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The Bush League of Nations

Also by James A. Swanson

Engineering Your Start-Up: A Guide for the High-Tech Entrepreneur


(second edition—Michael L. Baird, co-author)
The Bush League
of Nations

The Coalition of the Unwilling,


the Bullied and the Bribed—
The GOP’s War on Iraq and America

James A. Swanson
Copyright © James A. Swanson, 2008. All rights reserved.

Published by CreateSpace Publishing

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN: 1-438211-95-3
ISBN: 978-1-4382-1195-4

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Dedication and Dead–ication

Dedication

This book is dedicated to the Dixie Chicks: Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire
and Emily Robison.

“Six Strong Hands on the Steering Wheel”

Dead-ication

This book is dead–icated to the Dixie Chickens: George W. Bush, Dick Che-
ney and Don Rumsfeld.

“Six Wrong Hands on the Steering Wheel”

RIP: January 20, 2009—or earlier, God and the U.S. Congress willing.
Contents
Introduction i

PART I The Road to American Imperialism 1

1. Asleep at the Wheel 3


An Historic Opportunity Squandered

2. A Just War vs. Just War 27


Hard Power, Soft Power and Stupid Power

3. Afghanistan 41
Losing the Just War

4. The Unjust War in Iraq 51


Christianity is Bombing in Iraq

PART II The Bush League of Nations 89

5. The Bush League of Nations 91


A Web of Deceit for the Gullible

6. Members of the Bush League of Nations 123


Lost in the Wilderness—A Leader Without Followers

7. Private Military Contractors 153


Making a Killing in Iraq

PART III Bush, the GOP and Bush League Religion 165

8. The Religious Wrong 167


Creating the Neo-Jesus—Pro-Rich and Pro-War

9. Eschatology and The Book of Revelation 195


Weapons of Mass Deception on the Road to Armageddon

10. A Call to Christians and Other People of Faith 211


Don’t Give Up—Embrace Your Faith and Continue Your
Faith Journey
PART IV The GOP’s War on America 223

11. The GOP’s War on America’s Workers, the Poor and


Disadvantaged 225
Of the Rich, By the Rich, For the Rich

12. The GOP’s Bankruptcy of America 265


Living from Grandchild’s Paycheck to Grandchild’s Paycheck

PART V Tools of the Trade 295

13. An Outlaw Presidency—From Crimes Against Humanity


to the Rape of the U.S. Constitution 297
The George Orwell Party (GOP) at Work

14. Fear Mongering 311


Chickenhawk Lies, Lies and More Lies

15. Puppetry in the White House 321


A Blind Man in a Roomful of Deaf People

16. Control and Bullying of the Media 333


America’s Corporate Media—Right, But Not Correct

17. Treason, Electoral Fraud—Anything to Maintain Power 351


The Most Insidious of Traitors

18. Corruption in America and Iraq—GOP Style 365


Profiles in Corruption

PART VI Out of the Wilderness 389

19. Out of the Wilderness—Three Plans 391


Blessed Are the Peacemakers

I. Withdraw from Iraq and Win in Afghanistan—An 8-Point Plan 393


II. Beyond Iraq and Afghanistan—A 7-Point International Plan 397
III. A 6-Point Plan to Support America’s Troops 399

Appendix A: A Doubleheader—Impeach Bush


and Cheney 401

Index 407
Introduction

SIDEBAR: San Jose Mercury News, Letter to the Editor, March 25, 2003—
“Replacing the U.N.”

“Charles Krauthammer (Opinion, March 21, 2003) recommends that the United
States turn its back on the United Nations. He asserts, ‘The Security Council is noth-
ing more than the victory coalition of 1945. That was six decades ago. Let a new
structure be born out of the Iraq coalition. Maybe it will acquire a name, maybe it
won’t.’ Well, let me suggest a name. Let’s call it the Bush League of Nations.”
—Jim Swanson, Los Altos

George W. Bush is surprisingly articulate and engaging when he discusses base-


ball. He loves the game, and he speaks about it with passion, confidence and even
some knowledge. This is in sharp contrast to the way he thinks and talks about virtu-
ally any other topic—to which the label bush league applies perfectly.

SIDEBAR: Definitions

bush league (noun)—a league of teams (especially baseball teams) that are not part
of a major league.
bush-league, or bush (adjective)—amateur, unprofessional, not of the highest so-
phistication or quality.
bush, also “bush league”—“an amateur play or behavior.” (From a list of common
baseball terms at MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball)
Bush League of Nations—The Coalition of the Unwilling, the Bullied and the
Bribed in Iraq.
Noah Webster slams George W. Bush and the Bush League of Nations: “Never
have an American president and his policies been so aptly named.”1
Note: The Oxford English Dictionary cites bush league’s first use in baseball as
1906, and its first non-baseball use as 1914.

On August 26, 2001—less than three weeks before the September 11, 2001, ter-
rorist attacks (9/11)—Bush attended the Little League Baseball World Series, the
first sitting president to do so. Earlier in the year he also spent some vacation time at
the NCAA Division I College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
In retrospect, it would have been better if Bush had spent more time—even a few
minutes between innings—trying to protect America from terrorist attacks such as
9/11, and less time:

1
Just kidding. Noah Webster, the author of America’s first dictionary, died in 1843.
ii THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• watching baseball,
• vacationing,2
• pushing massive tax cuts for the Super Rich,
• turning the White House into a parsonage and pulpit exclusively for right-
wing Christians,3
• scheming about ways to milk the U.S. government (versus thinking about
how to improve its performance), and
• scheming how best to get the United States to invade and occupy Iraq.
Following 9/11 Bush greatly reduced the amount of time he spent at baseball
games. Appearances do count.

SIDEBAR: The Real League of Nations

The League of Nations (1920-46), formed in the aftermath of World War I, was in-
tended to promote international security and peace throughout the world. President
Woodrow Wilson was the most prominent supporter of the League, and he passion-
ately pushed for the United States to join and support it. However, after many
months of intense public debate and lobbying by groups with widely varying views,
congressional approval was lacking, and the United States never joined.
This failure of the United States to join the League of Nations was a key reason
the League ultimately failed in its central mission of resolving disputes peacefully
and avoiding another world war. Within one generation after World War I the world
again was inflamed in another world war, this one even more deadly than the first.
Other reasons for the League of Nation’s failure included:
• the desire of each major power to go its own unfettered way;
• difficulty in achieving consensus among the member states, especially when the
interests of the major powers were involved;
• reluctance of member nations to embrace collective security versus pursuing their
own individual interests;
• the lack of any military capability on the part of the League;
• a weakening caused by the GOP Great Depression;
• a disrespect for international law; and
• the fact that the nations defeated in World War I were not consulted about the
League’s structure and powers.

2
From his inauguration to 9/11, Bush spent more than 40% of his time on vacation. Average
American workers—Joe and Sally Lunchpail—typically get only two weeks of vacation per
year, and frequently they can’t take any vacation during the first year of employment. “W”
does not stand for “worker” or “work” or “workaholic.”
3
Regarding White House activities, constitutional scholars agree that Bush’s “presidential
pandering in the pulpit and parsonage” is 666 times greater a threat to America’s constitutional
protections—including freedom of religion, and separation of church and state—than Monica
Lewinsky’s “presidential pants pulling and peter pumping.”
INTRODUCTION iii

In short, the League suffered from an incomplete roster of members and lacked
the necessary ingredients—mutual trust, shared objectives, political courage and
military power—to achieve its purposes.
Upon the creation of the United Nations at the end of World War II, the League
of Nations was officially disbanded.
In the run-up to World War II the world community, including the League of Na-
tions, was unable to prevent major imperial powers from invading and occupying
weak nations—exactly the vulnerable position of Iraq in 2003—that had done noth-
ing to justify invasion and occupation, other than having something an imperial
power wanted. Specifically, Japan under Emperor Hirohito invaded Manchuria in
1931, Italy under Benito Mussolini attacked Ethiopia in 1935, and Germany under
Adolph Hitler annexed Austria in 1938 and invaded Poland in 1939. The vast major-
ity of the rest of the world opposed these military actions, but their opinions and
“votes” did not count. In each case the big bully did what it wanted—supported by
the “patriotic” cheering of its domestic propaganda media—and the rest is history.
Unfortunately, history repeats itself. Welcome to Bush World.

The Bush League of Nations was doomed to failure, just as the League of Na-
tions was in the run-up to World War II, and in both cases the United States is the
central cause of the failure, but for different reasons.
The Bush League of Nations is the polar opposite of the League of Nations. The
League of Nations was a noble international effort to promote peace and prosperity
for the entire world. The Bush League of Nations is a charade run by the United
States, the world’s one remaining superpower—of, by, and for itself—to remold the
world into a structure that’s the dream of its delusional, rightwing, unilateralist, anti-
democratic, militaristic neoconservatives, sometimes called neocons, the term we use
in this book. Perhaps you prefer loonies or conservatives or wackos. Yes, “W” stands
for many things, including “wacko.”
The League of Nations failed as an organization largely because the United
States was not a member. The Bush League of Nations is a failure because the
United States—led by that international pariah, George W. Bush—is the organiza-
tion.
As was the case with the great powers during the time of the League of Nations, a
great power—the United States—is now making its own way, by waging war in Iraq,
without any pretense that it is a just war necessary for self-defense or the defense of
any other nation. In waging this unnecessary war—a war at the top of the neocon
agenda many years before 9/11—Bush greatly damaged America’s credibility, val-
ues and influence, and he undercut America’s moral right to object when other rogue
nations misbehave. America lost far more than what the neocons had hoped to gain
in their wildest faith-based fantasies.
The Bush League of Nations is a charade created for tens of millions of gullible
American voters. In this Machiavellian sense, it was hugely successful. The charade
helped the neocons successfully accomplish their initial goal—control of Iraq and its
iv THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

resources—by illegally using the American military to invade and occupy that na-
tion, and the war hysteria helped Bush win reelection in 2004.
The Republican Party (GOP) that controlled Congress enthusiastically supported
the charade every step of the way, and in doing so, it put the GOP stamp of approval
on it. Bush’s war on Iraq is the GOP’s war on Iraq. It is the worst foreign policy dis-
aster in America’s history, and Bush and the GOP must be held accountable for it.
After the horrendous 9/11 attacks on America, Bush had the opportunity to lead
the world and become one of the most successful American statesmen of all time.
Unfortunately, he chose poorly and executed poorly, and became the most hated per-
son on Earth.
September 11 was a severe body blow to all Americans. However, Bush—
through ideological, faith-based, no-critical-thinking-allowed policies and deci-
sions—delivered America an even more severe blow, a low blow that will cause
America and the world many more deaths and much more damage over the years
than bin Laden and all the bin Laden wannabes could have imagined possible. As the
most effective recruiter for terrorists and other enemies of America, Bush has made
the job of future American presidents incredibly more difficult, and although some of
the enormous havoc he wrought can be reversed with years of effort, much of the
damage is permanent. The immediate impeachment and removal of Bush and Che-
ney from office is the best first step America can take to heal itself. Protection of
America’s Constitution and democracy demands it.
During the Cold War, when America made a mistake—and every nation makes
mistakes—America nevertheless looked good in comparison to the dictatorial empire
of the Soviet Union. However, as the only remaining superpower, America is now
rightly viewed more closely and skeptically, and it should and must hold itself to
higher standards. Unfortunately, Bush dropped America’s standards into a Bush
League sewer, and it will take a long time and much work by others to clean up the
toxic and lethal mess.
Invading a country simply because we want to and can is arrogance run amok
and is not going to cut it as a viable American strategy in the 21st century. Unfortu-
nately for America, Bush and the GOP became the new standard for arrogance.4
Although it belatedly became obvious to most of America what was long ago ob-
vious to the world—namely that America’s King George III is wearing no clothes—
Bush’s arrogance and self-delusion continued unabated. Prior to the invasion of
Iraq—which the GOP and the neocons predicted would be a cakewalk, a glorious
quick victory for which they alone would reap the glory and the booty—Bush and his
neocons gleefully heaped disrespect and scorn on the United Nations and NATO.
Bush’s message to the United Nations, NATO and the rest of the world was the
same words that Dick “Shooter” Cheney spat at a U.S. senator on the floor of the
U.S. Senate: “Go fuck yourself.” With their testosterone levels thus cranked up, the
Bush neocons then proceeded to Iraq and did exactly that to themselves. Such bi-

4
During the campaign before the 2000 presidential election, the main feature of Bush’s almost
nonexistent foreign policy was his statement that if America were “humble,” other nations
would respect us. Well, he said it right then, and his words are still apt today. Bush correctly
recognized that to be humble is not to be weak. Unfortunately, he forgot his own words, and
he and America lost their way.
INTRODUCTION v

zarre self-indulgent group activity by Bush’s cocooned circle of jerks might have
been acceptable if confined to its individual deviant participants, but it wasn’t, and
they gave their biggest screwing not to themselves, but to America, Iraq and the
world.
Since everyone makes mistakes, including rightwing Christians, one might have
expected many sincere Christian apologies from Bush regarding his Iraq lies, distor-
tions and blunders. In Christian theology, repentance is not simply saying, “I’m
sorry,” but rather it requires a sincere turning around of one’s life, which is neces-
sary before one can receive forgiveness.
But, no, Bush never repents for anything. Far short of true repentance, he never
even says he’s sorry, and he never truly admits making a mistake. These are not
characteristics of a true Christian.
Repentance and personal responsibility were never part of Bush’s education.
When Bush did one of his 180-degree turns and went hat in hand back to the interna-
tional community—with that bewildered “How did I get here?” look on his face,
much like that of a hooked, flip-flopping, wiggling walleyed5 pike finding itself in
the bottom of a fishing boat—Bush’s incredible condescending message to the
United Nations and NATO was that they now had the responsibility to clean up his
mess. It was a message right out of “Alice in Wonderland.”
“Bush League of Nations,” as used in this book, refers specifically to that so-
called Coalition of the Willing created by George W. Bush in 2003 to invade and
occupy Iraq.
During the initial phases of the 2003 Iraq invasion, while the U.S. military was
doing a superb job in the rush to Baghdad, Bush’s easy-chair, never-served-in-the-
military neocons were busy pumping out their chests and making “You’re next!”
threats against other nations in the region, especially Syria and Iran.
Fortunately, additional sham coalitions by Bush beyond the Iraq disaster appear
unlikely for many reasons. First, we are now involved in two unfinished wars that
are part of Bush’s and the GOP’s legacy of “Mission Not Accomplished.” Rather
than properly fighting and winning one just war and one just peace—the war and
peace in Afghanistan—the civilian bomb-and-go Bushies mis-seized the moment and
jumped into Iraq, their primary target after all. Carpe diem became “crapa diem.”
This catastrophic blunder made it much more difficult for America and its allies to
prosecute and win the war in Afghanistan, let alone to seriously attempt the huge
long-term job of helping Afghanis build a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan, a
nation-building function for which the Bush bombers and their GOP enablers have
neither heart nor aptitude.
Second, although it is doubtful Bush and his cloistered neocons learned any use-
ful lessons from their unfortunate encounters with reality in Iraq, America’s citizenry
and perhaps even America’s Big Media will be less likely to cheerlead such folly the
next time around.
Third, America has run out of troops for additional battlegrounds, and Bush and
the GOP do not have the backbone to implement a military draft. This effectively
precludes Bush from also invading and occupying Iran—a nation three times the size

5
Yes, “W” also means “wiggling walleyed.”
vi THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

of Iraq, with four times the population, and much more united against any U.S. inter-
vention—although it does not rule out other Bush folly such as a catastrophic air
campaign against Iran, which is something he might do in a heartbeat—without a
plan and without concern about the consequences—if he thought it would somehow
miraculously give himself even a one percent chance of having a positive “legacy”
when he finally slithers out of the White House.
Curiously, when Bush threatens this or that nation, he seems to enjoy saying that
all military options remain on the table. However, his folly in Iraq has handcuffed
America’s military and reduced America’s military options should another war break
out, whether just or not.
In the meantime, the so-called “war on terrorism”—a misleading fear-mongering
slogan used to justify anything and everything—gives Bush several political advan-
tages, including the stifling of dissent and the creation of a false façade of a “tough
president.”
More important, the “war on terrorism” provides distraction and cover for the
Bush administration as it relentlessly pushes its domestic political agenda of doing
everything possible for the Super Rich, while it panders to the extreme Christian
right.
On behalf of the neo-GOP, Bush proudly carries two banners:
• Banner No. 1: “Of the Rich, By the Rich, and For the Rich”
• Banner No. 2: “The Prince of War—Pandering Warmonger for the Reli-
gious Right”
It is precisely these two banners that make Bush and the GOP unfit to lead a
global war on terrorism. These two banners represent their War on America and their
War on the World.6
Regarding international coalitions, for example, why would any nation or people
trust Bush enough to support his Bush League of Nations in a major league way?
Why would poor oppressed people living under dictators rally behind a man who
represents the Super Rich and whose extended family is Exhibit A for crony capital-
ism?
Why would oppressed Muslims anywhere in the world trust this rightwing Chris-
tian crusader who knows you are going to Hell unless you convert to his particular
flavor of rightwing political Christianity, and who enjoys sleepovers at his Texas
ranch with Super Rich princes of Saudi Arabia, the most vile and dangerous dictator-
ship in the Middle East?
Why would workers and the unemployed in Iraq expect anything good from this
two-Americas man who joyfully stiffs America’s working class and America’s poor
so that he can give unprecedented tax breaks and advantages, even during war, to the
Super Rich, large corporations and his donating cronies?
A natural divider, Bush has done more than any other president to divide the
world and to divide America. His two banners gained him millions of votes at home
and hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions, but they cost America
billions of “votes” internationally. Thanks to Bush, America lost the moral high
ground and lost its way.

6
“W” also stands for both “War on America” and “War on the World.”
INTRODUCTION vii

Bush’s two banners have also cost lower-and middle-income Americans dearly.
It is class warfare in Bush’s America, and the Super Rich and the powerful have
won.
While giving massive tax cuts to the Super Rich and greatly expanding corporate
welfare, Bush and the GOP—the Cons—have:
• presided over the largest job destruction program since the GOP Great De-
pression;
• cut and under funded dozens of programs that benefit low- and middle-
income working Americans;
• turned the largest budget surplus in history into the largest deficit ever;
• put Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid at risk;
• greatly increased spending and bloated the size of the federal government to
record levels;
• increased pork-barrel spending and earmarks for crony contributors to re-
cord levels;
• pursued a two-Americas strategy while greatly widening the chasm between
the Super Rich and everyone else;
• exploded the national debt to catastrophically dangerous levels; and
• sent America on the road to bankruptcy and financial Armageddon.
No president and no party have done more to damage generations of America’s
unborn. Under the GOP’s reckless mismanagement, the United States lives not from
paycheck to paycheck, but from grandchild’s paycheck to grandchild’s paycheck.
Bush eschews critical thinking, fact-based analysis, inclusion of people with
varying perspectives, and respectful debate. Living in an ideological cocoon, he is a
weak puppet for Dick Cheney and a small circle of neocons and faith-based advisors
who have taken groupthink and ideology to new lows.
Regarding his plan to wage war on Iraq, Bush talked to God for direction rather
than to his earthly father, the former American president who actually successfully
created and led a legitimate coalition against Iraq in 1991. Bush’s weak leadership
and childlike naiveté resulted in the sham Bush League of Nations invading Iraq in
2003—and the subsequent loss of that unjust war.
Bush leads an unprecedented assault on religious freedom and separation of
church and state in America. His elitist, warmongering, exclusionary approach to
religion must get warm nods of approval from bin Laden, the Taliban and Iran’s dic-
tatorial ayatollahs, except, of course, that they all disagree with his chosen brand of
rightwing religion. Militant rightwing religions are like different brands of ciga-
rettes—they all kill, and it matters little what particular brand you select as your can-
cer vehicle.
America’s Religious Right abandoned the most essential principles of Christian-
ity, especially: (1) Christ’s compassion for the poor and the outcast, and (2) Christ’s
role as Prince of Peace. It turned Christianity upside down, to America’s and the
world’s great loss. Mainstream Christians—including millions of evangelicals—are
ashamed, as are people of other faiths in America and throughout the world.
The world yearns for America to come to its senses. But America’s Prince of
War, George W. Bush, like a Don Quixote at the head of a Bush League of Nations
in nowhere land—except for the nuclear weapons, of course—blindly trudges on.
viii THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

SIDEBAR: Bush League Sportsmanship—Texas Style

On Sunday, June 27, 2004, the University of Texas Longhorns college baseball team
lost 3-2 to Cal State Fullerton, which gave the Titans a two-game sweep in the
championship series of the 2004 NCAA Division I College World Series. The long-
faced Longhorns—ranked number one for part of the season and heavily favored to
win the championship series—were obviously disappointed. Texas coach Augie Gar-
rido took the high road in talking about the game and his pride in the team. “I’m
proud of them for the efforts they’ve made to do what’s right, in all environments….
I’m proud of them, and I think the university should be proud of them as well.
They’ve represented the university, the State of Texas, the athletic department and
themselves like champions.”
Well, not exactly.
Notwithstanding two requests from NCAA officials, the Longhorns and their
coach refused to be part of the post-game trophy presentation, thus becoming the
first team in 17 years to refuse to accept its second-place trophy and congratulate the
winners. They also refused to give the media access to their locker room after the
game, a violation of NCAA rules. These post-game antics created more controversy
than the loss, and many fans questioned the team’s sportsmanship.
There’s a nasty rumor—which I’m now starting—as to why the Longhorns
couldn’t attend the awards ceremony: They had just received a congratulatory call
from the White House regarding their win in the upcoming recount, with Bush ex-
plaining how votes—well, runs—scored by black Titans wouldn’t be counted. Bush
said the Republican judges controlling the U.S. Supreme Court were standing by,
just in case.
Fortunately, the many liberal and progressive stars on the Longhorn team told
Bush to take a hike. “We play by the rules—you should try that sometime.”
The story has a happy ending. One year later, in 2005, the Longhorns once again
won the NCAA title, fair and square, by the rules, between the lines. Definitely not
Bush League.

Of course, this book is not about a baseball game or the sport of baseball. Rather
it is about war and peace, life and death, the decline of America’s democracy, and
the decline of America on the world stage.
We end this introduction with a call to action to America’s youth. One day your
children and grandchildren may ask you what you did during this time of national
crisis to help end the war on Iraq and restore America’s democracy and Constitution.
We hope you’ll be able to say you tried your best.
Make no mistake about it. The world and America are under attack by the worst
presidency in America’s history, and every action by America’s citizenry, however
large or small, truly counts. The occupation of Iraq must end immediately, and Bush
and Cheney must be impeached and removed from office.
PART I

The Road to
American Imperialism
CHAPTER 1

Asleep at the Wheel


An Historic Opportunity Squandered

Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop
thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do
we.
—George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

On the morning of 9/11 (September 11, 2001), George W. Bush was reading a chil-
dren’s book with a group of preschoolers at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in
Sarasota, Florida. Well, he wasn’t actually reading it—he was holding it. Bush’s
thoughts were understandably elsewhere, as he was basking in the glow of the up-
coming release of My Pet Goat—written by Dick Cheney in 2001—a thrilling biog-
raphy of America’s 43rd president that focused on 43’s many heroic accomplish-
ments during his upcoming administration.
The official story of Bush’s meeting with the preschoolers was that he quickly
left the room when informed of the 9/11 attacks and acted decisively throughout in
fighting the war against terror, which was natural behavior for such a great leader of
the free world.
The official story changed later. Before entering the school Bush had been in-
formed of a plane hitting the World Trade Center (WTC). He decided nevertheless to
go ahead with the photo opportunity. Later informed of a second plane hitting the
WTC, Bush incredibly sat bewildered with the children for another seven minutes,
until someone suggested he leave.
The press chose not to cover this incident—or, more accurately, they chose to
cover it up. In the days and months ahead they were going to get countless opportu-
nities to practice such cowardly, docile behavior. After all, America was “at war,”
and it would be unpatriotic for journalists to think critically and independently, to
ask the obvious tough questions that had to be asked, and to tell the truth. The Bush
Family Pass system was operating efficiently at top speed. America’s rightwing cor-
porate media, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, were com-
peting for the coveted Pravda Prize.
On the other hand, Fahrenheit 9/11, released in 2004 and strongly pointed, al-
lowed viewers to see video of the incident and draw their own conclusions. “The
4 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

look on Bush’s face as he reads the book, knowing what he knows, is disquieting,”
reported Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, in a review of the movie.
In June 2004—almost three years after the 9/11 attacks—a partial report of the
9/11 Commission provided some additional information (but certainly not the truth,
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.) Bush told the commission in closed-door
testimony that he sat there in the school because “he should project strength and
calm until he could better understand what was happening.” What a peculiar state-
ment.
The most disturbing aspect is not really what Bush did or didn’t do in the first
minutes. After all, most of the world knows Bush is an incompetent leader who is
managed by a small circle of handlers who shield him from reality and critical think-
ing. No, what is most disturbing is the fawning willingness of America’s Big Media
to filter and censor the news, bending over backwards and doing mental gymnas-
tics—as good cheerleaders—to show Bush in a positive light, accepting uncritically
whatever information the Bush administration shovels out of the corral, thereby ab-
rogating the media’s essential independent role in America’s democracy.

An Historic Opportunity Squandered


Virtually the entire world was horrified by the slaughter on September 11, 2001. The
world was with us and behind us, ready to follow American’s lead in making the
world a better and safer place for all the peoples of the world.
Unfortunately, George W. Bush was at the helm, more or less, and he and his
neocon team squandered this unprecedented historic opportunity. Theirs is the great-
est blunder in the history of American foreign policy.

SIDEBAR: Bush’s Crusade

In the days after 9/11, millions of people were astounded to hear the Bush admini-
stration describe its planned war against terrorism as a “crusade.” Also astounded,
your author thought: “This is incredible. They’ve decided to make it a religious war
against Islam. This is outrageously stupid, dangerous, and very much against Ameri-
can moral values and strategic interests. They must know something I don’t.”
But the problem was that the Bush team knew and understood less. It never oc-
curred to your author that the administration’s use of the word “crusade” was other
that premeditated and intentional. Even later, with the benefit of hindsight, your au-
thor wanted to believe the administration spoke intentionally, because to believe oth-
erwise would be to admit that the Bush team was far more ignorant about the world
than generally thought.
In a flip-flop, better known in Great Britain as a U-turn, the Bush administration
correctly backed away from the “crusade” characterization.
CHAPTER 1 — ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL 5

But significant damage had already been done. The blunder added to Bush’s
growing reputation in the world as a not-too-bright cowboy crusader against Islam, a
reputation especially prevalent among the more than one billion Muslims in the
world. In contrast, any British schoolchild would have known that Bush talking “cru-
sade” after 9/11 was definitely stupid.
Bush supporters argued that the use of the word “crusade” was merely a slip of
the tongue, an innocent mistake that anyone could make.
Unfortunately, the word “crusade” was used repeatedly, thus demonstrating an
incredible lack of understanding by the Bush neocons as to the Islamic world and the
tangled history of Christianity and Islam. It was one of countless gaffes that show-
cased the narrow groupthink of the Bush team.
Yes, everyone makes slips of the tongue and minor mistakes. But suppose your
auto mechanic tells you that your spare tire should be mounted on the steering wheel,
or that transmission fluid goes in the radiator. These basic mistakes would not just be
innocent slips of the tongue, but instead—like the “crusade mistake”—evidence of
utter ignorance and gross incompetence.
Other observers thought Bush was just throwing some raw red meat to millions
of his supporters on the Religious Right who believe that a reduction in tension in the
Holy Land—worst case, God forbid, that peace break out between Israel and the
Palestinians—would interfere with God’s Plan for the end of the world by delaying
the rapture, the Battle of Armageddon and the rest of their fantastic End Times
schedule of biblical prophecy.
In any case, from the first day, Bush got off on the wrong foot, and his false steps
only worsened as time marched on, eventually causing much of the Muslim world to
conclude that his regime in fact was engaged in a crusade against Islam.

It did not have to be that way. On 9/11 virtually the entire world united behind
America not only in sympathy but also in a sincere desire to find and punish the re-
sponsible criminals.
The September 13, 2001, headline in France’s Le Monde read: “Nous sommes
tous Americains” (“We are all Americans”). We had the sympathy and support of
virtually every country, and poll after poll showed extremely positive attitudes to-
wards the United States and Americans.
Muslims throughout the world were appalled that members of the Islamic faith
were the criminals behind 9/11. Bush had a golden opportunity to help end the Is-
raeli/Palestinian conflict, improve relations with Arab and Islamic nations through-
out the world, and help spread democracy and social justice. He didn’t even try.
NATO immediately met and on September 12, 2001, invoked Article 5 of the
NATO Treaty, calling on all NATO nations to treat the 9/11 attacks as attacks on
each and every NATO nation. The United Nations quickly voted to support military
action by the United States against al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
There was deep worldwide support for the use of overwhelming military force
against al Qaeda and its ally, the Taliban, in Afghanistan, notwithstanding doubts
about Bush’s appreciation of the critical strategic issues involved, as well as doubts
6 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

about his willingness to walk the entire difficult road ahead and make the major-
league commitment necessary to help build a new Afghanistan.
History would show that the doubts about Bush were well placed. During the
2000 presidential campaign Bush indicated no appetite for nation building, and the
years following 9/11—years of lost opportunity—demonstrated that he had neither
the appetite nor the ability to nation build, whether in Afghanistan, in Iraq, or in
America.
The years of Bush’s presidency will be known as “the years that the locust hath
eaten.” (Joel 2:25)

SIDEBAR: President Nixon and New York City

Additional secret Watergate tapes from the administration of GOP President Richard
Nixon were made available to the public in December 2003. Nixon’s hateful state-
ments in 1972 about New York City were among the most gut wrenching of the new
revelations.
“Goddamn New York,” he complains, noting that New York is filled with “Jews
and Catholics and blacks and Puerto Ricans.” In chilling words, Nixon then says
there is “a law of the jungle where some things don’t survive. Maybe New York
shouldn’t survive. Maybe it should go through a cycle of destruction.”
Among modern American leaders, Nixon and his vice president, Spiro Agnew,
were the most divisive, corrupt and mean-spirited, that is, until Bush and Cheney
galloped in from Texas. To Nixon’s credit, he inherited—versus created, although he
greatly worsened—a war and divisive times, but poke-em-in-the-eye Bush intention-
ally created division at a time—following 9/11—when there was tremendous na-
tional and international unity, and, more important, a compelling need for coopera-
tive action.
Nixon’s lies and misdeeds leading to his threatened impeachment and resignation
are miniscule compared to those of Bush. As for the large cash bribes taken by
Agnew—which led to his resignation in disgrace—they are small beans compared to
the “perfectly legal” loot gathered in by Cheney and his Halliburton cronies.
Although Nixon’s Vietnam War policies ultimately failed, he does deserve credit
for visiting and improving relations with the People’s Republic of China. In that ef-
fort, he was a statesman, something absent from Bush’s DNA.

Before we take a closer look at how Bush and the GOP botched things so horri-
bly first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, let’s pause briefly to reflect upon the Bush
administration’s actions and inactions before 9/11 and its posture regarding truth and
open government in the days following 9/11.

