By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
This has not been a good year for George W. Bush. His stalled legislative agenda sits covered in pocket lint. A federal judge just tossed his beloved "intelligent design" out of classrooms. Bush's associates and allies are being indicted, and there's promise of more to come. (Anyone notice that Bob Novak now claims that Bush knew who leaked Valerie Plame's name to the press?) Lies, deceptions and abrogations of justice keep coming to light. That war of his isn't looking so good. One of America's greatest cities was lost on his watch.
Members of his own party scorned him when he nominated his prized Kewpie doll to the Supreme Court, expressed dismay over his administration of the USA Patriot Act, and shamed him over his embrace of torture. Members of his own species the world over are aghast at the thuggish, selfish vision of America he's created.
And, in the halls of Congress, there's a word being whispered a little louder each day: impeachment . . . impeachment. . . IMPEACHMENT . . . IMPEACHMENT!
That's right: Impeachment, it's not just for blowjobs anymore.
As recently noted by John Dean—who saw Richard Nixon's abuses of power in full flower—when George W. Bush said on camera that he had ordered the National Security Agency to wiretap Americans, he was admitting to an impeachable offense. He broke a 1978 law, a felony, put in place to prevent Nixon's abuses from recurring. Members of Bush's own party are a little steamed about that, too.
I don't know about you, but I don't feel like rejoicing.
That's not just because Bush won't be impeached, not by this Congress. He could carve a swastika in his forehead and be videotaped peeing on Dwight Eisenhower's exhumed corpse, and most Republicans would still argue that it's a post-9/11 world, where a President's gotta take extreme measures.
I'm not rejoicing because, for every cock-up Bush gets called to task for, there are a dozen others for which he doesn't, and all of them diminish our nation.
How can one exult over how wrong he and his advisers are about Iraq when scores of thousands of people are dead as a result and more are still dying, while the towns we haven't bombed into hummus yet are overrun with murderous cops, Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish death squads, terrorists, god-addled jihadists and corporate hired goons from the unfettered killing fields of South Africa and Central America? As Donald Rumsfeld compactly put it, "Freedom is messy."
Which was sure the case in the Gulf states, where a criminal lack of planning and even more criminal lack of follow-through contributed to Hurricane Katrina leaving over 1,300 people dead and a region devastated. To this day there are some 6,000 persons still unaccounted for. In America! How is that possible?
You can bet they'd be accounted for if they were war protestors, because the Pentagon, National Guard, FBI and police agencies have been intensively spying on anti-war groups. If you're an outspoken one of the 150 million Americans who oppose the war, do you know what you're called in the Pentagon's surveillance logs (the news of which just surfaced this December)? You're a "threat."
They can't find Osama bin Laden, so they'll find you protesting at Bristol and Anton. Don't you feel safer already? The FBI spies on Greenpeace and PETA, and cites eco-terrorism as our biggest domestic threat. This, while the rest of the world rightly views U.S. policy as the biggest threat to the planet's survival. Bush's stand on global warming—ignoring the rest of the world and the overwhelming consensus of scientists—is one more thing making us a pariah nation. Our government's more concerned about some dealer's SUVs going up in flames than it is about the whole world doing so.
May I take a breather here? While I do, I'd like to address those of you who are considering writing in to accuse me of being a Bush-hater. Let me save you the trouble: I hate Bush. I hope it's not a federal crime to say so, but I'd throw dog shit at him if I could.
Maybe he's a loving husband and enjoys a good joke, but he's a lying, sneaking bully. Have you seen the photo of the college-age Bush on the rugby field, sucker-punching an unsuspecting player? That's who he is, and it doesn't help now that he's got his own personal Jesus whispering to him, never wondering why that tongue in his ear is forked: "Go on, bomb those neighborhoods, George. It's what I'd do." "More tax cuts for the rich would be heavenly, don't you think?" "Wanna see me make Terri Schiavo wink?"
When something in the newspaper about Bush is particularly appalling, I clip it out. This year the clippings reached such fire-trap proportions that I finally threw them out. These guys just don't let up. Rust never sleeps. So Bush loses on forcing mumbo jumbo into science classes; the religious wackos he put in charge at the FDA won on blocking the over-the-counter sale of the morning-after pill, ignoring science and the rights of all Americans. (One of Bush's godly doctors, W. David Hager, has been accused by his ex-wife of repeatedly forcing anal-rape on her, one of oodles of stories largely ignored in the mainstream press.)
Every time Bush's precious Alaskan wilderness oil drilling gets shut down—as it did this month when it was splinted onto a Defense spending bill—it pops up in another bill, like a Whack-A-Mole.
Maybe Bush got temporarily shot down on privatizing Social Security, but he just got $40 billion cut from programs for the poor and student loan programs. He's already reneged on many of his post-Katrina aid promises and refused to fund the $14 billion wetlands restoration project that even oil companies agree is needed to protect Louisiana.
Meanwhile spending for his wars is hitting the half-a-trillion mark, the only tangible result of which is an Afghanistan awash in warlords and opium, and a madhouse in Iraq where the nearest hope for "stability" is a Shiite-fundamentalist government with close ties to Iran. Oh, and also, as experts in uniform are admitting, our Iraq incursion has become a recruiting tool throughout the Muslim world for the next generation of terrorists. They don't like us very much.
Bush justifies policies of war, secrecy and torture by claiming the safety of Americans is his No. 1 job—24/7 since 9/11—yet we are demonstrably less safe under him. If al-Qaeda does attack again, pray that they give months more warning than Katrina did. A disaster is a disaster, whether caused by man or nature, and our government is in no way up to the task, which is what you should expect when it's run by political cronies who hate government. Need we mention the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission's recent report card on domestic security in which the administration came home with Cs, Ds and Fs?
Jeez, what other Bush-league embarrassments came out this year? Well, in May, the Downing Street Memo came to light, showing that Bush was determined to go to war back when he was insisting to Congress that war was a last resort. Then there was the other Downing Street Memo, recently revealed, asserting that Tony Blair had to talk Bush out of bombing the Al-Jazeera news network's headquarters in Qatar, casting an ominous light on our "accidental" bombings of Al-Jazeera offices in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But they do "slanted" news, as opposed to Bush's scripted "impromptu chats" with troops, or the stories the Pentagon secretly paid to plant in the Iraqi press, or the lies about Pat Tillman's death, or the fake news videos the White House has produced, or the American columnists they secretly bribed, all of which you might more expect of Stalinist North Korea than the U.S. of A.
Or how about our government lying about using white phosphorus as a weapon, then being forced to admit it, but claiming it's not a chemical weapon even through we said it was when Saddam used it?
Or how about the stinging rebuke a federal court just handed the administration over its cynical shuffling around of the Jose Padilla case? Or how about—Damnit, there's tons more, and I'm flat out of space. Meanwhile there's dog shit in the backyard waiting to be picked up. Whatever should I do with it?