Live From Fort Bragg: “Fortunate Son” Dubya Calls for “More, More, More”

Here’s a critique of some parts of George W. Bush’s “Buck Up America” war speech, given to revealingly mild applause at Fort Bragg. This post takes its theoretical inspiration from Credence Clearwater Revival’s Vietnam-era antiwar rock anthem “Fortunate Son” (full lyrics below).

The president said “Thank you and good evening. I am pleased to visit Fort Bragg, home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces. It is an honor to speak before you tonight.”

This was not good. In the United States, military authority is supposed to be subordinate to civilian authority. This is part of our historical development as a democratic state, separate and different from feudal, European empires.

The President telling Fort Bragg that it’s an honor to visit and speak to them symbolically inverts the proper relationship between democratic state power and the armed forces.

But Bush has been shading the line between and civilian and military authority for some time. He’s made an inordinately large number of speeches from military stages and/or to military audiences. I even saw him speak once from the “Carlisle War College” in Pennsylvania.

He is way too deep into the aura of imperial militarism – an aura that former leading U.S. Generals turned Presidents George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower counseled presidents to avoid.

The worst thing was when Bush proclaimed “the [Iraq] Mission Accomplished” on May 1, 2003. He announced the mission “complete” after landing in a jet fighter on an aircraft carrier off the coast of California. This stunt was developed by Hollywood and Pentagon planners on the explicit model of the militaristic movie “Top Gun” Later they actually sold action dolls of “President Bush – Elite Force Aviator” (see http://www.detect-a-deal.com/georgebushtoy.htm).

“Fortunate Son” (full lyrics below*) Bush said “My greatest responsibility as president is to protect the American people, and that is your calling as well.”

Then why did the Messianic Militarist decide early on to move from a serious effort to join with other nations in a susbtantive coalitional and policy response to the threat of extremist Islamic terrorism? Why did he move instead to a previously planned War of Imperial Conquest on Iraq – a war that created a new outpost and proving ground for extremist Islamic terrorists and which only increase Americans’ long-term vulnerability to terrorism?

According to Smiling George, “the soldiers and families of Fort Bragg have contributed mightily to our efforts to secure our country and promote peace. America is grateful and so is your commander in chief.”

The West Texas warmonger is so “grateful” he sends US soldiers into a deadly quagmire with inadequate resources and back up. He sends them out with no understanding of what’s going on in Iraq —- with heads full of lies claiming that Iraq was tied up with 9/11 and other such nonsense as that — a deception that appeared at least five times in his speech.

“To secure our country?” Has the president, like Joe McCarthy, “no sense of decency”? As is generally understood in sane and serious quarters, Iraq was no threat whatsoever to America before it was invaded. And how (outside of an Orwellian universe where “war is peace” and “love is hate” and 2+2=5) does killing tens of thousands of Iraqis (for a modest total and record, see www.iraqibodycount.org) “promote peace?”

The President said Tuesday night that “the troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror. This war reached our shores on September 11, 2001. The terrorists who attacked us and the terrorists we face murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent. Their aim is to remake the Middle East in their own grim image of tyranny and oppression by toppling governments, driving us out of the region and exporting terror.”

“To achieve these aims, they have continued to kill in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali and elsewhere. The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows they can force us to retreat. They are mistaken. After September 11, I made a commitment to the American people: This nation will not wait to be attacked again. We will take the fight to the enemy. We will defend our freedom.”

“Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home. The commander in charge of coalition operations in Iraq, who is also senior commander at this base, General John Vines, put it well the other day. He said, ‘We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us.’”

This is the deceptive rhetoric of a war criminal and empire expander. Iraq was no threat to the American people and nation and their freedom, such as it is under the command of corporate power and the new militarism. Americans’ security and freedom were not endangered by Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11. Insofar as there are now extremist Islamo- terrorists operating in Iraq today, this is entirely thanks to Bush’s illegal, bloody, and immoral occupation of that nation.

Bush will never acknowledge America’s war OF terror: Uncle Sam’s imperial state terrorism has been savagely exported to Iraq in widely documented ways that have only deepened the hatred felt for the U.S. by many in the Arab world. With some estimates claiming that more than 100,000 Iraqis have died unnecessarily because of Bush’s assault, many Arabs quite reasonably see themselves as under terrorist and imperialist assault from the United States. No doubt some of them are thinking that they ought to deal with US terrorism by taking the battle to America, on the Crawford Cowboy’s theory that the best defense is a good offense. “Either deal with American terrorism and extremism abroad,” some Islamo-terrorists are surely reasoning, “or continue to deal with it as it comes to us.”

If Bush is so concerned with our “freedom,” by the way, why does he spend so much time rolling back American civil liberties and fomenting authoritarian and militaristic values antithetical to the best aspects of the American democratic tradition? Why does he dedicate so much effort to deepening our enslavement to corporations, shredding the social contrqct, and attacking popular protections against the tyranny of private power? Why is he so dedicated to increasing the already (even before he seized high state power) obscene concentration of wealth and power in the U.S., the most unequal “advanced nation” in the world? Why does he champion massive tax cuts for the priveleged few even as millions of Americans go hungry…even as he claims to advocate shared national “sacrifice” in the prosecution of a massively expensive, semi-permanent war of/on terror?