Asleep at the Wheel


Several months before 9/11, at a terror conference in late February 2001, Ambassa-
dor Paul Bremer noted: “The new administration seems to be paying no attention to
CHAPTER 1 — ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL 7

the problem of terrorism. What they will do is stagger along until there’s a major
incident, and then suddenly say, ‘Oh, my God, shouldn’t we be organized to deal
with this?’”
These are not the words of a Bush hater. To the contrary, Bremer was later sent
to Iraq by Bush, in May 2003, as Bush’s U.S. Presidential Envoy to Iraq, and one
month later Bush appointed him to lead (as the Director of Reconstruction and Hu-
manitarian Assistance) the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) that ran Iraq.
The general threat of terrorism simply wasn’t on Bush’s agenda. Nor were spe-
cific threats from bin Laden and al Qaeda. The Clinton team, including its transition
team, tried to get Bush to focus on bin Laden and other terrorist threats, but it was
like talking to a man asleep at the wheel.
In the eight months from Bush’s inauguration to 9/11, the Bush White House re-
ceived dozens of warnings about bin Laden and al Qaeda, but the White House con-
tinued to snooze in its self-imposed “bubble.”
On July 10, 2001, Condoleezza Rice received an urgent visit from then CIA chief
George Tenet and his counterterrorism coordinator, J. Cofer Black, who called the
extraordinary “out of cycle” meeting to warn that a major terrorist attack was im-
pending. (See Bob Woodward’s 2006 No. 1 best-selling book, State of Denial.) Re-
cent mounting intelligence about an al Qaeda attack greatly worried Tenet. “It’s my
sixth sense, but I feel it coming. This is going to be the big one.” Woodward reports
that Rice gave them “the brush-off.” He quotes Black: “The only thing we didn’t do
was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head.”
Tenet gives a similar account of the extraordinary meeting in his 2007 book, At
the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA. The former CIA chief writes that he
had received intelligence that very day (July 10, two months before 9/11) about al
Qaeda that “literally made my hair stand on end,” and that, after calling Rice’s office
to demand an immediate meeting, he rushed to the White House with Black and a
third person (an agent he did not identify.) Rice was advised that Bush should give
the CIA new action authorities to go after bin Laden and al Qaeda. She was told
there would be “a significant terrorist attack in the coming weeks or months,” that it
would be “spectacular,” and that, “[t]his country needs to go on a war footing now.”
Even the alarming Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) of August 26, 2001, was
ignored. Entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” this daily summary given
to the president, only 16 days before 9/11, specifically focused on the threat of al
Qaeda hijacking airplanes and attacking the United States.
More details about the handoff from Clinton to Bush came to light in July 2004.
Clinton told the 9/11 Commission that he warned Bush, during a two-hour meeting
before Bush took office, “by far your biggest threat is bin Laden and the al Qaeda.”
Bush told the Commission he couldn’t recall this warning but that Clinton had em-
phasized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and North Korea.
Let’s take a big leap of faith here and assume for the sake of argument that Bush,
contrary to his character, was telling the truth—that he was warned about the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict and Korea, but perhaps not about bin Laden and al Qaeda. The
sad truth is that Bush demonstrated incompetence in handling all of these foreign
policy problems.
8 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

As for the various feeble and incomplete 9/11 investigations, let’s return for a
moment to Bob Woodward, who writes in State of Denial:

The July 10 meeting between Tenet, Black and Rice went unmentioned in the vari-
ous reports of investigations into the Sept. 11 attacks, but it stood out in the minds of
Tenet and Black as the starkest warning they had given the White House on bin
Laden and al-Qaeda. Though the investigators had access to all the paperwork on the
meeting, Black felt there were things the commissions wanted to know about and
things they didn’t want to know about.

Following 9/11 the Bush administration adopted a “Don’t Ask—Don’t Tell” de-
fense regarding all 9/11 truth inquiries. It firmly opposed all proposed investigations
into intelligence and policy failures that led up to 9/11, asserting that such investiga-
tions would be a distraction in the war on terrorism, and the GOP-controlled
Congress actively conspired in the ongoing cover-up to keep the truth from the
American people.
As the various feeble investigations nevertheless went ahead, the Bush admini-
stration obstructed and stonewalled. Cheney and Bush refused to testify because they
were “too busy,” but they flip-flopped later and agreed to appear provided they could
do their Edgar Bergen and Charley McCarthy act, which they did. In another flip-
flop motivated by public indignation, the Bush administration finally agreed—after
much stonewalling—that Condoleezza Rice would testify before the 9/11 Commis-
sion.
One of the low points of Rice’s career was her testifying—in response to ques-
tions about specific threats from bin Laden and al Qaeda (including the “Bin Laden
Determined to Strike in US” PDB warning just two weeks before 9/11)—that if
someone had told her what to do, she would have done it! What a nice ducking of
responsibility by the president’s National Security Advisor, whose role was to help
set security policy and take action, not to be a grunt waiting passively for orders to
follow.
One rule in the Bush White House is that truth tellers get fired, while liars and
sycophants get promoted. Accordingly, Bush promoted Rice to Secretary of State in
2005, a good example of the Peter Principle at work.

SIDEBAR: 9/11—the Luckiest Day in Bush’s Life?

Before September 11 most of the world viewed Bush as a not-so-bright, lazy Texas
cowboy wannabe who hopefully would not cause too much damage. In his own faux
words, he was “misunderestimated.”
The enormous tide of sympathy and goodwill towards the United States caused
by 9/11 handed Bush the opportunity to transform himself and his administration and
lead the United States and the world in a sane, safer direction. September 11 became
his defining moment and opportunity.
CHAPTER 1 — ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL 9

It could prove to be the luckiest day in his life: (1) if he could receive one more
Bush Family Pass, one that would allow him to avoid personal responsibility for
failing to recognize and address the al Qaeda threat and possibly prevent September
11; and (2) if he could somehow courageously and effectively lead the world in bat-
tling terrorism and building a safer world for all.
On the first point, America’s media and most Americans gave the president the
Bush Family Pass that he desired and had received so many times during his profli-
gate life. Let bygones be bygones. Why look backward and learn lessons for the fu-
ture? Why assess responsibility? Rather, let’s all be fearful together, forget the past,
and go fight “evil.”
The stonewalling and prevarication campaign of the Bush White House and the
Republican-led Congress, coupled with America’s docile corporate media, buried the
truth and bought Bush time to dodge responsibility.
By comparison, it took the Bush administration only a few hours after 9/11 to:
(1) conclude that bin Laden’s Saudi relatives then living in the United States had no
information that might be helpful in identifying and finding the murderers of more
than 3,000 people; and (2) whisk them out of the country and thus outside the reach
of an American investigation.
Regarding the second point—that Bush would courageously and effectively lead
the world—Bush unfortunately earned only failing and incomplete grades. He mas-
sively bungled the job, squandered a unique historic opportunity to lead a sympa-
thetic world on the high road, and instead left America and the world exposed to
greater dangers and much more divided.

Ironically, if the Bush administration had done a competent job before 9/11 fo-
cusing on bin Laden and al Qaeda and had actually prevented 9/11, then the principal
excuse for the Iraq invasion would not have existed. More broadly stated, the incom-
petence of the Bush team in not adequately addressing the terrorist threats before
9/11 enabled them to show even greater incompetence in the war in Afghanistan, in
the war on Iraq, and in the broader so-called war on terrorism.

The Neocons
Let’s take a closer look at “the bad and the ugly.” We refer here of course to the neo-
cons—the never-served-in-the-military, rightwing swashbucklers who, long before
9/11, dreamed up detailed plans to invade and occupy Iraq, with the broader goal of
making the United States the dominant power in the region. Spreading freedom had
nothing to do with it, at least not freedom for the Iraqi people. Of course, there would
be freedom for an imperial America to control Iraq’s oil resources and run Iraq
through a client government, and freedom of the Super Rich and crony capitalists to
make a killing.
The neocons, also called the Vulcans, believe that power is meant to be used. If
you have power, you use it to grab whatever you want for yourself and your cronies,
not to arrive at the greatest good for America or for the greatest number of people,
not to protect individual rights and freedoms from the tyranny of the majority or a
10 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

powerful and privileged minority. Saddam was a charter member of this school of
thought and could have co-authored the bloody neocon cookbook. The neocons
should dedicate the new edition to him.
Compromise is not on the agenda. Open honest debate of diverse perspectives is
not permitted. Nor is the use of facts and expertise to arrive at the best decisions. The
neocons’ ideology and groupthink is all that is needed. It is certain, and it sustains
them, much like the prospect of enjoying unlimited sex with 72 virgins in Heaven
sustains some extremist Islamic martyrs.
Although the focus of this chapter is international, we note here that the Cheney-
directed Bush administration also applied the same arrogant style domestically as it
did internationally, by eschewing broad policy debates and compromise, by dividing
to gain more power, by engaging in class warfare, and by transforming America to
benefit the Super Rich.
The following was written in the DNA of the neocons and the new GOP: “We
control the White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the
U.S. Supreme Court. Therefore, we will take what we want. It is our due.”
This Machiavellian style, because it has so little outside influence to check it,
gives heightened meaning to the axiom that, “power tends to corrupt, and absolute
power corrupts absolutely.” It is arrogance rooted in ungrateful entitlement, and it
ignores individual guarantees reflected in America’s Bill of Rights. Bush’s back-
ground—an aristocratic arrogant life of entitlement, devoid of responsibility and
consequences—was a match made in Heaven for Cheney and the neocons.
The Shiites in Iraq—with about 60% of the population—are natural supporters of
this neocon philosophy of abusing power and taking “their due.” Civil war anyone?
On the international side, the neocons themselves have openly used various re-
vealing terms to refer to the worldwide American empire they want to create. One
favorite is “Pax Americana,” which derives from “Pax Romana,” which refers to the
Roman peace that was imposed on all the subjects and states in the Roman Empire.
“Pax Britannia” is used in a similar fashion to describe the British colonial empire
during its heyday. “Beneficent hegemony” and “benign dictatorship” are also close
to the mark in describing the neocons’ lunatic vision. So is “Pox Americana.” So is
the “Bush League of Nations.”
At the core of the neocons’ imperial agenda is the rejection of cornerstone alli-
ances and policies that had been supported for more than 65 years by all American
presidents since the end of World War II: Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy,
Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush’s father, and Clinton—but not Bush the
Son. These alliances and policies, based on shared values and shared decision-
making, ultimately prevailed over the Soviet Union, which finally collapsed of its
own weight and decay, greatly helped by courageous Russian patriots like Mikhail
Gorbachev, who charted a new direction for his country, and courageous liberal pa-
triots like the Polish dockworkers. It didn’t hurt that Reagan called the Soviet Union
an “evil empire,” which it was.
Forget NATO, even though the United States is its most important pillar and
wields the most influence. Forget the United Nations, even though the United States
has much more influence over it than any other nation, in addition to its veto power
as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.
CHAPTER 1 — ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL 11

Act unilaterally and insult important allies and friends such as France and Ger-
many. Behave like a spoiled bully and politicize everything. Lie, cheat, commit trea-
son and other high crimes and misdemeanors. Claim to be Christian but act in a most
unchristian manner whenever convenient. Know that might makes right. Know that
the rules that apply to the rest of the world do not apply to the United States.
At the center of neocon history is The Project for the New American Century
(PNAC), a rightwing, nonprofit, “think” tank that was formally created in 1997 when
about 30 influential rightwing individuals signed its mission statement. It has oper-
ated as a magnet and garbage can for incestuous, wild-eyed influential individuals
specializing in extreme rightwing political and military groupthink. Their greatest
success was seizing control of the Bush White House.
It was PNAC neocons who long before 9/11 wrote the delusional playbook for
the invasion of Iraq. One would have little objection to any of these men or their fine
fraternal order if they were engaged merely in Fantasy Baseball or drunken private
parties that didn’t hurt anyone other than themselves. The problem is that they run
the United States government and have been busy screwing America and the world.
Their power was guaranteed when Dick Cheney—who in 2000 was tasked by Bush
to choose Bush’s vice presidential running mate—picked himself to be the power
behind the throne. The fox was in charge of the henhouse. Bush’s puppeteer had ar-
rived.
The name itself—The Project for the New American Century—says a mouthful
and hints at its imperial nature. Is it possible that other nations and other peoples of
the world might be a tad skeptical about this organization?
Upon assuming the presidency in 2001, Bush quickly appointed more than a
dozen PNAC members to key senior positions in his administration. This ensured a
quixotic rightwing echo chamber in the White House, and, as they say, the rest is
history.
In addition to Cheney—a PNAC founder—the senior appointees from PNAC in-
cluded Donald Rumsfeld (Secretary of Defense), Paul Wolfowitz (Deputy Secretary
of Defense), Elliott Abrams (National Security Council), Peter Rodman (Assistant
Secretary of Defense), Zalmay Khalilzad (a special envoy for Afghanistan, and later
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq), Richard Armitage (Deputy Secretary of State, who was
one of several Bush underlings who leaked Valerie Plame’s CIA identity in the
Plamegate scandal), John Bolton (U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations), I. Lewis
“Scooter” Libby (Cheney’s Chief of Staff, who resigned in October 2005 after being
indicted by a grand jury, and who was convicted on March 6, 2007, on four of five
counts—two counts for perjury, one of obstruction of justice, and one of making
false statements to federal investigators), and Robert Zoellick (Deputy Secretary of
State.)
If Bush had appointed a team of Iranian ayatollahs to his administration, rather
than these PNAC ayatollahs, he would have inflicted much less damage on America.
Several other influential rightwing politicians, editors and so-called defense ex-
perts also signed the PNAC’s mission statement, including Jeb Bush (later Governor
of Florida), Steve Forbes (Forbes magazine), and William Kristol (editor of the ex-
treme right propaganda magazine The Weekly Standard and regular political con-
tributor to Fox News Channel.)
12 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

George W. Bush himself was not a member of the PNAC, nor was he a good
candidate for membership, since he had no knowledge, interest or aptitude regarding
defense matters or world affairs. However, when he later staggered into the presi-
dency, his fine resume, including 25 years of college living, did make him clueless
and malleable, the perfect soft clay for the “neo-con job.”
When the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States was in the unique position of
being the only superpower. The neocons saw this as a “unipolar” moment in history,
i.e., the best and perhaps only chance for America to achieve permanent domination
of the world through a Pax Americana, an analogue to the GOP’s domestic strategy
of achieving permanent GOP control of America’s government. Paul Wolfowitz,
who was then serving in the Defense Department in the administration of Bush’s
father, wrote “Defense Planning Guidance,” a classified 1992 Pentagon document
that was leaked to newspapers early that year. At its core, the paper outlined the op-
portunity and need for a new world order, something that could be realized through
military force. Perhaps you are thinking this is a nightmare. Yes, it is, but you are not
dreaming.

The Propaganda War


Both before and after 9/11, the neocons running the Bush White House had three
primary audiences to consider in their stubborn campaign to craft a case for an inva-
sion and occupation of Iraq:
• President Bush himself
• The U.S. Congress and the American people
• The rest of the world, including the United Nations and NATO
The neocons had an incredibly easy job selling an Iraq war to Bush, due to his
predisposition to this war and his many personal shortcomings, a few of which are
discussed later in this book. Bush was, and remains, a weak pushover—a blank slate
who became president without an independent foreign policy framework regarding
Iraq, the Middle East, or the rest of the world—and his intellect and personality
matched well those of the gullible, lazy, all-trusting puppet desired by his neocon
handlers.
All accounts indicate that Bush eagerly drank the neocon Kool-Aid. The years-
old plan to invade Iraq was much more grandiose than merely catching bin Laden,
and it thus appealed to Bush’s dormant megalomania tendencies. Bush willingly en-
tered the groupthink echo chamber—a rehabilitation center of sorts—where dissent-
ing views and critical thinking are not allowed.
As for the second audience to be swayed, it was harder, but still not very diffi-
cult, for the neocons to sell their bogus bill of goods to Congress and the American
people. Lies and distortion, not facts and debate, were the weapons of choice in this
campaign, coupled with the careful cultivation of fear following 9/11. America’s
obsequious press, both wittingly and unwittingly, played an important supporting
role by fanning the winds of war, not asking the hard questions, and acting as stenog-
raphers as they simply passed along to the world whatever propaganda the Bush ad-
ministration was shoveling out of the corral. The New York Times is the most promi-
nent member of America’s media that later apologized for their journalistic short-
comings. A cheerleading attitude ran through the rubber-stamping Congress, both
CHAPTER 1 — ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL 13

branches of which were controlled by the partisan, do-nothing-good, ask-no-


questions, criminal-infested Republican Party (GOP).
As for selling the Iraq war to the third audience, the rest of the world, the neo-
cons had an impossible job, or, more accurately, they would have had an impossible
job if they had really wanted to try, but they didn’t. As unilateralists, the neocons did
not care what the rest of the world thought, and they relished letting the world know
this. The neocons alone knew what was best, and by acting unilaterally the United
States would reap for itself all the easy glory and the lion’s share of the oily spoils.
Eventually, the neocon fantasy predictably collided with reality. By late 2004, af-
ter eighteen months of war in Iraq, the neocons were reeling from the mess they had
created and were busy trying to figure out how to duck responsibility for the cleanup
while somehow still grabbing the imperial benefits that drove them to Iraq in the first
place. It was another “mission unaccomplished,” but the neocons—ideologues to the
core—never admit to mistakes in policy or execution. Rather than apologizing for
mistakes made and insults given, the Bush administration demanded that the United
Nations and NATO clean up the Bush League mess in Iraq, asserting it was “their
responsibility.”
Thanks to unprecedented arrogance and incompetence, the vast majority of the
world now despises Bush and his policies. Thanks to Bush, respect for America and
trust in America are at all-time lows. The impeachment and removal of Bush and
Cheney from office is the single most important action Congress can take in the war
on terrorism and in restoring America’s influence, credibility, power and values in
the world. Likewise, voting out of office the senators and representatives who
shielded Bush and Cheney is the single most important direct action American voters
can take—second only to demanding the impeachment of America’s worst president
and worst vice president ever.
In the several months from Bush’s inauguration to 9/11 the Cheney-led neocons
were busy stoking the fires for a war on Iraq. Iraq was their principal obsession, and
it remains an open unanswerable question whether they could have successfully sold
their Iraq war if the attacks of 9/11 had not occurred. But the question is moot, be-
cause 9/11 gave the giddy neocons just enough to hang their lies and deceit upon.
To be clear, the enormous crimes committed on 9/11 did not diminish America’s
strategic position one iota or alter in the slightest any balance of power in the world.
To the contrary, 9/11 gave America the opportunity to enhance its position, reputa-
tion and influence in the world and emerge enormously stronger. America’s strategic
position following 9/11 could only have been weakened by America’s missteps, and
that’s where Bush came in.
Bush ultimately has no one but himself to blame for the disasters during his
watch. Yes, Bush received huge assists from the neocons and the GOP-controlled
Congress, but even with only a rudimentary grounding in foreign affairs, he might
have been able to understand some of the implications of the advice he was getting,
to ask a few of the right questions, and to seek expert advice from others. He might
have been able to hold his ground if he had had some firm ground to stand upon. But
he didn’t. He simply did not know enough to be an effective leader, and he had no
interest in learning. The world has known this cold reality for some time, but it has
14 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

been a longer painful journey for a majority of Americans to finally arrive at the
same obvious conclusion.
If Bush had served even a couple of years in some worthwhile public or private
building effort overseas, he would have been much better prepared to do his job as
president. But he chose to know virtually nothing about other nations and world af-
fairs. He learned virtually nothing about the diverse, wonderful world outside Amer-
ica’s front door because during his spoiled indulgent life he simply had zero interest
in going through that door and seeing the world for himself. Clueless as to the rich
but challenging multi-dimensional reality of the world’s nations and peoples, he still
believes the world is black and white—and flat. Yes, “W” also stands for “witless.”
Bush thus brought to the White House a virtually blank foreign policy slate—a
slate on which someone was going to write. Unfortunately, the neocons did the writ-
ing, notwithstanding the feeble efforts of a minority in Bush’s inner circle, princi-
pally Colin Powell, to stop them.

SIDEBAR: Bush the Decider

Bush prides himself on not reading newspapers. He summed it up nicely on Septem-


ber 21, 2003: “I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what’s moving.
I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news
themselves.”
In addition to inventing facts, Bush also invents words, such as decider. On April
18, 2006, while Bush was defending embattled Rumsfeld against the growing num-
ber of calls by retired American generals for Rumsfeld’s resignation, Bush was able
to squeeze multiple Bushisms into two short sentences when he told reporters, “I
hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I’m the
decider, and I decide what is best.” Truly weird.
But wait a second. According to Wikipedia, there is one obscure definition of
“decider,” as follows: “In computability theory, a machine that always halts—also
called a decider (Sipser, 1996)—is any abstract machine or model of computation
that, contrary to the most general Turing machines, is guaranteed to halt for any par-
ticular description and input (see halting problem).”
Perhaps Bush intended to extend this “machine” definition of decider to himself,
thus creating a second definition for decider, namely: “a dimwitted political leader
who always halts and stops thinking when reaching a point where serious analysis is
required.”

The Bush clan long realized Bush was a cipher when it came to basic geography,
let alone international relations and diplomacy. Therefore, in the late 1990s Condo-
leezza Rice visited Kennebunkport to tutor Bush in subjects best described as “Geog-
raphy 101 For Dummies” and “Foreign Affairs 101 For Dummies.” By the way, if
you aspire to be president of the United States, but don’t know or care much about
CHAPTER 1 — ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL 15

the world and foreign affairs, just email Condoleezza Rice and ask her to stay at your
home and “school” you.
An increasing number of Bush’s own supporters in Congress criticize him and
his Iraq policies. These include Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), a critic of Bush’s Iraq
war, who said in May 2004 that Bush “must reach out. He must understand a bigger
view, wider-lens view of the world. To essentially hold himself hostage to two or
three key advisers and never reach beyond that is very dangerous for a president.”
Hagel accused Bush of developing and running Iraq policy “in a vacuum.” It’s
unclear whether Hagel was referring to that space in Bush’s cranium between his
ears, but “vacuum” is certainly an apt metaphor. That would sum it up “in a nut-
shell.”

Reagan and Clinton Rejected the Neocons—Bush Follows Them


Bush neocons liked to draw flattering comparisons between themselves and Presi-
dent Reagan. They hoped that some of Reagan’s undeserved luster would rub off on
Bush, cover Bush’s numerous defects, and turn him into something he is not. How-
ever, the comparisons miss the mark by a mile. The battered and rusted Bush jalopy
has flat tires and is off the road skidding wildly in the wrong direction. Bush is more
or less “at the wheel,” but he ignores the GPS navigation system because he doesn’t
understand it, and he is instead fearfully driving by the faith-based seat of his pants,
which he has badly soiled. Both car and driver are last in the world NASCAR stand-
ings. Regrettably, none of America’s long-term friends are willing to jump on board
and try to help—at least not while Bush is in the driver’s seat.
Several of the Bush neocons—including Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and
Paul Wolfowitz—also served under Reagan. Fortunately, Reagan had enough per-
sonal strength and common sense to ultimately reject their advice, and to set his own
reality-based course for America. In sharp contrast, Bush after 9/11 docilely acqui-
esced to his neocons, rarely asking tough questions and never seeking expert opin-
ion. Yes, God works in mysterious ways. But so does the Devil.
The Bush neocons mucked and stirred the “war-is-best” pot during the entire pe-
riod from Reagan’s presidency through that of Clinton and into that of Bush. The
neocons desperately wanted a hot war in Iraq and were fearful that a peaceful solu-
tion might emerge before they—or more accurately, America’s soldiers—started
shooting. Power comes out of the barrel of a gun, and it would be a sin not to use it,
especially if the fools and cowards calling the shots are not in harm’s way.
Reagan wisely believed in hard power—and certainly a key goal of any Ameri-
can president is to ensure that U.S. military power remains head and shoulders above
that of any potential adversary—but Reagan used it very infrequently and never once
in a major way. Notwithstanding his image, Reagan’s actions were grounded in
Harry Truman’s wisdom, “walk softly, but carry a big stick.” Reagan believed in
diplomacy.
Reagan learned through experience that one of the easiest ways for a nation to
reduce its power is to use it unnecessarily, unwisely or ineffectively. The Big Stick
that is used rarely or not at all, but is visible to all and within easy reach, can project
an enormous amount of power—typically more power that it exerts through actual
use—but its power dissipates when it is used drunkenly. Unfortunately, Bush has
16 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

used America’s military power unnecessarily, unwisely and ineffectively—and


drunkenly—especially in Iraq, and the world now looks at America’s Big Stick with
much less awe and respect than it did following 9/11.
America’s enemies, including terrorists and potential terrorists, now see inherent
limitations and weaknesses in how America uses its Big Stick and have developed
coping strategies, such as suicide bombings, roadside bombs, and guerilla warfare.
They are rapidly evolving and improving their skills in the crucible known as Bush’s
Iraq Civil War. This is bad enough in itself, of course, but things are much worse
than that. Of much greater damage to America is the fact that Bush’s blunders effec-
tively transferred much of the moral high ground from America to Islamic extremists
and terrorists. Bush himself is the main character in their “See, we told you so!”
propaganda campaign portraying America as the evil Satan. Thanks to Bush, count-
less tens of millions of peaceful Muslims who respected and liked America both be-
fore and after 9/11 have learned to hate America.

SIDEBAR: October 23, 1983—Ronald Reagan’s 9/11

From a marketing perspective, bin Laden and other Islamic terrorists viewed Sunday,
October 23, 1983, as the most significant date in their campaign against Western
powers—that is, until the 9/11 attacks. October 23, 1983, was the day a Mercedes
truck packed with high explosives drove into the four-story U.S. marine barracks in
the marines’ compound at Beirut International airport and exploded, killing 220 ma-
rines and 21 other service personnel.
For years terrorists hailed that attack as the best example of what could be ac-
complished against the world’s number one military power. That October 23 during
Reagan’s watch was the deadliest day for the Marine Corps since the battle of Iwo
Jima in February 1945.
The U.S. marines were in Beirut in 1983 with good intentions as part of an inter-
national peacekeeping force, albeit without a clear mission, rules of engagement, or
exit strategy. In another suicide truck bombing on the same date, approximately 60
French soldiers died when a 9-story building housing their paratroopers was de-
stroyed. By the way, Lebanon is just one of many examples of France and America
working together for peace. So don’t believe all the spiteful rightwing lies you hear
about France. Vive la France!
About six months earlier, on April 18, 1983, another attack by a suicide bomber
in a van destroyed a portion of the American embassy in Beirut, killing more than 60
people, including 17 Americans.
The disaster of October 23, 1983, taught Reagan a hard lesson about the haphaz-
ard use of military force, and it was one of the lowest points of his administration.
Although he vowed that the terrible attack on the marine barracks “would not stand,”
his main worry was to control the political fallout in his upcoming reelection cam-
paign.
CHAPTER 1 — ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL 17

Accordingly, Reagan ordered a U.S. battleship to shell some random hills near
Beirut, which was totally ineffective from a military perspective, although the U.S.
media lapped it up, which really was the objective. A few months later, Reagan qui-
etly ordered the marines to pull out of Lebanon, and thus the attacks on America’s
marines in fact “did stand.” Reagan “cut and ran.”
The timing of the U.S. invasion of hapless and defenseless Grenada on October
25, 1983—only two days after the killing of the 241 marines in Beirut—was, of
course, merely a serendipitous coincidence that distracted attention from the Beirut
disaster and demonstrated “Reagan’s strength.”

At the beginning of his presidency in 1981, Reagan initially took a hard line with
the Soviet Union. He accurately called it an “evil empire,” increased U.S. military
spending, and temporarily broke off arms control talks with the Soviets. But it was
Reagan’s use of soft power, not hard power, that reaped the biggest rewards.
Later, near the end of his first term, Reagan, with urging from Britain’s Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher and other trusted non-neocon confidants, reopened arms
control negotiations with the Soviet leaders and began building a relationship based
on trust. In short, Reagan adopted a realist position, assuring Soviet leaders that the
United States had no intention of starting a war with the Soviet Union and proposing
that the two nations work together to reduce their nuclear arsenals and the risk of
war. Reagan even proposed to Gorbachev in 1986 that all offensive nuclear ballistic
missiles be eliminated within a decade—a proposal that drove the neocons “ballis-
tic.” Reagan empowered realists like George Shultz to promote America’s interests
through peace initiatives.
Contrary to rightwing folklore, Reagan was not an aggressive “shoot-first” war-
rior when it came to dealing with the Soviet Union. Although he believed in a strong
military, not one American soldier lost his or her life in combat with the Soviet Un-
ion during Reagan’s eight years as president. Not one. This greatly offended the
warmongering neocons, dozens of whom later wedged their way into the Bush re-
gime.
Reagan—like Bush, Cheney and the neocons—never served in the active mili-
tary. However—in sharp contrast to that neocon gang of artful dodgers—Reagan was
not a warrior wannabe with a deep demented need to use America’s soldiers as
pawns in a devil’s game of unjust illegal war.
Reagan pursued peace through strength. Bush and the neo-GOP pursue weakness
through war.7
Reagan helped nudge Gorbachev and the Soviet Union in the right direction—
away from a rightwing totalitarian empire and toward an open, capitalistic, democ-
ratic state. He did this not by military action, but by speaking clearly and building
personal rapport with his Soviet counterparts, and by pursuing a trust-based policy of

7
Yes, “W” also stands for “Weakness through War.”
18 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

rapprochement. Reagan the realist triumphed over the neocons who tried to pull his
strings and wage war.
The neocons in the Reagan administration—the same dangerous and incompetent
fools who later manipulated Bush to create the mess in Iraq—opposed Reagan’s ef-
forts to build trust and dialogue with the Soviet Union. Several of these neocons had
served on the so-called “Team B” that, prior to Reagan’s presidency, had been ap-
pointed by Bush’s father when he was CIA director to assess and prepare a strategy
different from that of the CIA. Team B opposed Reagan’s rapprochement policies
and drew very black, erroneous conclusions about the Soviet Union and its inten-
tions. Team B wrongly believed that the totalitarian Soviet regime would not change,
that it was pursuing world domination through a massive military buildup, and that it
was preparing to engage in a preemptive nuclear war against the West.
The CIA later concluded that almost all of Team B’s assessments were wrong.
Although Team B didn’t get what it wanted, it did get valuable practice in cooking
the books and manufacturing faulty intelligence—skills that proved invaluable years
later, during the run-up to Bush’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq, when neocon Paul
Wolfowitz set up the novel Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon to cherry pick
and brew faux intelligence.
Over time Reagan distanced himself from the neocons. He grew to distrust their
advice and doomsday jargon about nuclear warheads and kill ratios. Reagan under-
stood that war was not just a game of Bush League baseball. In pursuing peace,
Reagan knew he had to win the confidence of the Soviet leaders, and he thus rejected
the neocons and their dangerous nonsense.
The neocons were wrong then—thank God Reagan knew it—and they were
wrong again later when they manipulated Bush to order the invasion and occupation
of Iraq.
Even many years later, the neocons remained upset that there had been a cold end
to the Cold War, and specifically that the United States and its allies had won it
without firing a single shot or losing a single soldier in direct combat with the Soviet
Union. The strong alliance led by the United States did this by continuing the con-
tainment policies followed by all American presidents since Harry Truman, waiting
until the Soviet Union collapsed due to its internal weaknesses and rot. Fortunately,
neither Reagan nor any other American president approved the neocons’ favored
strategy of using military force to “roll back” the Soviet Union.
The neocons continued to criticize Reagan after he left office, unhappy that the
communist system was still in place. They preferred a hot war. Dick “Shooter” Che-
ney, who served as Secretary of Defense to Bush’ father, erroneously believed that
Gorbachev would be replaced with a militaristic leader, leading to a resumption of
the Cold War, and that Gorbachev’s liberal policy of glasnost (“an opening”) was
just a trick. History repeated itself years later when Vice President Dick Shooter took
command of the Bush White House and once again made wrong strategic judgments,
spawned faulty intelligence, and cast his warmongering spell over the White House
and the spineless GOP-controlled Congress.
In addition to conning the American public, the Bush neocons also conned them-
selves. They began to believe their own propaganda that the Iraqi invasion and af-
termath would be a cakewalk. A swift and decisive military victory, coupled with
CHAPTER 1 — ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL 19

cheering friendly crowds throughout Iraq, would cause the American public to for-
give all the lies and crimes on the road to war. Bewildered and dazed by reality,
however, the Bush neocons staggered and flip-flopped as they desperately tried to
undo the horrendous damage they spawned in Iraq.
Bush is no Reagan. He is no Truman, no Kennedy, and no Clinton. When Bush
tries to play the Reagan part, he comes across as a bumbling inarticulate pretender, a
caricature, an inept actor. Bush’s phrase “axis of evil” was intended to hark back to
Reagan’s “evil empire,” but it was a silly nonsensical attempt to make Bush sound
like Reagan. Imagine that—a foreign policy plan based on trying to make Bush
sound like a Hollywood actor.
Regarding Iraq, the neocons’ shoot-first DNA—coupled with their ideologically-
driven groupthink—prevented them from drawing any useful lessons from either
America’s defeat in the hot war in Vietnam or America’s victory in the Cold War.
Unfortunately, clueless blank-slate Bush sat in the White House, and the Cheney-led
neocons held all the chalk and were writing all the plans, in a bubble, without analy-
sis or direction from America’s commander in chief or anyone else.
The world hoped Bush would be equal to the challenges and opportunities pre-
sented by 9/11. He was not. Neither was the GOP that controlled all branches of the
U.S. government. The world hoped Bush would discard his growing reputation as a
not-too-bright, disengaged oilman and pretend-cowboy from Texas. He could not.
The world hoped Bush would decisively take the high road and—based on a founda-
tion of shared values and mutual respect—lead the world to a place of greater secu-
rity, peace and prosperity. He did not.
Instead Bush chose a low imperial road leading to the mirage of The Project for
the New American Century, in which America would impose its will and have its
way. Well, that was the general idea, but things didn’t quite work out right.
The Bush neocons are sometimes called hawks or super-hawks, but many com-
mentators prefer chickenhawks, which is more accurate. It is easy for a weakling8 to
be a bully when the armed forces of the United States stand behind him or, well, in
front of him. America needs a leader with backbone and values equal to that of its
soldiers, but Bush falls miles short of that mark. The vast majority of America’s sol-
diers are patriotic working-class men and women. They are not of America’s favored
Super Rich class, for whom Bush has them working.
It is encouraging that there is a growing list of extremely wealthy people who not
only oppose the Bush administration’s economic policies that favor the Super Rich,
but also are extremely upset with its unilateral militaristic policies. One of the more
prominent opponents is billionaire George Soros, author of The Bubble of American
Supremacy, who writes:

We have been deceived. When he stood for election in 2000, President Bush prom-
ised a humble foreign policy. I contend that the Bush administration has deliberately
exploited September 11 to pursue policies that the American public would not have
otherwise tolerated. The US can lose its dominance only as a result of its own mis-
takes. At present the country is in the process of committing such mistakes because

8
Yes, “W” also stands for “weakling.”
20 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

it is in the hands of a group of extremists whose strong sense of mission is matched


only by their false sense of certitude.
This distorted view postulates that because we are stronger than others, we
must know better and we must have right on our side. That is where religious
fundamentalism comes together with market fundamentalism to form the ideology
of American supremacy.

