Bush Smells Like Old Money

In Which Dubya and Dick Snicker At Corruption Charges,
And the War Excuse Weakens

by Mark Morford, July 8, 2002

Of course we're at war. Just look at those horrible lines at the airport.

Just look at that man having his scruffy topsiders screened four times, that woman's lovely underwire bra setting off the metal detector, that huge pile of confiscated nail files. Don't we all feel safer now.

Of course we're at war. Just look at all those flags stuck in all those manicured lawns, the ominous United We Stand billboards, the all-new 2003 Ford Excursion now with room for 13 and a full 10mpg Highway/7mpg City, all the cheap plastic stars-and-stripes kitsch at the Hallmark store, Made in Malaysia.

And look at all the billions being unquestioningly appropriated for more military action and more "homeland security" and more mysterious attacks and more clandestine operations, random budget-busting expenditures you will never fully know about.

Simply because this is one of the most secretive and blatantly unreported wars in American history and if you think all the cover-up is merely in the name of security, I've got a fabulous time-share on a Saudi oil field to sell you, cheap.

And look, just look how the Bush administration has no intention of telling anyone anything about anything except ooh that evil evil Saddam we're gonna get him and oooh that evil evil bin Laden we're gonna get him too, maybe, doubtful but maybe, someday, but probably not, and never you mind all those eerie Bush/bin Laden family connections. Hush now.

Of course we're at war. Witness all the angry puffed-up deflections, every reproach of the president and every suspicious glance in the direction of his corporatized administration instantly retorted with a nice "how dare you don't you know we're at war" or maybe "the president has a great deal on his very compact little mind right now and he can't be bothered with the details of, you know, rampant favoritism and hypocrisy."

And meanwhile isn't that Bush appointee and former conniving, pro-accounting industry, anti-SEC lawyer, current SEC chairman Harvey Pitt investigating malfeasance at WorldCom? Cherish the irony.

You just know we're at war because clearly there is just no room for accusations of Bush's former corporate wrongdoings or economic bilking, or of Cheney's simply astonishing connection to the oleaginous Halliburton corporation, which signed a cool $73 mil worth of oil deals with Iraq while Dickie was still CEO just a handful of years ago. Whoops, shhh. War.

And who knew everyone's favorite inviolate meta-doyenne Martha Stewart would have so much in common with Geedubya? Cashing in on a cool $230K worth of ImClone stock just before the company tanks, Martha?

Not bad, but try nearly a cool $1 mil for Bush back in '90, cashing in on Harken Energy stock just prior to the company reporting a huge loss, and then accidentally whoops gosh "forgetting" to disclose the sale to the SEC for oh, eight months, give or take. Aw, shucks. "Clerical error," they say.

And it's becoming increasingly difficult to find anyone but the truest I-believe-everything-Ari-Fleischer-says jingoists who actually believes this "war" has become anything but a grand excuse, a marvelously leveragable plaything which the Bush cadre can point to as their very own personal holy shroud, some sort of sacrosanct shield to protect them from criticism and claims of blatant impropriety and selling the nation's soul for pennies on the barrel.

The more pleasant idea is that the war excuse is becoming thinner and thinner, the populace increasingly fatigued and wary of false terrorist warnings, fearmongering, lopsided Us-versus-Them posturing, the sucking dry of the budget in the name of accidentally bombing Afghan weddings.

Wary, in addition, of the idea that simply sending in troops and bombing caves and infuriating Middle Eastern countries even further will somehow solve the problem, stem the tide of terrorism, eradicate the numinous, germinating terrorist cells, make everyone look away as Bush Sr.'s sinister investment company the Carlyle Group rakes in millions from War on Terror defense contracts. Shhh.

Maybe it won't last much longer. Maybe the day will come very soon when the scales will tip in the other direction, the fearmongering and the falsely hyped patriotism will no longer outweigh the increasing piles of proof that we are being misled, that all is not what it seems.

Maybe we will realize that what was, very briefly, a necessary and urgent need to defend our pride and our national identity in the wake of brutish hatred and an unspeakably barbaric attack, has become a cheap political pawn, a bureaucratic commodity, the national soul bought and sold like so many artillery shells for the Carlyle Group's $11 billion Crusader tank.

Of course that day will come. Of course you hope the populace cannot and will not be lied to for very long, the karmic tide cannot help but begin to change, and maybe we will finally realize the need for a different, long-term tack to defend our nation, change our oil-desperate foreign policy, commit fewer corporate atrocities and political puppeteering in foreign lands that tend to spawn all that hate in the first place.

Yes, that will be the day. Unless that's the day Bush declares war on Iraq. Whoops, shhh.

Source: http://www.SFGate.com


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