Saturday, November 6

From This Morning's Jamaica Observer

(NEGRIL, JAMAICA) - JA's Keeble McFarlane reminds us of several offenses against common sense by Bush in his early years - and warns of the future for a "nearby country" - his.

Now the fun really begins!
Keeble McFarlane
Saturday, November 06, 2004

Now that the Bushling has renewed his lease on the White House for another four years, the world is in for the wildest roller-coaster ride it can imagine.

Regrettably, regime change did not take place in Washington, which sees itself as the most important city on the face of the Earth since civilisation began. In fact, what happened last Tuesday was a cementing of simplistic, neo-conservative, ultra right-wing, religious zealotry under the guise of politics.

Don't forget that very early in his first term Bush made the Centres for Disease Control pull from their website and other informational materials all references to the use of condoms as one of the tools to fight AIDS, and also cut off any financial support to international organisations fighting the disease if they didn't stick to the script that abstinence is the only proper way to deal with AIDS.

On the legal front, Bush has been packing lower- and middle-level federal courts with some of the most Neanderthal judges he could find, and has the opportunity to do the same for the nine-member Supreme Court, up to four of whose members are due for retirement, either by way of illness or fatigue.

You can bet he'll name the most reactionary types available, and with the Republicans in complete control of the House of Representatives and the Senate, it will be very difficult to stop the progress of the elephantine steam-roller as it paves the way for overturning laws the zealots don't like, such as Roe vs Wade, which allows a woman to have an abortion.

We all remember, of course, that when the terrorists flew those aeroplanes into the towers in New York, just about everyone of significance in the world gave their support when the US struck out against Afghanistan, which was harbouring Osama bin Laden. But very soon Bush and his vengeful minions took their eye off the target and shifted instead to Saddam Hussein, who had nothing to do with 9/11.

He ignored the same people who applauded when he went after al-Qaeda and who now expressed misgivings about the relevance of Iraq. Some of us remember the underlying emotional reason, as Bush expressed a couple of years ago: "He tried to kill muh daddy." Not to mention the huge pool of oil sitting under the parched sands of Iraq, barely tapped.

Then there's that simplistic view that you can plant democracy in infertile soil such as you find in an old, traditionalist society like Iraq, and expect it to sprout into something solid in a short while. Unfortunately, Iraq has become Bush's Tar Baby, from which he cannot disengage, even though Iraqis now can't stand the presence of the Americans and their allies.

Going into the war, he had no plan of how to get out, and, like Vietnam a generation ago, this one promises to grow into an open, running sore, oozing lives and resources long after Bush's second lease on the White House expires. The next president will have to clean up that mess. (Remember what Vietnam did to Lyndon Johnson?)

Bush has dusted off and updated an old American concept of manifest destiny, and has come out with a policy of preventive deterrence - the US can attack any country it wants to, if it feels that that country may possibly be thinking about attacking it, or even has the potential capacity to do so.

Now, I don't for one minute think they'll invade North Korea, since even though it is an extremely impoverished country, it still possesses sharp and solid teeth, some of them nuclear ("nucular", in Bush-talk), and appears quite willing to use them.
Duppy, indeed, knows who to frighten.

However, you can see the possibility of Bush striking at a country close by, not because it poses a military or economic threat to the US, but because it is so different from what Bush thinks a country should be like, and because it has defied all efforts to toe any line drawn by Washington, the Europeans or anybody else.