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“Winning the War on Credibility”

By B. Rehak

The Administration is putting up the usual brave, confident smirk, but behind the scenes, all the President's men seem in a tizzy. (A tizzy is what rich white guys do, when other folks would be running away screaming). The Neo-cons are circling the shredders and hanging tough for now, but when the voters really start screaming, expect even ‘loyal' Republicans in tight re-election races to join the chorus calling for hearings.
LOS ANGELES, July 21, 2003 ( -- 1st Lt. George W. Bush, late of the Texas Air National Guard, assured us in the year leading up to the start of what became ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom,' that perhaps only war could rid mankind of a corrupt, recklessly militaristic, and illegitimate regime that had bankrupted its people and taken away their hope. He demanded nothing less than Regime Change.

Who knew then he was talking about his own Administration? If the Democrats can just get their act together, freedom can finally be restored --- to America.

The Sons of Nixon, those same pious and infallible folks who brought us Watergate and Iran-Contra have smart bombed the Bush legacy, boldly snatching defeat from the very jaws of victory, and they did it all themselves. They screwed the pooch, and must quickly find a scapegoat. It will be instructive to see how they manage to somehow blame all this on Mr. Clinton or Liberals or Hollywood or Satan. The Bush Spin Brigade is all over TV news today. They are getting shrill, and a little loud.

If you just joined us, the Republicans failed to prevent 9/11 or capture the key people behind it. They instead got us into a deadly guerrilla holy war in Iraq, while pissing off almost the whole World in the process. As we lose more brave kids there everyday, it's becoming horribly clear that the folks behind this ‘inevitable war,' had no actual plan beyond their own quest for short term glory and some sweetheart cleanup deals for their friends. This could really give hubris a bad name, but they do promise a nifty Iraq Intel Cookbook.

Iraq is turning out to be the Enron of U.S. foreign policy.

Meanwhile, at home, they skillfully enriched themselves, ignored corporate piracy, rewarded greed with public funds, sold out the environment, helped wreck a thriving U.S. economy, squandered the budget surplus, diddled the media, and bankrupted our grandchildren's future, but they still made time to gratuitously wave the flag while under funding homeland security, cutting Veterans' benefits, trashing the Bill of Rights, abandoning the needy, defunding education, working toward a theocracy, and gutting three generations of effective government programs and oversight from the inside. Oh, and they haven't created a single job since taking office, except for their friends. They will keep their main campaign promise though, "No Millionaire Will Be Left Behind."

As idiotic as it appears now, there must have been a defining moment when whoever is really running ‘The Mr. Bush Show' was convinced that taking over Iraq by force was a sure road to re-election triumph and pure Neo-con cultural glory. Did nobody ever think this through to six months out? A year? Five years? The Iraq War is starting to look just like Vietnam, only much dumber. If the Neo-cons rule Iraq for three years, they will eventually be importing sand.

Whatever we're doing there the tab is probably now about $100 Billion (half of it off the books to replace gear we fired off or broke), and the bill is increasing by One Billion Dollars every seven days --- reconstruction of Iraq not included.

The war is now being funded just like the rest of this Administration, with imaginary ‘BUSH BUCKS.' They're just like regular U.S. currency, but stolen from Americans yet unborn. Mr. Bush seems determined to double his father's former record $290 billion budget deficit. He's right on track.

The Administration is putting up the usual brave, confident smirk, but behind the scenes, all the President's men seem in a tizzy. (A tizzy is what rich white guys do, when other folks would be running away screaming). The Neo-cons are circling the shredders and hanging tough for now, but when the voters really start screaming, expect even ‘loyal' Republicans in tight re-election races to join the chorus calling for hearings. Also, lately Mr. Cheney seems to spend whole weeks in that ‘secret undisclosed location' he favors in times of National Crisis, or increased media scrutiny.

The same folks that spent nearly $100 Million investigating the Clintons without effect, suddenly don't want any formal inquires at all. As troop morale in Iraq plummets, the Bush people will have to hide from the grieving families of all those dead American kids, as untidy questions finally come forth.

