [in] deterring a terrorist attack.”
Taken a plane or checked the financial health of any of America’s air carriers lately?
Not only did the Bush administration fail to confront the 900lb gorilla in the room, they haven’t had a whole bunch of success in the fields they claimed to be tending, either.
Not surprisingly, the Bush administration kept the report and its findings from the public for five months before releasing a heavily redacted version that, even in its sanitized airing of the workings of the Bush approach to government, condemns our leader as incompetent at best.
The Bush administration’s marketing of its approach to Medicare was sold to the public at a cost of some $400 Billion two years ago. Murmurings of discontent were heard then amid protestations that the WMD would still be found, but the Administration won passage of its Medicare bill anyway.
Today the administration sputtered to explain the newly revised cost of handing $724 Billion of taxpayer money to pharmaceutical corporations to give America’s seniors a prescription drug “benefit” over the next ten years that leaves them worse off than they are now.
On Monday the Bush administration presented Congress with a $3+ Trillion budget it described as “lean” and “responsible,” that promised to trim our record deficit in half over the next four years.
Borrowing from the kit bag of his friends at Enron and MCI, the President presented a document that left off the books expense items such as the cost of tending the eternal flame of freedom in the Middle East, of making tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans permanent, and of making a multi billion dollar subsidy to Wall Street the centerpiece of his plan to “fix” Social Security.
The President’s budget foresees “lean” times for low-income, “at-risk” sectors of the domestic economy, slashing support for education, veterans’ health care (support the troops!), the environment, public health, and a host of “non-performing” domestic spending programs, while “responsibly” increasing “defense” spending by 8%.
The Bush administration has paid cash money to ostensibly real, though politically accommodating, journalists to promote its initiatives and policy positions as “news.”
In the scam to promote its political agenda, the Bush administration has also given to fake reporters from fake news organizations the favor of access and attention in its rare news conferences.
The Emperor’s naked abuse of power, privilege, and the public trust shames us all.