will seize the opportunity to achieve big goals." - George
W. Bush, from Bush at War
Bush regime's strategic decision to seize effective control of the
planet translates domestically as wholesale pillaging of American
civil society. Breathtaking is too weak a word to describe the scope
of what the Republicans have accomplished under the guise of a War
on Terror. The "opportunity" referred to in Bob Woodward's
new book presented itself in the form of four aircraft under the
control of Osama bin Laden's adherents. Bush has parlayed the gift
- for surely 9-11 is treasured as a Godsend by Bush and his crew
- to consolidate an approximate corporate coup at home while smashing
the delicate mechanisms of civilized relations among nations.
world is terrified - hushed - in wide-eyed thrall of the cocked
American hammer. Rule of the international madman is at hand, and
nobody wants to set him off. Him is Bush, not Saddam Hussein, the
petty tyrant who engineered for himself the historical misfortune
of becoming indispensable to Bush's "big goals."
the Hard Right agenda becomes law at cyclonic speed, leaving a transfixed
public looking like tennis fans during a high-speed volley, heads
swiveling, jaws dropped, watching the world as we knew it whiz by.
The rules of domestic rule are changing as swiftly as the thickening
theater of Middle East battle. Each assault on labor, consumers,
and civil rights is immediately followed by a new offensive, with
blurring rapidity. Legislative outrages of proportions that would
have commanded weeks of headlines and provoked tag-team Senatorial
filibusters not so long ago, are reduced to anecdotes with the shelf
life of a Jay Leno quip.
Patriot Act, now one year old, has metastasized state by state,
replicated by local yahoo politicians with Ashcroftian ambitions
and a flag to wave. Civil liberties lawyers attempt triage on a
bleeding Bill of Rights, hoping to save the rights they can, yet
despairing of even that fragment. A federal court allows the government
to treat all citizens as suspected foreign agents - and to spy on
those friends and acquaintances that might wander into the zones
criminal John Poindexter, who escaped jail on a technicality for
lying to Congress in connection with illegally arming CIA terrorists,
is put in charge of developing a system called - gasp - Total Information
Awareness! The name, itself, would have been unthinkable without
the War on Terror. Yet the Defense Department scheme to keep track
of everyone's everyday transactions - credit card, telephone, internet,
electronic toll booths - sails on in proud majesty, more like a
promise than a threat against tomorrow's dissenters.
adrenaline of power overwhelms the inhibitions of deliberative lawmaking.
"The terrorists are not going to wait for a process that goes
on days, weeks or months," howled Republican leader Senator
Trent Lott, damning Democrats for poking around inside the bulging
Homeland Security bill. "We need to get this done, and we need
to do it now." Among the hundreds of packages jammed inside
Bush's holiday sack - all wrapped in brown paper and largely unexamined
by the U.S. Congress - are numerous special dispensations to GOP
donors. Drug companies, for example, are immunized against some
consumer lawsuits, so as not to hinder the War on Bio-Terror.
are all being defeated by War; labor, most of all. It is crystal
clear that labor is the main enemy on the domestic front of Bush's
war. Homeland Security means no job security for the new department's
175,000 employees, on the theory that secretaries, accountants and
janitors are soldiers in the national defense against... whatever,
with no rights that any Republican appointee is bound to respect.
Civil service rules might leave openings for Osama. Trent Lott cut
loose his Mississippi yell and overran the union ranks. The 107th
Congress retreated into inglorious history.
only the beginning. Bush men take no working class prisoners. The
White House claims it doesn't even need Congress to privatize 850,000
federal jobs, opening them up to competition from the private sector.
Forget about the unions in that bargain. Bush likes to bite twice
before taking time to swallow. On the one hand, he creates a giant
political spoils system on a scale that, as New York Times columnist
Paul Krugman points out, has not been seen since President Andrew
Jackson invented American-style patronage. Simultaneously, Bush
massacres public employee unions, the GOP equivalent of ecstasy.
there's more, always more. This is total political and economic
warfare, scorched earth. The U.S. Army must be privatized
in order to make it safe for war profiteers and invulnerable to
subversion by public servants carrying union cards.
60,000 military personnel and more than 150,000 civilian employees
could become redundant, their jobs filled by private contractors
like Halliburton, Vice President Cheney's old firm, which specializes
in training and housing armies. The privatization plan was announced
as yet another "anti-terrorism" innovation in an October
4 internal memo from Army Secretary Thomas White, the former Enron
executive. Make that three bites before swallowing. Or four. It's
easy to lose track in a blizzard of corruption, especially when
the public is constantly distracted by the sirens and colors and
warnings and threats of Terror In The Homeland.
mundane matters such as making permanent the pre-September 11 tax
cut for the rich, privatizing Social Security, and health care legislation
tailored to corporate providers and insurers, will be left to the
108th Congress, when thieves and rogues will form stronger quorums.
America has transformed a national tragedy into a cornucopia of
public booty. The war profiteers have prepared a feast before the
Middle East phase of conflict has even begun, confident that dissenters
will not be allowed to crash the party.
are about to impose the awful silence of political police, listening.
axis of addiction
the facades of the phony war against the international drug trade
are being dismantled, for lack of mission. It is just as well. American
"interests" in Colombia are more than ever defended by
drug-dealing mercenaries of rightwing terror; it is difficult for
the U.S. military and CIA to deputize men whom the Drug Enforcement
Administration is attempting to arrest on trafficking charges. Best
to abandon the whole charade. Instead, the Colombian military, packed
with U.S. "advisors" and wholly dependent on American
dollars, actively secures areas of operation for the narco-gangsters
of United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), the regime's effective
AUC was formed from the private armies of rich ranchers, the founding
architects of the international cocaine network. Alvaro Uribe, a
prince of one of those semi-feudal families, sits in the Presidential
U.S.-educated Uribe was once Mayor of Medillin, Colombia's second-largest
city, known around the globe as the capital of cocaine. This month,
the army invaded Medillin neighborhoods controlled by sympathizers
of leftist guerillas - the Greater Evil in the axis of George Bush's
mind - to facilitate occupation by the city's 400 AUC gangs, 10,000
the past decade, over 40,000 people have been murdered in President
Uribe's city, most at the interchangeable hands of drug dealers
and the AUC. These are the allies the U.S. gets when Bush says to
the world, "You are with us or against us."
the drug lords of Afghanistan, U.S. allies all, have reestablished
the country as the unchallenged center of the international heroin
trade. This is a great victory for the CIA, whose officers bragged
to author Bob Woodward of their role in buying the warlords' allegiances
in the war against the Taliban. What they didn't tell Woodward was
that heroin franchises were part of the bargain.
United Nations has thrown up its hands, helpless observers in the
face of a U.S. military that considers opium poppies none of their
business. "Expectations are that it will take the best part
of a decade before opium production is eradicated," said Lakhdar
Brahimi, the UN's top official in Afghanistan.
the U.S. reigns supreme in the heroin and cocaine capitals of the
planet, having created the optimum commercial environment for its
closest allies in the War on Terror - and a domestic drug nightmare
for its own citizens.
a deeper examination of U.S. facilitation of narco-trafficking,
commentary, Make the Amendment: How to get the
U.S. Government Out of the International Drug Trade," April