The Byrne Report
By Peter Byrne
The advantage of being chief spokesperson for the United States of Commerce is that no matter what kind of stinky garbage you say smells like dahlias, the mainstream media and the public it hypnotizes will treat you as a sane, trustworthy person. Case in point: desperate to terrorize the American people into voting for his congressional henchmen (Democrats as well as Republicans), President George Walker Bush deflected criticism last week with his trademark rhetorical question: "Would we be better off if Saddam Hussein were still in power?"
Of course, the real question to ask is, "Would we be better off if George Walker Bush was not in power?" Let's see: about 3,000 American troops have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, while we have murdered at least 100,000 ordinary civilians and a few fundamentalist rats who used to be on our payroll. In the summer of 2001, Bush was repeatedly told by high-ranking intelligence officials that an al Qaida attack was imminent and did nothing to prevent it.
Despite the refusal of the New York Times to use the c-word, it is a fact that civil wars have been rocking Iraq and Afghanistan for two years. While occupation-created death squads rule the streets of Baghdad-- Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Parsons, Fluor, Louis Berger Group, URS Corp. and Perini Corp. pocket tens of billions of dollars in sole-source war contracts that are shoddily managed and seldom completed. Tutored by American bureaucrats, the Iraqi and Afghani governments are kleptocracies. With the economy strangled, Iraqi children expire from lack of medicine, healthy food, energy and drinking water.
Iraqi journalists exposing the corruption of government officials are arrested and tried under American-approved laws criminalizing speech that ridicules the government. Meanwhile, back in the fatherland, Congress strips away centuries-old habeas corpus rights, while encouraging Bush to wiretap his political enemies and torture and indefinitely detain anyone who irks him, while his cronies make off with several trillion bucks from the state treasury. To paraphrase Huey Long, "When fascism comes to America, it will call itself antifascism." That ugly phenomenon is now emerging, sustained by war profits, the Patriot Act and self-replicating memes labeled "freedom" and "democracy" that are, in reality, polar opposites of those concepts.
Now I will say that which many horrified Americans think and few dare to voice: The world would be better off with Saddam Hussein in power. For one thing, that would mean we did make the worst mistake in American history and invade Iraq on a completely transparent pretense. Check it out: Bush's own father believed the world was better off with Saddam in power because his secular blend of democracy and autocracy and petrodollar-funded public works kept the religiously divided Iraq from fragmenting and hurting oil company profits. In fact, the Iraq of the pre-Persian Gulf War and blockade days had an impressively engineered physical infrastructure, socialized medicine, universal education, plenty of food, millions of healthy children and the rights of women were enshrined in the constitution. No more.
Ever since Bush "liberated" the country with bombs and random murders, the limited human rights and advanced standard of living that Iraqis enjoyed under Saddam have vanished. Iraq has gone from being fairly well off under a dictator to being the most dangerous, polluted, bloody spot on the planet. And the horror of Iraq today is courtesy of Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice and the coterie of cold-blooded neocon traitors who have hijacked America's mind and purse with their antidemocratic agenda. Iraqis must long for the relatively golden days of Saddam, beastly as he was. So should we.
History will hold us accountable for tolerating the reprehensible Bush regime. Fattened by consumer credit, we cower in front of our televisions, hoping it will all blow over and that the Democrats will save us from economic and political backlash. No way: scratch a Democrat, find a Republican. They are all beholden to the corporate forces that installed Bush into high office and kept Saddam in power for so many decades.
Decent-minded leaders would have turned 9-11 into its opposite by recognizing that the true enemies of the world are poverty, imperialist war, religious arrogance, environmental destruction, cultural decadence and market-driven selfishness. Now, as Bush asks us to reflect upon his post-Saddam world, an international poll shows that our cruel, unjust, unwinnable war on the Iraqis has brought worldwide opinion of America to a new low.
Bush is viewed as posing a greater problem to life on earth than Islamic terrorism or Iran getting nuclear weapons or China buying Saudi oil. Can't you feel him itching to use his weapons of mass destruction? Bush is a much bigger threat to all of us than Saddam ever was or could be.