The neocons’ efforts to make America the one imperial superpower are not only
doomed to failure, they also are making the world more unstable. We see this play-
ing out in every nation in the Middle East, and the biggest loser—except for America
and Iraq—is Israel.
At the core of the imperial agenda is the belief that the United States may—and
should—use its unrivaled military power in any way it unilaterally chooses to pursue
American interests. America has the military power, and therefore the right, to create
a world that is more exploitable by huge corporations and the Super Rich.
Is it possible that other peoples and nations of the world might look at this differ-
ently? Is it possible they might have a large measure of distrust and fear? Even be-
fore the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States—generally for the common
good but sometimes not—made the biggest footprints in the world regarding so
many aspects of human life: technology, language, business, environment, use of
limited natural resources, culture, products, religion, military, geopolitics, science,
travel, trade, education, medicine, human rights, and the list goes on.
Given this American influence and domination, which is felt in virtually every
part of every nation, it is remarkable that so many Americans are rabidly critical and
fearful of foreigners and any real or imagined foreign influence in the United States.
These fearful complainers—America’s bedwetting conservatives—consist by and
large of the cocooned and fearful on America’s political extreme right. They want
the world to be a one-way street on which only Americans can drive. Perhaps you’ve
even heard some of them gripe about the way foreigners talk. “Why can’t they speak
English like Jesus did?”

The War on Terrorism—the Slogan that Means Nothing and Jus-


tifies Anything
The Bush neocons use the “war on terrorism” slogan to gain several advantages, all
politically motivated.
• First, by calling it a war, the Bush neocons spread fear and receive a freer
hand in using military force, their tool of first choice for any real or imag-
ined international problem.
• Second, the “fact” that we’re at war is used to stifle dissent, whether from
the media, American citizens, or America’s elected representatives. Dis-
senters, even war heroes, are venomously labeled unpatriotic. Striving to
avoid debate of its unilateralist policies, the Bush administration and its
lackeys attack those who exercise their first amendment rights. The princi-
pal victim of Bush’s war on terrorism is America’s democracy.
• Third, rightwing Orwellian propagandists use the “at war” label to repaint
Bush as a strong leader, a real commander in chief.
CHAPTER 1 — ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL 21

• Fourth—and most important—the war on terrorism provides both distrac-


tion and cover for the Bush regime as it pursues its domestic agenda of do-
ing everything possible for the Super Rich and favored corporate interests.
In addition to increasing the likelihood of actual war by promoting a war climate,
the term itself—war on terrorism—undoubtedly further biases the Bush neocons
themselves in the wrong direction with respect to the policies they set and the deci-
sions they make. Already harboring a misguided bloodlust for military action, they
hardly need further encouragement.
Since terror is simply a tactic, not an enemy or foe, numerous military experts
have pointed out the inherent absurdity of the “war on terrorism” slogan. Declaring
war on terrorism is like declaring war on bombs or boomerangs.
Jon Stewart summed it up nicely in his 2004 commencement address at The Col-
lege of William and Mary: “We declared war on terror—it’s not even a noun, so,
good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui.” (OK, so
“terror” is in fact a noun, but nevertheless we understand exactly what Comedy News
Central’s Resident Expert on Grammar meant.)
The slogan “war on terrorism” (sometimes expanded to the “global war on terror-
ism”) is not a policy, but rather a misleading substitute for thinking and hard work. It
is a fear-evoking bromide by cocooned warmongers who declare that the outside
world is evil, dangerous and dark, when in fact it is their own behavior that causes
the world to see them that way. Never looking in the mirror, and misguided by their
own ignorance and incompetence, the Bush neocons turned America’s foreign policy
into a splattering of deadly unguided missiles that promote the evil world of their
fantasies. In short, they create evil self-fulfilling prophecies because they don’t know
Shiite from shinola.
The world is appalled at Bush’s simplistic binary “us vs. them” and “good vs.
evil” formulations that do not address underlying complexities and always make
things worse. Consider the perspective of Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN envoy to Iraq,
who criticized the Bush administration for its militaristic policies in Iraq and diplo-
matically referred to Bremer as “the dictator of Iraq.” In June 2004, Brahimi said: “I
think it’s a little bit too easy to call everybody a terrorist. And I think if you find out
that there are people who are not terrorists who are respectable, genuine Iraqi patri-
ots, you must find a way of talking to them.”
Bombs alone, or bombs as a first choice, will not win the so-called war on terror-
ism. In sharp contrast to the Bush neocons, the nations of the world understand that
the war on terrorism is really much different from a “war” and that there must be a
dedicated long-term multilateral strategy focused on underlying problems and solu-
tions. However, the Bush regime prefers bombing to building. After all, bombing is
easy, whereas helping to build human lives and nations is difficult, in addition to
being incompatible with neocon DNA.
America cannot on its own win the so-called war on terrorism. Bush League ef-
forts will not win it. America needs the cooperation of the world, which takes moral
leadership. A central problem is that Bush and his GOP policies are highly radioac-
tive, especially in the Islamic world and among our allies. As the least respected and
most hated leader in the world, Bush would handily win the “Biggest Liar” and
“Most Dangerous World Leader” awards in virtually every nation in our small world.
22 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

SIDEBAR: A National Day of Mourning for Bush League Incompetence

May 19, 2005, was a milestone in Bush League incompetence, but no one noticed.
Three years, 8 months and 8 days: This is the time span from December 7,
1941—the date of Japan’s attack at Pearl Harbor, marking America’s entrance into
World War II—to August 15, 1945, which was Victory over Japan Day, or V-J Day,
marking the end of WWII.9
From 9/11 to May 19, 2005, is the same length of time—3 years, 8 months, and 8
days.
The contrast between the America led by President Roosevelt in World War II
against the world-class military powers of Germany and Japan, and the America mis-
led by President Bush after 9/11 is astonishing. America and its many allies had
much to celebrate on August 15, 1945. As for May 19, 2005, it passed silently with-
out commemoration or note—other than the death of three more American soldiers
in Iraq, which is roughly the daily average during Bush’s and the GOP’s war on Iraq.
May 19 deserves to be a National Day of Mourning for America, a sad day of
commemoration marking opportunities lost, an America gone astray.

Let’s be clear. In working to promote peace and eliminate terrorism in the world,
the United States and its allies from time to time may be required to declare and
fight conventional wars against specific nations or other foes, or to intervene in par-
ticular countries or regions of the world.
Arguably, the war in Afghanistan against al Qaeda and the Taliban was one such
justified case, although the bomb-and-go Bush administration waged it with dis-
heartening incompetence and lack of sustained will. This war should be renamed
Osama bin Forgotten.
America would be better served if the “war” label were reserved for real wars—
military campaigns waged against specific nations for justifiable reasons—that fol-
low a declaration of war, have the advice and consent of Congress, and are supported
by a clear majority of the American people.
One obvious problem with the so-called war on terrorism is its perpetual nature.
Given the domestic political advantages of being at war, do the Bush neocons really
want it to end? Perhaps they have grown too fond of the mistaken notion that they
can keep the domestic fear index higher if bin Laden remains on the loose.
On March 13, 2002, at a rare press conference, Bush admitted, “I don’t know
where he is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him ... I truly am not
that concerned about him.” With such a weak warrior in charge, it has taken the Bush
regime much longer to find bin Laden than it did for America to win World War II.
One day your grandchildren may ask how such an incompetent fool managed to
become America’s president, and why Americans kept him in office so long. What-

9
Three months earlier, on May 7, 1945—Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day—Germany
capitulated to the Allied powers, marking the end of WWII in Europe.
CHAPTER 1 — ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL 23

ever your answer, may it include the fact that you tried your best to support Bush’s
impeachment and removal from office.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was a leader. George W. Bush is a fool, a disgrace to
America and the men and women who wear its uniform.
A conventional war—at least one with a likelihood of being followed by true
peace—has a clear end-date milestone, which typically consists of the surrender by
one side and the signing of a peace treaty by both sides. In any case, there’s a clear
end date. On the other hand, Bush’s war on terrorism, in addition to suffering from
the fundamental flaw that it has never been defined, will never end because there will
always be criminals and terrorists in the world, whether or not we have leaders like
Bush creating and inspiring so many of them.
It is noteworthy that America’s enemy in Afghanistan did not surrender or sign a
peace treaty, which is a huge red flag indicating that lots of unfinished work re-
mained. Bush, however, foolishly claimed victory and moved on Iraq. Likewise,
Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq did not surrender or sign a peace treaty, an obvious
but overlooked fact that underlies Bush’s foolish “Mission Accomplished” declara-
tion.
The Bush neocons have never leveled with the American people regarding how
long they think their so-called war on terrorism will last. The Bush neocons—living
in their groupthink echo chambers—refuse to be candid. Why bother? The tough
“war on terrorism” slogan helps enable their militant antidemocratic policies, both
abroad and at home.
Even regarding specific shooting wars claimed to be within the scope of their so-
called war on terrorism—Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran next, and counting—the Bush ad-
ministration never levels with the American people, or themselves, as to how long
they believe each war will last.
The term “war on terrorism” is reminiscent of many other open-ended “wars”
that aren’t wars: the “War on Drugs,” the “War on Poverty,” and so forth. However,
everyone understands in these other cases that the word “war” does not refer to ac-
tual military warfare.
In sharp contrast, the Bush neocons use their so-called war on terrorism as a
broad, all encompassing, ill-defined umbrella that empowers them to wage actual
warfare whenever and wherever they choose, while psychologically conditioning the
American populace to be fearful and compliant.
The so-called war on terrorism is simply not a war in any traditional or correct
sense of the word. It is not a World War I, or a World War II, or a Vietnam War, or
any other war. As misused by the Bush neocons it is pure propaganda and thus
should be dropped.
That won’t happen. The “war on terrorism” slogan is tailor-made doublespeak for
Fox News and other rightwing propaganda pushers, who work diligently to promote
Bush and the GOP’s extreme rightwing agenda. America’s corporate media love the
slogan.
We note in passing that, in marketing its war agenda, the Bush regime and its
propaganda pushers in America’s media tried other variations of the “war on terror-
ism” slogan, including “The Long War” and even “World War IV,” but these adven-
turesome slogans attained little traction.
24 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

SIDEBAR: America the Weakened

There are three principal sources of America’s strength and positive influence in
the world: (1) progressive moral values, (2) economic strength, and (3) military
strength. Bush severely damaged all three during his GOP reign of error.
1) Progressive Moral Values. Thanks to Bush and the GOP, America is no
longer the world’s bright beacon of hope, freedom and peace. They replaced the
torch on the Statue of Liberty with a huge middle finger. Distrust of America has
never been higher. Foreigners, both friend and foe, increasingly question America’s
morals and motivations. They see the rotten fruit resulting from America’s turn to
the Dark Right: the massive corruption and cronyism within the Bush administration
and the GOP; the spiteful divisiveness; the attack on Americans’ constitutional rights
and liberties while corporate power is expanded; the crusade that favors one Right
Religion while attacking religious freedom and the separation of church and state;
the rightwing warmongering in violation of just war principles; the squandering of
the universal support for America following 9/11; the growing chasm in America
between the Super Rich and the poor; the culture of lies and deceit; and the unwill-
ingness to address America’s own moral problems of poverty and discrimination.
Bush and his Confederate Party no longer represent—and cannot be trusted to pro-
tect—America’s true moral values.
2) Economic strength. By every significant financial measure, Bush and the
GOP have put America on the Road to Economic Armageddon. Unless there is a
huge change of course, the coming GOP Great Depression II will make the GOP
Great Depression of the 1930s look like a Sunday picnic. Bush’s and the GOP’s fi-
nancial “accomplishments” are truly staggering: record federal spending; record re-
duction in federal income; record tax cuts for the Super Rich; record federal budget
deficits; record loss of manufacturing jobs for middle-class Americans; record in-
creases in illegal aliens; record trade deficits; record national debt; record interest
payments on the national debt; record borrowing from foreign powers; record num-
ber of Americans who lost health insurance coverage; record number of children
living in poverty; record deficit in the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation; record
corporate welfare; record corruption and cronyism in government; and the list goes
on. Bin Laden in the White House instead of Bush—and the Taliban running Con-
gress in place of the GOP—could not have inflicted more economic damage on
America. Bush and his Confederate Party are incompetent to run the U.S. govern-
ment and cannot be trusted with America’s economic future.
CHAPTER 1 — ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL 25

3) Military strength. By immorally invading Iraq and incompetently waging that


war, Bush foolishly exposed inherent weaknesses and limitations regarding Amer-
ica’s military strength, in addition to absolutely weakening it. He failed to adequately
equip and support America’s troops. He also greatly diminished the perception of
America’s military strength. His failures emboldened and united America’s enemies,
and discouraged and divided America’s allies. Bush is the world’s number one
breeder of terrorists. He favored guns to the exclusion of diplomacy. He replaced the
strength of alliances with the weakness of unilateralism. Like the Vietnam Syn-
drome, the Iraq Syndrome will have an enduring negative impact on America’s mili-
tary and foreign policy. An America with only one-fifth of its current military
strength under an American president with just average morals and competency
would be much stronger that the current “full-strength” America under Bush. He and
his Confederate Party cannot be trusted with America’s security. They are a disgrace
to America’s finest.

In pursuing its imperial agenda in Iraq, the Bush regime gave no meaningful con-
sideration to the fundamental concept of a just war, and it had no desire to build a
strong coalition before pushing forward. America and the world will pay dearly for
decades for this catastrophic failure of leadership. Blithely ignoring history and the
best military and diplomatic advice, the Bush neocons maliciously and foolishly did
what they had wanted to do for many years. In the next chapter we will do what the
Bush neocons never did, which is to pay some attention to the important related con-
cepts of a just war and a strong coalition.
CHAPTER 2

A Just War Versus Just War


Hard Power, Soft Power and Stupid Power

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone
who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he
will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once
the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of un-
foreseeable and uncontrollable events.
—Winston Churchill (1874-1965).

The concept of a just war is intended to place moral restraints on warfare. Developed
in the West over many centuries it sets criteria for whether and how warfare should
be conducted. It is based in religion, politics, and the experience of countless human
conflicts. There are certainly many situations in which a war is both justified and
moral.
Whether a proposed war is a just war depends upon whether it meets all of the
just war principles set forth in international law regarding armed conflict, including
the Geneva Conventions.10 These general principles include:
• legitimate authority,
• just cause,
• right intention,
• last resort,
• reasonable chance for success, and
• proportionality.
In addition to determining whether a proposed war is a just war, the general prin-
ciples also determine how a just war must be waged. These additional principles in-
clude noncombatant immunity and proportionate means.
Reasonable people may disagree in a particular case how the above principles
should be applied. However, even the most casual observer would conclude that
Bush’s war in Iraq failed the test in not only one way—which would be enough to
flunk it—but in multiple ways, namely it failed to meet any of the five following

10
If the United States is contemplating warfare, the proposed war must also meet principles
set forth in American military doctrine. Bush also ignored this.
28 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

general principles: legitimate authority; just cause; right intention; last resort; and
proportionality.
Assuming for the sake of argument that Bush even considered the principles of a
just war before attacking Iraq, which appears unlikely, it is possible that his brain
simply misunderstood them—thinking that the goal was “just war,” not “a just war.”
That would explain a lot.

The Five Pillars of a Strong Coalition


Under the general principles (set forth above) for determining whether a proposed
war is a just war, there is no requirement that a nation assemble a coalition, although
even cavemen understood the benefits of united effort. A nation may act unilaterally
if all the general principles are met. Of course, common sense and other considera-
tions come into play. These include treaty obligations, organizations such as NATO
and the United Nations, other commitments and obligations under international law,
and an astute sense of military conflict and geopolitics.
In most major conflicts—especially culturally complex conflicts such as the Iraq
war—a strong diverse coalition is a common sense necessity. However, the Bush
neocons had no desire or need—or so they thought—for a coalition of any kind. As
imperialists who knew what they wanted, the Bush neocons saw an effective coali-
tion for Iraq as a distraction that would only complicate unilateral action and lead to
unnecessary sharing of glory and plunder. So why did the Bush regime assemble the
Bush League of Nations? It did so because it needed propaganda to sell the Iraq war
to America.
Assuming that a coalition is appropriate in the particular case, proposed here are
five essential pillars of a strong coalition:

1. A Just War—The proposed war must meet all just war principles set forth in
international law regarding armed conflict, including the Geneva Conventions. As
set forth in the previous section, these include: legitimate authority, just cause, right
intention, last resort, reasonable chance for success, and proportionality. Each and
every member of the coalition should independently determine on the merits that the
proposed conflict is a just war, without reference to unrelated matters, such as
threats, or payments or other benefits received or promised, from other coalition
members.

2. Clear Goals—Clear goals are the raison d’être of the coalition and must be pre-
cisely stated with sufficient detail: (1) to permit meaningful analysis, discussion, and
agreement among the coalition members, (2) to permit the development of detailed
plans to achieve the goals, and (3) to allow the coalition members to later determine
unequivocally whether or not the goals have been met. The goals must not be so
general—say, for example, “to promote peace”—that they provide little basis for
meaningful guidance, planning and agreement.

3. Trustworthy Leadership—The chosen leaders of the coalition must be trustwor-


thy and widely viewed as such. It is especially problematic if coalition leaders or
coalition member nations have, or are believed to have, an agenda different from the
stated goals of the coalition.
CHAPTER 2 — A JUST WAR VERSUS JUST WAR 29

4. A Sensible Plan—A detailed plan must be developed and agreed upon, based on
the best available information and analysis, including respect for divergent views. It
must include sufficient resources to ensure winning the war, as well as winning the
peace that follows the war, and it must include a clear exit or endpoint, together with
a timeline. The informed consent of the citizens of each coalition nation should be
obtained in some meaningful direct or indirect fashion.

5. Excellent Execution—The sensible plan must be properly executed, with a clear


chain of command, and with a process for making necessary adjustments along the
way.

The requirement of a just war is included as the first of these five essential pillars
because it is the starting point and the most important point. If the Bush administra-
tion had allowed—or better yet, led—a national discussion of the application of just
war principles to the proposed Iraq war, the war would not have occurred, and Amer-
ica and its allies and friends would have been miles ahead in the so-called war on
terrorism. Regarding a possible war in Iraq, a strong coalition would have developed
a plan of action to accomplish desired goals through strong peaceful steps, with the
possibility of war only as a last resort, and only if all of the just war general princi-
ples were first met, which they never were.
Incredibly, even after more than four years of war in Iraq, the Bush regime and
its GOP enablers had not established a single one of the five essential pillars of a
strong successful coalition.
The mere process of considering the five pillars of a strong coalition would have
led to better decisions and better plans regarding Iraq. However, Bush and Cheney
were driven by the neocon groupthink. Already knowing the “answer,” they had no
need for the hard work of analysis and critical thinking. They saw no need for a plan
to win the peace. They did not earn their pay. They were guilty of dereliction of duty.
They were guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.
Their hardcore true believers described them as strong, but the right word is stu-
pid, which brings us to the next section.

Hard Power and Soft Power—plus Smart Power and Stupid


Power
Joseph Nye, the dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, wrote a book
that should be required reading for Bush and the neocons: Soft Power: The Means to
Success in World Politics. Hard power is using military power and economic power
to achieve desired results. Soft power is using various measures short of military
power—such as economic assistance, diplomacy, cultural exchanges, and other
forms of international persuasion—to achieve desired ends. Nye describes soft power
as the “ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion.”
Nye believes that, ideally, neither hard power nor soft power should be used ex-
clusively. Rather, it is usually best to combine the two—what Nye calls smart power.
During the several decades of the Cold War, the United States led by several presi-
dents, both Democratic and Republican, used a mixture of hard power and soft
power—primarily the hard power of military deterrence (vs. its actual use) combined
30 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

with the soft power of broad international cooperation and pressure—to help speed
the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Although Nye doesn’t use this term or have an additional category, it is apparent
that Bush and the GOP have created a fourth category—stupid power—which we
define here as “using either hard power or soft power in an incompetent, ideological,
faith-based, non-analytical fashion, especially where military decisions are made by
civilian bureaucrats without active military experience who intentionally ignore pro-
fessional military advice.”
Bush and his neocons use hard power in a knee-jerk fashion, without understand-
ing its limits. They do not understand, and choose to ignore, the benefits of soft
power, thereby undercutting America’s hard power and gutting America’s capacity
to lead a cooperative international effort against terrorism. Nye believes the United
States must not proceed unilaterally but must return to the hard and soft power blend
that was the foundation of the U.S.-led Western alliance that prevailed in the Cold
War.
If fewer than 50 criminals carried out a 9/11-type slaughter, what would be the
sense of America declaring war on Islam? If Canada attacked America, what would
be the sense of the United States bombing Argentina or Venezuela? Well, perhaps
we shouldn’t use Venezuela in this example—since Bush might just take that oppor-
tunity to invade Venezuela, given that America’s rightwing neocons and oil compa-
nies hated the results of Venezuela’s presidential recall referendum in August 2004,
overwhelmingly won by Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s democratically elected president
whom the Bush neocons had previously tried to depose.11

SIDEBAR: A Key Question

Why do bystanders in Iraq—average Mohammeds—cheer the attacks on American


forces and the killing of American soldiers? That is a question Bush doesn’t like to
think about.
In Bush’s simple black-and-white fantasy world, we got rid of Saddam, and
therefore all Iraqis should love us. Bush cannot grasp a simple reality—that Iraqis
who are grateful that American troops deposed Saddam are entitled to be violently
opposed to the occupation of Iraq by American forces.
The Bush regime and its GOP supporters apparently believe that self-appointed
vigilantes who catch the murderous thug in your neighborhood are justified in mov-
ing in with your family, eating the best food off your table, and joining your wife and
daughters in bed.
Then, of course, there’s Iraq’s oil, which virtually all Iraqis believe, for some
crazy reason, had something to do with Bush’s decision to invade.

11
Chavez’s subsequent reelection as Venezuela’s president was fueled in part by the Bush
administration’s clumsy anti-democratic posturing regarding Chavez and Venezuela.
CHAPTER 2 — A JUST WAR VERSUS JUST WAR 31

If the situation were reversed, and foreign soldiers—say, Islamic troops who
didn’t speak English—occupied North Dakota or Massachusetts, the good patriotic
citizens of those great states would take up arms and fight to kick them out. On the
other hand, pseudo-cowboy rightwing Texans like Bush and Cheney would recog-
nize the quisling, crony-capitalism opportunities in collaborating with the enemy—
and cozily do business with them, just as they already do with the princely Saudis
and a host of other rightwing dictators. Bush and Cheney certainly wouldn’t sign up
for any combat duty, nor would any of their offspring.

The Bush neocons are virtually clueless in determining whether we are winning
or losing the war on terrorism, perhaps in part because they spend most of their time
trying to put the right political spin on their accomplishments or, more accurately,
lack thereof. One of the numerous Bush fantasy spinners is former Attorney General
John Ashcroft, who resigned on November 9, 2004. In his resignation letter to Bush,
Ashcroft stated, “The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and
terror has been achieved.”
In April 2004 the U.S. State Department issued its annual counter-terrorism re-
port, “Patterns of Global Terrorism,” which stated that terrorist attacks in 2003 had
declined to 190, the lowest level reported in 34 years, and a 45% reduction from
Bush’s first year as president (2001). The Bush administration triumphantly claimed
the report showed their policies were working. Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage
said, “Indeed, you will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in
the fight.” Another State Department official predicted that the trend would continue.
But, oops! The 2003 report was very wrong. On June 10, 2004—after outsiders
had questioned the data—the State Department acknowledged it had made a mistake
in reporting a drop in terrorism and that, in fact, both the number of terrorist attacks
and the number of victims had increased sharply in 2003. However, don’t hold your
breath waiting for the Bush administration to correct its prior statement and say,
“You will find in these pages clear evidence that we are not prevailing in the fight.”
The Bush administration believes that bombing is the first and only medicine in
addressing terrorism or fabricated terrorism, so long as we are doing the bombing.
This faith-based belief is similar to their belief that America can simply drill its way
out of its energy problems, which we will discuss later.
There is a role for smart bombs, but smart bombs become dumb bombs when
dropped by dumb leaders who make dumb decisions.
Al Qaeda and other evolving terrorist groups have changed their tactics and are
now less susceptible to attack and eradication by military power alone. More effec-
tive are the cooperative proactive efforts by intelligence agencies and police around
the world, coupled with the cooperation of the vast majority of the citizens of the
world. Unilateral military efforts by an isolated, go-it-alone America have failed, and
they will continue to fail.
The willing cooperation of as many people as possible in our joint anti-terror ef-
forts will help us understand the whats, whys and hows of terrorism. Many plots are
uncovered and foiled thanks to an unexpected tip from someone who has stumbled
32 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

upon relevant information, disagrees with the terrorist agenda, and believes that
America and its allies are on a higher moral ground. Therefore a key priority is for
America to act in such a way that it truly deserves the willing support of the world.
In this regard, Bush has utterly failed America and its soldiers.

SIDEBAR: San Jose Mercury News, Letter to the Editor, September 10, 2003,
“Millions for peace, billions on Iraq”

“Seventy-five billion dollars is a conservative estimate of our projected 2004 military


expenditures for Iraq. This is based on current spending levels as well as the figures
presented by President Bush in his address to the nation, and it excludes additional
tens of billions for reconstruction, support of coalition partners, and other costs.
“On the other hand, the U.S. Peace Corps’ annual budget for 2003 is only $295
million, notwithstanding bipartisan congressional support and increased funding.
“In other words, we spend more for 35 hours of our military occupation of Iraq
than we do for the worldwide operations of the Peace Corps for an entire year.
“Although I want to believe that all of our military efforts are intended to pro-
mote peace, we do sometimes err in pulling the war lever, with tragic unintended
consequences.
“The people of the world, especially Americans, reap huge peace dividends from
the work of the Peace Corps. The peace dividends from our military campaign in
Iraq are dubious at best.”
—Jim Swanson

The Bush neocons have been staggered by reality in Iraq. Their struggle to even
find words to explain the resulting mess is palpable. Rumsfeld, for example, in dis-
cussing the so-called war on terrorism at a security conference in June 2004, said,
“It’s quite clear to me that we do not have a coherent approach to this.” He acknowl-
edged that America might not be winning the war on terror. He didn’t know if terror-
ists were being trained at a faster rate than we can kill or capture them, and noted:
“How many more of those folks are being trained and developed and organized and
deployed and sent out to work the seams and the shadows and the caves?”
Sadly, the Bush regime has aggravated and complicated the threat by midwifing
countless terrorist snakes, each like Hydra, the nine-headed snake in Greek mythol-
ogy, and there is no one snake—say bin Laden or a bin Laden wannabe—who con-
trols all heads of all Hydras. Yes, it will be a great joy to see bin Laden dead—an
important job that must be done, a job that Bush botched—but at this sad point in
history it won’t make much difference.
The United States and the world are paying dearly for the real-world education of
the amateur Bush neocons. Never have Diplomacy 101 and War Strategy and Tactics
101 courses been so expensive, and never have the students been so ill prepared and
resistant to learning. How do you teach “Diplomacy 101 for Dummies” and “War
CHAPTER 2 — A JUST WAR VERSUS JUST WAR 33

Strategy and Tactics 101 for Dummies” to blockhead students who already have
their faith-based answers before they even understand the questions?
Over a period of several months in 2006 Jeff Stein, National Security Editor for
the Congressional Quarterly and frequent contributor to The New York Times, con-
ducted lengthy interviews with counterterrorism experts in Washington, as well as
with several U.S. Congressmen having oversight responsibilities regarding terrorism
and America’s spy agencies. The fundamental question he raised was, “Do you know
the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?” The appalling results were that many
of America’s experts and oversight congressmen don’t even know the basics, such
as, for example, whether Iran is predominantly Sunni or Shiite. Stein sums it up in
his October 17, 2006, piece in The New York Times: “But so far, most American of-
ficials I’ve interviewed don’t have a clue. That includes not just intelligence and law
enforcement officials, but also members of Congress who have important roles over-
seeing our spy agencies. How can they do their jobs without knowing the basics?”

SIDEBAR: Just a Deck of Cards

Do you remember all the fun the Bush chickenhawks had with that famous deck of
52 playing cards, with Saddam as the ace of spades, and so forth? It was exhilarat-
ing! America just had to capture or kill the 52 thugs, and the job would be done—
mission accomplished. We just had to shred that deck. It was a tidy and simple solu-
tion for the gullible.
This all made perfect sense to the armchair civilian Bush neocons, who ignored
professional military and diplomatic advice in pursuing their warmongering fanta-
sies. But they neo-conned themselves and the American people. They lied, and
countless hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children died.
By misplaying the hand—by cheating—Bush continues to create countless new
decks of militants, who—unlike those in the Saddam Deck—are a real and present
danger to America and the world. The new decks should be called Bush Terrorist
Decks. They were created because Bush dealt from the bottom of the deck. What
card is Bush? He’s the joker, of course, the deadly joker.
When an American soldier dies in Iraq, one might ask: Did the killer come from
a brand-new Bush Terrorist Deck that did not even exist before Bush started dealing
from the bottom of the deck? The answer in each case is almost certain to be “yes.”
It is not surprising that the Bush neocons and America’s rightwing media no
longer talk about the original Saddam Deck of Cards, given that Bush’s Iraq plans
collapsed like a house of cards.

When adversaries stand up and go head to head with the United States military in
conventional open field combat, they die. The kill ratios favor America by a large
margin, as they should, and most of the enemy die without knowing what hit them.
Without sensing the immediate threat, they are breathing one second and dead the
next.
34 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Like British King George III’s experience during the American Revolutionary
War, the enemy’s evolving military tactics in Iraq surprised America’s King George
III and his cocooned advisors. Britain’s King George III expected America’s pro-
gressive revolutionary patriots from Massachusetts to “fight like men” in open-field
battle in fixed formations, while wearing brightly colored uniforms with a big “X”
on each. That was the conventional warfare style of that era.
Likewise, the unconventional tactics used by insurgents in Iraq shocked our King
George III and his neocons. Ignoring America’s best military minds and a host of
other dissenting voices, the Bush neocons instead put on their own special fantasy
eye glasses, which caused them to conclude wrongly that the Iraq war would be a
short war won by the massive use of shock-and-awe power. Because such explosive
action is the type of warfare that dominates television coverage—and bearing in
mind that television coverage was the closest any of the Bush neocons had ever
come to actual warfare—perhaps America should forgive them for their myopic
views. Or not.
Definitely not. High crimes and misdemeanors by warmongers must not be for-
gotten or forgiven.
Sadly, in addition to eschewing soft power, the Bush neocons had a limited and
warped view of how the use of hard power would play out. They chose to ignore the
realities of other forms of hard power such as guerilla warfare, improvised explosive
devices (IEDs) and other roadside bombs, kidnappings, assassinations, improved
IEDs, beheadings, booby traps, sabotage, even more improved IEDs, and so forth.
They chose to ignore the tremendous uncertainties and unintended consequences that
are inherently part of the “fog of war.”
Unfortunately, the unprecedented damage caused by the Bush regime’s addiction
to “stupid power” is not limited to Afghanistan and Iraq. A fool on Monday is a fool
on Friday. A fool with head lice carries the lice wherever he meanders.
In the next section we consider the Bush regime’s failed nuclear weapons poli-
cies.