As people who actually study the Islamic extremists report, al Qaeda and its ilk think mainly that the Arab and Muslim world is under attack from Western and principally American Empire. They abundant solid evidence to support this belief, which feeds their primarily defensive concept of jihad. They spend little time worrying about Americans’ ballyhooed “freedom” or thinking about the internal nature of Western and American society.

Bush the Lesser said, “Our mission in Iraq is clear. We are hunting down the terrorists. We are helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We are advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are removing a source of violence and instability and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren.”

A free nation? American occupation authorities quickly turned key Iraq human and material resources over to the control of American and multinational corporations (what Edward S. Herman calls “neo-liberalizing Iraq without the consent of the Iraqis”). The U.S. has been tying to turn the formerly sovereign state of Iraq into a military vassal — an imperial basing ground par excellence for relentless American global power projection — in the deceptive name of “defense.”

This is not freedom for Iraqis.

We continue to be closely allied with the medieval Saudi Arabian regime, one of the most reactionary and repressive states on earth. We continue to support Israel’s racist oppression of the Palestinian people. Both of these states receive billions in military and financial assistance from Uncle Sam, even as millions of children live in poverty even within “the world’s richest state.”

We have deepened violence and instability in Iraq and the Middle East, laying the foundation for bloodshed and conflict within and beyond that region for years to come. We are generating new terrorists and have ourselves created Iraq’s new role as a terrorist center.

“Elite Force Aviator” Bush said that “the work in Iraq is difficult and dangerous. Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed. Every picture is horrifying and the suffering is real. Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it, and it is vital to the future security of our country. And tonight I will explain the reasons why.”

Well, the work is illegal, murderous, and wrong. It is not vital to the security of the U.S. If anything, it is hurting that security.

What followed in Smiling turned Somber George’s Fort Bragg oration was a continuing steady stream of deception and stupidity, including the false claims that:

* the Iraqi resistance is driven simply by hatred of freedom and prosperity,

* the White House and Pentagon wanted free elections in Iraq

* and American forces are prevailing in Iraq and moving forward towards the goal of putting the current Iraqi clinet state in a position to crush its own “insurgency” (a claim that is rejected by many within his own armed forces).

The grossly incompetent Bush said that “we have lost good men and women who left our shores to defend freedom.”

Well, he has sent more than 1700 soldiers to death to extend empire, the very antithesis and enemy of freedom as far as American Founders like James Madison were concerned.

Bush said that “we live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves.” Many of us think the freedom we still enjoy is a result of many Americans’ courageous determination to resist the power of authoritarian institutions and values like the ones that increasingly dominate American life in the age of the New American Militarism.

Confronted with the revealing stony silence of his Fort Bragg audience, Bush should have called off his charade. He should have gotten down on his knees and begged America’s soldiers, America’s citizenry (who are giving him astonishingly low approval ratings), and the people of the world to forgive him for being such a bloody bastard. He should ask our forgiveness for betraying the national trust and spitting on the American flag (not to mention established international laws and norms) with unjust polices of extreme empire and inequality.

He has no business calling for others’ “sacrifice.” When he was the same age as many of America’s growing army of returning amputees, Smiling George was living large as a legendary party animal and making damn sure to keep his privileged rich white boy ass out of Vietnam. Uncle Darth Cheney, the uber-militarist epitome of the Republican Chickenhawk syndrome, also had “other priorities” – personal wealth enrichment – that kept him out of the imperialist assault on Southeast Asia.

Bush and Cheney should apologize for asking poor and working-class others to fight battles that they and other members of the socioeconomic elite continue to refuse to directly engage. They should ask forgiveness for using their misbegotten war of terror as Orwellian cover to enact hyper-plutocratic Tax Cuts that make the super rich richer even as millions of Americans go poor, often struggling with cash-poor social programs, inadequate employment opportunities, vanishing pensions and health coverage, and under-funded schools…even as troops are sent into dubious imperial battle with inadequate armor and support….even as he dares to invoke the word “sacrifice.”

National “sacrifice?” It’s not for the rich. It’s not for the silver-spoon “Fortunate Son”[s] who “wave the flag” and then go running “when the tax man comes to to the door”…who “inherit star spangled eyes” and “send you down to war” “And when you ask them, ‘How much should we give? They only answer ‘More! More! More!’” (CCR, “Fortunate Son”….full lyrics below).

Many of the soldiers listening at Fort Bragg understand quite well the insidious class inequality and arrogance that lay at the heart of Bush’s identity and project. They know that too many of their mostly working-class comrades are dying for this rich but incompetent bastard. It’s why they sat on their hands and suppressed their yells.

Boy King Dubya has worn out his welcome with them. He’s gotten too many “Hooahs” as it is.

My policy recommendation is that Bush and Cheney turn themselves in for indefinite detention in Guantanamo. It would be best if they do this after returning Guantanamo to its rightful owner – the officially Marxist state of Cuba. They should be forced to listen day and night to extra-loud versions of Fidel Catsro’s presidential addresses, which can last six hours.

The treatment they’d receive would be mild compared to that given to many prisoners in America’s bulging mass incarceration facilities at home and abroad.

* The following lyrics provide useful context for Bush’s speech and policy: .

Fortunate Son

By Credence Clearwater Revival (from the Vietnam Era)

Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they’re red, white, and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
They point the cannon right at you

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no senator’s son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
Lord, dont they help themselves
But when the tax man comes to the door,
Lord the house looks like a rummage sale

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no millionaire’s son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
They only answer “More! More! More!”

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no military son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

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