Diving Deeper Into The Muck Of Bush Scandals
When looking at daily news reports, we all tend to fall into the trap of focusing on juicy details of the scandaldu jour. It's natural to do so. But often by concentrating so carefully on the minutiae, we miss seeing the import of the larger
So let's just take two representative scandals from the CheneyBush Administration -- those derived from the Iraq War and
those surrounding the firing of the U.S. attorneys -- and see where they overlap and what they might represent when
viewed from a longer-range perspective.
1. THE IRAQ WAR
The first thing to recognize is that the Iraq War was never about conquering Iraq per se. It was about using Iraq for a
variety of sub-rosa purposes: to secure control of the huge oil reserves there and in the rest of the Middle East; using
Iraq as an example to convince other Arab leaders to be more agreeable to U.S. demands or face America's "shock & awe"; to establish a "democratic" government willing to do America's bidding as a model for the region (the sleazy
convicted felon Chalabi was the original choice to be "our man" heading that government); to maintain a permanent,
massive U.S. presence there to help carry out America's political aims in the Greater Middle East; to remove Iraq's
ability to attack Israel, America's one certain ally in the region.
Even though war with Iraq was on the CheneyBush agenda long before 9/11, to get to the point of being able to use Iraq
for those hidden purposes it was necessary first to manipulate public opinion into recognizing a supposed "imminent,"
probably even a nuclear, danger to America. Not a difficult task at all, since the mainstream press simply echoed the
lies and deceptions underlying the CheneyBush rush to war. Then it was on to toppling Saddam. That was the easy part.
CheneyBushRumsfeldWolfowitz and their fellow illusionists, all of whom bought into the exiles' "cakewalk" claims, were
fatally handicapped by their ideological blinders from seeing reality. They assumed that once the hated Saddam was
toppled, the Iraqis would welcome the invading troops with chocolate and flowers and would cooperate as their society
was turned into a U.S. suzerainty. "Democracy" and a "capitalist free market" would take root and prevail.
In its arrogant ignorance, the Bush Administration had scant knowledge of the complexity of Iraqi society, its many
strong divisions, even who the real leaders were, and so were wrong from the get-go in so many social, political and
religious areas as it began the Occupation. One mistake was piled on another until anything approaching "victory" became
impossible. From that time on, and even into the present, the U.S. constantly was reduced to playing catch-up and
seeking do-overs, almost always disastrously late and ineffective.
THE WEAKNESS OF THE MUSCLEBOUND
Reality intervened. Small, insular countries do not take kindly to being occupied, humiliated and brutalized by foreign
giants. And so they resist and, in doing so, they reveal the inherent weakness of the giant powers (the Russians in
Afghanistan in the '80s, America now in Iraq): musclebound by their technological superiority. In guerrilla warfare, the
guerillas "win" not by defeating the more powerful occupation armies, but by bleeding the occupiers with a thousand cuts
over a thousand months or more, if necessary -- and eventually the invaders are forced to leave.
For a wonderful contemporary assessment of the disaster that is CheneyBush war/occupation policy in Iraq, check out Josh
Marshall's trenchant take. ( LINK
) Here's the concluding money-quote:
"...We're occupying Iraq because continuing to do so allows us to pretend that the initial plan wasn't completely
misguided and a mistake. If we continue to run the place a bit longer, the reasoning goes, we'll root out this or that
problem that is preventing our original predictions from coming to pass. And of course the longer the occupation
continues we generate more and more embittered foes to frame this rationalization around, thus creating an perpetual
feedback loop of calamity and self-justification. ... The reality though is that the disaster has already happened.
Admitting that isn't a mistake or something to be feared. It's the first step to repairing the damage. What the
president has had the country in for four years is a very bloody and costly holding action. And the president has forced
it on the country to avoid admitting the magnitude of his errors."
STRETCHING OUT THE CATASTROPHE
The state-authorized tortures, the corporate looting of billions and billions of dollars, the lack of oversight of the
near 100,000 mercentary soldiers in U.S. pay, the lack of a functioning reconstruction plan for the country's
infrastructure (by the way, 7 out of 8 completed reconstruction projects are already worthless, a new study has found),
) the lack of adequate care for wounded U.S. soldiers, etc. etc. -- all these scandal tributaries flow out of the
original scandal: the decision to launch a war of choice based on lies, deceit, arrogance, ignorance and cynical
manipulation of the American citizenry.
Until that admission can be openly and honestly admitted and dealt with, no surge, no escalation, no staying the course
will, or can, work.
A house built on a faulty foundation eventually will collapse, especially when given a good shake. And that's where we
are today: an Administration trying to convince its tax-paying citizenry that a belated escalation of the war will yield
"victory." It will not. It will simply inflame the civil war and elongate the catastrophic U.S. policy.
But that doesn't matter to the Administration. CheneyBush are still committed to a permanent U.S. presence in Iraq --
since they regard Iraq as the vital pivot in their neoconservative drive to control the political/military situation in
the Greater Middle East. They are escalating the allegedly "temporary" surge by sending tens of thousands of additional
troops, with more in the pipeline; unfairly tacking on more months to soldiers' rotations; calling up more National
Guard troops, etc.
In short, the Bush Administration is preparing for years and years of continued fighting there. (Or, if things get
desperate, at the very least they will stretch out the war past the 2008 election, and then the new administration can
take the blame.)
