As media dissection of Senator Larry Craig’s toilet stall indiscretion abates, George Bush prepares to resume center stage for his starring role in the “The Decline of the Imperial Presidency.” In the last episode of this drama, Bush planned to nominate the recently resigned “brain,” Karl Rove — after the Senate rejected Michael Chertoff and Rush Limbaugh — to replace Alberto Gonzalez as Attorney General.
Gonzalez etched his name in
In subsequent gripping scenes, Gonzalez told skeptical Senators he didn’t remember some of his actions. Some Senators said he lied. Others shook their salonic heads. Inside the Justice Department morale sank and Bush complained about how Gonzalez’ “good name was dragged through the mud.” What good name, asked a deus ex machina?
Since neither my grade school teachers nor the mass media challenged the adjectives — free and fair, nor questioned intrusion — a President, like George Bush, can still use them in his own play to paint a thin veneer to cover blatant imperial aggression abroad and violations of civil liberties at home. He has counted on the media not to ask questions.
Elections stand as the prime symbol of democracy and since by 2004 searchers had found no evidence existed for Bush’s alleged reasons for making war on
“The Iraqi people gave
Main stream analysts naturally avoided discussing the meaning of the vote. Only Naomi Klein stood as Cassandra, declaring that the finger might have meant “dissing” the
Most responses met White House expectations. “The fact that the voting was going great despite the violence was something few people expected..The voice of the Iraqi people had risen above the clamor of insurgent violence.” (Michael Yon, OnLine Magazine, Oct 10, 2005)
When elections conform to the wishes of the imperial power, they represent democracy. When elections go wrong — Hamas or Hezbollah winning in
“Those darn puppet governments don’t seem to understand they have to obey the puppet masters — or else,” said one young White House staffer. “Or else what?” answered a cynical spinmeister. “Get a new puppet? In
Having staged elections, White House scribes sketched the other twin pillar of democracy drama: trials. In December 2003, following the capture of Saddam Hussein, the world watched a fabulous farce: Saddam Hussein’s orchestrated execution — 3 years later, via a U.S. orchestrated trial at least as free as a Salem witch trial.
Saddam’s execution diverged from script when executioners baited the condemned man while slipping the noose over his head and he spat back insults at them. Oh well!
Bush had learned from Daddy about the importance of show trials. In 1990, Panama George dispatched almost 25,000 troops to arrest the “military strongman,” as the media labeled puny General Manuel Noriega. In 1989, Noriega had disobeyed Bush’s command to help in the Contra war and thus became a serious narcotrafficker. Noriega then received a fair trial in
Bush the Second therefore understood that trial theater not only distracts the public from the horrors of occupation, but perpetrates the image of the demonized enemy. In the latest scenes, Saddam Hussein’s cousin, Chemical Ali, and 14 other former Saddamites stood in the dock last week, accused of perpetrating “among the ugliest crimes ever committed against humanity in modern history.” The language conjured up images of these Iraqis dropping nuclear bombs on Japanese — oops, Iraqi — cities! Ali and company allegedly killed tens of thousands of rebellious Shiites in 1991, people George the First encouraged to rise up against Saddam. W’s Daddy followed the adage Kissinger introduced in 1972, supporting a Kurdish uprising and then abandoning the Kurds to the Shah of Iran’s slaughter machine. “Promise them anything, give them what they get and fuck them if they can’t take a joke.”
The Ali trial continues Kissinger’s joke. By mid 2007, as many as 1 million Iraqis have died, four million driven from their homes and hundreds of thousands incarcerated — for no legal reason. In this context, White House playwrights demand that Ali go to trial for killing Iraqis — in the past.
The media, of course, fails to note the irony.
As in Saddam’s trial,
William Randolph Hearst kibbitzed from his grave: “Without pictures, you can’t keep them at war.” As Bush’s empire sink lower in world opinion polls, the drama moves from surrealism to cruel teenage comedy. Welcome to “Jackass III – the degeneration of the empire and its chief.”