Belaboring the Obvious

Thursday, November 23, 2006

All in the Family (A Tender Thanksgiving Tale)....

Seems Father Bush, in what he thought was a safe venue, got a dose of reality, instead:

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Former President George H.W. Bush took on Arab critics of his son Tuesday during a testy exchange at a leadership conference in the capital of this U.S. ally.

"My son is an honest man," Bush told members of the audience harshly criticized the current U.S. leader's foreign policy.

The oil-rich Persian Gulf used to be safe territory for former President Bush, who brought Arab leaders together in a coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's troops from Kuwait in 1991.

But gratitude for the elder Bush, who served as president from 1989-93, was overshadowed at the conference by hostility toward his son, whose invasion of Iraq and support for Israel are deeply unpopular in the region.

"We do not respect your son. We do not respect what he's doing all over the world," a woman in the audience bluntly told Bush after his speech.

Bush, 82, appeared stunned as others in the audience whooped and whistled in approval.

A college student told Bush his belief that U.S. wars were aimed at opening markets for American companies and said globalization was contrived for America's benefit at the expense of the rest of the world. Bush was having none of it.

"I think that's weird and it's nuts," Bush said. "To suggest that everything we do is because we're hungry for money, I think that's crazy. I think you need to go back to school." [Apparently, this student has heard of the Bush family motto: "Public service for private gain." --ed.]


"This son is not going to back away," Bush said, his voice quivering.


"I can't begin to tell you the pride I feel in my two sons," Bush said. "When your son's under attack, it hurts. You're determined to be at his side and help him any way you possibly can."


Bush said he'd spoken with Baker recently - the two are neighbors in Houston - but preferred to reminisce about old times than discuss what America ought to do in Iraq.

"In the early 1960s, Jim Baker and I were the men's doubles champions in tennis in the city of Houston," Bush said with a grin. [Hmm... looks as if Poppy Bush does "looky over there" about as well as his son--ed.]


"He is working hard for peace. It takes a lot of guts to get up and tell a father about his son in those terms when I just told you the thing that matters in my heart is my family," he said. "How come everybody wants to come to the United States if the United States is so bad?" [Erm, George, maybe not so much these days--ed.]

Well, after all, how many ordinary fathers would want to admit in public that a child of theirs is a self-important, preening, incompetent asshole who's hamhandedly fucked up the most visible job in the country, putting him on the short list for the "Worst President of All Goddamned Time" title?

But, let's take a few of those statements and compare them to the known knowns, as ex-Field Marshal Rumsfeld would say. "My son is an honest man...." I would have to say that if he is, it's only by Bush family standards. The bulk of the rest of us have come to the conclusion that he is not, by any ordinary, commonly-accepted standard, an honest man. He lied the country into a war which he may have been intending ever since he entered politics, all the while proclaiming that war was a last resort. Strike one, high and over the plate.

If Bush was fundamentally honest, he never would have written, for example, an executive order in contravention of clear and settled law which prevented the release of his father's Vice-Presidential and Presidential papers, which, by law, are the property of the American public. Strike two, low and inside.

Beyond that, evidence of Bush's duplicity (a nice word for lying) litters the last six years and his campaign for the Presidency. He largely lied by diversion and omission about virtually his entire life prior to entering politics. Even his Texas driver's license number was changed when he became governor to prevent anyone from investigating his public past, and for one reason only. If everyone knew what a spoiled, careless little shit he was before the election, he couldn't have been elected to be Crawford's dogcatcher. Even Crawford has some standards. Strike three, down the middle.

How about "we do not torture," even after there was incontrovertible evidence at the time that, yes, the United States not only does torture people, but that Bush the Younger is trying mightily to hide behind the "short of death" fig leaf provided by lawyers who seem to have graduated from the Schutzstaffel School of Law? Ah, hell, he's a Bush, so, a do-over. Strike four, a 105 mph fastball in the pipe.

There are a few thousand more of his lies waiting for a little sunlight, and only because the press is terrified of him and Denny Hastert and Bill Frist have been tucking him into bed at night.

Up next: "He is working hard for peace." Looking at this logically, Bush has started two long-term wars which have, if anything, sorely disrupted the international peace. His administration is now undertaking planning at this moment for yet more war against yet another country (possibly two more, if one guesses that military targeting work is now being undertaken against North Korea; plans are without question underway toward attacking Iran). Nor is there much question that, apart from a few areas around the government quarters in Kabul, life is anything but peaceful in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's the old man's turn at the plate and he whiffs the first one.

Politically, the United States has never been more divided and cantankerous and contentious since the Civil War. Promising in his first campaign to be a "uniter, not a divider," Bush has instead turned family Thanksgiving dinners into verbal and emotional battlefields. Bush could make enemies of Irish twins. No peace domestically, either. The former prez whiffs another one.

The single most effective thing Bush could have done in his tenure to promote peace would have been to force Israel and the Palestinians back to the bargaining table, and done the hard work to, once and for all, effect a lasting peace. After 9/11, he had the perfect opportunity to describe to the nation and the world the ways in which extremism was not the path to peace. But, according to Ron Suskind, Bush had decided, within days of his first inauguration, that solving that problem was a waste of time and effort (issuance of the "roap map" came late and without any diplomatic initiative to accompany it). As if to reinforce that opinion of his, Bush actively aided Israel in the wholesale destruction of Lebanon for the second time in a couple of decades. Ol' numbah 41 tips one into the catcher's mitt.

"To suggest that everything we do is because we're hungry for money, I think that's crazy."

Well, technically speaking, Poppy may be right on this. Some things they do for votes, because they can't raid the public till until they're in office.

Under his administration, Bush the Younger's "faith-based initiative" turns out to be an exercise in cronyism to reward religious leaders for delivering votes. Bush's second, ol' Toad-In-The-Hole himself, couldn't have manipulated contracts toward his corporate alma mater, Halliburton, if he weren't in the White House.

Bush has pushed for trade agreements such as CAFTA and GATS which are enormously disadvantageous for everyone except big business. And, let's not forget that there's oil money in them thar Middle Eastern deserts. Homeland Security, as conceived by Bush and Co.™, has been an exercise in large-scale corruption. Bush's brain, Karl Rove, is likely so deep into Jack Abramoff's back pocket that he could give Abramoff a prostate massage. The energy bill devised by Bush and Cheney and passed in 2005 is not just a policy travesty--it's legalized theft from the Treasury by mature, profitable industries. In between all those pressing obligations to the big corporations, there were several successive tax cuts, the benefits of which went overwhelmingly to Bush's base, the wealthy. They'll be sure to return the favor when Junior leaves office, in much the same way as his father cashed in after he was dumped by the voters.

Poppy's protestations about "family" tend to ring a bit tinny these days, considering just how badly #1 son has boogered things up. In the words of Neil Bush's ex-wife, "they're not a family, they're a political organization." Or, if one dares to quote Kitty Kelley, the family's unauthorized biographer: "You start out looking at the Bush family like it's 'The Donna Reed Show' and then you see it's 'The Sopranos.'"

If the new Congress has the balls to go after Bush and his cronies, they'll be looking more like all three installments of "The Godfather" rolled into one long, tortured, sleazy episode. It'll be interesting to see Poppy Bush's reaction when the really heavy shit starts to come down. My guess is that he'll be running for cover, just like everyone else around Junior. And that's not just baseball talk around the ol' turkey.

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