By William Rivers Pitt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
January 29, 2003
On Tuesday night, the wretched specter
of September 11th returned to Logan airport, departure point for the
planes that took down the Twin Towers. Hours before George W. Bush delivered
his State of the Union speech, a commercial aircraft had to be emptied,
and its passengers re-screened, after a box cutter was discovered in
a seat pocket.
During his speech, Bush attempted
to tout the actions he has taken to secure the nation against terrorism.
He spoke of the Homeland Security Department, increased border patrols,
and 50,000 new airport security screeners in place across the country.
He failed, of course, to mention the devious Total Information Awareness
database that came along with Homeland Security, and he failed to mention
how bitterly he fought to keep those 50,000 screeners out of the airports,
because they would be Federalized workers and thus able to unionize.
So much went unsaid during his speech.
That box cutter at Logan, however, spoke volumes.
The first twenty-five minutes of the
Bush speech was dedicated to domestic and economic issues. These are
proving to be the Achilles heel of this administration, just as they
were the last time a Bush occupied the Oval Office. Bush began by touting
the education reform bill passed several months ago with the help of
Senator Ted Kennedy, but failed to mention the degree to which Kennedy
has since distanced himself from that bill and the added flaws he never
agreed to. He spoke of holding corporate criminals to account, failing
to mention the incredible number of Enron executives - including his
beloved Kenny-Boy - who still walk free and clear across the nation they
defiled with their fraud and deceit.
Bush had words of great praise for
the trillion-dollar tax cut he foisted during his first year in office,
and rattled off a number of demands for Congress to make those cuts permanent.
Don't wait one year or three years or five years, he said, but cement
those cuts today. He failed to mention the soaring deficits these tax
cuts have caused, and likewise failed to mention that the cuts did not
one single solitary thing to help this flagging economy.
Bush went on to roll out his new tax
cut, aimed at stock dividends, which will once again benefit the wealthiest
Americans. He failed to mention how the budget will handle this added
stress; likewise, he failed to mention the fact that a number of prominent
Republicans, along with virtually every Democrat and a mob of economists,
saw this new tax cut concept as essentially flawed and dead on arrival.
Every man and woman who wants a job must have one, said Bush. He failed
to mention the millions of jobs that have been lost by Americans since
he took office.
After an inordinate amount of praise
for his tax cuts, and no mention of how the budget can survive them,
Bush went on to rhetorically spend billions and billions of dollars he
does not have on hand. He proposed an end to the 'marriage penalty',
and went on to propose $1.2 billion in spending to develop hydrogen-powered
automobiles. He failed to explain how he can afford any of this, and
likewise failed to parse the hypocrisy of touting hydrogen cars while
his new tax plan provides tens of thousands of dollars worth of write-offs
for owners of gas-guzzling SUVs.
Another $450 million will go to a
mentor program for children whose parents are in prison. $600 million
will go to another drug treatment program. A whopping $15 billion will
go to the noble cause of assisting the catastrophic AIDS crisis in Africa,
but not a word was spared to explain where this money will be found.
The mother of all financial boondoggles, the Ballistic Missile Shield,
got it's due to no one's great surprise.
At one point during the reading of
this fiduciary laundry list, Bush demanded fiscal responsibility from
the government. A roving camera caught House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
bursting into laughter when that line came across.
Using a raft of semantics, Bush proposed
that Medicare be moved into the HMO system, with newly minted Senate
Majority Leader Bill Frist smiling from the crowd. He failed to mention
how much HMOs loathe caring for senior citizens. He proposed the development
of cleaner energy technology while increasing energy reliance at home,
but failed to explain that this was code for the despoiling of the Alaskan
National Wildlife Refuge.
The faith-based initiative earned
a return appearance in the Bush speech, with much talk of compassion
and service. He failed to describe the degree to which such a program
will annihilate the sacred and absolutely necessary separation between
church and state. The Federal government will be offering services to
those Americans who "deserve" attention, and the rest will be left to
the whims of religious institutions.
To be sure, this was a generalized
list, filled with hyperbole and great praise for the failed economic
plans of the last two years. Upon arriving at the subject of foreign
policy and war, however, Mr. Bush shifted gears. In every way, his delivery
became more dynamic, his voice more like a man standing before a congregation
of the faithful. Nearly every line was met with crashing applause from
his Republican allies arrayed before him.
Bush spoke of liberating Afghanistan,
but failed to mention that this was done with the overwhelming approval
and support of the international community. He spoke again of chasing
terrorists across the globe. "The war goes on," said Bush, "and we are
winning." He listed a number of al Qaeda agents who had been detained
without providing much in the way of specifics, and stated that some
3,000 suspected terrorists were under arrest. Many more have been dealt
with; "Put it this way," said Bush. "They are no longer a problem." He
failed to describe the premises upon which those 3,000 were detained,
and likewise failed to mention that in the process of rendering those
others 'non-problematic,' his war in Afghanistan sent more civilians
to death than were lost on September 11th.
The last twenty minutes of Bush's
speech were dedicated almost exclusively to the looming conflict in Iraq.
He leveled a damning finger at Saddam Hussein, accusing him of hiding
anthrax, VX, botulinin toxin and other terrible weapons. He failed to
provide an iota of evidence to back up these assertions, and on a number
of occasions trotted out 'evidence' that had been debunked by the UN
inspectors and the CIA. Bush raised the dire threat of a nuclear-capable
Iraq, but failed to note that the nuclear inspectors in Iraq have given
that nation a totally clean bill of health. He likewise failed to mention
that his administration and the Pentagon have approved the use of nuclear
weapons in Iraq as mainstream tactical battlefield tools.
Bush on several occasions linked Hussein
directly to al Qaeda, painting at one point a picture of nineteen hijackers
directed by Hussein commandeering aircraft and loading them with chemical
or biological weapons. He offered no proof of this. He failed to mention
that Hussein is a secular dictator who has spent the last thirty years
crushing Islamic fundamentalism in Iraq, failed to mention the death
threats levied against him by al Qaeda, and failed to mention the absolute
fact that Hussein would never be so stupid as to give weapons or aid
to blood enemies. Were he to do so, he would find those weapons immediately
turned against him.
Bush failed to mention how the American
economy could handle the billions of dollars needed to support the war,
the inevitable oil shock that would come as a result of the war, the
billions more needed for his missile shield, the billions needed to push
his new tax cut through, the billions needed to make his old tax cut
permanent, and the billions needed to pay for the new programs he proposed.
Bush failed to explain why so many
Admirals and Generals, including Generals Zinni and Schwartzkopf, have
spoken about the recklessness of this war plan. He failed to mention
the inevitable blowback of terrorism that America would suffer should
this war take place, especially if it takes place with a 'coalition of
the willing' that does not include a UN sanction.
At no time, and in no way, did George
W. Bush mention the name Osama bin Laden.
State of the Union speeches are political
events, filled with pomp and circumstance and tradition. When a President
proposes new policies and new challenges, and backs those proposals up
with beneficial actions, the politics of the speech are worth their weight
in gold. As the elder Bush discovered, after his empty speech of 1992,
baseless rhetoric with no follow-up is as the crack of doom. Bush cannot
afford the domestic policies he has proposed, and charts a deadly path
to war abroad. There was so much left unsaid during this speech. Those
empty spaces may prove, in the end, to be his downfall.
William Rivers Pitt <email@example.com> is a New York Times bestselling author of two books -
"War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and
"The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in May 2003 from Pluto
Press. He teaches high school in Boston, MA.
Scott Lowery contributed research
to this report
Web posted at: http://www.rense.com/general34/left.htm
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