November 14, 2005

Does It Matter Whether Bush is Lying or Delusional?

Andy Ostroy, in his latest blog entry on The Ostroy Report, has offered a piece entitled Despite Bush's New Rhetoric, He and Cheney Lied About WMD.

And it got me to thinking.

So what?

Ostroy's piece is an indictment of the Bush lies and misrepresentations about Iraq, a laundry list of the Bush arrogance, war-mongering, duplicity and impeachable offenses. His conclusion is that either Bush is lying or is delusional. Either way he ought to be impeached and run out of town.

The delusional label is one I like, because it's so emotionally satisfying. It fits Bush's inarticulate, goofy ways. I can easily imagine him delusional, Howard Hughes-like, sipping from a pint bottle he keeps near to hand, eyes glazing over while Rove and Cheney try to tutor him in basic English, science, history, geography, and logic. But the delusional label is all-too-simple an explanation for what has been a mammoth undertaking of an imperial foreign policy unlike any in American history -- the invasion of a sovereign country that has not attacked the United States. So, if he is delusional, then everyone around him is delusional to the extent that they feed his delusions, and I can't but that. It may be that when he repeats over and over again that things are going splendidly in Iraq, he sounds delusional. But he isn't, really.

And so what if he lied about certain things that got us into Iraq in the first place? What if he and Cheney "fit" the intelligence to their purpose? And what if, from the Bush and Cheney perspective, it doesn't matter whether we believe they lied or are crazy, or whether they are arrogant, or had poor judgement or are war-mongering? It's the outcome of their policy that counts.

Bush and Cheney believe that had they told the truth about why they felt the need to invade Iraq (and how 9/11 gave them good cover to do so), they would not have had the support of the American people. While the American people are ready to send their young men and women to die in a war (Afghanistan) to strike back at the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, and to overthrow a regime thatwe were told sponsored and supported that terrorism (Iraq) and which threatened us directly, the American people would not have been equally ready to send its young to die for a strategic military invasion that serves American imperial corporate interests. That argument would n ot have gotten off the ground.

It's the very presence of our military in Iraq and the long-term goal of keeping that presence there that matters to them. They could care less how we got there and, other than from a public relations point of view, they don't care about all of the rest of us arguing about who is crazy, delusional, lying or who should be impeached or not. In the end, they believe what they have accomplished will be justified and confirmed by the resulting US hegemony in that region of the world.

No matter what kind of government evolves in Iraq -- radical Islamic or democratic, or something in between -- someone, at some time, is going to develop Iraq into the significant world oil supplier that it has the potential to be (exceeding even that of Saudi Arabia). The strategic presence of our troops, eventually concentrated in a half-dozen or so enclaves of substantially smaller numbers of troops than we have now, throughout Iraq, is the point. This presence, for decades to come, along with our presence in Afghanistan, as well as various American bases in a few key central Asian countries, guarantees an unimpeded distribution channel of oil and gas to American capital. At a time when China is exploding economically, controlling that supply is imperative.

It also helps that our military presence serves as a bulwark against and warning to the governments of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. Our presence also serves as a reassurance to friendly governments like Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. Our presence will, in all likelihood, affect a certain leverage and flexibility with respect to an eventual US imposition of a peace in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

I worry that progressives will flail away for the next three years, talking of impeachment, delusion, war-mongering, lying, the Downing Street memos, Abu Ghraib, GITMO, and perhaps new outrages we can add to our litany. We may even elect a Democratic Senate in 2006, perhaps a Democratic President in 2008, but, in the end, whatever the composition of a "new" American leadership, it will, in all probability, recognize the ultimate "good" of our strategic presence in Iraq, in spite of whatever calumny led us there. This future Democratic or Republican government will, to be sure, go through all sorts of hoop-jumping, apologia, and prevaricating spin, but it will, in the end, endorse and preserve the fait accompli created by Bush's War, recognizing a facts-on-the-ground necessity that, in their view, benefits America much more than it hurts it.

I opposed the war from the outset because I saw it as a capitalist enterprise, not delusion, not arrogance, not war-mongering. First, big wars like this are certainly beneficial to the arms industry. But I opposed it because it is a conscious imperial choice made by oilmen and their corporate allies to dominate, as best they can, and in their own interests, a dwindling energy resource needed by the entire world. They believe it is especially important as China and India explode as world economies which will demand more and more energy. Read my entry at Oilygram from the 60 Minutes program of December 15, 2002. While Rumsfeld ran from it, the oil industry was not afraid to say what the Iraq invasion was all about - oil.

To explain away the Bush Iraq agenda as arrogant, or as delusional, or as a matter of poor judgement, or as war-mongering, weakens our understanding of these men and what they are about. We need to find a way to communicate to the American people how any semblance of economic democracy is long gone from the American way of life, and how our political democracy is being stolen from us. We can't do that by calling Bush and Cheney names or by analyzing their psychology. We can only do it by explaining what they do, and why and how they do it, and why it is contrary to the interests of the average working American.

Start here: Isn't there some better way we could be spending hundreds of billions of dollars of American taxpayer money than this?

1 comment:

Ed Bremson said...

So Bush was wrong about WMDs. Now 2000+ are dead, $200 billion is spent, 15,000+ wounded and maimed, with no end in sight. Pretty expensive mistake. Don't we pay the president to get it right? Isn't this mistake alone enough to condemn him? Other people and countries -- including the oft-maligned French -- were telling him he was wrong. He ignored them all. He was determined to go to war, no matter what the real threats were. He did not use war as a last resort, as he said he would. I think that ignoring the truth, along with sending men into battle with faulty intelligence ought to be a punishable offense.

I know that if I cost our country 2000 lives and $200 billion I would be in big trouble. The president should be in big trouble. Getting it wrong ought to matter and it ought to have consequences. Getting it wrong certainly has had consequences for the 2000+ dead and the 15,000+ wounded and maimed. It certainly has consequences for all our citizens and for our economy. President Bush seems to be trying to pass the buck. Where does the buck stop? Don't we need to get people in there who don't make the kinds of mistakes that George W. Bush makes? Hmmm?

They got it wrong on pre-war intelligence, wrong on Katrina, wrong on tax cuts for the rich, wrong on cuts in benefits for the poor, wrong on burgeoning deficits. How much else are they wrong about? How long are we going to take it? George W. Bush and the Republicans are just Wrong for America.