Given U.S. policy in Iraq, the al-Qaida recruiters in that country and around the globe couldn't ask for a better
2. THE U.S. ATTORNEYS SCANDAL
Underlying the Iraq War and Occupation is a political rapaciousness and will in the CheneyBush Administration that leads
inexorably to self-destructive behavior. Much the same can be said about their obtuseness, arrogance and all-consuming
political agenda with regard to the U.S. Attorneys scandal.
Each day, it seems, more and more facts emerge about this growing scandal stemming from the firing of key and generally
first-rate U.S. attorneys around the country by Alberto Gonzales' Department of Justice. These U.S. Attorneys were
replaced with "loyal-Bushie" attorneys (that's the DOJ description) who can be relied upon to do the bidding of their
The key to the scandal can be found in Karl Rove's unceasing desire to create permanent domination of the U.S. political
scene by conservative Republicans. To accomplish this, those U.S. Attorneys who continued to go after corrupt Republican
officials had to be removed and replaced by those who would go after Democrats, even if there were no corruptions to be
found there. Originally, there were a dozen U.S. Attorneys on the chopping block, but eventually Gonzales and his
minions settled on eight, knowing that the 80-plus others would get the message and toe the party line.
Rove has made no secret of how he "wins" elections, and he isn't about to change his techniques now. The name of the
game -- even for the moment ignoring vote-counting irregularities, especially as connected to the corrupted
computer-voting system -- is massive suppression of likely-Democratic voters. In the main, this means minority urban and
rural voters, with a heavy emphasis on African-Americans.
Several hundred thousand votes in large cities, for example, can shift the election results in tight races in key states
-- see Ohio and Florida 2000 and 2004 -- which can influence national politics for years to come.
HOW ELECTIONS ARE STOLEN
Republican officials lop tens of thousands of minority voters off the voting rolls for one reason or another: because
the voters may have moved and not filed a timely change-of-address form, and because they are supposed convicted felons
or those who have the same or similar name as convicted felons, etc.. What Rove and Gonzales want the various U.S.
Attorneys to do is to indict liberal organizations -- the Democratic Party itself, advocacy groups such as ACORN, et al.
-- for alleged "electoral fraud" in signing up new voters and in that party's get-out-the-vote drives.
It doesn't matter if there's little or no truth to the "voter-fraud" charges. (fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias
refused to prosecute what he called these "bogus" cases). The point for Rove and his minions is that by charging and
indicting Democrats, a lot of legal smoke is created that could lead many wavering voters to believe there's a genuine
fire there and thus not vote for the Democratic candidates. Additionally, such charges tie up the Democratic Party and
its supporting organizations for many months in costly legal proceedings. Then, too, if such charges are made often
enough, it sort of balances out any negative publicity Republican candidates and officials might be receiving as a
result of their corrupt political and financial maneuverings.
In the short term, for 2008, Rove wants the Republicans to regain control of the House and Senate and to maintain their
hold on the White House. The longer-range goal is to return the Democrats to permanent minority status, thus giving free
rein to conservative Republican rule for another generation or two.
No independent-minded U.S. Attorneys could be permitted to interfere with this plan, hence the midterm firings and
POLITICALIZATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
It seems apparent that what we are witnessing now as the U.S. Attorneys scandal widens is just the tip of a huge, nasty,
illegal iceberg of Rove's politicalization ( LINK
) of Bush's entire Department of Justice, along with other departments as well. Examples: Those seeking jobs in the
CheneyBush Administration were asked about their political affiliations and philosophies, sessions were held in
government offices on government time to try to help "our [i.e., GOP] candidates," Civil Rights divisions were manned by
anti-civil rights "loyal Bushies," etc. Many of these actions are illegal.
As in Iraq, the arrogance of power rears its head in this scandal as well. Just one for-instance: The normal way of
choosing U.S. Attorneys is for the two senators in each state to either nominate candidates or have what amounts to veto
power over an Administration's nominees before they are publicly named. By and large, the 93 U.S. Attorneys around the
country had been named by Republican presidents and approved by the two senators in each state.
What better way to thoroughly piss off U.S. senators from your own party than to ignore their traditional input in this
process? In effect, the Bush Administration was forcing the Senators to acknowledge their utter powerlessness against an
all-powerful Chief Executive. Not even conservative Republican senators take kindly to such arrogant bullying, which may
help explain why they are not coming to Alberto Gonzales' defense and are even calling for his firing or resignation.
(Henry Waxman might well want to call former A.G. John Ashcroft to testify about what was going on in the Bush
Administration that led him to resign so early.)
Gonzales deserves punishment for crimes much more serious than covering-up the partisan machinations in the U.S
Attorneys scandal: inventing a rationale to justify torture as U.S.policy, conceiving legal mumo-jumbo that claims the
President is above the law, etc. etc. But Gonzales is, and always has been, Bush's toady. The real villains are Cheney,
Rove and Bush, and one can hope that sooner rather than later, the Democrats and appalled conservative Republicans will
decide that enough is enough and get rid of the lot of them -- a decision that could be made easier because Republicans
want to hold onto their seats in Congress, association with the Bush Administration is political suicide, and the 2008
election is not that far away.
And if these legislators, Democratic and Republican, don't have the courage or perspicacity to force out Bush and Cheney
and Rove, we the electorate should make sure they don't remain in office, replacing them with members of Congress who
will help restore America's time-honored checks and balances system and who are committed to the inviability of
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., has taught government & international relations at universities in California and Washington, worked as a writer/editor with the San Francisco
Chronicle for nearly two decades, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers ( http://www.crisispapers.org
). To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org .
First published by The Crisis Papers and Democratic Underground 5/1/07.
Copyright 2007 by Bernard Weiner.