Bush League Nuclear Weapons Policies: An Exercise in Stupid


Power
Unlike the risk of Saddam’s WMDs, which existed only in the propaganda used to
sell Bush’s war on Iraq, the risk of nuclear weapons being used against America and
its friends is real, and America’s allies are rightly dismayed by Bush’s failure of
leadership in this arena.
A single nuclear explosion in an American city would be catastrophic in terms of
lives lost and lives shattered, and it would change America forever. It would also
severely impact America’s civil liberties, likely causing even more damage to the
Constitution than that inflicted by the Bush regime during its GOP Reign of Error.
Bush’s efforts have been a combination of insufficient—in failing to safeguard
and reduce the stockpiles of existing nuclear weapons and materials—and counter-
productive—in implementing Bush League policies that encourage, rather than pre-
vent, the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons.
CHAPTER 2 — A JUST WAR VERSUS JUST WAR 35

One necessary first step is for America to aggressively support and fully fund the
joint Russian/American program to reduce Russia’s stockpiles of nuclear weapons
and to prevent them from getting into terrorist hands.

SIDEBAR: Safeguarding Nuclear Materials

The Iraq war diverted attention from a hugely important national and world security
concern, namely the identification and safeguarding of dangerous nuclear materials
at hundreds of sites around the world. Researchers at Harvard’s Kennedy School of
Government reported that less potential nuclear bomb material was safeguarded dur-
ing the two years after September 11 than in the two years before. They note that the
safeguarding would be progressing much more quickly if only one-tenth of the cost
of just the first year of the Iraq war were devoted to securing nuclear material around
the world.
The 2001 Baker-Cutler Commission estimated that a total of $30 billion spent
over ten years would pay for the destruction of most of the loose lethal nuclear mate-
rials, as well as the secure containment of the rest. Effective programs exist to ac-
complish this, but they must be funded. Thirty billion dollars is an enormous sum of
money, but it is less than 3% of the projected direct cost of Bush’s war on Iraq.
Thanks to a Bush administration that is widely seen as imperialistic and hostile to
Islam, the risk of a nuclear bomb exploding in a western city has greatly increased.
In advance, let’s name it the “Bush Bomb.”
It is at least one thousand times more likely that a nuclear bomb will be delivered
via a container ship or truck into an American city than by a long-range missile. Yet,
Bush and the GOP continue to push the fantasy of a Star Wars nuclear shield for
ideological reasons, while hundreds of ships arrive each week in America without
inspection, and while Bush drags his feet on the program to safeguard nuclear mate-
rials.
In the so-called war on terrorism, which side are Bush and the GOP really on?

America’s allies and friends want America to stop developing “better” nuclear
weapons, as there is no such thing. Proliferator Bush rants against the evils of
WMDs, while he pushes dangerous programs to create new ones.
America must immediately abandon the expensive rightwing boondoggle and
fantasy know as Star Wars, which, in addition to not working, encourages America’s
potential enemies to respond by developing and deploying more nuclear weapons.
Many current and potential rogue nations want nuclear weapons and other
WMDs precisely because they have seen Bush in action and heard his threats.
36 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

SIDEBAR: What Was He Thinking?

“See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don’t attack each other. Free
nations don’t develop weapons of mass destruction.”
—George W. Bush

When Bush uttered these words in Milwaukee on October 3, 2003, what was he
really thinking? Perhaps he was thinking his statements did not apply to America
because America was no longer a “free nation.” Or was he thinking that America is
the exceptional nation—just like himself, above the law, a rogue, and an outlaw. Or
is it possible he had consumed one too many Milwaukee brews that morning and
wasn’t thinking at all?
Bush is America’s problem in a nutshell. America needs to devote more re-
sources to building and sustaining nuclear families throughout the world, and less on
nuclear bombs. America needs a better balance between guns and butter. But anyone
who advocates even a modest shift away from GWB—“guns, warmongering and
bombs”—gets a bullet in the heart from America’s rightwing propaganda machine.

Recommendations regarding America’s nuclear policies are set forth in Beyond


Iraq and Afghanistan—A 7-Point International Plan in Chapter 19 of this book.

Guns Versus Butter:


First in Guns …
There is an enormous guns-versus-butter imbalance in America’s foreign policy, one
consequence of which is a simple rightwing recipe for war that might be called
“Wrong Wicked Warmongering.” Here’s that simple recipe for war:
Start with 400 parts guns and 1 part butter12 … stir in GOP foreign policy incom-
petence … cook and sugarcoat … serve hot … and surprise! … you get WAR.
America’s total military spending is more than the combined total of the next 14
most militarized nations, at least 10 of which are either NATO allies or close friends
of America. America’s military spending is more than 45% of the world’s total. It is
more than six times the military spending of either Russia or China.
America is by far the world’s No. 1 arms dealer, providing almost half of the
weapons sold to militaries and militias in the developing world. There is probably
more public debate about America’s international sale of cigarettes—another deadly
market in which America is number one—than about America’s arms sales. The vast
majority of these arms sales is handled routinely by large corporations with virtually

12
Joseph Nye, author of Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, noted that
America spends only about one billion dollars annually on public diplomacy, meaning that we
spend about 400 times as much delivering bombs through the Department of Defense budget
than we spend delivering ideas through diplomacy.
CHAPTER 2 — A JUST WAR VERSUS JUST WAR 37

no fanfare or pubic debate, much like other commercial transactions. After all, busi-
ness is business. So-called capitalism is America’s God and is not to be questioned.
Principal beneficiaries of America’s 400-to-1 imbalance in guns-versus-butter in-
clude numerous corrupt governments and ruthless dictators. The principal losers are
the least, the last, and the lost of the world. All Americans should be ashamed, espe-
cially the leadership of the Southern Baptists in America. In many civil wars and
other bloody conflicts, both sides use American weaponry. This includes even Iraq,
where Iraqis trained by Americans are using American weapons to kill Americans, as
well as countless thousands of Iraqi civilians.

SIDEBAR: Bloody Irony: Telling Questions Never Asked

How many American casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq have been inflicted by bul-
lets, explosives and other weaponry manufactured in the United States by American
workers or elsewhere under the direction of America’s defense industry? How many
such casualties have been inflicted by armaments manufactured by America’s allies?
GOP leaders do not even want to think about—or you to think about—the answers to
these embarrassing moral questions.
Although no American leader plans for Americans to be killed by American
weaponry, the law of unintended consequences does apply, and this law extracts an
especially enormous cost when American foreign policy is myopic, faith-based, uni-
lateral and militaristic. “Those who live by the sword die by the sword.” Or perhaps
more accurately in these Bush League times, “Those nations that live by the sword
cause lots of innocent people to die by the sword, including their own finest.”

According to a U.S. Defense Department report for fiscal year 2003, America has
over 700 military bases outside the United States in 130 countries. This does not
include secret torture facilities run by foreign governments and contractors for the
Bush regime’s gulag. In comparison, America’s emerging principal rival, the com-
munist People’s Republic of China, has no bases outside its borders. Even the three
evil nations included in Bush’s nonsensical moniker, the Axis of Evil—North Korea,
Iran and Iraq—have zero military bases outside their own borders.
America’s huge military footprint in the Islamic world was not established with
the intent of jeopardizing America’s strategic interests, but that has sadly occurred
because of weak leadership in the Bush White House and GOP Congress. Now is the
time to greatly reduce America’s military presence in the Middle East. Iraq espe-
cially needs more butter and fewer guns.
A better balance between guns and butter would help America fight more effec-
tively the fewer wars it would need to fight.

… and Last in Butter


According to a 2005 report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations, 852 million people are chronically hungry, an increase of 10 million
38 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

from the previous year. These people cannot find adequate nutritious food for their
families and themselves and are undernourished. Their hand-to-mouth struggle to
find enough food is a daily one, and many starve to death. More than 16,000 children
die each day from hunger-related causes.
More than one billion of God’s 6.5 billion people earn less than $1 per day, the
international poverty line, and more than 3 billion people, about half of the Earth’s
population, earn less than $2 per day.
America must return to leading international efforts to focus on the least, the last,
and the lost throughout the world. The industrialized nations—except for the United
States—eagerly seek a united effort to reduce world poverty and starvation by half
within two decades, but the Bush administration became obstructionist and went
AWOL.
By invading Iraq, Bush greatly reduced America’s capability and desire to ad-
dress more urgent problems afflicting Christ’s people—“the least, the last, and the
lost”—around the world. These problems include starvation, rampant disease, wars,
genocide, the growing gap between first and third world nations, and the growing
gap between the haves and the have-nots in third world nations.
Bush’s efforts on behalf of the world’s poor are dwarfed by his efforts to help
America’s Super Rich. He delivers far more sound bites than commitments to the
world’s poor, and he later substantially shortchanges his meager commitments to
them. On the other hand, Bush “religiously” gives record pork, record tax cuts, and
record corporate welfare to America’s Milking Class, which he affectionately refers
to as his “base.” Jesus weeps.
Massive government subsidies for agriculture in America and Europe greatly
damage subsistence farmers in the third world, causing many to fall below the “sur-
vival line.” America’s agricultural subsidies are not designed for America’s working
farmers, but are designed as corporate welfare for huge agribusiness companies and
wealthy people who often do not even live on their land.
Even using hyped White House figures intended to buff Bush’s “compassion,”
the total worldwide cost of all his efforts to help Christ’s most needy is only a tiny
fraction of what he wastes on his war on Iraq. Christ’s forgotten people need bread,
but Bush delivers bombs.
Tragically, America is the leader—without followers—in the Bush League War
on Iraq, when America could have been the leader—with a world of followers—in
efforts to save the helpless and forgotten.
America must engage the world community in nation building, with justice and
freedom for all the citizens of each nation, not just the freedom of ruling elites and
international corporations to have their way.
America can and should use its soldiers to wage peace. When called on to par-
ticipate in humanitarian efforts, America’s soldiers perform heroically and magnifi-
cently. In this role, America’s “soldiers for peace” are America’s best ambassadors
and truly America’s finest. Few doubt their intentions and cost effectiveness, in
sharp contrast to the performance of public trough companies like Halliburton.
America’s troops bring credibility and accountability, not cronyism and corruption.
Deploying thousands more specially-trained National Guard and active-duty troops
after the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, and in Pakistan and Kashmir
CHAPTER 2 — A JUST WAR VERSUS JUST WAR 39

after the devastating October 2005 earthquakes, would have advanced world peace,
in addition to promoting America’s own self interests.
The United States must use consistent verifiable metrics to measure the amount
of non-military humanitarian assistance it provides to the rest of the world. It must
track its effectiveness, make process improvements, and publish the results—the
good along with the bad. The assistance should not be provided unless the host na-
tion allows the United States to implement accounting and anti-fraud systems at least
as rigorous as the United States uses at home.
One central pillar of the Bush administration’s “success” is misinformation. Ac-
cording to one poll, Americans think the United States spends 24% of its national
budget on assistance for poor countries! This is almost 100 times the meager one-
fourth of one percent that the United States actually spends, which is the lowest per-
centage among major industrialized nations.
Furthermore, the effectiveness of America’s assistance is typically reduced by
misguided political considerations, inadequate oversight and corruption. Too often
the assistance comes with strings attached that effectively funnel money back to fa-
vored rightwing corporations in the United States.
The same public-trough principle holds true in a war setting. If American assis-
tance to Iraq is viewed as a gold mining operation, then Halliburton gets the gold,
and the Iraqi people get the shaft.
In the next chapter, we turn our attention to the “almost forgotten war” in
Afghanistan, that center stage in the war on terrorism that Bush and his GOP “Mis-
sion Accomplices” catastrophically turned into another “Mission Not Accom-
plished.”
CHAPTER 3

Afghanistan
Losing the Just War

As a result of the American military the Taliban is no longer in existence.


—George W. Bush, September 2004 (before the U.S. elections)

Across Afghanistan last year, the number of roadside bomb attacks almost
doubled, direct fire attacks on international forces almost tripled, and sui-
cide bombings grew nearly fivefold.
—George W. Bush, February 15, 2007

The Afghanistan war launched in 2001 arguably met all six principles of a just war,
which, as discussed in the previous chapter, are: legitimate authority; just cause;
right intention; last resort; reasonable chance for success; and proportionality (with
the weakest link being the argument supporting the reasonable chance for success
principle.) The Taliban government had harbored and supported bin Laden and al
Qaeda, and following 9/11 it refused to cooperate in broad international efforts to
bring bin Laden and al Qaeda to justice. The United Nations approved the subse-
quent invasion, and it had worldwide support, in sharp contrast to Bush’s later volun-
tary invasion of Iraq.
Although the six principles of a just war were present in Afghanistan, Bush ut-
terly failed as a leader in its planning and execution. Regarding the “reasonable
chance for success” principle, Bush snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Regarding the five pillars of a strong coalition also discussed in Chapter 2, Bush
failed on the last four: clear goals; trustworthy leadership; a sensible plan; and ex-
cellent execution. But no one should have been surprised. After all, Bush—neither a
builder of nations nor a builder of coalitions—didn’t want a coalition in the first
place, and he did not insist on expert planning.
International political efforts to create a provisional Afghani government pro-
ceeded in parallel with the military campaign. In accordance with the Bonn Agree-
ment of December 5, 2001, a Loya Jirga—meaning “grand council” in the Pashto
language—attended by 1,500 delegates was held in June 2002, and a transitional
government headed by Hamid Karzai was established. A special commission created
under the Bonn Agreement had established procedures and rules governing this Loya
Jirga, including a process to select delegates and ensure the fair representation of
42 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

women and other groups in Afghan society. Loya Jirgas, which are quasi-
democratic, have been used for centuries in Afghanistan to choose new leaders and
decide other important matters. Tribal leaders and influential elders from the various
tribes and ethnic and religious groups traditionally attend the Loya Jirgas.
The American-led military operation—at least, initially—proved to be a show-
case for American military might. The strategy relied principally on sophisticated
modern high-tech weaponry and the use of special operations forces. America’s
smart bombs and other weaponry had advanced considerably from those used in Gulf
War I in 1991, a point highlighted by Bush’s father while discussing the much
greater military strength available to his son in 2001 than that available to him during
Gulf War I in 1991.
In short, the power of America’s military increased substantially during the eight
years of the Clinton administration, as it did during prior administrations.
Notwithstanding the initial military successes in Afghanistan, and notwithstand-
ing the fact that the conflict there arguably met all requirements of a just war, the
overall operation in Afghanistan under Bush deserves a grade of “F,” or at best an
“I” for incomplete. The conflict drags on with no end in sight, and Bush certainly has
no plans to end it during his presidency. Corruption and crime are rampant. Osama
bin Laden is still at large directing terrorist activities in various parts of the world,
and many of his followers were neither killed nor captured. Al Qaeda has expanded
its membership, and new leaders have stepped in to replace those killed. More omi-
nously, many new terrorist organizations have been formed throughout the world,
independent of al Qaeda but generally sympathetic to its goals. Local warlords effec-
tively control most of Afghanistan. The drug trade is booming. The Taliban has
made a strong comeback in various parts of the country. The Taliban and al Qaeda
have not said uncle. The criminals responsible for 9/11 have not met their maker.
Bush did not do his job.

SIDEBAR: Opium Production

Although Afghanistan has no oil to feed America’s addiction for petroleum products,
it does supply opium to help feed America’s addiction for heroin, which is derived
from opium. During its several years in power the Taliban outlawed opium poppy
growing in Afghanistan and enforced strict anti-drug policies with draconian meas-
ures that were quite effective.
Unfortunately, opium production in Afghanistan skyrocketed after the fall of the
Taliban, hitting an all-time high in 2003 (double the previous year), followed by ad-
ditional records the next few years. By 2007 Afghanistan supplied more than 90% of
the world’s opium and had virtually no other exports. The United Nations Office on
Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) estimates that Afghanistan’s opium production is
worth about $2.5 billion a year to Afghanistan—with a street value many times
that—greatly dwarfing the $40 million in official exports to neighboring Pakistan.
CHAPTER 3 — AFGHANISTAN 43

It is estimated that the drug business accounts for 60% of Afghanistan’s gross na-
tional product, employing more than 2 million people. Only a small percentage of the
drug’s value goes to Afghanistan’s poor farmers. The criminals controlling the dis-
tribution channels, including mid-level and senior officials in Karzai’s U.S.-
supported government, take the lion’s share. Even Karzai’s brother has been accused
of having a significant role.
The White House’s own Office of Drug Control Policy acknowledges that the
war on terrorism conflicts with the war on drugs in Afghanistan, with much of the
cash from opium sales being funneled to terrorist groups.
The U.S.-backed Afghani government officially banned opium cultivation but
lacks the power and desire to prevent it, especially in several provinces outside its
control.
Virtually no one would suggest that the hallucinatory Bush neocons wanted Af-
ghanistan’s opium production to skyrocket in order to reduce the price of their rec-
reational drugs. However, the sad story of record opium production in Afghanistan is
another example of unintended consequences, and it does illustrate the Bush admini-
stration’s incompetence in planning the war and prosecuting it to completion, as well
as its wobbly13 halfhearted efforts to win the peace. Bush and his team of amateurs
botched the historic opportunity to turn a just war in Afghanistan into a just peace.

The military shortcomings in Afghanistan were—and still are—strategic, not tac-


tical. The blame rests entirely at the highest levels of the United States government,
with Bush and the neocon civilian leaders who unilaterally chose to conduct the war
on the cheap, on the slow, on the dumb.
In a major defeat for the United States, bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora in the
mountains along Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan in early December
2001. By the following April U.S. intelligence and military personnel in the Bush
administration had concluded and admitted that the failure to commit American
ground troops at Tora Bora—and relying instead on local Afghani militias—was the
gravest error in the war against bin Laden and al Qaeda.
At the tactical level, American and allied soldiers performed superbly in Af-
ghanistan, and they would have eagerly done much more if called upon to do so. If
ordered, they would have done everything possible to seal the border with Pakistan,
block escape routes, and kill as many of the enemy as possible, including bin Laden.
However, our neocon leaders wanted a high-tech media-friendly war without
American casualties, thus protecting bin Laden from a well-deserved lethal blow.
The Taliban and al Qaeda criminals who escaped into Pakistan emerged from the
experience recharged and invigorated. Fighting American occupiers and escaping
over the mountains into Pakistan gave them strength, confidence and prestige. In the
eyes of their followers, they emerged from the great hardship as heroes, much like
George Washington and his hardened troops during the early dark days of America’s
Revolutionary War. The Taliban and al Qaeda survivors became effective recruiters

13
Yes, “W” also stands for “wobbly.”
44 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

for their misguided cause. Likewise, Muslim prisoners returning from America’s
prison camps in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere are often treated as heroes.
Michael Scheuer, a central CIA figure in the hunt for Osama bin Laden—and the
author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror—asserts that
the Bush administration acted much too slowly following 9/11. Its response was a
“complete disaster,” he says. By waiting more than three weeks to attack al Qaeda
and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the United States missed an opportunity to kill bin
Laden and other key leaders, who were thus able to escape. The Bush administration
should have had a lethal quick response plan in place, given the prior attacks by al
Qaeda against the USS Cole and two American embassies in Africa.
The Bush administration had little use for the most skilled fighters in Afghani-
stan—the mujahideen—who are seen as war heroes by their people because they
drove the Soviet occupiers out of Afghanistan. The Bush neocons chose to alienate
them—neither killing nor courting them—and they will remain a major threat to the
central Afghani government for a long time.
Later, in Iraq, the Bush neocons made similar but even more catastrophic mis-
takes as they broke their prewar promises to Iraqis by firing both the Iraqi army and
Iraqi police forces, sending them home alienated, angry, without jobs and pay, but
with their weapons and access to hundreds of thousands of tons of munitions.
The Bush administration failed to win the war and peace in Afghanistan because
it failed to devote sufficient military forces to complete the job, and because it failed
to develop and implement comprehensive plans to win the peace. Its central obses-
sion was always Iraq, and the significant American military forces it later diverted to
Iraq helped create a power vacuum in Afghanistan.
Incredibly, even Arabic-speaking Special Forces fighting bin Laden and al Qaeda
in Afghanistan were pulled out and sent to Iraq, to be replaced in part by Spanish-
speaking Special Forces that in turn had been fighting the war on drugs in Latin
America.
Afghanistan is not very important to the neocons because it does not have oil.
Iraq was always their coveted prize. The neocons incorrectly concluded that Af-
ghanistan was of little strategic importance. But consider Afghanistan’s neighbors,
all of which are global hot spots or potential hot spots: nuclear-armed Pakistan on the
south and east; nuclear-armed wannabe and Axis of Evil member Iran on the west;
nuclear-armed China to the east; and the “stans” on the north (Turkmenistan, Uz-
bekistan and Tajikistan.)
Most important, Afghanistan was the number one battleground in the broader war
on terrorism. Regrettably, Bush badly fumbled the ball by not finishing the job in
Afghanistan, and by gratuitously invading Iraq, a country that had nothing—
absolutely zero—to do with 9/11. Only one war was on the calendar of just wars, but
Bush chose to play a doubleheader, and he lost both “games.” As a result, America’s
moral standing, power and influence took a nosedive. Bush painted himself and
America into a corner, with virtually no viable options available, and America’s po-
sition in the so-called war on terror was greatly compromised.
CHAPTER 3 — AFGHANISTAN 45

Coalition Deaths in Afghanistan by Year


200

Other Nations
150 U.S. 93

31
Deaths

100

9 6
20
50 99 98

48 48 52

0 12

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006


Year

Like a marriage, a coalition without mutual trust usually results in a train wreck.
Both on the international stage and in America, Bush earned his status as the most
distrusted American president ever, and America and the world will pay the price for
decades.
Bush’s unilateral and insulting foreign policy divided NATO and prevented it
from doing what was necessary, which was to make a strong early commitment to
help build a secure and functional Afghanistan. The departure of Bush and Cheney
from Washington will improve relations with NATO, but the putrid odor left behind
by these two-legged skunks from Texas will last a long time.
On December 20, 2001, the United Nations Security Council authorized the In-
ternational Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan, and by late 2002 about
20 nations had contributed a measly total of 4,650 troops to the cause. The ISAF
would have been much larger but for the omniscient and omnipotent Bush regime,
which called the shots in Afghanistan and exhibited little desire or respect for allied
assistance. Why share the glory of victory? The emperor knew best.
Thanks to bush league policies, NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan were half-hearted
and much less than what the situation demanded, and NATO’s summit meetings
were more ceremonial than productive. When NATO finally assumed command of
the international peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan in August 2003, the ISAF’s
peacekeeping mandate was limited to Kabul. In late 2003 the Security Council ex-
panded the mandate to cover all of Afghanistan, including security for the upcoming
national elections. But by mid-2004 NATO-ISAF still had only 6,500 troops in Af-
ghanistan, only a small fraction of what was required, and most of these troops re-
mained in the Kabul area because of security concerns. Due to deteriorating security,
NATO-ISAF increased its troop levels from 8,000 in early 2005 to 20,000 by Sep-
tember 2006. The following month 12,000 American troops in Afghanistan were
transferred to NATO-ISAF, bringing its total forces to 32,000.
46 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

NATO and the United States simply do not have sufficient forces in place to ac-
complish the mission. The border with Pakistan remains porous; warlords run much
of the country and protect the drug trade Columbia-style; the Taliban has rebounded
strongly; and the corrupt Karzai government does not have the military and political
support it needs.
Bush’s unilateral invasion of Iraq coupled with the diversion of American forces
profoundly compromised NATO’s mission in Afghanistan. Given the small size of
America’s presence in Afghanistan, NATO reluctantly committed only token addi-
tional resources.
Unfortunately, the United States has insufficient uncommitted military forces to
commit to Afghanistan, unless it diverts forces from Iraq, which it must do immedi-
ately. America’s armed forces are stretched too thin, and the desperate stopgap ac-
tions by the Bush administration will not make a big enough difference.
W’s premature evacuation in Afghanistan and diversion of forces to Iraq reduced
America’s already insufficient troop levels in Afghanistan to a low of 10,000. A sub-
sequent flip-flop by Bush increased the total to about 20,000 by the third anniversary
of the Taliban’s fall, and to 27,000 by February 2007 (15,000 of which were in
NATO-ISAF), but once again Bush and the rubber-stamping GOP Congress were
“too little, too late.”
Thanks to America’s corporate media, Afghanistan is off the radar, which is
where Bush wants it, as he runs out the clock on his disastrous presidency. Along the
way, Bush feebly claimed—lied—from time to time that the war in Afghanistan had
been won and the people of Afghanistan were free, although after 2006 he reduced
the frequency of such bogus claims.
The road ahead in Afghanistan is orders of magnitude more difficult, uncertain,
and costly than it should have been.
The central government has little authority outside Kabul, causing Afghanis to
refer derisively to President Karzai as the “Mayor of Kabul.” Vast stretches of Af-
ghanistan are under the control of competing warlords. Karzai views many of these
warlords, who cooperated with American forces in the war against the Taliban, as a
bigger threat than the Taliban. Many of these warlords rose to power in the 1980s
when the United States helped them drive Soviet forces out of Afghanistan. In 2001
the Bush administration greatly increased their power by relying on them to battle
the Taliban in Kabul, and he further increased their power and anger by attacking
Iraq. The forces of these warlords are now much greater than those of the central
government, which is inadequately supported by NATO and the United States.
One of the most dangerous, virulently anti-American, anti-west warlords is Ab-
dul Rasul Sayyaf, a Wahhabi Pashtun supported by Saudi Arabia who was elected a
representative at the Loya Jirga in 2003. His militants are responsible for many war
crimes over the years, including the massacre of civilians. Sayyaf, a Wahhabi fun-
damentalist, opposes the expansion of rights for women and wants the new govern-
ment to follow strict fundamentalist Islamic law. Karzai needs international help in
disarming him, a very difficult chore at best. Sayyaf was a member of the Afghani-
stan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and had a close relationship with bin Laden
during the jihad against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. According to the 9/11 Com-
CHAPTER 3 — AFGHANISTAN 47

mission Report, Sayyaf was a mentor to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who managed
the quadruple plane hijackings on 9/11.
In July 2004 Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) announced
that it was leaving Afghanistan, after 24 years of service, because the Karzai gov-
ernment failed to act regarding evidence that local warlords were responsible for the
killing of five members of its staff the previous month. The organization, which had
1,400 Afghani staff and 80 international volunteers in Afghanistan, also denounced
the U.S. military’s new requirement that aid recipients provide information on insur-
gents, because the policy put all aid workers at greater risk. The Nobel Peace Prize-
winning organization relies on neutrality to protect its medical staff in war zones.
As for winning the peace and helping build Afghanistan into a viable nation, the
Bush regime in 2002 quickly went AWOL. At subsequent Afghanistan reconstruc-
tion conferences the United States did increase its pledges, but the total of about $10
billion through 2006, which includes security assistance, is still much less than
needed. It is a pittance compared to the potential long-term costs if Afghanistan does
not emerge as a viable nation, and is less than 1% of the cost of Bush’s and the
GOP’s mad adventure in Iraq.
A large majority of the people of Afghanistan rejoiced at the overthrow of the
Taliban. They desperately needed and wanted assistance, and expectations of Amer-
ica were running high. It was a golden opportunity for America to help transform
Afghanistan, but the Bush neocons failed to recognize that the window of opportu-
nity was short. Bush blissfully sat on his hands—basking in the glow of the corporate
media spin machine—and turned victory into defeat.
The United Nations was ready, willing and able to assist in nation building in Af-
ghanistan, but Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld foolishly told the United Nations to
confine itself to Kabul. Having virtually no interest in nation building, the Bush neo-
cons refused to step aside and let the United Nations do its work.
Following 9/11, Bush also fumbled a long-awaited historic opportunity for the
United States to improve relations with Iran and thus possibly even restore diplo-
matic relations with the strategically most important nation in the greater Middle
East. Notwithstanding three decades of broken diplomatic relations due to the Iranian
takeover of the American embassy in Tehran, Iran was a good candidate to be a
friend and strategic ally of the United States. The Iranian people had great affection
for Americans, and hundreds of thousands of Iranians have immigrated to America.
With the exception of Israel, Iran could be America’s number one partner and
ally in the greater Middle East.
Following the 9/11 attacks, Iran offered to fight side by side with American
forces in Afghanistan to remove the Taliban. Iran despised the Taliban for many rea-
sons, including the Taliban’s slaughter of 10 Iranian diplomats in Mazar-e-Sharif in
1999, and almost went to war against the Taliban in the 1990s. Negotiations regard-
ing military cooperation in Afghanistan and a possible rapprochement between Iran
and the United States were making progress until Bush included Iran in his bizarre
Axis of Evil in his State of the Union address in January 2002. “Tough cowboy”
Bush preferred militant confrontation with Iran over rapprochement and a possible
historic alliance. The rest is history. Bush’s saber rattling empowered Islamic hard-
liners, weakened the growing pro-modernity democratic movement in Iran, and
48 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

caused Iran to look to China as a better strategic partner than the United States. Iran
later emerged as the biggest winner in Bush’s disastrous war on Iraq, and the vast
majority of Iranians reasonably concluded that with Bush on the loose Iran needed
nuclear weapons to ensure respect and security.
Thanks to Bush’s illegal and poorly managed war on Iraq, Iran’s influence in the
region is ascendant, and America’s is declining. In half-hearted, helter-skelter re-
sponse, the Bush regime tried to counter the growing power of Shiite Persian Iran by
cobbling together an alliance of regional Sunni Arab nations, including Egypt, Jor-
dan and Saudi Arabia. However, these nations preferred to work independently of
the Bush regime and its taint. The Bush administration characterized the nations in
this new “Sunni Axis” as moderate, but all three are dictatorships, with Egypt and
Saudi Arabia ranking near the bottom of all nations in respecting human rights.
Thanks to Bush’s bungling of “democracy” in Iraq, democratic reform in these na-
tions is now off the table.
Following the overthrow of the Taliban, the people of Afghanistan had great ex-
pectations that America would rise to the occasion and help transform Afghanistan
and improve the lives of its long-suffering citizens. But Bush was AWOL.

SIDEBAR: Too Little, Too Late

A 2003 study by the Rand Corporation compared America’s nation building efforts
in several countries. Here are some of the findings:

External Assistance for First


Peacekeepers per
Country Two Years
1,000 People
(per capita)
Bosnia 18.6 $1,390
Kosovo 20.0 $814
Afghanistan 0.18 $52

The above data highlight Bush’s foolish decision to do Afghanistan on the cheap.
Incredibly, on a per capita basis, Bush’s peacekeeping commitment was less than 1%
of that in Bosnia.14 Neither Bush’s father nor Bill Clinton would have made this
tragic mistake in Afghanistan.
Bush’s bomb-em-and-leave-em strategy was especially foolish because: (1) The
reality of 9/11 required that America not fail in Afghanistan; (2) Afghanistan pre-
sents an enormously more difficult challenge than either Bosnia or Kosovo, and thus
requires more resources, not less; and (3) Afghanistan is strategically more critical,
given its key crossroads location and its center-stage role in the war on terrorism.

14
If America’s combat troops in Afghanistan are added to the peacekeeper total for Afghani-
stan, the result is still well under one peacekeeper per 1,000 Afghans.
CHAPTER 3 — AFGHANISTAN 49

Compounding the problem, Bush’s Iraq war drained U.S. military resources from
Afghanistan at a time when they were still desperately needed there to fight the Tali-
ban. There are more sworn police officers in the New York City Police Department
(NYPD)—about 35,000—than there are U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and only a small
percentage of the residents of New York City shoot at law enforcement.

