In the demented inner world of George W. Bush’s mind, being accused of not caring about black people was his worst moment. We can think of at least 5 genuine atrocities or fuck-ups that trump the Kanye West monologue.
In George Bush’s tête-à-tête with Matt Lauer, there were echoes of the self-deceptive historical revisionism seen in Nixon’s interview with David Frost, in which a corrupt and criminal President tries to reframe events in the minds of Americans. It truly is the hallmark of any politician to try to distort truths and reality, but only an American president can sit in a chair like a great man and weave such cynical alternate history.
With that in mind, I give you 5 events that should have impacted Bush’s (vacuous) sense of public service and (false) Christian morality.
5. Abu Ghraib
Anyone with any common sense knew at the time of the Abu Ghraib revelations that the methods weren’t an aberration. Intelligence-gathering techniques have long taken prisoners to the extreme in interrogation (see: MK Ultra). It makes total sense that Army Intelligence and CIA agents would employ the humiliation witnessed in the photographs of naked soldiers piled upon one another in depraved homosexual pageantry. It is psych warfare of the type profiled in Jon Ronson’s “The Men Who Stare at Goats.”
Put the Muslim prisoner in situations that run counter to the Muslim concepts of religion and masculinity, thereby establishing control physically and psychologically, then maybe, just maybe information will spill from the prisoner because they can no longer face the continued religio-sexual degradation. It’s all very reminiscent of the homosexual control mechanisms in William S. Burrough’s “Naked Lunch,” which strangely enough had as one of its primary locations Tangiers, Morocco–a muslim country.
Bush may not have known directly that such techniques were being used at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, such as in the Extraordinary Rendition programs; but as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military, he must answer for their behavior and not pass it off to subordinates in the Pentagon. That said, one can almost see Bush having advance knowledge of the goings-on at Abu Ghraib, as he views the photographs, smiles in the arrogant way only he could manage, and makes a comment like, “Ain’t that a sight, boys. Rummy, I want to see more of that, buddy.”
4. The Use of White Phosphorous in Fallujah
U.S. officials admitted to the use of white phosphorous as an incendiary weapon, though they also claimed it was not used against civilians—only for illumination and smokescreen purposes. It’s telling that the United States has signed but not ratified a treaty that bans the use of the chemical on civilians. White phosphorous burns until it completely disappears–which means it can burn right down to the bone. Keep in mind that Fallujah was not some city filled with 100% insurgents. It’s reasonable to assume that some civilians were exposed to the chemical as collateral damage. Surely there must be other ways of smoking the evil-doers out of their bunkers and caves–ones that don’t melt the skin off of human beings.
3. Iraq War Civilian Deaths
Civilian death totals for the War in Iraq range from WikiLeaks‘ total of about 66,000 to nearly 104,000 according to the Iraq Body Count Project. Nobody can be certain about these figures because many deaths go unreported or unrecorded. It should occur to any observer of Bush’s time in office, that the souls of so many innocent people should weigh more heavily on his soul than an opinion from Kanye West.
2. Blackwater Mercenaries
No real need to elaborate on Blackwater (now Xe), except to emphasize Bush’s use of the mercenary force founded by Christian Crusader and sole owner Eric Prince. We can thank Jeremy Scahill for his investigative journalism into Prince’s personal and family history. Prince’s father, Edgar Prince, helped Gary Bauer found the Family Research Council, which advocates for the outlawing of homosexual ‘behavior,’ controlled pornography (prudes), lower taxes (as Jesus would surely want things), and military action against radical Muslims (though their ideological zeal probably doesn’t end at mere radicals). Prince also donates significant amounts of money to James Dobson’s Focus on the Family.
17 Iraq civilians lost their lives at Nisour Square because of trigger-happy Blackwater mercenaries. For a man like George Bush, though, there isn’t really a problem in first employing and then excusing Prince’s mercenaries by maintaining military contracts with Blackwater/Xe, since they share the same views on religion: that of the Christian crusader.
1. The Economic Crash
Bush doesn’t shoulder the blame alone on this one, as Clinton, the Congresses and Federal Reserve of the 1990s and early 2000s did much to float the economy along a succession of bubbles (Dot Com, Real Estate, Commodities). However, Bush’s hands-off approach to Wall Street investment and banking, and his policy of letting the Federal Reserve push cheap money on banks for mortgages (with the help of Democratic and Republican congressmen), helped set off an economic crash that has destroyed the lives of many Americans. His lack of Wall Street policing at the SEC allowed for the Credit Default Swaps that brought the nation and a good portion of the world to its knees.
Of course, he has not yet accepted responsibility for the vanishing 401(k)’s, investments, college savings and jobs, and the various suicides that have resulted from the crash, and likely never will. Surely this must weigh on his conscience more than being called out by Kanye West?
Bush’s greatest legacy in the economic crash, however, is that he seems to have been absolved from the whole debacle–it being transferred through the alchemy of ignorance to the current President and the Democratic House and Senate.
Extra Credit: Hurricane Katrina
Bush has tried to deflect his administration’s bungling of FEMA’s Katrina response by drawing attention to Kanye West’s comment rather than to his own actions, or lack of action. Kanye West did nothing but call out an inept and heartless White (supposedly Christian) male born with a silver spoon up his anus. If Wall Street were under water you can bet Bush would have airlifted the bankers and investors from their penthouse apartments and high-rise offices to one of their other ten houses around the world, air-dropped Blackwater in to guard the banks and lay waste to anyone who came within 100 feet, and immediately begin rebuilding the area.