George Bush and his surrogates opened his newest war this week. This one is being waged against the porous defenses of the American voter’s besieged and wobbly mind in a domesticated version of Donald Rumsfeld’s signature shock and awe.
“I,” George Bush is basically telling America today, “am your security. You can trust me.”
This is a startling revelation. It comes out of nowhere, as though scraped up from the cutting room floor of an impersonator’s burlesque. There is nothing on the record to show that the George Bush gang can be trusted to supervise the election of a dog catcher let alone read a barometer in New Orleans.
In the weeklong runup to the observance of 9/11, the country was subjected to around-the-clock volleys of high-pressure political smoke to persuade voters that the war in Iraq and Bush’s “war on terror” somehow have the same villain-ancestor. Who is, we’re now told, Adolf Hitler. The strategy is to suck the Democrats into spending the next two months arguing about it, and to keep the reeling voters from demanding an end to Bush’s chaotic horse opera in Washington.
This is the way the current Republican monopoly governs and wins elections: Invent a new reality or, as a Bush bureaucrat once told the writer Ron Suskind, if the truth or the facts don’t fit the message we’re trying to sell, “we create our own reality.” Meaning “when necessary, we invent our own truth.”
The newest Bush reality is that the one, solitary wall-to-wall issue in the 2006 elections, the one on which American democracy will rise or fall, is terror: Fighting terror, we are to believe, is the Bush franchise and the war in Iraq a kind of wholly owned subsidiary.
No other issues need apply. ABC-TV, the Disney network, likes that idea. So it signed on as a collaborator and buys into the falsification of history. The six-hour ABC miniseries this week remakes the truth and exonerates the hapless George Bush, who read kindergarten stories during the action. Instead, it blames Bill Clinton for 9/11.
This is the beginning of the sell in the 2006 midterm elections. Never mind that the honest-to-God realities that most Americans see are these:
A ruthlessly inept and inadequate health care plan intended not to offer even-handed protection for its clients at all levels but to expand the profits of HMOs, insurance companies and pharmaceutical giants while 46 million Americans go uninsured.
Add: Public schools being swamped under expenses they can’t handle, classrooms in disarray in some of the poorer school districts, teachers unable to meet family insurance costs.
Add: Rising crime in the wake of funding cutbacks for police departments, while billions of dollars are stripped from the federal treasury and fed into the bank accounts of millionaires through unprecedented tax cuts that flowed unabated while billions more went to underwrite a fraudulently sold war and mismanaged occupation in Iraq.
Add: The depression of wages and the Wal-Martizing of workers. More billions re-routed into corporate treasuries and private accounts through excess profits and crooked billing by contractors who bankrolled the political campaigns of the party that runs the monopoly government.
That is what much of the public has been seeing. The Bush crowd tells us there is something wrong with that picture. So this week George Bush set us straight. He is saying:
The reality in this election, America, is that you should be scared not only of terror but Iran, and that George Bush is your security blanket. Iran is a relatively late starter in the election scrum here. It goes this way: the idea in this election, America, is to get your mind off the debacle in Iraq. Those numbers, a hundred thousand Iraqis dead, 2,600 Americans killed, 20,000 American men and women wounded—that’s something for the defeatists.
You’re not relevant if you look seriously at those election-year red herrings like lost pensions, skyrocketing medical costs, working poor unable to support themselves, school closings, war profiteering, wide-open corruption in Washington, the broken promises in New Orleans, and a government shot through with incompetence and cronyism, operating in secret, breaking laws and, in its spare time, promising to pray for us.
The Bush government is going to keep doing this until it stops working. Rattle the drums. Get the cable news and networks stoked up. Make the networks air those flyovers before the kickoffs of all of the NFL openers. Send Ollie North into the Iranian desert with a camera crew and a booking agent. We may be looking at the grand slam of wars in one presidential regime. The one in Iran would go on top of Afghanistan and on top of Iraq and on top of that side business in Lebanon.
The idea is somehow to create the atmospherics of endless war, or the possibilities of it, and to link it up with the threat of endless terror, which,successfully manipulated, has kept these people in power in Washington.. And in a few days it will be wrapped in with the observance of 9/11—a day so cataclysmic and solemn in its tragedy that it brought to America the embrace of virtually the entire world. It was a time when a wise American leadership could have rooted out the evil of Al Qaeda and responded to the world’s open arms by creating a welcome new era of international solidarity.
Instead, the American government went on a rampage of reconfiguring the Middle East, squandering the respect it acquired in the days immediately after 9/11, and discovering the keys to perpetuating itself in power. It exploited fear, created fear, used 9/11 to tear up the social contract between the government and its people, defamed those who resisted the powerhouse, built a monopoly, and opened the treasury to con men and 21st Century pirates.
That’s where we are two months before the election. If they work the scam again, they will enter the 2008 presidential election with an even tighter control of the government, and perhaps convincing proof that there is no end to the gullibility of a people who once valued the right to vote as proof of the sanctity of democratic government.
We know now that there is nothing open-ended about genuine democracy in America. It can be choked to death. That is one of the bona fide realities of this coming November.