For the sake of Afghanistan, and in America’s own self interest, America must
take a lead role in helping to build Afghanistan into a viable nation. But neither Bush
nor the Republican Party has the backbone and steadfastness to do it right and see it
though. Unfortunately, thanks to Bush’s mishandling of both Afghanistan and Iraq,
there is no groundswell in America for helping Afghanistan in other than bush league
fashion. Afghanistan—center stage in the war on terrorism—is the forgotten war. It
is another “Mission Not Accomplished.”
Michael Scheuer is right—America is losing the war on terror, and we don’t even
know it. Bin Laden is now seen as a heroic defender of his faith both against Western
powers that have intruded into the Muslim world and also against the many corrupt
Muslim dictatorships that rule that world.
Thanks to the arrogance and incompetence of the Bush neocons in Afghanistan,
in Iraq, and in the war on terrorism, bin Laden is now much more loved and re-
spected in the Muslim world than George Bush. The Muslim world was appalled and
shamed by 9/11. But, thanks to Bush, the ruthless murderer of more than 3,000 inno-
cent people on 9/11 now has a better reputation than the so-called “leader” of the
world’s leading democracy.
In the next chapter we turn our attention to Iraq, which, unlike Afghanistan, had
nothing to do with 9/11 or the war on terror.
CHAPTER 4

The Unjust War in Iraq


Christianity is Bombing in Iraq

There is something almost comical about the prospect of George W. Bush


waging war on another nation because that nation has defied international
law. Since Bush came to office, the U.S. government has torn up more inter-
national treaties and disregarded more United Nations’ conventions than the
rest of the world has in 20 years. It has scuppered the biological weapons
convention while experimenting, illegally, with biological weapons of its
own. It has refused to grant chemical-weapons inspectors full access to its
laboratories. It has ripped up the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and appears
to be ready to violate the nuclear test-ban treaty.
—The Guardian, London, August 2002

As discussed in the preceding chapter, Bush deserves a grade of “F,” or at best an “I”
for “incomplete,” regarding the war in Afghanistan. However, in every aspect of his
war on Iraq, Bush deserves a grade much worse than an “F.” He deserves a grade of
“W,” which is a new grade created out of necessity to reflect previously unimagin-
able levels of presidential failure, incompetence and wickedness.
The Lancet survey estimated, through July 2006, that 655,000 Iraqis had died as a
consequence of the Iraq war.15 The estimate range was 943,000 at the high end and
393,000 at the low end. The peer-reviewed survey, which was conducted by the
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and published in The Lancet medical journal
in October 2006, concluded that 601,000 of the 655,000 deaths (91%) “were due to
violence, the most common cause being gunfire.” The study compared Iraqi mortal-
ity rates before and after the March 2003 invasion in 47 randomly chosen areas
across Iraq, and it is the most thorough scientific survey to date. Surveyed family
members produced death certificates in more than 90% of the cases.
• The 655,000 Iraqi deaths is an average of 16,375 deaths per month during
the 40-month post-invasion study period (March 2003 to July 2006).

15
The 655,000 estimate is much higher than most other estimates, but it results from the most
rigorous study to date. The Bush administration, which has said it doesn’t do “body counts,”
would argue the total is only about one-tenth of the 655,000 figure. Other studies conclude
more than 1 million died because of the Iraq war. We use the lower 655,000 number above.
52 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• This means that Iraq suffered about 218 9/11 equivalents during the first 40
months of war—an average of more than five 9/11 equivalents each month.
• On a per capita basis, Iraq suffered, on average, the equivalent of 65 9/11s
per month—or one 9/11 every 11 hours, around the clock, 24 hours a day.
• Iraq suffered, on average, the equivalent of 496 Virginia Tech massacres
per month—or one Virginia Tech massacre every 90 minutes.
• On a per capita basis, Iraq suffered, on average, the equivalent of 5,952
Virginia Tech massacres per month—or one Virginia Tech massacre every
7 minutes and 30 seconds, around the clock, 24 hours a day.

The 100 Imperial Orders


When Paul Bremer departed Iraq in haste on June 28, 2004, he left behind his infa-
mous “100 Orders,” a host of imperial decrees and policies intended to remake Iraq
into a rightwing economic paradise open for plundering by corporations and indi-
viduals well connected to the Bush regime and the GOP.
The 100 Orders fulfilled the wildest wet dreams and most extreme economic
“wish list” of the neocons—reflected in their Project for the New American Cen-
tury—and the rightwing of the GOP, including a U.S. Constitution-shredding Amer-
ica president—the GOP’s “unitary executive” wannabe—who wanted to free himself
and his criminal regime from the constitutional checks and balances of America’s
legislative and judicial branches of government. The orders included many laws that
these dangerous gluttons could never have achieved lawfully in any western democ-
racy, not even the United States. Although many Iraqis were initially hopeful and
trusting regarding the occupation, they soon realized they had been royally screwed
by an imperial power that pursued its own fantasies and cared not for them.
The 100 Orders were unilaterally imposed on Iraq and its citizens by the United
States, acting through the U.S.-controlled Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA).
The will of the Iraqi people was irrelevant to the rightwing planners of what would
become the Iraq Fiasco.
Well, almost irrelevant. Iraqis did retain the power to vote with bullets and
bombs, which they increasingly did. Perhaps you would too if you were in their
shoes. GOP crimes and incompetence do have consequences, including the Iraq civil
war, ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Whether Bush and his key supporters are sincere when they talk about “freedom”
for Iraq (and perhaps some are sincere), they intentionally use language that is mis-
leading. When they talk about “freedom,” what they really mean is “corporate free-
dom,” or, more precisely, “freedom for huge, well-connected, at-the-public-trough
corporations.”
Capitalism is not freedom. Democracy is freedom.
Although dunces at planning, the rightwingers in the Bush regime did in fact
have a plan of sorts for Iraq, not a viable plan based on reality and what was best for
the people of Iraq, but rather a simple, grandiose, magically self-executing, “free
enterprise” plan that was based on what was best for the “Big Milkers”—an array of
huge well-connected corporations like Halliburton and Bechtel—and the “Little
Milkers”—a host of smaller well-connected businesses and individuals parasitically
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 53

attached to the teats of the Big Milkers. Their plan is better known as the “Plunder-
ers’ Plan.”
“Free enterprise” is a wonderful, almost sacred, term, consisting as is does of two
wonderful words, “free” and “enterprise,” which each has almost universal appeal.
When one thinks of “free enterprise,” one thinks of thriving nimble enterprises com-
peting fairly in an environment that exists outside of government regulation and
funding. But such free enterprise is the exact opposite of the landscape in which the
imperial rightwing GOPers and Bushies thrive. It is the exact opposite of the public-
trough world so familiar to the designers and implementers of the “free enterprise”
Plunderers’ Plan for Iraq, who live off government funds of the United States and, to
a lesser extent, the public funds of Iraq, especially oil revenues.
The imperial GOPers and Bushies are public trough experts who know how to
game the system and milk taxpayers. Their real vocabulary and tools of trade in-
clude: K Street and Wall Street (not Main Street); no-compete government contracts;
bribes and influence peddling (whether illegal or perfectly legal); crony favoritism;
government/contractor revolving door; cost-plus guaranteed-profit government con-
tracts; of-by-and-for-the-rich legislation and regulation; elections by auction; plus
America’s friendly corporate media.
The GOPers and Bushies are virtually clueless as to how to create valuable com-
panies in any private competitive environment that exists outside of government lar-
gess and influence. They are like self-righteous individuals who rail against the evils
of prostitution, but live and prosper in whorehouses.
Under Bremer and the 100 Orders, Iraq ironically remained a state-controlled
economy, except that it is now run by the state primarily for the benefit of huge,
crony-connected, multinational corporations, and not for the benefit of the majority
of Iraqis—and Iraqis know this. The occupation and the 100 Orders gave the Big
Milkers and the Little Milkers the freedom to pillage Iraqi resources (oil revenues,
existing Iraqi industrial infrastructure, arms industry, and the like) as well as count-
less billions of dollars in American taxpayers’ money that most Americans incor-
rectly assumed would be used to benefit Iraq and Iraqis.
Many of the orders were absolutely mind boggling and staggeringly stupid. In to-
tal, they ultimately helped ensure the catastrophic destruction of Iraq and the deaths
of thousands of American soldiers and countless hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
Bremer’s first imperial order was to purge several hundred thousand Iraqi work-
ers from the Iraqi government. He established a de-Baathification commission
headed by Ahmed Chalabi, a Shiite and lackey for the Bush regime who carried out
the purge with passion. The Bush regime, acting through Bremer, also disbanded the
Iraqi army. These incredibly naïve actions put the insurgency on steroids, and efforts
over the next several years to undo some of the cuts were ineffective in stopping the
Iraq Civil War. Did Bush and Bremer really believe that a supernatural power—say
the “free enterprise” system—would magically intervene and offer jobs to these
newly unemployed?
Order No. 39 was intended to immediately transition Iraq from a planned econ-
omy to a “free enterprise” economy, all in the stroke of a magical pen. Among its
provisions are the following:
54 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

a) 100% foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses (a provision that is rarely ac-


complished in balanced negotiations);
b) the privatization (i.e., “pirate-ization”) of Iraq’s state-owned businesses
(about 200);
c) the “national treatment” of foreign firms; and
d) the tax-free, unrestricted, remittance of all profits and other funds out of
Iraq.
Each of the provisions was a Christmas present for huge foreign corporations.
The “national treatment” provision of Order 37 meant that Iraqi workers and
Iraqi companies could not be given preference in the reconstruction of their own
country. This simply takes one’s breath away. The reality, however, was even worse,
as the rightwing American incompetents running the CPA did give enormous prefer-
ence to American Big Milkers like Halliburton. One might suppose that rightwing
Christianist bureaucrats could hardly be expected to award contracts to Iraqi Mus-
lims whom they didn’t understand or trust, or want to understand or trust.
Iraqis received only about 2% of the reconstruction contracts awarded by the
CPA in 2003.
Under Order No. 37, foreign firms could buy Iraqi businesses, refuse to hire
Iraqis, and transfer from Iraq their invested money and profits any time they wished,
all tax-free. There was no requirement that any portion of the funds generated in Iraq
stay in Iraq to help rebuild the nation.
Dozens and dozens of enterprises owned by Iraq’s government were immediately
shut down, with most remaining that way.
Order No. 12 suspended all tariffs, customs duties, import taxes, licensing fees
and similar surcharges for goods entering or leaving Iraq, thereby greatly reducing
the new Iraqi government’s potential revenue stream.
Order No. 49 drastically cut to 15% the corporate tax rate, which previously had
been as high as 40%. The personal income tax was reduced to a high of 15%.
Iraq had denominated its oil transactions in euros, and Bremer changed that back
to dollars.
The 100 Orders covered more than economic matters. For example, a new right-
wing constitution was imposed, and secular family law was replaced with religious
law. The proper use of auto horns was even covered.
The occupation was supposed to end on June 28, 2004, with the handover of
power from the U.S.-run CPA to the new Iraqi government, but the occupation con-
tinued, both militarily and economically. The 100 Orders also continued in effect,
which surprised many observers, as they were handed over to Prime Minister Ayad
Allawi, an exiled Iraqi closely tied to the CIA and the first in a succession of weak
Iraqi figureheads. As for the advertised “handover” to Iraq, what transpired in reality
was a handover and big handout to the foreign Big Milkers and Little Milkers.
Orders No. 57 and No. 77 operated to give the United States ongoing control in
every ministry of the Iraqi government through the placement by the United States of
inspector generals (with five-year terms) and a host of other appointees with broad
powers, all to ensure that the 100 Orders would be carried out.
The intended thrust of these orders (Nos. 57 and 77) was not all bad. God knows
there was a need for comprehensive accounting and auditing to ensure that contracts
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 55

were properly awarded and implemented, and that funds were properly disbursed.
The orders rightly required this, as did commitments made by the United States to
the United Nations.
However, Bremer and the Bush administration failed to hire qualified internal
auditors and put adequate financial controls in place, thus violating America’s com-
mitment to the United Nations and the Iraqi people. As discussed later in this book,
billions of dollars of actual cash were not accounted for.
Order No. 17 (which we will discuss in Chapter 7, “Private Military Contrac-
tors”) gave full immunity from Iraqi law to foreign contractors, including out-of-
control mercenaries like Blackwater. Iraqis have no recourse in their own country for
damages suffered, or even death, due to foreign contractors. Welcome to Bush
World. Welcome to GOP World. Welcome to the Iraq Civil War and the Iraq War of
Liberation.
No book can do justice to the horrible suffering in Iraq. The bloody descent into
Hell on Earth triggered by Bush’s GOP administration continues, and—pray as one
might—it just continues to get worse.
Similarly, there appears to be no bottom to the immoral cesspool known as the
GOP. Just when we think GOP corruption and moral hypocrisy in Congress cannot
get worse, it does. The hits just keep on coming, even though the GOP leadership, in
Mafia fashion, did everything possible to protect its Culture of Corruption in
Congress and to protect its party members from investigation and justice.

The One-Percent Solution for Iraq


As for the chaos in Iraq, they are no good viable options for America. Bush and his
GOP War Party have endangered and bloodied America by pushing it into a position
where all viable options are terrible. America finds itself in the GOP Restaurant of
Puke, where all menu items are expensive and toxic.
Bush’s and the GOP’s war on Iraq is a lost and immoral cause. Bush never had a
plan for Iraq, and even after five years of chaos in Iraq, he refused to develop a vi-
able plan. The GOP-controlled Congress abdicated its constitutional oversight role,
never pushed for a viable plan, and shamefully provided cover for Bush and all his
deeds and misdeeds.
When Bush trumpeted his new surge campaign for Baghdad in early 2007, it was
simply more of the same old militarism, and far too little, far too late, in addition to
being beyond the capability of a proud U.S. military that he misused, abused, and, in
the words of some military experts, put in a “death spiral.” In March 2007 retired
Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey—after visits to Iraq and meetings with General David
Petraeus, more than a dozen U.S. commanders in Iraq, and several Iraqi command-
ers—reported that the U.S. military was in “strategic peril.”
Bush’s only viable plan was his personal cut and run plan, which called for him
to dump the bloody chaos into the lap of his successor, as he slithered out of the
White House to pursue lucrative opportunities in his crony GOP network.
We propose here in passing, at the beginning of this chapter on Iraq, a plan that
could possibly work if implemented, but which has zero chance of acceptance and
implementation. We call it the One-Percent Solution for Iraq.
56 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

The One-Percent in the plan’s name refers to the military enlistment rate Amer-
ica needs in order to field an occupation force for Iraq that is large enough to have a
reasonable shot at simply maintaining the peace. Specifically, it refers to the percent-
age of Americans who voted for Bush in 2004 who need to enlist in order to provide
an American occupation force large enough to do the job.
“Supporting our troops” should mean more to Republicans than displaying a
bumper sticker, bashing gays and lesbians, and voting for humongous tax breaks and
government largess for huge corporations and America’s Super Rich.
“Supporting our troops” should mean more than applauding Bush’s incredibly
stupid, troop-endangering “bring them on” challenge to Iraqi militants.16
Here’s a request to all such weak-kneed Bush supporters: Why not enlist now?
America needs you to fight terrorists in Iraq. Fight “them” there (whoever “them” is)
so you won’t have to fight “them” in Kansas.
More than 62 million Americans voted for Bush in 2004. If just one percent of
these patriotic Americans enlisted, America could field enough troops in Iraq to
properly fight Bush’s and the GOP’s war. Before the Iraq invasion, America’s best
military minds argued for a force of several hundred thousand troops on the ground
in Iraq. This requirement was consistent with professional military methodology
applied by America’s military war colleges. In an odd coincidence, neither Bush nor
Cheney—nor any of their top dozen neocon advisors who advocated war—had ever
served in the military.17
In any case, you get the idea. Among the supporters of Bush and his GOP War on
Iraq, it would be nice to find more backbone and fewer bumper stickers, more cour-
age and less hiding behind the flag. We call upon 620,000 Americans—just one per-
cent of the 62,040,610 Americans who voted for Bush in 2004—to sign up now. We
call upon bedwetting Cons to put themselves where their votes are.
We call upon bedwetting Cons to support their commander in chief and all of his
“never-served,” bedwetting chickenhawk neocons who got America into the Iraq
mess.
Just for fun, here are a couple of riddles answered by America’s Chickenhawk in
Chief:
• “Why did the chicken cross the road?” To get to the Texas Air National
Guard.
• “What’s the difference between Vietnam and Iraq?” Bush had an exit strat-
egy for Vietnam.
By the way, regarding Vietnam, the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budget-
ary Assessments in 2007 calculated that the cost of the Iraq war in inflation-adjusted
dollars was expected to surpass the cost of the Vietnam War by the end of 2008.

16
Uttered July 3, 2003.
17
Admittedly, the Bush-triggered Iraq Civil War does complicate matters and increase the
current requirements, versus the force levels that would have been required if Bush had prop-
erly planned in the first place for the aftermath of the invasion. The need for force rotations
would also further increase the total requirements.
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 57

As we said, the One-Percent Solution for Iraq won’t happen. In Appendix B we


do set forth a plan for Iraq, which is the best of rotten alternatives. It calls for the
immediate withdrawal of America’s forces from Iraq.

OIL (Operation Iraqi Liberation)—a Slippery Slope


Afghanistan was an inconvenient side trip along the neocon superhighway to Ameri-
can imperialism and its New American Century. The central focus of the neocons’
lust was Iraq—the blushing bride who would soon be theirs, theirs alone. They
would bring Iraq into the 21st century and show the world how a Middle East country
should be run. After all, “Iraq has oil,” which the neocons admiringly pointed out,
and they predicted that Iraqi oil revenues would be more than enough to cover all the
costs of reconstruction and nation building.
America’s invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, was initially called Operation
Iraqi Liberation by some Bush administration officials and supporters. But oops!
Perhaps realizing that the acronym “OIL” was too close to the truth, the name for the
invasion was changed to Operation Iraqi Freedom. The rest is history—America got
“OIF,” not “OIL.”
Oil—peak oil—is the real casus belli for the GOP’s War on Iraq.

Number of Foreign Military Bases – By Nation

Nation Foreign Military Bases

United States of America 735

America’s Rivals and “Enemies”


(including communist nations):
People’s Republic of China (communist) 018
Russia 0
Axis of Evil Nations
Iraq 0
Iran 0
North Korea (communist) 0
Cuba (communist) 0
Vietnam (communist) 0
France (just kidding)

18
The People’s Republic of China occupies Tibet. For all practical purposes, the world has
given up hope that Tibet will ever be a free independent nation. It is now permanently part of
China.
58 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

According to The New York Times, long before the start of war the Bush admini-
stration had selected four sites in Iraq for several permanent American military
bases. The invasion of Iraq was carved in stone, and 200,000 American troops were
assembled in the region long before Bush made the so-called “final” decision to in-
vade, and long before Bush gave Saddam a final 48-hour warning.
The Bush neocons wanted the United Nations and NATO to have no role in Iraq,
since this would diminish American glory and control. They believe the United
States, unlike all other nations, must never be subjected to the slightest hint of for-
eign control or influence. This is one of the great ironies of neocon policy, in view of
the pervasive influence—both legitimate and illegitimate—that the United States
exerts around the world, and considering the more than 700 foreign military bases it
maintains in more than 125 nations around the globe, and considering the numerous
times it has unilaterally invaded other nations.
But for the fact that the United States is a democracy that conducts elections, the
Bush neocons would have had no need for the Bush League of Nations, also known
by its misleading name, the Coalition of the Willing. The coalition was marketing
fluff intended to mislead the American people.
The Bush neocons faced a major roadblock on their path to Baghdad—the truth.
They could not get American and international support for their war on Iraq without
a campaign of deception and lies. If they had told the truth, namely that:
• Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, or bin Laden, or al Qaeda, or the Tali-
ban, or the war on terrorism;
• Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, or bin Laden, or al Qaeda, or the Taliban,
or the war on terrorism;
• bin Laden viewed Saddam as his mortal enemy because Saddam ran a secu-
lar government and rejected radical Islamic goals and policies;
• there was no compelling evidence of WMDs, and that Bush neocons
“fixed,” i.e., made up, intelligence regarding nonexistent WMDs;
• Saddam was already boxed in by UN sanctions and America’s military
presence in no-fly zones in both northern and southern Iraq;
• Saddam’s military strength was a fraction of what it had been before the
first Gulf War I in 1991;
• Saddam and Iraq were not a threat to the United States or any other nation;
• years before 9/11 the neocons planned to invade Iraq;
• Bush and the neocons wanted to invade and occupy Iraq unilaterally with
no coalition other than the sham Bush League of Nations;
• the faith-based Bush regime failed to adequately plan for the invasion and
its aftermath; and
• the invasion was not a just war;
then there would have been almost no support for the war on Iraq. In short, they
needed lies to create their casus belli for this illegal war.
So they lied, expecting to get away with their war crimes, counting on the fog of
war and their glorious victory to cause all sins to be forgiven. They counted on might
to make right. The ends would justify the means. After all, even if all the stated justi-
fications for war were lies, Saddam was an evil leader who had murdered tens of
thousands of his own people, including members of his own family. Above all, the
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 59

liberated Iraqi people would all cheer Bush and cover him with flowers in countless
victory parades throughout Iraq. Monuments to Bush would be built in Baghdad.
This happy ending—the only scenario permitted by White House groupthink—
would trump any truth inquiry.
The neocons believed a victory in Iraq would trump everything and make it a just
war. They thus rejected centuries of Christian theology. They counted on enough
Americans to be gullible, or too busy trying to make ends meet to pay attention.
But the Iraq war was not a just war, no matter what the outcome, any more than
an invasion of Canada following 9/11 would have been, or an invasion of Sweden or
Iraq would have been following the Oklahoma City bombing19 by Timothy McVeigh
and Terry Nichols (who murdered 168 innocents, including 19 children, on April 19,
1995.) The Bush administration intentionally made war on the wrong nation. But few
dare call this treason.
Diplomacy is as foreign as French to the Bush regime, which looks to diplomacy
only after all violent means have been exhausted.
Ironically, the world’s only superpower should be capable of imposing its mili-
tary will anytime on any country—and especially on a third-rate, crippled, neutered
military power like Iraq—no matter how flawed and unjust the mission. The Mess in
Messopotamia painfully proves and exemplifies Bush’s incompetence as president
and commander in chief, as well as the incompetence of the do-nothing-good GOP
Congress that rubber stamped his actions.
The UN Security Council correctly refused Bush’s request to go to war against
Iraq. Its inspectors had searched throughout Iraq without finding any weapons of
mass destruction, and effective inspections were continuing. Its senior inspectors,
including Hans Blix, determined before the 2003 invasion that Saddam was not a
significant threat, and so informed the world. Additional arms inspectors handpicked
by the Bush administration confirmed this.
A 400-member U.S. weapons inspection team sent to Iraq after the invasion
withdrew quietly without any publicity in early 2004 after finding absolutely no evi-
dence of weapons of mass destruction or even an active “weapons program.”
A Carnegie Endowment study concluded, “administration officials systematically
misrepresented the threat.” As Jim Hightower puts it, “This is no matter of innocent
little lies. Their lies are stained with blood.”
There has been much discussion, but far less meaningful investigation, regarding
shortcomings in U.S. intelligence activities before the Iraq invasion, and the manipu-
lation thereof. Since much has been written about this, we won’t revisit the issues in
detail here. However, one central truth that has emerged is that the intelligence did
not matter, because Bush and the neocons were going to invade Iraq regardless. In
this sense, the issue of Iraqi intelligence is a red herring. Another certainty is that the
administration lied, cherry picked, distorted, and carefully crafted messages that
were intended to mislead and misinform.20

19
The Oklahoma City bombing, which is the second worst terrorist attack perpetrated on
American soil (the worst at the time), was fueled by poisonous Christian fundamentalism.
20
Bush’s lying and flip-flopping as to the reasons for invading Iraq bring to mind this humor-
ous exchange from Casablanca (the best movie ever), with Bush playing Rick Blaine in this
scene, and Baghdad replacing Casablanca, of course:
60 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are the Book of Revelation’s Four Horsemen
of the Apocalypse—the Looter, the Shooter, the Booter and the Hooter—and are
especially adept at this black art of lying. They frequently sprinkle disconnected hot-
button words—such as “war on terrorism,” “Saddam,” “9/11,” “Iraq,” and
“WMDs”—into one sentence to give the listener the impression they are all linked.
In Massachusetts and North Dakota, this is called lying. In red areas of Texas and at
GOP headquarters, it is called talking.
On September 6, 2006, Bush famously noted, “You know, one of the hardest
parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.”
If you are not outraged, you have not been paying attention.
The midterm congressional elections in November 2006 sent a shock wave of
fresh air through America’s corrupt GOP-controlled government, triggering the res-
ignation or firing of Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense on November 8, just one day
after the elections, even though Bush just seven days earlier had given Rumsfeld job
protection through the end of Bush’s presidency. Referring at that time to Cheney
and Rumsfeld, Bush oddly noted: “Both those men are doing fantastic jobs and I
strongly support them.” “Fantastic?” One does wonder what words Bush would use
to describe excellent job performance.
True to form, the Bush neocons and their supporters play the blame game, driven
by two sacrosanct rules:
1) Bush and his GOP administration never make mistakes.
2) When something terrible happens, someone else is responsible.
The sign on Bush’s desk says, “The Buck Does Not Stop Here.” Of course, when
it comes to real bucks—millions of dollars in crony capitalism and influence ped-
dling—Bush family bank accounts throughout the world are always open for depos-
its.
Even accepting as 100% true all of the lies, distortions and hype (as well as the
few legitimate claims) of the Bush administration, it is truly amazing how miniscule
the pile of so-called evidence is regarding alleged connections between Saddam’s
regime and Iraq, on one hand, and bin Laden, the Taliban and Afghanistan, on the
other. Consider that Iraq and Afghanistan had numerous legitimate reasons to be in
frequent contact with each other. Yet when you examine the “evidence” offered by
the Bush regime, there is nothing there, other than a Bush League pile of bovine ex-
crement.
The rightwing “analysis” of the Iraq “evidence” was nonsensical. Facts and tough
questions were avoided. The GOP-controlled Congress and America’s cheerleading
press went along with the charade.
One meaningful analysis would have been to compare Iraq’s alleged connections
and culpability with that of other possible targets of the administration’s wrath. In
this regard, numerous other countries, including Saudi Arabia, had more contacts
with bin Laden and the Taliban than did Iraq. As a matter of fact, so did Texas.

Captain Louis Renault: What in heaven’s name brought you to Baghdad?


Rick Blaine [Bush]: My health. I came to Baghdad for the waters.
Captain Louis Renault: The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.
Rick Blaine [Bush]: I was misinformed.
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 61

One reasonable approach would have been to assess a potential target’s “suspi-
cious connections” to bin Laden/Taliban/Afghanistan and then place the resulting
score on a “Culpability Scale” of zero to 10, with “0” being “no connection, no cul-
pability,” and “10” being a “slam-dunk bomb-em.”21 Accordingly, Saddam and Iraq
would have rated either a “0” or a “1.” But let’s be generous and give Saddam and
Iraq a “1,” since “0” should be reserved for Antarctica. Saudi Arabia would have
fallen somewhere between “4” and “7,” although it is difficult to make an accurate
assessment since Saudi Arabia has not cooperated with any 9/11 investigation, and
the Bush administration has fully supported Saudi Arabia’s stonewalling and cover
up.
Even the state of Texas—or more accurately, that rotten rightwing red part of
Texas known as “Bush Family&Cronies/Halliburton/Enron/Public-Trough-
Companies/Two-Legged Skunks/Tom DeLay/Crooked Cons Club”—would get a
higher score than Iraq, say a “3” or “4” on the Culpability Scale.22 The Taliban itself
sent official representatives to Texas to meet UNOCAL and Texas oil barons in the
late 1990s to discuss how they could work together on oil deals, including building a
pipeline across Afghanistan to carry oil from the Caspian Sea region. The nice Tali-
ban folk received five-star, red carpet treatment from their salivating Texan cronies-
in-waiting.
Can you imagine the neocon war cries if the Taliban—rather than sending its
delegation to Texas—had sent it to Baghdad (which it never did)? Can you imagine
the blood lust if Saddam had had even one-tenth the sleazy “perfectly legal” and “not
so perfectly legal” business deals with bin Laden’s family that the extended Bush
Family has had?
But Bush bombed Baghdad, not Midland, Texas. Go figure.
No matter how trivial, preposterous or deceitful the Bush regime’s justification
du jour for war on Iraq, America’s corporate media always gave it gravity and re-
spect. If Bush had said, “Saddam has two trucks that drive around suspiciously,” Big
Media would gladly have accepted this statement as another God-given reason for
war. Unlike the media, the patriots of Massachusetts and the many progressives of
Texas know that some things are just plain cow poop and should be treated accord-
ingly.
In this “six degrees of separation” world, everyone is connected to everyone,
every nation is connected to every nation, and everything is connected to everything.
This reality makes the intelligence function very difficult, and its manipulation by
wicked wrongdoers23 very easy.
The Bush administration’s intentional abuse of intelligence regarding Iraq—
lying, distorting and hyping in order to sell predestined illegal military action against
Iraq—is much more culpable and destructive to America’s democracy in the long
run than anything Saddam ever did to America, or could have done.

21
Without any analysis, the neocons obviously gave Iraq a “10.”
22
We should be careful not to disparage all Texans. There are millions of Texans—a growing
number, including lots of Dixie Chicks fans—who are ashamed of Bush, his policies, and the
fact he is from Texas.
23
“W” also stands for “wicked wrongdoer.”
62 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Colin Powell, in his February 5, 2003, presentation to the Security Council, dra-
matically hyped bogus information about Iraqi bio-warfare vehicles. He told the Se-
curity Council and the world that they were “one of the most worrisome things that
emerges from the thick intelligence file we have on Iraq.” He said there were eye-
witness accounts: “We have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on
wheels and on rails.” Powell presented diagrams showing how the vehicles were
configured, misleadingly calling them “highly detailed and extremely accurate.” He
then said the trucks could spray enough toxins (anthrax or botulinus) “in a single
month to kill thousands upon thousands of people.”
Most of this bogus “intelligence” was based on highly suspicious information
from a discredited Iraqi defector with the codename “Curveball.”24 The U.S. gov-
ernment earlier had instructed and paid Chalabi to look for evidence supporting a
theory that Saddam, in order to evade UN weapons inspectors, had built mobile germ
factories. It turned out that Curveball—whom American officials had never met or
talked with, and whose real name they never knew—was related to a key aide to
Chalabi.
International and American inspectors who later searched the site specified by
Powell, as well as countless other sites, found no evidence of what Powell was hyp-
ing, and it is believed that the vehicles in question were just everyday trucks and fire
engines.
David Kay, the former head of the U.S. group looking for WMDs in Iraq, politely
referred to Powell’s testimony as “disingenuous.” This is a polite diplomatic way of
saying Powell lied. Kay noted, “If Powell had said to the Security Council: ‘It’s one
source, we never actually talked to him, and we don’t know his name,’ as he’s de-
scribing this, I think people would have laughed us out of court.”
Powell himself as well as other State Department officials had objected to many
of the allegations appearing in drafts of Powell’s UN speech regarding Iraq. Accord-
ing to US News and World Report, the first draft of Powell’s speech was prepared for
him in late January 2003 by Cheney’s then chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby
(who in March 2007 was found guilty on four counts in a federal criminal case in
connection with the Plame affair, which we discuss in Chapter 17, “Treason, Elec-
toral Fraud—Anything to Maintain Power.”) Many of the unsupported allegations
originated with the Office of Special Plans (OSP)—an extraordinary special unit set
up by Paul Wolfowitz in the Pentagon to cherry pick and manufacture “intelligence.”
Intelligence analysts objected that Powell was being asked to give the most sinis-
ter of interpretations regarding intelligence information when other more plausible
benign explanations existed. According to US News and World Report, when Powell
read a draft of his speech given to him by Cheney’s office, he threw the draft in the
air and yelled, “I’m not reading this. This is bullshit!” Nevertheless, many of the
allegations survived and were in Powell’s final speech.
Powell, playing the good soldier, carried water for the neocons who ran the
White House, and truth was the victim. Friends of Powell around the world felt sorry
for him and how far he had fallen. Powell also regrets this low point in an otherwise

24
The term “Curveball” is suggestive of the deception pitched by the Bush Cons. “Curveball”
could also be used to describe Bush himself, although “Screwball” is better.
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 63

stellar career. Eventually perhaps, he will straighten his spine, step forward and tell
the truth about what really happened as America lost its way during Bush’s watch.

SIDEBAR: General Petraeus or General Betray Us?