Suddenly that kick-ass macho ‘War on Saddam,' touted for months on neo-fascist Talk Radio and Fox News, has the PR half life of Martha Stewart. Even as the ugly truth dribbles out, so many people are so heavily invested in the Bush faux victory and his re-election, that a form of national denial is setting in among the rich and indifferent. They have given him over $40 Million to assure his re-election. How many more American kids will have to give their lives along the Tigress as a result?

Like all fundamentalists, the Bush Neo-cons can be dangerous people. Absolutists usually are. Folks who believe in ‘The Rapture' tend to see the end of the world as a viable policy option. The Bush people recently envisioned a new bomber that can hit anywhere on Earth in two hours, and they want to build a whole new destabilizing crop of tiny nuclear weapons (apparently pronounced ‘nuu-cuu-LAR' at Yale) that can destroy mankind surgically, instead of all at once.

Poor starving North Korea, they've done everything except attack Pearl Harbor, but the Bush folks still can't figure out a way to make money on a war there. North Korea has nukes and is ruled by a certifiable mad man, but it apparently falls outside the secret Bush policy of ‘Manifest Mendacity.' Alas, the North Koreans have no oil, but we WILL go to war there if it looks like the Democrats are going to win the election.

The Bush folks, who get their insight from, their world view from, their talking points from, and their God from the media empire of Falwell & Robertson PLC, have tossed America off a moral cliff. That sound you hear is Millions of people laughing snidely as all the Bush Chicken Hawks come home to roost.

Mr. Bush, who before the war warned the United Nations that it risked fading "into history as an ineffective, irrelevant debating society," now faces the indignity of having to go back to the UN to beg for their help, punk'd by his own boastful words. Nobody else wants to risk their troops in Iraq without a UN mandate.

The art of political spin could be set back a generation as the Neo-cons and the UN try to torture a few appropriate words to make this humiliating retrenchment sound like it's not what it is. The Bush people are pushing the envelope of voter ignorance, but even loyal supporters who can't even spell ‘quagmire' are getting nervous.

America's only real Iraq War ally, steadfast Tony Blair, may lose his job over British public anger. The secretive Cheney-Halliburton Administration dba ‘USA INC,' also seems headed for Chapter 11 faster than you can say, ‘Iraq Intel Coverup.' The words Bush+Impeachment, which got only a few hits on a Google News search two months ago, turn up 700 times in news stories searched today. Who'd a thunk it?

The first-ever corporate financed and owned President, ‘elected' to office by a few friendly Supreme Court justices in the dark of night, Mr. Bush has single-mindedly transformed the American Ship of State into the RMS Titanic, and his staff is busily rearranging the deck chairs as you read this.

Gosh, there are so many people to thank. To that pantheon of righteous super patriots like McCarthy, Liddy, and North who went above and beyond the call of sanity, we can now proudly add the names of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Scooter.


Yup. Over two hundred American military families have lost their kids and their dreams partly because a guy named Scooter thought invading Iraq was a really neat idea. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff and national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, is a novelist and lawyer who made a fortune representing fugitive metals trader Marc Rich.

This war that has no end did have a beginning, but it didn't start in the cold night sky of March 20, 2003, when we spent almost $100 Million to obliterate a place called Dora Farms fruitlessly trying to arrange a face-to-face between Saddam Hussein and Allah.

The war began long before that, within ‘The Project for the New American Century,' or PNAC, a group of influential out-of-work Neo-cons supported by Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz. The group also included Scooter Libby, and other people now high in the Bush Administration. They all saw War with Iraq as a top priority, and a solid idea.

In Iraq, the Bush Neo-cons apparently hoped to find a way to do the right thing and also make money for all their friends --- they'd privatize the war. Simple. Find a reason to start it, shout down all opposition, flood the place with other men's kids to do all the actual dying, cut in your corporate benefactors, and then steal the oil and the credit. Brilliant. It's the exact sort of shabby plan that cynical rich men who'd never been in combat would put forth.

