Monday, August 27, 2007

A Day in the Life of the Bush Administration

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned today and the Bush administration immediately pulled out the handkerchiefs. Gonzales was "unfairly treated," GW said, "I mean this is a man who has testified, he
sent thousands of papers (documents?) up there (Congress?) and there was no proof of wrong (wrongdoing, wrongheadedness, firing attorneys for political reasons, doing all the dirty work he was called on to do by
the administration in regard to the assault on civil liberties.)

Gonzales talked about his impoverished youth and said that his worst day was better than his father's best day. I could say that myself about my second hand peddler father, his grade school education, and the hernia he lived with for twenty-seven years until he finally could get an operation. But that didn't make me and the poor people I grew up with into what Socialists and Communists through the world call "class traitors,: that is, those who identified with and proudly joined the exploiters and oppressors of their class.

Along with Gonzales resignation, a UN report noted that Opium production was up by 17% percent in Afghanistan, particularly in the Taliban controlled Southern regions, where the Taliban forces are "encouraging" expanded production of opium (which is made into heroin for European and U.S. "markets") to finance their activities. There was no mention of course that Opium production and money played a sinister role in the CIA-Pakistani ISI funded and strategically supported war against Afghanistan in the 1980s which led the establishment of Al Qaeda in 1988 and the eventual Taliban government which served as Al Qaeda's principle ally in the world(and which continued to be recognized by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia after the Clinton administration most of the rest of the world had broken relations with it because of its atrocities). In the 1990s, those policies saw Pakistan become the nation with the greatest per capita number of heroin addicts in the world.

The director the the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes Policy which released the report, called the situation "very bad, very big and getting bigger." The only solution suggested though was to have NATO troops involve themselves more effectively in training Afghan forces and in engaging in counter-intelligence actions against the Taliban drug traffickers.

But what is NATO(the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) doing in Afghanistan anyway, and how can a Euro-American centered military force play such a role The Bush administration, which has strange memories of the Vietnam War, has been sympathetic to spraying the Opium crops with herbicides, but many fear reasonably that such a policy would drive many peasants into the arms of the Taliban (few are speaking about the environmental and human health effects of such a policy).

Meanwhile the Bush administration continues to be pre-occupied with its Iraq disaster and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Maliki, whom everyone from Democratic party leaders (including Hillary Clinton) to officials of
the Bush administration to the French foreign minister have been criticizing and suggesting that he be removed, has not been taking the hint (we should remembered the day not too long ago when the election which produced his government was hailed as an unprecedented victory for "democracy").

Maliki even condemned Clinton and Senator Carl Levin for speaking as if Iraq "is one of their cities." Frankly, it sort of us, in that cities have been an underfunded stepchild in U.S. society, except for commercial and elite residential districts, through much of the cold war era and many of their politicians have been as ineffectual as Maliki, trying to serve local political machines without offending state and federal authorities, which to some extent at least sums up his relationship to both local political forces, the U.S. occupation, and the Iranian influence.Also, urban crime and violence has been either ignored or blamed on the victims.

Reading between the lines one gets the strong impression that the skids are being greased for Maliki, as U.S. media highlights a leading opponent, the former interim government leader, Allawi, himself a former Baathist who had broken with Hussein, who served the U.S. occupation in its early years and suffered a devastating defeat for his non religious political formation as a consequence. Maliki's comments that Iraq is a "sovereign nation" sound really pathetic, when one looks at news stories which routinely turn to American generals to get the scoop on what is happening in Iraqi political "nation building." Maliki's situation reminds me of the scene in the classic World War II film, Casablanca, where, as the Nazi officer, Major Strasser, lands and is greeted by Vichy and Italian fascist officers, the Italian fascist officer is ignored by the German, and argues with a Vichy officer. The cynical Vichy police chief then remarks "if he gets a word in it will be a major Italian victory"

Finally, the World Health Organization released a report (to my way of thinking the most important story of the day) that warned that new strains communicable diseases are developing at "an unprecedented rate
and the huge increase in both the numbers of people traveling through the world, the rapidity of that travel, and the creation of a global transportation system makes the spread of such diseases a much greater threat.

The WHO called for international cooperative actions to deal with this crisis. I doubt the story will be highlighted in mass media. I am not sure if it will be mentioned. I don't think the Bush administration would say much about it. Frankly, I don't think they would have anything to say except that we should "stay the course" look to "market solutions" to cope with the danger and be vigilant, lest our "freedom" by threatened by international actions to fight infectious diseases that will make us prey to the "greater disease" of socialized

Just another day in the life of an administration lost in its propaganda cocoon while the problems it either created or intensified grow worse.

Norman Markowitz

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