In this sidebar we jump forward for a moment more than four years to the week of
September 10, 2007, when another respected American military man, General David
Petraeus, delivered a report on Iraq to Congress. Once again, an American general in
uniform cooked the books for Bush and supported his failed warmongering policies.
At Petraeus’ high level in the military chain of command, he necessarily wears
two hats, one military and one political, but he pretended to be wearing only his mili-
tary hat in September 2007 when he and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified
before Congress. In full military uniform, Petraeus obsequiously supported Bush’s
plans for Iraq, as Bush knew he would. Petraeus has a long history of painting a rosy
picture of Iraq, perhaps because he is the architect of several military blunders in that
nation. In late September 2004—conveniently just weeks before Bush’s reelection—
Petraeus wrote a rosy article for the Washington Post that gushed with praise of pro-
gress in Iraq and gave the impression that victory was just around the corner.
Three years later and once again serving as Bush’s political advocate, Petraeus
distorted events and cherry picked facts to paint a rosy picture of the so-called troop
surge. Ignoring independent reports regarding the failure of the surge, he was any-
thing but independent and balanced. Knowing his own testimony would not be
credible, Bush counted on Petraeus to make the pitch for more of the same—no
deadlines, no new strategy to end America’s military involvement in Iraq, just stay
the course and run out the clock, leaving the mess to Bush’s successor. Petraeus de-
livered—again.
Two further comments regarding Petraeus should be made. First—and most un-
fortunately—Congress and Big Media went along with the charade that because Pet-
raeus wore the uniform he would present his own independent views on Iraq, as if he
operated in a truth bubble independent of policy, politics and Bush. This charade
allowed Bush—who hid behind Petraeus’ uniform—to decisively win that round.
Second, there is a limit, a line, as to how far a senior military leader can go in play-
ing politics, in making decisions inappropriate for the military to make, and in dis-
torting reality—a line that should not be crossed—and history will judge whether
General Petraeus is General Betray Us. The better view is that he did in fact cross
that line.

Even counting the lies and distortions rampant in Powell’s watershed UN speech
in February 2003, it is truly amazing how little “evidence” was presented. “Is that all
you have?” was a common reaction of professional intelligence officers.
Senior officials in the Bush regime pitched the Iraq war much like American to-
bacco companies hyped cigarettes. Here is a small sample of their lies and
propaganda during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq:
64 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• Cheney: “Stated simply, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has


weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use
against our friends, against our allies and against us.”
• Rumsfeld: “We know where they are.”
• Bush and Rice spoke frequently of “mushroom clouds” rising over the
United States.
• Bush: “We have sources that tell us that Saddam recently authorized Iraqi
field commanders to use chemical weapons—the very weapons the dictator
tells us he does not have.”
• Richard Perle: “There will be dancing in the streets throughout Iraq if we
liberate that country. The idea that it’s going to damage us in the Arab
world is nonsense. We will be seen not as invaders but as liberators.”
• Sticking to GOP sound bites, Cheney: “We will be greeted as liberators ...
the people of Iraq will welcome us as liberators.”
• Cheney: “[M]y belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators … I think it
will go relatively quickly, … (in) weeks rather than months.”
• Bush: “Intelligence … leaves no doubt that the Iraqi regime continues to
possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”
• Powell: “Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass de-
struction for a few more months or years is not an option.”
• Wolfowitz: According to Bob Woodward, Paul Wolfowitz predicted the
war would last seven days and be relatively easy.
• Rumsfeld, when speaking to U.S. troops in Aviano, Italy, on February 7,
2003, said, “It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last
six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”
Later, at a congressional hearing in early 2004, Wolfowitz was unable to say how
many American troops had already died in Iraq.
Several months before the invasion, British leaders were aware of the Bush ad-
ministration’s deceitful campaign to sell its war on Iraq. Consider for example the
infamous “Downing Street Memo,” a classified British report (marked “SECRET
AND STRICTLY PERSONAL - UK EYES ONLY”) dated July 23, 2002, regarding
a senior British intelligence meeting in the White House. The secret report, which
was published by The Sunday Times on May 1, 2005, makes it clear that Bush
dragged America into war with “fixed” evidence and bogus claims concerning Sad-
dam’s nonexistent WMDs. As for planning, the British report states there “was little
discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.”
In an October 13, 2006, interview with The Daily Mail, the head of the British
Army in Iraq, Chief of the General Staff Sir Richard Dannatt, effectively dropped a
political bomb on Tony Blair’s foreign policy when he stated that the presence of
British troops in Iraq “exacerbates the security problems” in Iraq and worldwide for
Britain, and that British troops should “get out some time soon.” His comments fa-
voring withdrawal were widely supported by retired British generals and throughout
the British Army, and they contrasted sharply with the “stay-the-course,” “every-
thing-is-wonderful” talking points coming from the White House and Downing
Street.
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 65

The comments from Britain’s top commander in Iraq were especially shocking
because British military leaders generally keep their mouths shut about political mat-
ters. Gen. Dannatt, an evangelical Christian, also questioned the political goals and
planning regarding the Iraq war. “I think history will show that the planning for what
happened after the initial successful war fighting phase was poor, probably based
more on optimism than sound planning.”
Some of the sharpest criticism of the Bush neocons comes from traditional
American conservatives who feel betrayed.

SIDEBAR: Pat Buchanan: The War Party and Anti-Semitism

Ultraconservative Pat Buchanan, a frequent critic of the neocons’ misguided trans-


formation of the conservative cause, writes: “The conservative movement has been
hijacked and turned into a globalist, interventionist, open borders ideology, which is
not the conservative movement I grew up with.”25
Even before the start of the Iraq war, Buchanan frequently referred to the neocon-
controlled Republican Party as the War Party. “A neoconservative clique seeks to
ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interest.”
One of Buchanan’s personal “mistakes” was to argue that the neocons are pursu-
ing an Israeli agenda, specifically the destructive extreme right agenda pushed by
Sharon and the Likud Party. Unfortunately, this exposed Buchanan to neocon hatch-
ets. Instead of debating Buchanan on the merits, the neocons—many of whom are
Jewish and do support the most extreme rightwing policies of the Likud Party—
labeled him anti-Semitic. Buchanan wrote:

The neoconservatives are trying to fend off critics by assassinating their character and
impugning their motives. Indeed, it is the charge of ‘anti-Semitism’ itself that is toxic.
For this venerable slander is designed to nullify public discourse by smearing and intimi-
dating foes and censoring and blacklisting them and any who would publish them. Neo-
cons say we attack them because they are Jewish. We do not. We attack them because
their warmongering threatens our country, even as it finds a reliable echo in Ariel Sharon.

Eight weeks into the Iraq war, which he opposed, Buchanan once again showed
his usual backbone and independence. In an editorial of June 4, 2003, Buchanan
listed several of the numerous lies told by the Bush Administration in the run-up to
the war, and he then wrote:

Is it possible Iraq never had that vast arsenal of weapons that we were led to believe? Did
the intelligence agencies fail us, or did someone ‘cook the books’ to meet the recipe for
an imperial war? It is time Congress investigated the Office of Special Plans, set up in the
Pentagon to sift and interpret all intelligence, and placed under neoconservative super-
hawk Paul Wolfowitz.

25
New York Times, Sept. 8, 2002.
66 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Unfortunately, it is off limits for America’s corporate media to fairly discuss the
neocons’ connections to Israel and its most rightwing factions, or even the fact that
most of the hardcore neocons are Jewish.
Of the hundreds of special interest groups that lobby the executive branch and
Congress regarding America’s foreign policy, the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee (AIPAC) is by far the most influential and feared. Its enormous clout,
coupled with its willingness to kill the messenger if the message is not perceived as
sufficiently pro-Israel, puts the fear of God in any American politician, whether De-
mocrat or Republican, who wishes to be candid and rational regarding Middle East
affairs. The result is that there is much less meaningful debate in the United States
regarding anything affecting Israel than there is anywhere else in the developed
Western world, including Israel itself.

In addition to compromising the war on terrorism, Bush’s Middle East policies


have made things worse for both Israel and the Palestinians, with increased deaths on
both sides, and with no peace in sight. History will prove Bush to be one of Israel’s
worst enemies. Scornful of Clinton’s efforts to help secure permanent
Israeli/Palestinian peace, Bush did nothing “peaceful” other than to refer occasion-
ally to that charade known as the “roadmap” for peace. He and the GOP have been
AWOL. His violence-first policies have especially harmed the long-term strategic
interests of Israel, America’s most steadfast ally in the region, and jeopardized its
very existence. When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, it got nothing in return,
definitely a Bush League bargain.
The sad truth is that Bush and the GOP are not honest brokers for peace between
Israel and the Palestinians, or for peace in the broader Middle East, and the world
knows this. As a result, Bush and his War Party are distrusted and worse than inef-
fective. They have in fact harmed Israel’s strategic interests, while also making
things much worse for the Palestinians.

SIDEBAR: Carter and Clinton to the Rescue

America should empower Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton to represent America in an
international effort to seriously restart a peace process between Israel and the Pales-
tinians, with the goal of a permanent lasting peace mutually agreeable to Israel and
the Palestinians.
Nothing will promote peace more in the Middle East than for the United States to
take a leadership role in brokering a permanent peace treaty between these two peo-
ples. Yes, the road to peace in the Middle East goes through Jerusalem.
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 67

America’s allies and friends would be encouraged if Carter and Clinton were
empowered to help mediate a peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. In sharp
contrast to Bush, both are respected world leaders who devoted enormous personal
effort to the pursuit of peace between Israel and its neighbors, including the Pales-
tinians.
Many observers believe that peace in the Middle East is impossible. We all hear
people say something like, “The people in the Middle East just want to kill each
other, and they’ve been doing it for centuries. There is nothing we can do.” This pes-
simistic—and erroneous—point of view has a certain appeal, and at weak moments
your author sometimes succumbs to it too. But at the end of the day, it is a point of
view—based in rightwing propaganda—that conveniently justifies doing nothing,
while it whitewashes misguided U.S. policies.
Notwithstanding the major setbacks under Bush’s watch, there have been major
achievements in the Middle East over the years, and America must not make the
mistake of thinking the situation regarding Israel and the Palestinians is hopeless.
Peace is possible. Carter and Clinton proved it.
But for the leadership and dedicated efforts of Carter and Clinton, there would
not exist the lasting peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, and the lasting peace
treaty between Israel and Jordan.
Consider Carter’s enormous efforts. Imagine how much worse the situation
would now be for Israel and the region if a permanent peace agreement had not been
signed between Israel and Egypt in 1979. Carter worked tirelessly for that peace
agreement, and it took strength, moral leadership and integrity on his part. In short, it
took diplomacy, something missing from Bush’s and the GOP’s toolkit. Neither
Egypt nor Israel has ever broken this peace agreement. At the same time, no one—no
Jew, Muslim, or Christian—can truthfully say that Carter was not a strong supporter
of Israel and its right to exist and live in peace with its neighbors. Carter—a Navy
veteran, a strong Christian his entire life, and recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace
Prize—earned the respect and trust of both Israelis and Muslims.
What happened to the three heroes of the 1979 peace agreement between Egypt
and Israel? For his efforts, Egyptian President Anwar Al Sadat was assassinated in
1981 by army personnel who were members of the extremist Egyptian Islamic Jihad.
Israeli Prime Minister Menachen Begin died of natural causes in 1992. As for Jimmy
Carter, we will discuss in Chapter 8—“The Religious Wrong”—some of his ongoing
unflagging efforts for peace.
Consider Clinton’s enormous efforts for peace in the Middle East. Imagine how
much worse the situation would be for Israel and the region if a permanent peace
agreement had not been signed, during Clinton’s watch, between Israel and Jordan.
The Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace of October 26, 1994, ended the state of war that
had existed between Israel and Jordan since the birth of modern Israel in 1948, and it
normalized relations and settled all land disputes between them.
68 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Upon becoming president, Bush immediately put the Israeli-Palestinian conflict


on the back burner and thereafter blindly supported the rightwing faction in Israel at
every turn, thus encouraging the killing to escalate. As a result, not even “phase one”
of the “road map” to peace was successfully implemented. This failure scored politi-
cal points for Bush with America’s extreme Christian right, many of whom see the
growing pools of Israeli and Palestinian blood as glorious signposts along the road to
Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. (We discuss this extreme rightwing
influence in Chapter 9, “Eschatology and the Book of Revelation.”)
The Bush presidency will be remembered as the wasted years.
When it comes to matters of peace and war, Bush and the GOP cannot be trusted.
Democratic presidents Carter and Clinton believed in diplomacy, and that war is a
last resort, not a first. They demonstrated “peace through strength.” Republican Bush
believes in war as a first resort, and is clueless regarding diplomacy. He and his GOP
achieved “weakness through war.”

In January 2005 Rice noted, “the time for diplomacy is now.” No, that was incor-
rect. The time for diplomacy regarding the Middle East, including the conflict be-
tween Israel and the Palestinians, was the first day of the Bush regime.
A sad irony imbedded in the End Times prophecy of fundamentalist Christians is
that all Jews and all Muslims will be slaughtered like cattle and burn in Hell for-
ever,26 while the beneficiaries—the chosen few among rightwing Christians—will go
to Heaven to bask in the glory of their treatment of Jews and Muslims here on Earth.
This rightwing crusader theology, supported by a rightwing president who be-
lieves His Heavenly Father directs him, is doing more to radicalize Islam than 1,000
bin Ladens. In bin Laden’s wildest dreams, Allah could not have sent him a better
lap dog and ally than George W. Bush—and by extension, the GOP Congress that
looked the other way when evil was afoot.
The leadership of every major Christian denomination in the world, except for
the Southern Baptists in America, opposed Bush’s war on Iraq because it clearly
violated Christian theology. With unchristian chutzpah, Bush turned a deaf ear to
reason and dissent, including that coming from his own United Methodist denomina-
tion, of which your author is an active and proud member.
Worldwide Christian leadership accurately warned Bush about the enormous
negative consequences that were likely to result if he pursued his immoral war on
Iraq. The hijacking of Christianity to promote a war on Iraq defamed Christianity
and helped torpedo any prospect for a strong coalition.

26
Under some End Times interpretations, Jews and Muslims would have a last-chance oppor-
tunity to convert to Christianity before the Second Coming, but, of course, if they did, they
would no longer be Jews and Muslims.
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 69

SIDEBAR: “God Bless the World” and “God Bless Iraq”

Never fans of American exceptionalism being used to justify American imperialism,


America’s friends are especially amazed, at a time when American troops are at war
in the Islamic world, to see the concept so exploited and twisted by America’s
Religious Right, which ignores the biblical dictate that Christianity is a world com-
munity that transcends national boundaries.
Foreigners are both amused and disgusted with the chauvinistic claim that
“America is the best country in the world,” a bromide believed most vociferously by
Americans who have never been outside the United States.
On its face, “God Bless America” is a fine sentiment, but it contradicts Christ’s
teachings when it implies that other peoples are not as worthy of God’s favor as
Americans, or when it reflects blind support for American militarism, whether right
or dead wrong. When America’s cause is right, religious jingoism is not needed.
WWJD—“What Would Jesus Do?” Suppose Jesus needed an automobile with a
bumper sticker that said, “God Bless” something. He might choose “God Bless the
World” for his hybrid. But suppose his Father playfully forced him to pick a particu-
lar nation. It’s a safe bet Jesus would prefer “God Bless Iraq” over “God Bless
America,” for the simple reason that Iraqis are much more in need of blessings from
God.
Yes, let’s keep those “God Bless America” stickers. But let’s also do “a tithe” of
new stickers for “God Bless the World” and “God Bless Iraq.” Love America, yes,
but love the rest of the world too. And for the truly daring, how about a few “God
Bless France” signs too?

Whether Christian or Islamic, there is no constructive role in God’s world for ex-
clusive or militant evangelism. It is especially destructive when pushed by the
world’s only superpower. As he turned the White House into a crusading cockpit,
Bush found it impossible to cobble together even a minor league coalition for his
reckless Iraq adventure. He struck out with the bases loaded and found himself at the
head of the willowy Bush League of Nations.
America’s ability to fight the war on terrorism has been severely crippled by nu-
merous huge Bush blunders, including his occupation of Iraq and his policy of doing
nothing to further peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Another major blunder
is his coddling of nations that support terrorism, while he wages war on Iraq, a nation
that had nothing to do with 9/11 or the war on terrorism.
If the Bush White House were serious about dealing with terrorism, it would—in
addition to taking a hard look in the mirror—focus on autocratic governments with
policies that promote terrorists and terrorism. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are high on
this list, but Bush does little to promote revolutionary, progressive change in these
two countries, other than mouth rhetoric intended for America’s gullible.
Bush and the GOP catastrophically transformed 9/11 into a green light for fascist
leaders and fascist leader wannabes around the world—from Saudi Arabia to Paki-
70 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

stan, from Moscow to Beijing, from Washington, D.C. to Iran. They all rejoiced in
the opportunity to consolidate power, restrict individual rights, smash political rivals,
brutalize minorities, and destroy constitutional rights—all in the name of the “war on
terrorism.”
The damage caused by America’s chief sociopathic nitwit is inestimable. When
Bush campaigned for the presidency in 2000, he didn’t even know the name of the
leader of either Pakistan or India, and he thought Greeks were called Grecians.
Much has been written about the decades-long cozy relationship between the
Bush family and the ruling Saudi princes, although the true depth of this cesspool of
oil and money will probably never be known. The Saudi princes, including relatives
of bin Laden, have enjoyed an extraordinary amount of influence in the Bush White
House, including sleepover rights. Although this may be in the best financial inter-
ests of the Bush family—which has pocketed tens of millions in Saudi money—it is
in the worst interests of America.
As for the war on terror, Saudi Arabia has a strong history of directly and indi-
rectly supporting global terrorism, perhaps more than any other nation. Also, its long
robust relationship with the Bush family disproves Bush’ new assertion that he sup-
ports democracy and freedom throughout the Middle East, and it is no surprise that a
huge supermajority of the world’s billion Muslims don’t trust him or his regime.
One of the best books that focuses on the financial and political ties of the Bush
family to the extended Saud family that rules Saudi Arabia is Craig Unger’s House
of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World’s Two Most
Powerful Dynasties, which begins with the special royal treatment given to 140
Saudis within two days after 9/11, at a time when American airspace was severely
restricted. The Bush administration authorized the immediate departure of these
Saudis—many of whom are kin of bin Laden—and thus none of the Saudis were
interrogated by American intelligence. Unger concludes, “Never before has an
American president been so closely tied to a foreign power that harbors and supports
our country’s mortal enemies.” If Bill Clinton had given the Saudis such special
treatment, the GOP would have immediately started impeachment proceedings.
Curiously, there was no such evacuation by the nationals of any other nation,
Muslim or not. Is it too bold—too unfair to Bush and his Saudi cronies—to ask,
“What did bin Laden’s relatives and the other scadaddling Saudis know, and when
did they know it?”
Curiously, it took almost two years for the Bush White House to even acknowl-
edge that it approved the Saudi evacuation. This cover-up would have continued if
Richard Clarke, following his departure from the Bush White House, had not fo-
cused needed sunlight on Bush’s secretive and paranoid inner circle. Clarke said he
agreed to the evacuation plans on behalf of the White House because the FBI had
apparently “determined” that the departing Saudis were not linked to terrorism. This
fails the smell test. How could such a determination—that the Saudis were not linked
to terrorism—be made in just a few hours after 9/11?
Consider how long it takes the Bush government to investigate anything. How
could the departing members of bin Laden’s family be properly investigated and
questioned by the FBI in just hours? They could not and were not. More telling, why
would the White House during the precious hectic hours following 9/11 have even
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 71

taken the time to consider such an evacuation request? Why was protection of bin
Laden’s family a top priority?
The White House justified the evacuation by saying it was concerned about the
Saudis’ safety following 9/11. If safety was the real concern—say, as opposed to
protecting the White House from embarrassing disclosures—why weren’t the dozens
of Saudis simply moved to a safe location in the United States where they could be
properly questioned later?
Imagine the uproar in America’s corporate media and in the GOP-controlled
Congress if Bill Clinton or Al Gore had been president and had given cover to bin
Laden’s family as Bush did. Imagine the immediate calls for impeachment.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) demanded that the White House investigate the
departure of dozens of Saudis in the days after 9/11, believing that the Saudis could
have shed light on the 9/11 attacks. “It’s almost as if we didn’t want to find out what
links existed.” Exactly.
Rather than focusing on obvious major-league problems such as Saudi Arabia,
the Bush administration had its eyes on Iraq. Chomping at the bit to control Iraq, and
blinded by his childlike faith that only good things would happen, Bush from the
comfort of his White House Bubble rushed into his Iraq war without adequate plans
for the war or its aftermath.

Blunders in Iraq and the Region


It took more than three years of war in Iraq for a clear majority of Americans to real-
ize that Bush and the GOP never had a plan for Iraq and still don’t.27
The final New York Times/CBS News survey before the November 2006 midterm
elections asked this simple question: “So far, do you think George W. Bush has de-
veloped a clear plan for dealing with the situation in Iraq, or hasn’t he developed
one?” Sixty-nine percent of Americans answered “no,” and 29% answered “yes.”
Unfortunately, the survey did not ask any follow up questions as to what the gullible
29% were thinking. For example, of the 29% who believed Bush had developed a
clear plan, how many believed it would lead to success? How many even had the
foggiest idea as to what the plan might be?
In the meantime, under its rudderless commander in chief and the civilian suits in
the Pentagon and White House, the U.S. military is fighting blind in Iraq, never quite
sure who the “evil doers” are, forced to rely upon unreliable Iraqi “intelligence,” as
various Iraqi factions manipulate and leverage U.S. military power to further their
various personal and sectarian agendas.
Comprehensive planning shaped by reality has never been at home in a Bush
League White House occupied by a gang of myopic incense swingers. These right-
wing fools believed that it is the role of supreme powers to “create history,” not be

27
The “planning phobia” of the Bush regime brings to mind this humorous exchange from
Casablanca:
Yvonne: Where were you last night?
Rick Blaine: That’s so long ago, I don’t remember.
Yvonne: Will I see you tonight?
Rick Blaine: I never make plans that far ahead.
72 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

fettered by lessons it might teach. One history lesson they ignored, at America’s
peril, is that patriotic wars against imperial powers have occurred hundreds of times
throughout world history, not only in America during its Revolutionary War but also
numerous times in Iraq and throughout the Muslim world.
In the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Bush neocons isolated and ignored
the U.S. State Department’s Intelligence and Research Bureau because it correctly
expressed major-league skepticism about Iraq’s alleged WMDs. In its “Future of
Iraq” project (17 volumes), the State Department also correctly assessed the enor-
mous complexity and difficulty of construction and reconstruction of Iraq, but the
Bush regime also dismissed this expert work. It threw it on the trash pile.
November 27, 2006, won’t be remembered as a sad milestone in Bush League
imperialism and incompetence, but it should be. On that date Bush’s war on Iraq
became longer than America’s participation in World War II.
Bob Woodward’s book, Plan of Attack, provides much detail about the Bush
neocons’ rushed war plans for Iraq, as well as their cavalier attitude towards plan-
ning the reconstruction and winning the peace. Before the war, countless critics and
experts said the reconstruction of Iraq would be much more difficult than the war,
but the Bush neocons ignored this advice.
According to Woodward, General Tommy Franks called Douglas Feith “the
fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth.” Feith—the number three civilian at
the Pentagon after Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz—was Bush’s key Iraq “reconstruction”
official at the Pentagon and helped orchestrate the huge mess in Iraq. Unfortunately
for America and Iraq, too much of Bush’s “plan” for Iraq was either Feith-based or
faith-based.
The Bush neocons believed a fairytale in which all Iraqis would be happy, even
those without security, jobs, electricity, medical care, safe drinking water and their
daily bread. Somehow the God of Capitalism would take care of everything. Wood-
ward quotes Cheney as saying that the United States needed “to have a light hand in
the postwar phase.” Planning and hard work were thus not necessary.
Following the huge initial military successes, the Iraqi people eagerly desired and
expected improvement in their lives. At that unique moment in history, America had
an unprecedented opportunity to show it could deliver results. However, Bush and
the Cons failed catastrophically, squandering the historic opportunity through lack of
sensible and comprehensive planning for the peace, and through terrible execution.
• In less than one year after the GOP’s invasion of Iraq, America went from
liberators to occupiers—the enemy of a huge super majority of Iraqis.
• A May 2004 poll taken by the U.S.-controlled Coalition Provisional Au-
thority found that only 2% of Iraqis viewed American forces as “liberators,”
while 92% of Iraqis saw them as “occupiers.” (Although international law is
ignored at will by Bush and the GOP, U.S. forces in Iraq are “occupiers”
under international law, and as such are legally obligated to maintain the
peace.)
• Like most Iraqis, American Muslims also were happy to see Saddam de-
posed, and many were initially optimistic about the prospects for their rela-
tives and friends in Iraq. However, their support for Bush’s policies rapidly
plummeted as the Bush League failures mushroomed day by day in Iraq.
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 73

For example, the optimism of the Muslims of Dearborn, Michigan—the


second largest Muslim community in America—quickly turned to disap-
pointment within one year after the invasion.
• According to a Gallup poll in early 2004, about 80% of Iraq’s citizens said
they wanted the United States to leave within two months. Although many
Iraqis were initially hopeful, they soon learned that Bush’s GOP administra-
tion was uncaring and incompetent—anything but compassionate.
• One of the hugest Bush League blunders was the firing of several hundred
thousand Iraqi soldiers, upon whom almost 20% of Iraq’s families depended
for support. The mass firing broke prewar promises made by the top eche-
lons of America’s military to their Iraqi military counterparts.
• Another huge blunder was the failure to secure hundreds of thousands of
tons of munitions in hundreds of locations scattered around Iraq. Everyone
knew Iraq was “one big ammo dump”—according to Robert Gates, who re-
placed Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense in late 2006.
• A government audit released by the GAO in March 2007 revealed the Pen-
tagon did not even create a program to manage and destroy conventional
munitions until well after the declaration that major combat operations were
over.
• The 2007 GAO report, released four years after the invasion, also revealed:
(1) the United States still did not know how many stockpiles of weapons
and munitions remained unsecured; (2) the unaccounted for munitions could
range from “thousands to millions of tons;” and (3) most of the explosives
used in IEDs to kill American troops had been plundered from unsecured
stockpiles of munitions. The GAO report warned that the stockpiles could
still be looted by terrorists and insurgents, and it recommended a nation-
wide survey to locate unsecured munitions, but Bush’s overstretched Penta-
gon resisted this idea. The Bush regime in effect provided orders of magni-
tude more weaponry and explosives to Iraqi insurgents than Iran ever will.
• Iraq, which never had even a single one-room schoolhouse for terrorists, is
now the central campus of Terrorist University, where the graduates who
survive the tough final exams can find rewarding terrorist jobs throughout
the world. As Terrorist University’s founder and number one supporter,
Bush was the perfect catalyst for turning non-terrorists into terrorists and
creating countless new decentralized militant organizations, most with anti-
America objectives.
• According to an extensive report released in January 2005 by the CIA’s Na-
tional Intelligence Council, Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the recruit-
ment, breeding and training ground for the next generation of “professional-
ized” Islamic terrorists.
74 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

SIDEBAR: Grand Ayatollah Sistani and Other Powers Behind the Throne

The Bush administration talks only with political leaders who genuflect before
America’s new emperor, a counterproductive policy that only magnifies cluelessness
and incompetence in the Bush White House. Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani is the
most prominent of about a dozen respected Iraqi clerics who neither have nor seek
the ear of the Bush administration. Sistani has a huge following, in sharp contrast
with the line of figurehead Iraqi prime ministers with whom the Bush administration
occasionally deals.28
There is one certainty regarding America’s withdrawal, namely that America will
have nothing but hugely ugly alternatives to withdrawal when a key group of Iraqi
clerics, including especially Sistani, tell America to leave.29
In the meantime, Bush and America’s military are in effect working for Sistani
and other Shiite clerics, helping kill their enemy in the Iraq Civil War, primarily but
not exclusively Sunnis, and giving the Shiite forces time to consolidate power in
Iraq’s military and police. The vast majority of Iraqis being trained and equipped by
America are Shiites and Kurds, not Sunnis, and many Shiite death squads, which are
reminiscent of the death squads that killed tens of thousands during Reagan’s secret
illegal war in Central America in the 1980s, now operate within Iraq’s U.S.-trained
military and police.
Unfortunately, the ongoing bloody occupation has strengthened the hands of the
most militant clerics, especially Muqtada al-Sadr, while undercutting and radicaliz-
ing “moderates” like Sistani.
Sistani, like Sadr, has distanced himself from Bush and America, knowing he
will lose stature if he is even seen with the American imperialist. In contrast with
Bush’s uninformed outside perspective, Sistani does not need to meet with Bush in
order to understand what is happening in Iraq.

28
Saddam Hussein was Iraq’s republican prime minister until the fall of Baghdad in early
2003. No prime minister succeeded him until May 28, 2004, when Ayad Allawi became state
prime minister. During the interim, Iraq was run by American bureaucrats, principally Paul
Bremer. Allawi was succeeded by Ibrahim al-Jaafari on April 7, 2005, and Nouri al-Maliki on
May 20, 2006.
29
There was an ideal window of opportunity—in 2003 or 2004—for the United States to re-
quest an Iraqi referendum in which Iraqi citizens would decide the fate of the occupation, in-
cluding its scale and duration, and including the opportunity to set a firm date for complete
military withdrawal by the United States and its Bush League partners. Such a step would
have exhibited right intentions and improved America’s credibility. Although the ideal time
for this referendum has passed, it should nevertheless be immediately pursued. Unfortunately,
the Bush regime decreed that American forces would be in Iraq for many years, i.e., perpetu-
ally.
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 75

Sistani has never met with Bush, never sat with Laura Bush in any State of the
Union photo op, and never even met with Bush administration officials. When Secre-
tary of State Rice flew to Baghdad in May 2005 in a surprise visit, she was unable to
meet with Sistani and other key power brokers and religious leaders of Iraq. Imagine
that. A few days later, however, Sistani demonstrated chutzpah when he graciously
met with the foreign minister of Iran, who had traveled from Tehran to Baghdad to
meet with Sistani and other Iraqi leaders.
Sistani and other Iraqi clerics are biding their time, knowing that America even-
tually will voluntarily withdraw from Iraq or be kicked out. In the meantime Ameri-
can soldiers are dying helping fight the Shiite clerics’ battles.
It was Sistani, over the objections of the Bush administration, who insisted on di-
rect Iraqi elections, rather than the bizarre election alternatives pushed by Bush.
Like the February 2006 destruction of the dome of the Golden Mosque in
Samarra, the assassination of Sistani or another prominent cleric—a foreseeable and
even likely event—will further ratchet up the violence in Bush’s Iraq.
Although events in Iraq have spiraled out of his or anyone’s control, Sistani has
shown incredible restraint as he plans for the new Iraq. The slaughter in Iraq would
be much worse if he had risen to the bloodlust spawned by Bush’s occupation. In late
2006 it was reported that Sistani—due to severe personal medical problems—had
abandoned politics but would continue responding to religious questions. But let’s
not reserve a Nobel Peace Prize for him. Not a pacifist, Sistani is using the occupa-
tion forces for his own purposes, and no one should be surprised when he and other
“docile” rightwing clerics turn loose their long knives at a time of their choosing.

• Although Congress allocated billions of dollars for reconstruction, Bush’s


unpopularity in Iraq soared. Even when playing Santa Claus, Bush could
not inspire trust and friendship, largely because his regime’s incompetence
fed waste, nepotism, corruption and bloody chaos.
• The Bush neocons failed to prepare for the foreseeable likelihood that Iraqi
insurgents would use guerrilla tactics, rather than getting slaughtered in
conventional combat with U.S. forces. The neocons ignored military his-
tory, which teaches that guerrilla tactics and other expressions of asymmet-
rical warfare are commonly used against a superior occupying force—a
principal reason why America’s best military experts had recommended a
much larger force in the first place.
• Bush greatly increased Iraqi unemployment, and thus poverty and animos-
ity, by immediately firing not only the Iraqi military but also the Iraqi police
force and countless other government workers, including even mid- and
lower-level Baathist Party workers with expertise in running Iraq. These
professionals were viewed as untrustworthy simply because they had
worked for the Iraqi government. This was like firing all American military
personnel, police, firemen and experienced administrators simply because
they worked in Bush’s administration or were members of the GOP.
76 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

SIDEBAR: Looters in Iraq Could Learn from Bush and the GOP

As part of a vast looting operation, more than 100 semi-trailers loaded with so-called
“scrap” material cross the border into Jordan each day, according to a May 26, 2004,
New York Times report. The scrap includes quantities of both old and new material,
including components for utility plants and oilrigs, copper and aluminum ingots, as
well as dismantled complexes of older buildings. Much of the scrap is in nearly mint
condition.
Well, that covers just Jordan, only one of five nations bordering Iraq. In addition,
large quantities of looted material never leave Iraq. Based on the satellite monitoring
of hundreds of Iraqi military-industrial complexes, the International Atomic Energy
Agency reported that entire buildings and sometimes entire complexes of buildings
disappeared. The IAEA started this monitoring program in December 2003 after a
uranium-contaminated steel vessel turned up in a scrap yard in the Netherlands.
On a positive note, the looting of Iraq is much smaller in scale than the looting of
America by Bush’s cronies and America’s Super Rich milking class. Of course, there
is much more to steal in America. Also, the looting in Iraq is typically done with
crowbars and trucks, whereas in America the looting was done for the ruling class by
the President, the GOP-controlled Congress, and hordes of lobbyists wearing expen-
sive suits—most of which is, more or less, perfectly legal. WWJD—What would
Jesus do? Jesus would give the moral high ground to the Iraqi looters who are simply
trying to feed their families.

