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At Least He's Got Us Talking

Bush's incompetence isn't all bad...........

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, March 29, 2006.

Say what you will bad about President Bush and the sorry mess of his presidency. At least his administration’s failures have finally brought up seething issues that have needed to be addressed. It was only his audacious legal over-reach that called them to the attention of even our calcium-skulled media in their bouffants and leaden prose.

We’re now talking about the war powers of the federal executive, because Bush lied to the nation he wanted to take to war against what he thought would be an easy enemy, apparently for his own political benefit. A small, pretend war that would show up Clinton’s alleged miasma in the Balkans. Donald Rumsfeld, in February of 2003, specifically cited the handling of Kosovo by Clinton as the exact example to be avoided. We’re there for a long time at unknown expense in a messy situation. Of course, we now know virtually all the war criminals are slowly and messily being brought to justice, the area is relatively calm because of our soldiers and our allies’ soldiers, and to date no Americans have been killed. But, this is Rumsfeld’s example of what to avoid.

Mission accomplished.....

We’re talking about the misuse of executive declarations of war by Commander in Chiefs, because in war certain domestic freedoms, not unreasonably, are often curtailed. But when Congress is deprived by the Executive - or deprives itself - of the ability to declare war, and this solely for political benefit, shouldn’t the executive war powers have known time limitations so that we can defend ourselves while sufficient evidence for the need of a prolonged conflict can be provided Congress? And then the declaration voted upon as the founders wisely intended? Why yes, I think they should. But Congress continues to geld itself of power and responsibility.

We’re now talking about the definition of criminal and invader because of our lax immigration policies - and the outright greed of some businesses that profit from employees with near slave wages and no benefits. Why are we slicing and dicing the written law and concept of Habeas Corpus? Why are we even discussing the concept of torture, which everyone from the Mossad to Oliver North to John McCain says does not work and has so many downsides, including self image of the nation, never mind its public image? And why are those most for this institutional abortion of ethics and logic the ones who avoided physical risk themselves, like Vice President Cheney, or who featured the tendencies of text book sadists, like the man who impregnated an easily impressed fellow soldier and got her to do his bidding for his continued approval in Abu Ghraib?

And speaking of prisons, what about our own? Bush hasn’t necessitated this discussion yet, but hopefully it will emerge. What the Sam hill are we accomplishing by locking away generations of youth, training them to be better, more sadistic thugs, and releasing them? At the very least, release from prison should mandate a high school education or a degree higher than the one they enter with. Why not, after all? Do you want some punk in for a crime to come out buffed with new and better criminal connections? Or educated, speaking a second language or perhaps a first, able to be something better than when he entered? I’ve been in jail, and let me tell you to your face, liberal or conservative, you’re wasting your money on most of the people in there. Many of them, frankly, should not be there, but are because various legislatures pander to public fears. I like the idea of boot camps except much of the supposed benefit of boot camps, either reformatory or military, is derived from an appeal to sadism.

You want well-trained and motivated personnel running prisons. We don’t have it, which is why gang lords can still run their empires, get and send drugs, proscribe rivals and prescribe medicines for themselves and obtain them. They’re temporarily off the streets, is all.

During our nation’s response to Katrina, the extremes of political America were exposed. Law and order concerns had deep racial bias, as news coverage of whites stealing from 7-11’s was presented as heroic defense of family and blacks doing the same things were called thieves. But along with everything else, it wasn’t just African Americans who were seen on television on the tops of buildings in the 9th Ward. It wasn’t just poor African Americans. What the world saw was an awful lot of fat people, a high percentage morbidly obese, screaming they needed food, and all sorts of prejudices came into play watching that. What would Somalians think looking at those clips? Ethiopians? There’s hunger, and then there’s hunger. Americans of every color use words with definitions that really apply nowhere else, and because of Bush we’re realizing that, now. Bush has taken much from us: self respect, dignity, competence, and the definition of words.

We’re not, for example, waging a war on ‘terror’, we’re waging a war against specific components of anti-occident Islamists. Or the word “justice.” Remember: Bush said he was going to bring al Quada to justice or bring justice to them. Those children in Darfur wish he’d said that about them; they need it. They deserve it. But what Bush meant by justice was only a violent death, or at least torture, and all approved only by executive command subsuming Supreme Court, the Constitution and the henna-haired waste of skin that is our gelded Congress.

See.... We need to talk about that.