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Wheelbarrows Wheelbarrows
by Jan Sand
2006-10-04 11:33:10
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Many parts of the world are engaged in terrible turmoil today, but the area of most violent action is unquestionably Iraq. And, unquestionably, the man most responsible for the conflict there is the President of the United States. People throughout the world, of all religions and nations, including many within the USA, are distressed over the war and the murky reasons for its initiation and continuation.

The emotional energy which fueled the motivation to attack the regime headed by Saddam Hussein arose from the atrocity devised by Al Qaeda in New York on 9/11. The USA was frightened and furious by this attack on its homeland, an attack that clearly demonstrated that the oceans separating the American continent from the troubled areas in the world no longer provided immunity from violence.

However, it also disturbed many people everywhere that there was no obvious connection between the terrorists who carried out the attack and Iraq. There was no doubt that Al Qaeda had bases and resources in Afghanistan and the Bush government swiftly initiated a counterattack against Afghanistan and the Taliban there who supported bin Laden. This action had support throughout the world which felt the retaliation was well justified.

The Iraqi dictatorship had been a thorn in the side of the world in general and a special irritant to George W. Bush since the first Gulf War. Although Saddam Hussein had been soundly defeated, the first George Bush felt it was sufficient to force his army back into Iraq’s original borders and hold him there. UN inspection teams were installed and, although Hussein used all sorts of ploys to foil the inspections to relieve him of weapons of mass destruction, the general opinion was that the divestiture was successful. Still, in many quarters, there was regret that the first Gulf War had not deposed the dictator and reformed the government. In particular, Hussein was known to have plotted the assassination of G.W. Bush’s father and it was rumored that G.W. Bush was avid for revenge.

Several people, who had contacts with the newly inaugurated G.W. Bush’s administration, with its cohort of neocons, had indicated that the younger Bush was eager to engage Hussein in war well before the incident of 9/11.

ovi_iraq_400The presidential contest of 2000 was exceedingly close and election shenanigans in Florida, whose governor was Bush’s brother, cast strong doubts on its legality. Gore had clearly won the total popular vote, but the electoral vote plus the Supreme Court’s decision gave the presidency to Bush.

Bush was inaugurated under a cloud of resentment and there were opinions that he was not particularly bright or qualified. When 9/11 occurred, there was an immediate total turnaround in Bush’s reputation. He made an appearance at the site of the tragedy and gave a speech that instantly established him as America’s savior. He started running with that and is still running as a great leader in war.

This is getting quite thin these days as the Iraq war has proved bloody and inconclusive and expensive. Nevertheless, Bush has so far been very successful in maintaining an air of hysteria in the USA to ease the acceptance of his reversal of many of the basic guarantees of freedom and security, and the unprecedented extension of presidential powers with ineffective opposition by the Democratic opposition.

The Bush administration has fostered gross corruption in favored corporations contracting for government services, gross inefficiency in handling both natural disasters and security measures to protect the American continent from terrorist plots against shipping containers, chemical plants, nuclear facilities and the general infrastructure. His policies on torture and incarceration of uncharged suspects in Guantanamo and Iraq have appalled the civilized world. And recent quotations from his Secretary of State indicate the Iraqi conflict is expected to last over thirty years or longer.

Many of his statements have been proven to be lies and his policy on secret classification has seen to it that what should be public knowledge remains hidden. Outside of the war Bush’s efforts to ravage the environment, ignore the health crisis, enrich the rich and impoverish the middle class, misdirect both science and education and, in all ways, diminish whatever is good about the USA seems more in the interest of bin Laden than of the nation. It has remained a puzzle to many people why he embarked on this futile Orwellian conflict.

There is an old story about a construction worker who was known to be dishonest and who repeatedly and frequently left the building site pushing a wheelbarrow. Inspectors watched him closely but the wheelbarrow was always empty, so they let him go. Finally, sure he was stealing something they forced a confession out of him. “For God’s sake!” they exclaimed, “What in hell are you stealing?” The man returned a sly grin and muttered, “Wheelbarrows.”

Not oil, not revenge, not Iraqi democracy, not even victory. Bush needs and wants war. He’s stealing wheelbarrows.

   
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