• Average Iraqi citizens quickly learned they would receive little or no benefit
from America’s largess and the GOP-style privatization (i.e., looting) of
Iraqi industry.
• Huge Iraqi contracts were granted to American oil companies by the U.S.-
led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) without the consent of the people
of Iraq.
• The CPA provided no proper accounting as to the use of Iraqi oil revenues,
and Iraqis were entitled to assume the worst. Extraordinary efforts to ensure
transparency and fairness were called for, but the Bush neocons were deaf
and blind to Iraqi sensibilities. After all, whether in America or in Iraq,
oversight and accountability interfere with opportunities for GOP corporate
cronies to loot.
• By 2007 as much as one-half of Iraq’s oil production was being diverted
into a complex black market, with some of the profits being used to fund
Iraq’s insurgency.
• The U.S.-run CPA could not account for $8.8 billion it transferred to vari-
ous government ministries, according to a blistering report released in Janu-
ary 2005 by America’s Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
The CPA’s reconstruction process was “open to fraud, kickbacks and mis-
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 77

appropriation of funds.” For example, one Iraqi ministry could account for
only 602 of the 8,200 guards on its payroll.
• The Bush administration chose to work with many discredited Iraqis. At the
top of this Bush League list of rogues is Ahmad Chalabi who was hand-
picked by the Bush administration to be the new leader of Iraq, even though
he had no credibility or following within Iraq. Before Chalabi entered
Baghdad with American forces in early 2003, he had not been seen in that
city in decades. He was widely and accurately viewed as an agent of the
United States. Over several years the United States had paid Chalabi mil-
lions of dollars to provide made-as-instructed phony intelligence on Iraq.
• Bush’s “plan” for Iraq encouraged cronyism and nepotism just like in
Bush’s America. Several Chalabi relatives received plum appointments with
many perks, including the opportunity to get rich at the public trough, just
like in GOP America. One of Chalabi’s nephews became Iraq’s finance
minister. An uncle of Chalabi was picked as one of the judges to try
Saddam. A Chalabi cousin was put in charge of Iraqi oil security. GOP and
Bush Family rules applied.

SIDEBAR: The Wrong Role Model

As a possible role model for Iraq’s new government, the Bush administration is the
antithesis of the liberal, pluralistic, just, democratic government that Iraq so desper-
ately needs.
Iraq’s Shiite leaders, who represent a large supermajority of Iraq’s population,
can legitimately claim a much stronger electoral mandate than that deceptively
claimed by the gloating Bush following his two narrow presidential victories. Ac-
cordingly, why shouldn’t Iraq’s new leaders also brag about their political capital
and then go spend it, pursuing a narrow poke-em-in-the-eye agenda that favors them-
selves, their supporters and their cronies.
An Islamic government in a Middle Eastern nation with a citizenry that is almost
100% Muslim would make more sense—and would have more legitimacy—than a
Christian government in America, a nation whose birth, Constitution and greatness
are anchored in religious freedom and the separation of church and state.
Notwithstanding the absence of any democracy in Iraq during the lifetime of any
living Iraqi, and notwithstanding years of oppression by Saddam and his chosen cro-
nies and neo-conservatives, the new majority in Iraq needs to take the high road, and,
in sharp contrast to the low road taken by Bush and the GOP, represent their entire
nation, uniting rather than dividing, working for the welfare of all Iraqis, and not
favoring their own branch of Islam. In short, they must govern Iraq exactly opposite
from the way Bush and the GOP misgovern America. But don’t bet on that.
78 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Ironically, an Islamic government in Iraq led by Islamic clergy—whether or not


democratic—is likely to cause a fairer distribution of Iraq’s public oil resources than
would either a Bush League puppet regime in Baghdad, or an independent Iraqi gov-
ernment modeled after Bush’s GOP administration. Bush’s and the GOP’s public-
trough approach to governance epitomizes the style made famous by that unholy
trinity of rotten political parties:
1) Saddam’s Republican Guard Party,
2) Texas’ Republican Guard Party, and
3) Bush’s Confederate Party, formerly known as the Republican Party.
Iraqis should pray that their leaders reject Bush’s enrich-the-rich model, which
involves the party apparatus funneling public revenues to its chosen few—to its cro-
nies and coconspirators, to its donors and bribers, to its Enrons and Halliburtons, to
its Chalabis and DeLays, and to its Blackwaters and a host of other public-trough
slime balls.
The situation on the ground in Iraq would be more positive if the United Nations,
or NATO, or the Arab League, or any real well-intentioned coalition not headed by
Bush and the GOP, had been in charge of the Iraq mission. The problem is Bush and
the GOP style of governance.
Corrupt governments, coupled with enormous meddling over several decades by
outside powers, especially Britain and the United States, helped keep the Iraqi people
under the boots of tyrants. The Iraqi people said “NO!” to Saddam, and they are
shouting “NO!” to Bush and the GOP’s designs on Iraq.
Iraq’s best hope, however slim, is that the Iraqi people will recognize and lever-
age the long periods in their often glorious history when Iraq was peaceful, diverse
and tolerant, and that—notwithstanding recent decades of wars, civil unrest, and ex-
ternal and internal repression—the Iraqi people will make their own way to a safer
and more prosperous future.

• To Iraq’s detriment, the Bush regime planned for Iraq to leave OPEC. This
will prove to be another neocon fantasy—an oily pipe dream.
• The supply of electricity in Iraq became so inadequate that by early 2006
there were discussions of having Iran supply electricity to Iraq via new
transmission lines to be constructed.
• During the 2003 invasion, Bush’s armchair civilian commanders ordered
U.S. soldiers to guard the Iraqi Oil Ministry in Baghdad with tanks and ma-
chine guns, while unguarded museums and hospitals were systematically
looted.
• The Bush League incompetence and imperialism caused many unintended
consequences, including violent attacks on Iraq’s Christian community.
During Saddam’s reign, Christians were protected from Islamic extremists
and could serve in government. They could even sell alcohol. Following the
occupation there have been numerous attacks against Iraqi Christians, in-
cluding torture, executions and church bombings, with Christian women
also targeted. The Christian community has no militia to protect itself.
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 79

• Evidencing one small piece of the broader ethnic cleansing taking place in
Bush’s Iraq, many tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians fled Iraq after the
2003 invasion, with some estimates of this tragic exodus as high as 120,000
for the first three years. A majority of these Christians want to come to
America, but that door is barred for all but a lucky handful.
• A 1987 Iraqi census placed Iraq’s Christian population at 1.4 million, and
subsequent rough estimates indicate it fell to 600,000 to 800,000 by 2007.
The two largest Christian sects—Assyrian Christians and Chaldean Catho-
lics—continue to worship in Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
• The small community of Iraqis who practice the pacifist, monotheistic
Mandaean religion is also subject to severe repression in the neo-Iraq and is
on a path to extinction. Thanks to murder, rape, forced conversion, and a
massive exodus, Iraq’s Mandaean community—estimated to number more
than 60,000 in the early 1990s—had been reduced to about 7,000 by 2007.
• Even the puppet Iraqi Governing Council established by the United States
was critical of Bush’s policies. For example, the Council objected to the
U.S.-controlled CPA favoring foreign firms over Iraqi firms in awarding re-
construction contracts. Rend Rahim Francke, the Council’s designated am-
bassador to the United States, said in early 2004 that the occupation author-
ity run by Paul Bremer is “opaque to Iraqis. It’s still not transparent.” She
was appalled when American companies imported Asian laborers, while
unemployed Iraqi citizens desperately sought work.
• Wanting time to implement its imperial designs for Iraq, the Bush regime
fought rapid democratization in Iraq at virtually every turn. Bush opposed
early local elections in 2003, while Shiite leaders including Sistani de-
manded a faster path to democracy.
• Under Rumsfeld’s watch, tens of thousands of American troops in Iraq were
given inferior and inadequate flak jackets and body armor. Many turned to
eBay and family and friends to buy the equipment they needed. Reacting to
public outcry, Congress later required the Department of Defense to reim-
burse the troops and their families and friends for their out-of-pocket ex-
penses in purchasing the needed equipment on their own. However, as late
as 2005, the Rumsfeld-mismanaged Department of Defense, which was re-
sponsible for the inadequate equipment in the first place, failed to comply.
• In March 2007 USA Today reported that the Air Force had lost about 40%
of the unmanned Predator aircraft used in Iraq and that it lacked sufficient
trained crews to handle the demand for battlefield surveillance in
Afghanistan and Iraq. American military patrols and convoys are dependent
on Predators for surveillance and firepower, especially in the daily battle
against IEDs, the number one killer of U.S. personnel.
• Bush’s failure in Iraq is likely to destroy or cripple the prospect of America
having favored access to oil in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. A
democratic Iraq, whether or not under the control of rightwing religious
leaders—theirs, not ours—is unlikely to cater to either America or Amer-
ica’s oil industry.
80 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• Because of the escalating sectarian violence, school attendance rates


dropped dramatically in Iraq. According to Iraq’s Ministry of Education,
only 30% of Iraq’s 3.5 million students were attending school at the start of
the 2006-07 school year, compared with 75% the prior year, and almost
100% at the time of the U.S. invasion in 2003. Attendance rates were par-
ticularly low in more violent districts in Baghdad, as well as in the Sunni-
dominated Anbar province and in Kirkuk in the north. The Ministry re-
ported in October 2006 that 310 teachers were killed during the preceding
year.
• Large numbers of Iraq’s educated and professional class—including busi-
nessmen, doctors, lawyers, journalists and teachers—left Iraq because of the
chaos and because they are insurgent targets.
• About 2,000 Iraqi doctors were killed in the first four years of Bush’s occu-
pation, and the medical system is in extreme chaos. One-fourth of Iraq’s
18,000 doctors left Iraq by October 2005, according to Iraq’s Health Minis-
try, and many more leave each month. Sunnis who go to Baghdad hospitals
put their lives at risk, because Shiite militia from time to time enter these
hospitals, even in broad daylight, to torture and kill Sunni patients.
• Hundreds of Iraqi professors and teachers have been killed, and thousands
have quit. Murderers target women for “honor crimes.”
• In October 2006, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) esti-
mated that up to 1.6 million Iraqis had already fled their homes in Iraq “in a
steady, silent exodus” for other nations as a result of the Iraq war and result-
ing sectarian violence. The UN report noted that about 100,000 more Iraqis
were fleeing each month. Other estimates also place the exodus at about 2
million through the end of 2006.
• This flood of two million refugees constitutes almost 8% of Iraq’s popula-
tion. On a per capita basis, this is equivalent to more than 23 million Ameri-
cans fleeing the United States, or about eight times the entire population of
Iowa.
• According to Syrian security officials, about one million of the Iraqi refu-
gees live in Damascus, a city of three million, and Jordanian officials report
that more than 750,000 are in or near Amman, a city of 2.5 million.
• A report of Refugees International in late 2006 stated that the “displacement
of Iraqis from Iraq is now the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world.”
• According to the same UN report of October 2006, the Iraqi government
and UNHCR estimate that an additional total of more than 1.5 million
Iraqis were displaced within Iraq since the war started, including “more than
365,000 newly displaced who have fled their homes and communities” in
the preceding seven months. On a per capita basis, this additional flood of
1.5 million internally displaced Iraqis is equivalent to about 18 million
Americans, or six times the population of Iowa, and the number is increas-
ing.
• UNHCR declared in October 2006 that the enormous scale and difficulty of
the problem place it “practically beyond the capacity of humanitarian agen-
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 81

cies, including UNHCR.” UNHCR later estimated that about 500,000 Iraqis
were displaced in 2006.
• Estimates of unemployment in the greater Baghdad area in 2006 and 2007
typically ranged from 40 to 60%, with a high level of underemployment.
Staying alive is the most important occupation.
• Iraqis are being killed at a much higher rate during Bush’s occupation than
during that of Saddam before the invasion. Also, thanks to Bush, the worst
likely lies ahead, as the Iraq Civil War and genocide are not yet full-blown,
and regional warfare has not yet broken out.
• Bush and the GOP tried to use America’s military might to “shock and
awe” Iraq and the world, but instead they exposed their own shocking and
awful incompetence. Under grade “W” leadership, America’s A Team be-
came bogged down in a wrong war, and the fault rests entirely with Bush
and the GOP, not with America’s troops.
• The Bush regime did an even worse job controlling Iraq’s borders than it
does controlling America’s own borders.
• The “new Iraq”—whether it remains intact, or fragments into three or more
nations, or evolves into a soft confederation of three or more regions—will
greatly expand its military capability at some point, including possibly the
development of weapons of mass destruction. In the future, Iraq’s perspec-
tive on WMD development could mimic that of Iran, where, thanks to Bush
and his warmongering neocons, the vast majority of Iranians—including
millions of Iranians opposed to their theocratic dictators—now believes Iran
needs its own nuclear weapons.
• The Iraqi forces trained by the United States and Britain have increasingly
been infiltrated by militia forces and death squads loyal not to Iraq, but
rather to powerful Shiite clerics and their private sectarian forces, such as
Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army.
• By arming and training Kurds and Shiites who control the Iraqi govern-
ment, Bush has unwittingly picked sides in Iraq’s Civil War. As the Shred-
der in Chief of the U.S. Constitution, Bush is the worst possible American
leader to counsel Iraq on its form of government and the essentials of an
Iraqi constitution to protect all minorities, including especially the Sunnis.
• By late 2007 Bush had begun also arming, and paying the monthly salaries
of, tens of thousands of Sunnis who previously had fought America’s troops
and may do so again in the future, and who someday may attempt to march
on the Green Zone and seize control of Iraq’s government.
• Even excluding the thousands of insurgent and sectarian bombings and at-
tacks since the 2003 invasion, Bush’s Iraq has a much higher crime rate
than Saddam’s Iraq.
• Having seen every justification for the Iraq war fall by the wayside, Bush
supporters have been reduced to asserting that Iraqis are “better off” with
Saddam dead. (It is good that Saddam is dead, but Iraqis are not “better off”
with him dead.) Such desperate “better than Saddam” arguments on Bush’s
behalf are like a desperate suitor making his last pitch to the beautiful lady
he is unsuccessfully courting: “You really should marry me. I’m not as bru-
82 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

tal as Jack the Ripper, and I’m not as crooked as my many Texan buddies
like Tom DeLay.” Now that’s desperate.
• Notwithstanding Bush’s numerous claims that the training of Iraqi security
forces is going well, America’s top two military commanders in the re-
gion—General George Casey and General John Abizaid—in testimony be-
fore the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 29, 2005, said
that of the approximately 100 Iraqi battalions, only one was able to operate
independently of U.S. forces, down from the previous grand total of three.
• In the same hearing, General Casey also noted that reducing American
forces in Iraq would “take away one of the elements that fuels the insur-
gency, that of the coalition forces as an occupying force.”
• Before Bush’s 2003 invasion there were zero foreign militants operating in
those areas of Iraq controlled by Saddam.

SIDEBAR: How to Immediately Reduce the Foreign Militants in Iraq by 98%

The Bush regime frequently lies about the source, number and role of foreign mili-
tants in Iraq, never pointing out that there were no such militants in Saddam-
controlled Iraq before Bush’s 2003 invasion. Supported by America’s corporate me-
dia, White House spinmeisters painted a picture of foreign militants being the heart,
soul and backbone of the Iraqi insurgency. In late 2005 the Center for Strategic In-
ternational Studies, based in Washington D.C., estimated that foreign militants con-
stituted only 4 to 10% of an estimated 30,000 insurgency militants in Iraq. Even us-
ing the higher 10% figure, there are no more than 3,000 such foreign militants in
Iraq.
But that 3,000 figure for the number of foreign militants ignores approximately
175,000 other foreign troops in Iraq, namely:
• 160,000 U.S. troops, plus
• 15,000 other non-U.S. coalition troops (most of whom remain in secure loca-
tions and do no fighting, but let’s count them anyway.)
The withdrawal by the United States and the rest of the Bush League coalition
therefore would cause the number of foreign troops in Iraq to be reduced from
178,000 down to 3,000—a drop of more than 98%.
Ironically, while foreign fighters constitute only a very small portion of the in-
surgents in Iraq, foreign fighters (i.e., American troops) constitute the vast majority
of the fighters doing the heavy work against the insurgency. On both counts, this is
exactly backwards from what Bush would like you to believe.

• According to screening reports by the Pentagon for the period from 2003
into 2005, 28% of returning U.S. troops required mental health or medical
care. The figures are higher for reserve and National Guard troops than for
active-duty troops, and higher for females.
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 83

Kicked in the teeth by reality, the Bushies gradually downsized their military ex-
pectations in Iraq. Their fantasy started with:
• victory with flowers … which declined to
• victory with exploding flowers … which declined further to
• occupation with animosity (and exploding flowers) … followed by
• no failure …which morphed into
• no appearance of failure … which slithered into
• run out the clock and pass the mess to Bush’s successor … just so Bush
could disclaim his inevitable legacy, which is:
• the defeat of his and the GOP’s Bush League imperialism—coupled with
America finally recognizing what the rest of the world long knew, that W is
America’s worst president and worst commander in chief ever.
Rather than focusing on rebuilding Afghanistan and having one success, Bush
invaded Iraq and put America on the road to two failures.

America’s Chief Flip-Flopper


The Bush administration’s rush to invade Iraq without a comprehensive plan created
an environment that encouraged flip-flopping. Without a comprehensive plan, deci-
sions were made on the fly and frequently reversed. Without a plan containing mile-
stones and a compass, there was motion without direction. Without accountability
and oversight, inherent GOP incompetence and corruption were greatly magnified.
By 2006 Iraq had dropped to a tie for second-to-last in the Global/World Corrup-
tion Report, a composite index that is based on multiple expert opinion surveys of
public sector corruption in 163 nations. Accordingly, Iraq in 2006 was tied for 162nd
place regarding public corruption, with only Haiti seen as more corrupt. Along the
way, the United States itself dropped three more positions in the 2006 index to 20th
position.
One of the enormous ironies of the early 21st century is that George W. Bush and
the GOP—a man and a political party who do not believe in government or nation
building—voluntarily put themselves in charge of Iraq. No one should be surprised
with the resulting mess, the catastrophic death and destruction. No one should be
surprised with the GOP-style corruption.
The Bush administration has “turned the corner” so many times in Iraq that no
one counts anymore how many times it has staggered around the block.
A hallmark strategy of every Bush election campaign—from Texas through both
of his campaigns for the White House—has been to lie about his opponents and, re-
gardless of the facts, arbitrarily pin them with negative labels such as “coward” and
“flip-flopper.” Ironically, Bush in Iraq has become America’s Chief Flip-Flopper.
Here are just a few of the Bush League flip-flops in Iraq:
• Flip-flop: The Bush neocons planned that many members of the Iraqi Gov-
erning Council were going to serve in the new Iraqi government formed on
June 30, 2004. They didn’t. Flip flopping wildly, the neocons again and
again tried to handpick Iraqi puppets who would somehow have popular
support in Iraq. This proved impossible because Bush and his Iraqi bed-
mates were radioactive.
84 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• Flip-flop: Shortly after Saddam was deposed, the Bush administration—


acting through Bremer and his 100 Orders—decreed that members of Sad-
dam’s Baathist Party and senior Iraqi military leaders could not serve in the
new government. In April 2004 Bush reversed course and began rehiring
some former Baathists. Ahmed Chalabi, the former darling-for-hire of the
neocons, declared that this was like returning Nazis to power in Germany.
The Bushies and a succession of Iraqi puppet governments wrestled for
years with the slaughter caused by de-Baathification, and after five years of
war they still had not settled on a viable plan to rehire former government
workers.
• Flip-flop: Thousands of professors and teachers with Baathist connections
also were fired. The neocons later reversed this foolish policy, but it was too
late as too many hearts and minds had been lost.
• Having rushed to war unprepared, Bush flip-flopped repeatedly regarding
various Iraqi militia factions—first declaring them illegal and attacking
them in cities and towns like Fallujah and Najaf; then not attacking them;
then ceding them control; then vowing to crush them militarily; then trying
to kiss and make up by welcoming them into the political process; then
threatening them again; and so forth. As of late 2007, Bush was providing
arms, bundles of American cash, and photo-op handshakes to Sunni leaders
who previously had killed American troops—and who will again when it
suits them.
• Even the basic justification for the Iraq war flip-flopped repeatedly as real-
ity set in and lies were exposed. As one justification after another proved
false, the Bush administration more or less settled on “democracy” and re-
moval of the tyrant Saddam, which noble goals, had they been used by Bush
from the beginning as the justification for war, would not have been enough
for the American people to support the war.
To be clear, Bush has not flip-flopped in the one policy area where he has unre-
lenting laser focus—namely, doing everything possible for the Super Rich, even at
the cost of bankrupting America.
In every aspect of the Iraq quagmire, Bush League flip-floppers have taken the
agenda every direction but forward. American soldiers die one day while fighting
Sadr’s militia, but the next day are ordered to disengage, allowing Sadr’s militia to
survive and regroup. One day there’s an arrest warrant for Sadr, and the next day he
is asked to run for office, and the next day, well, Bush has no clue. One day in 2006
they cordon off Sadr City in Baghdad in attempts to restore order and recover a cap-
tured American soldier, and a few days later the flip-floppers relent to Sadr’s de-
mands and lift the restrictions, leaving behind an American soldier.
Although Bush was as eager as Cheney, Rumsfeld and the other neocons to in-
vade Iraq without cause, it is Bush who must shoulder the blame. In the final analy-
sis, America’s president never questioned the justification for his war, and he al-
lowed the war to proceed without comprehensive planning. Incapable of being a
strong effective commander in chief, Bush lazily morphed into a flip-flopping puppet
when he handed his strings to Cheney and other handpicked civilian hacks.
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 85

America’s King Who Is Wearing No Clothes


The Bush administration formed the Bush League of Nations to create the appear-
ance of broad international support for the invasion. It was their pitiful attempt to
create a fig leaf, but most of the world saw the ugly naked truth: America’s King
George, W, was wearing no clothes. He gave “www” a new meaning: “Witless
Without Wardrobe.”
On September 29, 2005, Lt. Gen. William Odom, Director of the National Secu-
rity Agency under Reagan, declared Bush’s invasion of Iraq to be the “greatest stra-
tegic disaster in United States history.”
It is instructive that so many handpicked senior Bush administration officials re-
signed or left their positions in utter disappointment with Bush, his militant unilater-
alist policies, and especially the broken decision making process, which is controlled
by a tight circle of groupthink neocons cocooned from reality.
In March 2007 Matthew Dowd, Bush’s former chief campaign strategist, became
the first member of Bush’s tightest inner circle to publicly break with him when he
urged withdrawal from Iraq, calling the president “secluded and bubbled in.” Pro-
foundly disappointed in Bush’s leadership, Dowd, who helped Bush win reelection
in 2004 by painting John Kerry as a weak flip flopper on Iraq, now asserts that Kerry
was right.
Especially instructive and troubling during this time of war is that so many senior
military officers have criticized the policies of this sitting president. The intensity of
the criticism is unprecedented in modern American history, and never has the criti-
cism been more deserved. Despite a strong reluctance to criticize a wartime presi-
dent, these truth-telling patriots are speaking out because the Bush administration is
so profoundly out of touch with reality.
Among the many former senior military leaders of America who have criticized
the invasion and occupation of Iraq are: Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki; NATO
Commander Wesley Clark; CENTCOM Commander Norman Schwarzkopf, who
was Commander of Operations of Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Gulf War I;
General and National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft; and CENTCOM Com-
mander Anthony Zinni, who followed General Schwarzkopf in that position. The list
goes on. By the time you read this, many more of America’s finest will have stepped
forward.
As Commander in Chief of the United States Central Command from 1997 to
2000, Retired General Zinni was in charge of all American troops in the Middle East.
Following his retirement from the Marine Corps, the Bush administration appointed
him to one of its most important diplomatic posts—special envoy to the Middle East.
General Zinni later co-authored Battle Ready with Tom Clancy and Tony Koltz. The
book is a blistering indictment of the Pentagon’s conduct of the Iraq war, a war that
the civilians wanted, but the generals didn’t. General Zinni appeared on Sixty Min-
utes on May 23, 2004 (“They’ve Screwed Up”). Here are just a few highlights:
• Before the Iraq invasion, Zinni said it was “the wrong war, at the wrong
time—with the wrong strategy.” He told Congress, “This is, in my view, the
worst time to take this on.” The situation in Iraq was contained, and the fo-
cus had to be on what was already on the plate—Afghanistan, the war on
terror, fighting al Qaeda, and other threats.
86 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• As Commander in Chief at CENTCOM, Zinni developed a plan for the in-


vasion of Iraq, and it was based on the widely respected doctrine that the
United States should only enter battle with overwhelming force, also known
as the Powell Doctrine. However, civilian Rumsfeld overrode America’s
senior military officers and decided the job could be accomplished with
high-tech weapons and far fewer troops.
• This “on the cheap” approach of Rumsfeld was widely criticized, both be-
fore and after the war. Both Zinni and General Shinseki believed that more
than 300,000 troops would be needed, and both saw this level of commit-
ment as critical in the aftermath.30
• Zinni writes: “In the lead up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw, at a
minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility; at worst, lying,
incompetence and corruption.”
• Although Rumsfeld was surprised at the level of violence that continued a
year after the war began, Zinni said Rumsfeld should not have been. Before
the war began, many generals, diplomats and other friends of America in
the international community understood the situation, believed strongly that
the problems were being underestimated, and gave warnings. But the civil-
ians in the Pentagon did what they wanted and relied on inflated intelli-
gence from Iraqi exiles with doubtful credibility who told them what they
wanted to hear.
• As for the senior civilian officials at the Pentagon who are guilty of derelic-
tion of duty, negligence and lying, Zinni asserts that it “should be evident to
everybody that they’ve screwed up. And whose heads are rolling on this?
That’s what bothers me most.”
• Zinni places blame directly on Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and a tight
group of neocon policymakers—political ideologues—who hijacked
American policy in Iraq. “I think it’s the worst kept secret in Washington.
That everybody—everybody I talk to in Washington—has known and fully
knows what their agenda was and what they were trying to do.” Zinni in-
cludes in that group: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Undersec-
retary of Defense Douglas Feith; Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff,
Lewis “Scooter” Libby; Former Defense Policy Board member Richard
Perle; and National Security Council member Elliott Abrams.
• “We are now being viewed as the modern crusaders, as the modern colonial
power in this part of the world,” says Zinni.
The Bush administration and their cheerleaders in the media claim it is unpatri-
otic to speak out when our nation is at war. Zinni believes this is an absurd proposi-
tion. “Imagine if we put troops in combat with a faulty rifle, and that rifle was mal-
functioning, and troops were dying as a result. I can’t think anyone would allow that
to happen, that would not speak up. Well, what’s the difference between a faulty plan

30
However, the Bush civilians settled on only 160,000 troops, a number that Franks appar-
ently did not want to go below. Rumsfeld took the position that fewer than 100,000 would be
needed.
CHAPTER 4 THE UNJUST WAR IN IRAQ 87

and strategy that’s getting just as many troops killed? It’s leading down a path where
we’re not succeeding and accomplishing the missions we’ve set out to do.”
Smacked in the chops by reality in Iraq, the Bush neocons never recognized what
hit them. “Reality? Never heard of that!” Their dumbfounded surprise was palpable.
We must never forget the central goal of Bush and the neocons—a permanent
imperial U.S. military occupation of Iraq and the control of its oil and the region
through a vassal Iraqi government, all a central pillar of The Project for the New
American Century. We must never forget the neocons’ promise to America and its
troops that this war would be short and sweet.
Yes, reality came knocking. Finding themselves mired in a policy cesspool of
their own making, the neocons desperately sought to extricate themselves in any way
possible.
Confounded because their groupthink fantasy was not unfolding as they knew it
must, the drowning neocons grasped for straws, seizing upon this or that event in
Iraq—any event—as a divine sign that they were succeeding, that it must be only a
short distance to Mission Accomplished. But America’s Ship of Fools had arrived
not at Mission Accomplished, but at Mission Impossible.
Time will tell whether the several promising elections in Iraq are significant
milestones on the road to a better Iraq—stirring exercises in courage by Iraqis who
want to control their own future and not be under the boot of either Butcher Saddam
or Imperialist Bush—or whether they are just mirages, in a long line of mirages, on
the neocons’ meandering road in fantasyland.
In any case, the road for the Iraqi people will be long and difficult, and when and
if a successful progressive democratic Iraq emerges, which now appears distant at
best, it will be the Iraqi people themselves who deserve all the credit, plus a huge
portion of extra credit because they will have achieved their Iraqi “mission accom-
plished” in spite of the unnecessary bloody setbacks inflicted on them by Bush and
his GOP accomplices.
In the next part of this book we’ll turn our attention to the Bush League of Na-
tions itself, that sham lynchpin in the Bush administration’s propaganda campaign to
achieve its imperial goals in Iraq.
PART II

The Bush League of Nations


CHAPTER 5

The Bush League of Nations


A Web of Deceit for the Gullible

If we’re an arrogant nation, [foreigners] will resent us. If we’re a humble


nation but strong, they’ll welcome us. ... We’ve got to be humble.
— George W. Bush, Oct. 11, 2000.