Now people are really upset over sixteen fraudulent words Mr. Bush used to spike the rhetoric in his State of the Union message. It now turns out Saddam didn't have an A-Bomb, only an imaginary one the Neo-cons needed to cause public panic. The Bush Presidency may be the first major target ever destroyed by an imaginary A-Bomb.

That sexy photo of Mr. Bush landing aboard the carrier Abraham Lincoln on May 1st (cost: about $1,000,000) has already come back to haunt him, along with his war dance statements and misstatements. As public opinion shifts in the hot Summer wind, the Republican Congress will have to choose between mounting a slow, fake investigation to assure their own jobs, or standing by Mr. Bush, stonewalling, and then letting the voters thin the herd. Some choice. This Regime Change business is just as untidy as Mr. Cheney said it would be.

Thankfully, the Navy S-3B Viking that Mr. Bush landed in has been retired to the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, FL, where future generations can proudly stand next to it and celebrate the very moment he declared ‘non-victory.' Sadly, dozens of troops in Iraq who watched that ‘Mother of All Photo-Ops' are dead now, fallen in the ‘peace' that never followed the war that just had to be.

Today, 19 nations reportedly have some military presence in Iraq. Pentagon officials claim 19 more have promised to send forces. About 147,000 Americans and 13,000 non-U.S. troops, most of them British, are now in country. They govern 24,000,000 Iraqis, many still without water or electricity since the war began. The troops can't seem to understand why the Iraqis don't love us like Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld said they would. They are clearly ‘voting,' using their AK-47's and RPG's on our people. With 60% unemployment, they have all the time in the World.

If the last few weeks have been any indication, the 469 days until to the election should see a vibrant rebirth of Vaudeville, as the Bush folks try to tap dance across the world stage. ‘Shock and Awe' has become ‘Shuck and Jive.' Never in the course of human conflict have so many been dissembled to so much by so few.

Thanks to the Republicans, America now has it's very own Intifada, a handy shooting galley to which true believers from all over the Islamic world can travel easily to hone their combat skills directly on our own kids, caught in the growing insurgency. Meanwhile, Saddam lives, on audio tape at least, urging his people to fight the Infidel invaders.

What a shame. If Mr. Bush had just gone on TV and honestly told the American People that he wanted to annex an Islamic 51st State the size of California, and that we'd have troops dying there for years, costing four billion dollars a month, PLUS rebuilding the country, they might have understood. They never got the chance. Contrarians were "Dixie Chicked" and pilloried on Talk Radio. The New American Order was standing tall! The pride was back! Have a plate of Freedom Fries! HOORAH!!!

It was an Interesting week. Mr. Rumsfeld denied on TV that Iraq had become a guerrilla war, even as his new US Central Command chief General John Abizaid in Iraq acknowledged it had. More information leaked on the secret Dick Cheney energy task force meetings before 9/11. Pat Robertson issued a fatwa on Supreme Court Liberals, asking God to take them. Ann Coulter began a one-woman crusade to restore the spotless reputation of the late Senator Joe McCarthy. Talk show schlockmeister Jerry Springer filed for the Senate race in Ohio. Liberia exploding, still awaiting Mr. Bush's decision on sending peacekeepers. So much for the Neo-cons and Africa. Finally, another U.S. soldier and his Iraq interpreter were killed today. That makes five Americans and two Iraqi support personnel dead there since Friday. To what end? The Pentagon's answer is to suggest expanding the military.

Vietnam should have taught us that America can never go to war based on a lie. Iraq should further teach us that America can never go to war based on the input of some political guy named Scooter.

French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929) was quoted as saying that "war is far too important to be left to the generals."

It's also a little too important to be left in the hands of greedy fools.

B. Rehak is a writer in California, and can be reached at

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Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on July 25, 2003.
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