When Bush became president, he had at his fingertips—to be wisely used or squan-
dered—a tremendous reservoir of worldwide goodwill towards the United States and
Americans. This reservoir had been justly filled by several decades of honest Ameri-
can policies under many American presidents, both Democratic and Republican.
Following 9/11 this reservoir of goodwill was overflowing. Even in Muslim coun-
tries, the horror of 9/11 created huge supermajorities of goodwill and sympathy to-
wards America.
But Bush pursued an arrogant, unilateral, militaristic agenda, and when he went
to bat in a most dubious cause—his war on Iraq—all he could muster was the lame
Coalition of the Willing, better named the Bush League of Nations.
Bush’s giddy decision to invade Iraq was based on lies, delusions and ulterior
motives. His incompetence in building a coalition and in prosecuting the war was
immoral and a fundamental dereliction of duty. He soon became America’s most
incompetent commander in chief ever, America’s worst president ever.
During the seven decades before Bush, several American presidents coura-
geously took the high road and successfully led the world in muscular wartime coali-
tions to promote just causes. Our allies willingly played ball with us in major league
coalitions because our common causes were just, and because our American skippers
were men of vision, strength, integrity and leadership.
Unfortunately, George W. Bush foolishly and arrogantly chose a unilateral, impe-
rial, militaristic low road for America’s team. The “Decider” chose division over
unity, and he soon found himself playing in a fantasy league, “A League of His
Own,” the Bush League of Nations.
In early 2003—after NATO, the United Nations, and the world community all
sharply rejected Bush’s duplicitous plan to invade and occupy Iraq—the propaganda
machines of the Bush regime and its allies in America’s rightwing Big Media ran in
high gear to create the Big Lie, namely, that a strong, broad-based military coalition
92 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

of many dozens of nations supported and still supports Bush’s invasion and occupa-
tion of Iraq.
But there is no grand coalition in Iraq, and, as for the few participants, none of
them were enthusiastic about Bush’s war in the first place. As for the few partici-
pants, Bush is like an arsonist claiming that the firemen who risk their lives to extin-
guish the fire he created are supporters of his crime.
Bush’s so-called Coalition of the Willing is a sham and a shame, a fraud and a
failure. The Coalition of the Willing is not a major league of nations in any sense; it
is not even a Class D minor league. It is the Bush League of Nations, misled by
America’s own Bush League commander in chief, George W. Bush.
Bush’s duplicitous invasion and occupation of Iraq—like baseball itself—is
something the world does not understand and support. Not only does Bush play by
strange Bush League rules, he modifies and ignores the rules at will. He is the
game’s only umpire, a self-appointed umpire with bum eyesight—a cheater who
knows the call before the pitch is made. Even the nations that love America, baseball
and apple pie—nations that want to believe America plays a fair game—have not
fallen for Bush’s hubris and his un-American form of the game.
The Bush League is a fantasy league, whose immoral delusional owners are the
Bush neocons. Among its many victims are truth, American values, and America’s
reputation and influence in the world. Bush’s so-called coalition is the Big Lie, a fig
leaf intended to hide naked Anglo-American aggression against Iraq and the region.
Most of the U.S. media either, at their worst, adopted a Pravda-style role and ea-
gerly beat the war drums for Bush, or, at their best, rolled over and played softball,
not wanting to appear disloyal. Numerous American media figures with views criti-
cal of the war were punished by their corporate employers. One of the most promi-
nent victims is Phil Donahue, who in early 2003, when the war drums were beating
loudest, had his television talk show cancelled by MSNBC (which, along with NBC,
is owned by General Electric, a huge conglomerate with substantial military business
in Iraq) because he questioned the case for war and opposed it.
According to a leaked NBC memo, Donahue presented a “difficult public face for
NBC in a time of war,” and the memo went on to warn that his show could be “a
home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving
the flag at every opportunity.” Ratings trump responsible journalism. Money trumps
truth.
Regarding the coalition itself, virtually the entire U.S. media swallowed and re-
gurgitated the Bush League propaganda that there was a strong, broad military coali-
tion of nations fighting shoulder to shoulder with America in Iraq, with the number
of coalition members ranging from at least 28 nations to as many as 55 or more, de-
pending on the source of the propaganda.
The reality is starkly different. Only two nations—the United States and Great
Britain31—provided more than a token number of troops for actual combat in Bush’s
invasion of Iraq, and neither provided adequate forces to accomplish the mission,

31
A small number of Polish and Australian forces assumed specialist roles during the 2003
invasion of Iraq, although neither nation highlights this on its resume.
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 93

thanks to the inept leadership of Bush and Blair, who were later dubbed the “Axis of
Feeble.”
The United States and Britain alone acted as de facto dictators in running Iraq af-
ter the invasion, as they shared responsibility, under Resolution 1483 of the UN Se-
curity Council, for the civil administration in Iraq, and each participated in the Coali-
tion Provisional Authority (CPA) before the so-called handover of sovereignty to
Iraq on June 28, 2004.
The military coalition—the Bush League of Nations—later assumed the name
“Multi-National Force in Iraq” (or MNF-I), which was established May 15, 2004,
and operates under the mandate of Security Council Resolution 1511 adopted Octo-
ber 16, 2003. Subsequent resolutions, including Resolution 1546 adopted June 8,
2004, and Resolution 1637 adopted November 8, 2005, further extended the MNF-
I’s mandate from time to time, as the war dragged on.
Although the United Nations strongly opposed Bush’s invasion of Iraq, it tried
after the invasion to help clean up the mess Bush created. As Iraq quickly descended
into chaos in the months following the March 20, 2003, invasion, the United Nations
encouraged all nations to help Iraq and cooperated with the United States in passing
the above resolutions. Unfortunately, Bush was unable to strengthen the weak coali-
tion he had previously cobbled together. To the contrary, the already weak coalition
wilted before his eyes.
The MNF-I was organized into six geographical areas, with the United States in
overall unitary command. Four of the six areas are headquartered by the U.S. mili-
tary. The Multi-National Division Central South is headquartered by Poland. The
Multi-National Division South East is headquartered by Great Britain. The MNF-I,
woefully underpowered, is discussed further later.
The United States and Britain provided virtually all, approaching 100%, of the
coalition troops proactively engaged in combat in Iraq. The world thus correctly sees
the coalition as an American-Anglo occupation force.
But even America and Britain did not send their full-roster A Teams. With catas-
trophic consequences, their myopic leaders chose to do the job on the cheap and on
the slow, sending less than one-third the military force required to accomplish the
mission and “win” a war that should not have been waged in the first place. Their
leadership was immoral, and the Bush League result was predictable.
Bush chose to ignore the Powell Doctrine—that overwhelming force must be ap-
plied on the battlefield whenever America’s troops are placed in harm’s way—and
fielded a team without a shortstop, without a right fielder, without a catcher, and
without experienced coaches. Bush rushed to battle—or, more correctly, he rushed
others into battle—without the right equipment and game plan to ensure victory in
the 2003 World Series in Iraq.
Bush’s incompetence greatly increased the number of American casualties, and
although the pain and loss on America’s side is huge, the pain and loss on Iraq’s side
is at least a thousand times greater.
The most competent military experts—those battle-proven pros like U.S. Army
General Eric Shinseki, who had not only the experience but also the responsibility to
give such advice—urged Bush to field a full team, an A team, but Bush foolishly
decided to do the job on the cheap, without a full roster. The fans of America’s team
94 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

wanted a major league squad with all positions filled by the finest professionals, but
Bush cut and penalized the team with his Bush League leadership. Perhaps Bush
thought the game was amateur doubles tennis and that a two-man team led by politi-
cal hacks would do. By playing it on the stupid and on the cheap, Bush made the
GOP’s war on Iraq very expensive for America’s soldiers, America, Iraq and the
world.
The fans of America’s team wanted its professionals to have the best equipment,
but Bush ignored even the catcher’s simple request for a protective cup. After all, no
Bush family cojones and no cojones of the Super Rich would be in harm’s way.
Adding insult to injury, the Bush neocons dismissed as not real fans, not loyal
fans, any of America’s finest fans who dared to question Bush’s game plan. Dissent
and treason were synonyms in the Bush League playbook.
The Bush League is run by a cabal of amateurs, none of whom ever played major
league baseball for keeps. They are like drunken cowboy wannabes who buy new
cowboy hats and imagine they are real cowboys, but who have no personal experi-
ence in riding even a plow horse, let along a wild bronco. Each is a Walter Mitty.
America’s longtime fans throughout the world see the delusion and are not buying
tickets to any Bush League games. They are not buying the Bush League popcorn.
They are not drinking the GOP Kool-Aid.
Although the Bush League of Nations in Iraq is a fantasy league with its origins
in the imperial wet dreams of the Bush neocons, the blood and guts is real.
Because of the escalation of violence in Iraq, Bush League team members in-
creasingly moved into “cut and run” mode, or perhaps we should say “vamoosing”
mode, because the “cut and run” label is reserved for use only by the far right against
Bush’s political opponents and other sane people who argue for withdrawal.
In the next chapter we examine each of the more than 55 nations that have been
claimed by the Bush neocons and their cheerleaders, at one time or another, as coali-
tion members. Moving beyond the military contributions of the United States and
Great Britain, one sees a deep cesspool of Bush League tokenism and GOP propa-
ganda.

SIDEBAR: Jon Stewart on Bush and the Bush League

“Yesterday, the president met with a group he calls the coalition of the willing. Or,
as the rest of the world calls them, Britain and Spain.”
—Jon Stewart

As discussed later in this chapter, the diminutive coalition so humorously and accu-
rately portrayed by Stewart soon became even weaker.
Britain’s leader, who never gave a full measure to the coalition, quickly made
force protection a top priority, rather than proactively trying to “win the war” by
taking the fight to the ill-defined “enemy,” and soon began drawing down British
troop levels, while searching for a face-saving way to withdraw completely.
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 95

As for Spain, it completely withdrew all of its 1,400 troops in April 2004 in ac-
cordance with the overwhelming will of its people, who never supported Bush’s war
on Iraq in the first place.

By foolishly initiating an unjust war in Iraq, while not finishing the just war in
Afghanistan, Bush found himself losing both ends of a doubleheader.
Virtually all the nations of the Earth—including especially those with world class
teams whose cooperation is essential for America to win the Big Game—know that
Bush is an incompetent player who personally went AWOL when he had a chance to
try out for the Big Leagues then playing in Vietnam. In GOP style, Bush epitomizes
the worst of America’s sports figures: the spoiled, overpaid, steroid-sucking player
who cheats; the arrogant, wealthy team owner who cares not for the fans or the game
itself; and the lazy, incompetent manager who ignores rules and plays on “hunches.”
The world knows Bush is not a team player, but rather an untrustworthy unilater-
alist who would claim all glory for himself in the event of any win, however seren-
dipitous, and who expects to be bailed out by others when things go badly. Curi-
ously, the Bush League press guide, published by Big Media, asserts Bush is error-
less and omniscient. Perhaps that is why he ducks responsibility and claims victory
even when he loses game after game by lopsided scores.
Bush was a failure in every business venture he ever attempted or touched. Why
would other team owners join him in a league he owns and unilaterally runs? Bush
invaded Iraq to benefit only himself and the Super Rich and powerful of America,
not America’s soldiers, not Joe Lunchpail who works for a living, and not the people
of Iraq or any other nation, all of whom he holds in low esteem.
Bush has taken the most revered successful franchise in world history—the
United States of America—and driven it to the cellar in the world standings. He must
be impeached and thrown out of the game.

SIDEBAR: Bush Discusses Thinking

“I’m also not very analytical. You know I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about
myself, about why I do things.”
—George W. Bush, aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003

The world community refuses to follow Bush’s lead in Iraq because of his short-
comings as a man and a leader. The world’s teams and fans have voted with their
hearts, minds and armies, and they want no part of a Bush League run by an immoral
man who:
• bullies the smaller players when he doesn’t get his way.
96 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• did not want you to play in the first place, but later, after he mucked up the
field, insists that you have the responsibility to join his game and clean up
his mess.
• has one set of game rules for himself and his cronies, and another set for the
rest of the world.
• ignores and changes the game rules whenever he wishes.
• breaks his team’s commitments and promises at will, even those sealed with
spit and blood.
• swears and calls people bad names.
• was picked to lead his team not because of talent and accomplishments, but
because he is the son of a prior coach and owner.
• pouts and leaves the team when he doesn’t get his way, taking his Rich Boy
baseball equipment with him.
• lies and doesn’t play fairly.
• ignores reality because he believes God swings his bat.
• believes it doesn’t really matter how much he screws things up, because
Armageddon and the End Times are close at hand.
• thanks to cronyism, gets to play first-string shortstop, even though he has
never fielded a major league hard grounder.
• remains error free by shucking personal responsibility whenever he bungles
a play, always assigning the error to someone else.
• was chosen by America’s rightwing corporate media to be League MVP be-
fore the season even began.
• is the laziest player on the team.
• was born at third base but thinks he hit a triple.
• stole home, thanks to five Republican politicians on the U.S. Supreme
Court, with thanks also to election fraud in the state run by his brother.
• pretends to be a Texas Ranger by wearing a ten-gallon hat, but can neither
ride a horse nor swing a bat.
• is a reckless record Big Spender who pays his team’s bills with Confederate
currency and the blood and sweat of the unborn.
• has no clue what the real score is.
Long before Bush’s invasion of Iraq, the world was appalled by the jingoism and
warmongering emanating from the Bush White House. Among the most appalled
were America’s closest allies—all of them. For them, Bush in the White House was
an endless nightmare.
Even the people of Great Britain, our closest ally, overwhelmingly opposed the
Iraq war. The British Parliament, including Blair’s own Labour Party, also opposed
the war. Gerald Kaufman, the former foreign affairs spokesman for Blair’s party,
declared before the Iraq invasion, “Bush, himself the most intellectually backward
American president of my political lifetime, is surrounded by advisers whose belli-
cosity is exceeded only by their political, military and diplomatic illiteracy.”
The so-called Bush doctrine of “preemptive intervention” was well marketed in
America, but it reminded America’s allies of dictators of days past. They knew that
the United Nations charter clearly acknowledges a nation’s right of legitimate self-
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 97

defense. But the Bush neocons wanted much more, the right of naked aggression,
without any showing of self defense or just cause, and without being limited by mo-
rality or international law.
Longing to hear a few strong American voices for American values and common
sense, our longtime allies must have taken comfort in the wisdom of Senator Robert
Byrd (D-WV), who in his Senate floor speech on February 12, 2003—a month be-
fore the invasion of Iraq—stated:

And this is no small conflagration we contemplate. This is no simple attempt to de-


fang a villain. No. This coming battle, if it materializes, represents a turning point in
U.S. foreign policy and possibly a turning point in the recent history of the world.
This nation is about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied
in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time. The doctrine of preemption—the idea
that the United States or any other nation can legitimately attack a nation that is not
imminently threatening but may be threatening in the future—is a radical new twist
on the traditional idea of self-defense. It appears to be in contravention of interna-
tional law and the UN Charter.

Lacking adequate backbone and intellect, Bush was putty in the hands of Cheney
and Bush League neocons. Widely acknowledged to be a cipher on foreign affairs,
even by his own party, Bush had no personal foreign policy framework to serve as a
counterbalance to their toxic agenda. Nevertheless, he willingly entered a groupthink
isolation chamber—the Bush Bubble—that limited the opinions and information he
received.
Bush in fact had never even thought much about America’s foreign policy, and
he prided himself on his utter lack of curiosity about such things. This sort of mental
detachment—especially if you put in under a cowboy hat—resonates well with the
deep-thinking rightwing Republican zealots of Texas. However, America and the
world are better served if politicians like Bush never get within a thousand miles of
any national office.
Bush’s supporters try to ignore the awful reality that the vast majority of the
world believes he is a liar and a scoundrel, not a statesman or leader to be trusted.
The distrust comes from all the peoples of the world, of whatever religion, of what-
ever geographic region or country, of whatever language, of whatever color or eth-
nicity. It comes from America’s strongest allies and America’s worst enemies, and
from all the people in between.
America’s King George III is wearing no clothes. He plays a perverted form of
major league baseball completely naked—completely Bush—and it is a ghastly
sight. Perhaps Bush fancies himself wearing pinstripes like Babe Ruth, but, if the
world’s fans had their wish, Bush would be wearing prison stripes. His impeachment
will have to do.
The stench of distrust will stick to America long after Bush leaves the scene of
his high crimes and misdemeanors. When America transitioned from Clinton to
Bush, America went from Class A leadership to Class W. Thanks to Bush, the world
now sees America as a rogue nation, a militant pariah.
Bush has unwittingly made it much more difficult for future American presidents
to lead the world in just causes—certainly one of the most costly unintended conse-
98 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

quences flowing from Bush’ incompetence. Bush has delivered a crippling blow to
America’s reputation and power in the world, and it will take many years of hard
work and some good luck for America to recover.
Bush has greatly damaged America’s relations and influence with Europe, espe-
cially our long-term allies that he and his neocons gleefully knocked as “Old
Europe.” Bush foolishly tried to divide Europe into two camps—those that supported
him and those that didn’t—using simplistic black-and-white labels such as “old
Europe” and “new Europe,” but he succeeded only in widening the Atlantic rift be-
tween America and Europe, and causing Europe, with all its diversity, to become
united in its opposition to Bush and his Bush League policies.
There is a widespread belief in Europe that America under Bush lost its way and
is no longer a good model for Europe’s transformation into what some have labeled
the United States of Europe.
Thanks to Bush’s unilateral militarism and eye-poking “diplomacy,” Europe in-
creasingly talks of the need to be a balancing, opposing power to America, and much
less that of a friendly family member. The idea of a united Europe standing as an
equal or superior to America is frequently called the “countervailing power” thesis
and is completely Greek to the deep-thinking Bush neocons cocooned in their right-
wing think tanks in Washington, who narrowly view power in military terms.
The decline in America’s reputation and power has victims beyond America, in-
cluding countless poor and oppressed people in numerous countries who might oth-
erwise be saved by America. The victims of genocide in the Darfur region of western
Sudan are a prime example.

SIDEBAR: Genocide in Sudan: Where is America?

In a brutal campaign of genocide, the Sudanese government and its Janjaweed militia
allies are systematically raping and slaughtering black Sudanese living in the western
part of Sudan known as Darfur. During Bush’s watch, over 2.5 million black Suda-
nese have been savagely driven from their homes, countless women and girls have
been raped, and over 400,000 have died in the genocidal slaughter and from the re-
sulting disease and starvation.
Countless numbers of the survivors are asking, “In God’s name, will someone
please help us? Will someone at least save our children? Where is America?”
The sad answer is that Bush has our troops overextended and bogged down in
Iraq with no exit strategy. America under Bush does not have sufficient available
troops to even make a credible threat against the Sudanese regime.
The war on Iraq and Bush’s tough talk were intended to cause evildoers world-
wide to change their behavior. But America under Bush became a paper tiger. Amer-
ica under Bush lost the will and moral authority to lead and energize the world in just
causes, such as stopping the genocide in Sudan.
From Iran to North Korea, the evildoers have been emboldened and do what they
want. Even the third rate thugs in Khartoum commit genocide with impunity.
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 99

The victims of the genocidal Sudanese government can now also be fairly viewed
as Bush victims—unintended victims, but still victims. Only God knows how many
more will die because the “Christian nation” of America lost its way.
After reading a report on the horrendous slaughter of several hundred thousand
Rwandans, mostly Tutsis, in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Bush declared, “Not on
my watch.”
Unfortunately, Bush’s eyes are now closed, his body is feeble, and his heart is
cold. His refuses to commit a single American soldier to help stop the genocide in
Darfur. He refuses even to press the United Nations or NATO to commit troops to
the mission. He is the definition of a “compassionate conservative.”

Perhaps, if we are lucky, one unintended benefit of Bush’s incompetence and


power-drunk neocon policies in Iraq will be the complete rejection of these policies
by the American people, thus making the election of rightwing politicians of Bush’s
ilk less likely. At least that is the hope for an awakening America.

The Misnamed “Coalition of the Willing”


The term “Coalition of the Willing” has been used occasionally for more than 15
years to refer to coalitions acting on their own without approval of the United Na-
tions. Although the Bush administration used the term briefly in connection with its
Afghanistan campaign, its most common recent use has been to refer to Bush’s coali-
tion to invade and occupy Iraq. Since the Bush neocons could get neither UN nor
NATO support, they created a charade and misnamed it the Coalition of the Willing.
Several other more accurate terms have been suggested to describe Bush’s Coali-
tion of the Willing:
• “The Bush League of Nations—the Coalition of the Unwilling, the Bul-
lied and the Bribed.” This term is the best, of course.
• “COW.” Because many of the participants in the so-called Coalition of the
Willing are being paid—bribed—by the United States to participate, Sena-
tor Robert Byrd (D-WV) referred to it by its acronym, “COW.” The United
States is the cash cow that other nations wanted to milk. “The cow is US.”
• “Coalition of the Unwilling.” This truth speaks for itself.
• “Coalition of the UN-willing.” The vast majority of the world opposed any
invasion without UN support. With UN approval, the coalition could have
been incredibly strong and trustworthy.
• “Coalition of the Willies.” That’s what Slate magazine called the fractur-
ing coalition in early 2004 as the Bush administration found it increasingly
difficult to keep nations on board.
• “Coalition of the Billing.” Many used this term to highlight the opportuni-
ties for Halliburton and other war profiteers to make a fast buck. Well, it’s a
lot more than a buck.
• “Coalition of the Welfare States.” A New York Times editorial used this
term because many of the participants are small, impoverished nations des-
perately in need of financial aid from the United States.
100 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• “Coalition of the Unwilling to be Named.” In addition to members it iden-


tified, the Bush regime announced it had the support of about 15 countries
that wished to remain anonymous. Some referred to them as the “coalition
of the unwilling to be named” or the “shadow coalition.”

SIDEBAR: The Coalition of the Unwilling to be Named

When Secretary of State Colin Powell announced in March 2003 that the coalition
included 30 countries, he also referred to “15 other nations” supporting the coalition
that “did not wish to be publicly named.” These nations were so proud to be allies in
Bush’s Mafia-style adventure that they wanted to wear masks. They had the same
pride in their Bush League adventure as do Bush Family males who party with pros-
titutes but don’t want their names publicized.
Some nations said they didn’t want their names to be used for propaganda pur-
poses. They understood that Bush’s goal was to create propaganda, not a real coali-
tion.
Based on a list of 46 coalition countries later appearing on the White House web-
site, the “15 other nations” (actually 16) unwilling to be named apparently were:
Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Kuwait, Marshall
Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Palau, Panama, Portugal, Rwanda, Singapore,
Solomon Islands, and Uganda. Upon hearing the names of these superpowers, the
Iraqi citizenry must have jumped with joy, knowing their salvation was at hand.

• “Coalition of the Unwilling to be Maimed.” A large majority of the “par-


ticipating” coalition nations restricted their soldiers to non-combat roles,
with the understanding and hope they would be kept out of harm’s way.
This is like hiring a bunch of expensive baseball players who never leave
the locker room. They may provide some useful services in the locker room,
but let’s not pretend they are members of a team willing to go on the war-
path.
• “Coalition of the Silly.” This term is from down under. Australia’s mem-
bership in the Bush League deeply divided that country.
• “Coalition of the Shilling.” Since the two principal shills for the war, Bush
and Blair, lied about every justification for the war, this description is pain-
fully on target. (Also, because the shilling was formerly a monetary unit in
Britain, some commentators have used “Coalition of the Shilling” in the
same sense as “Coalition of the Billing.”)
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 101

• “Coalition of the Sinning.” Because of the dismal human rights records of


many of the coalition members, the International Press Institute in Vienna
applied this label when the coalition was announced.32
• “Coalition of the Wanting.” Most coalition members wanted something
from the United States and reluctantly joined the coalition in order to please
Uncle Sam, not because they believed in the war. Their contributions were
understandably minimal or even zero.
Coalitions can be good or bad, strong or weak. Strong leaders with just causes
can put together strong coalitions. Weak leaders with unjust causes are unable to do
so. Unfortunately, coalitions are not really in Bush’s nature, since he’s a natural di-
vider, a unilateralist with a track record of eye poking.
When you play charades, a charade is what you get. When you build a coalition
with smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors are what you get. When George W.
Bush and the GOP go to bat, a Bush League of Nations is what you get.

The Bush League Propaganda Machine


In the run-up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, White House propagandists and
their rightwing media shills painted a picture of a vast willing global coalition sup-
porting Bush’s war. A February 4, 2003, White House press release hyped a coali-
tion of “nearly 50 nations” with a population of “approximately 1.23 billion.” The
numbers proved to be faith-based, i.e., dead wrong. Even if the bogus population
figure of 1.23 billion had been correct, it would have represented only about one-fifth
of the world’s population of more than 6 billion.
As for the number of nations in the coalition, the propaganda claims varied
widely. There were estimates in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s and higher, depending on
the creativity of the propagandists.
Even counting all the Bush League members who gave nothing other than lip
service and a flag, the number of members in Bush’s willowy coalition33 was small
when compared to the 191 nations in the United Nations.
Eighteen months after the invasion, the official website of the Multi-National
Force couldn’t even agree with itself as to the number of coalition members. In Oc-
tober 2004 it referred to “28 non-U.S. military forces contributing to the ongoing
stability operations throughout Iraq,” although it had 29 names on a list, and it
showed only 26 flags in a colorful flag display section of the website. (Perhaps
Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Moldova refused to have their flags soiled
by visual association with the Bush League.) Not even the Bush neocons paid much
attention to the details of the coalition, since it was out of the loop when it came to
setting policy and making decisions.
During that same month—October 2004—Cheney in a campaign debate referred
to 33 nations. A White House press release later mentioned 46 members. And so it

32
Johann Fritz, Director of International Press Institute, said the coalition “contains many
governments that have done their utmost to suppress and stifle the independent media in their
countries. They should not even be mentioned in the same breath as the other democratic
countries named on the same list who continue to espouse the principles of a free press.”
33
Yes, “W” also stands for “willowy.”
102 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

went. Given the absence of standards as to membership, and lack of scruples as to


the counting, numerous fictitious accounts of the glorious coalition abounded.
During the rush to war in early 2003 numerous websites popped up to fan the
flames of war, each spewing out propaganda describing an incredibly strong global
coalition standing shoulder to shoulder in undivided support of Bush’s noble war.
Frequently updated during the giddy early days of the war, these websites soon be-
came stale, or disappeared completely, as the reality of the messy conflict hit home,
and mouthing the Big Lie became less fun.
As for the Bush League claim that much of the world’s population stood behind
his coalition, let’s take a look at the world’s 20 most populous nations. Certainly
Bush—America’s leader and the most powerful person in the world—was in a posi-
tion to demonstrate his leadership skills by convincing all, or almost all, of these 20
nations—representing the lion’s share of power and influence in the world—to sup-
port his Iraq war. After all, every one of these nations was appalled by the slaughter
of 9/11. But let’s leave Bush World and take a look at the facts. The following chart
shows that the only coalition member among the 20 most populous nations is the
United States.

20 Most Populous Nations - Coalition Support

19 20 1 - C hina 1,298,847,624
17 18 2 - India 1,065,070,607
16
15
14 3 - Unite d S ta te s 293,027,571
13 4 - Indo ne s ia 238,452,953
12 1 5 - B ra zil 184,101,110
11 6 - P a kis ta n 159,196,337
7 - R us s ia 143,782,339
10
8 - B a ngla de s h 141,340,477
9 - Nige ria 137,253,133
9
10 - J a pa n 127,333,002
11 - M e xic o 104,959,594
8 12 - P hilippine s 86,241,697
13 - Vie tna m 82,689,518
7 14 - Ge rm a ny 82,424,609
15 - Egypt 76,117,421
6 16 - Turke y 68,893,918
17 - Ethio pia 67,851,281
18 - Ira n 67,503,205
5 19 - Tha ila nd 64,865,523
20 - F ra nc e 60,424,213
4
2
C o a litio n M e m be r
3 No n-M e m be r
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 103

The chart shows that none of the top 20 most populous nations on Earth (other
than the United States) are in the Bush League.34 “The war is US.” By 2006 a grow-
ing majority of Americans finally realized what the rest of the world had known for
years, that the Iraq war was a catastrophic mistake.
The Bush regime bullies small weak nations, as it has no backbone or aptitude to
confront the more powerful. Bush is the quintessential bully: cowardly, AWOL to the
core, and ultimately Weak and Willowy when forced to stand on his own two legs.
As time wore on, the Bush neocons referred less and less to their glorious coali-
tion, and when they did, they omitted important details (such as the number of troops
provided by each member, and their actual duties and accomplishments, or lack
thereof), and retreated to the use of vague terms such as “strong coalition.”

A Real Coalition versus the Bush League of Nations


Given the huge success of the 1991 Gulf War I coalition—ably organized and ably
led by W’s father, George H. W. Bush—one might have expected that virtually all of
its member nations would have eagerly joined the 2003 coalition led by W. But the
exact opposite is the case, and the blame lies at the feet of America’s incompetent
leader who lied and bullied America into an illegal, unjust war. By definition, a
leader who has no followers is a weak leader. Yes, “W” stands for “Weak.”
The Security Council in 1991 authorized, by a 12-2 vote, the use of force to re-
move Iraq from Kuwait in what later became known as Gulf War I, and no perma-
nent member of the Security Council exercised its veto power. However, in 2003,
Bush flip flopped and decided not even to subject his planned Iraq invasion to a vote
of the Security Council because he had at most only four votes out of 15 in favor of
his madness. Also, multiple vetoes among the five permanent members were likely.
The Bush neocons later stopped repeating one of their favorite lies about the coa-
lition, namely that—and this is in the words of Don Rumsfeld, one of its more skilled
liars—“the coalition in this activity is larger than the coalition that existed during the
Gulf War in 1991.”35 Even the pompous propaganda puppets at Fox News stopped
pumping such specific comparisons, preferring more vague lies.
The 2006 version of the MNF-I website no longer displayed the names of the na-
tions claimed to be in the coalition.36 The previously prominent page with the color-
ful national flags of coalition members had been removed. In its place, the 2006
homepage contained one simple sentence: “At this time, several nations (emphasis
added) are contributing to the ongoing stability operations throughout Iraq.”
The only other item on that sparse page was a neocon slogan in large font at the
top, which proclaimed in Orwellian fashion: “The World, Working Together, to
Make a Difference.” In crafting this Rovian slogan, the Bush League neocons exe-

34
Britain is the 21st most populous nation. A solid majority of the British opposed Bush’s war
on Iraq.
35
This Rumsfeld quote is from October 2003, several months after the invasion.
36
If you dug around enough, you could find on the 2006 website a link to a report “current as
of May 15, 2005,” naming 26 countries then currently providing support. Even this was soon
eliminated.
104 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

cuted a rare triple play—three lies in one slogan. Yes, all three parts of the slogan are
lies: (1) “The World,” (2) “Working Together,” (3) “to Make a Difference.”37
Even this tagline was soon eliminated. Expanded later in 2006, the official web-
site remained a distrusted propaganda factory, a less than useless website that
pumped out happy news from a happy Iraq that existed only in the minds of the hap-
pily demented.
If the “standards” used by the Bush neocons to determine who got dragged in and
counted as a coalition “member” had been used in 1991, then well over 100 na-
tions—a huge majority of all nations—would have been included in the 1991 coali-
tion. Even the Soviet Union, which was not a member of the 1991 coalition, would
have been counted in 1991 because it had voted in the Security Council to authorize
military action.
Let’s look at the facts in the following chart:

37
If making things worse is considered “making a difference,” then technically the third part
of the slogan is in fact true. Yes, “W” also stands for “worse.”
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 105

Coalitions: 1991 Versus 2003


1991 Coalition 2003 Coalition
Name George H.W. Bush George W. Bush
Nickname "Bush the Father" "Bush the Boy," "Shrub"
Also Known As… #41 #43, "W" as in AWOL
Leader

Description Statesman and Builder Divider and Destroyer


Number of Followers Almost all of the world W: "What? Who? Where?
Number of Competent Leaders 1 0
Exit Strategy Yes W: "What?"
55…or "it's huge"
Number of Nations in Coalition 34
(or maybe it's just 2)
Nations

Number of nations with significant


16 2
ground combat troops
Arab and/or Muslim nations with
13 0
ground combat troops
Total Number [660,000 to] 814,000 146,000 (Jan. 2007)
Number of U.S. troops 575,000 132,000 (Jan. 2007)

Percentage of Troops that are U.S. 71% 90%


Troops

Non-U.S. Coalition Troops 239,000 (29%) 14,000 (10%)


Number of Saudi troops 52,000 (6%) 0
Number of French Troops 15,000 0
Coalition Deaths 236 (+235 non-battle related) 3,251 thru 2006, and counting
Coalition Casualties

U.S. Deaths 147 (+ 235 non-battle related) 3,001 thru 2006, and counting
British Deaths 47 127 thru 2006, and counting
Allied Arab Deaths 39 0
U.S. Wounded Fewer than 1000 for coalition 23,000 thru 2006, and counting
Add'l U.S. injuries/disease requiring
N/A 25,000 thru 2006, and counting
medical air transport
Direct Financial Cost $61 billion $500 billion and counting
6 weeks total
Cost of War

Length of war (100 hours after start of massive ground Last 5 yrs. 10 mos. of Bush regime
campaign)
Real cost of war $61 billion Catastrophic. Priceless
Cost paid by U.S. $9 billion (15% of total) Almost 100%
Cost paid by Arab Gulf Nations $36 billion (59% of total) 0
UN Security Council? Yes No
Approval

NATO? Yes No
France? Yes No
Saddam, Cuba, Yemen, Jordan, and
War condemned by: 98.44% of sane people
Palestine

Here are a few comments regarding the previous chart:


1) The number of nations in the 1991 Coalition is sometimes counted as 31
(rather than 34), because four Persian Gulf nations combined their forces
into one.
2) Regarding the 1991 Coalition, if Syrian and Turkish coalition forces along
Iraq’s border are counted, America’s share of total coalition troops drops
from 71% to 55%, according to a 1994 Congressional Quarterly study.
106 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

3) Regarding the 2003 Coalition, the zero for the number of Saudi troops of
course does not include: (1) Saudi citizens who traveled to Iraq to kill coali-
tion troops, and (2) bin Laden himself and other Saudi citizens who are
members of al Qaeda or other terrorist groups. If these Saudis were included,
the percentage for Saudi Arabia’s contribution of troops to the coalition—
The Bush League of Nations—would be hugely negative, not just zero.
4) Regarding the 2003 Coalition, the zero financial contribution from Saudi
Arabia and other Arab nations does not include: (1) payments made by Saudi
Arabia to help fund “educational programs” and other propaganda promoting
hatred of the United States, Israel, Christians and Jews, (2) payments made
by Saudi Arabia to fund terrorist attacks against Americans and Israelis, and
(3) money transferred by Saudi organizations and individuals for similar
purposes. If such payments were included, Saudi Arabia’s financial contribu-
tion to the coalition—The Bush League of Nations—would not be zero, but
would be hugely negative.
5) As the 2003 Coalition further crumbles, America’s share of the troops is ex-
pected to rise to more than 95% by the end of 2008.

Arab and Muslim Opposition to the Bush League of Nations


One of the most disturbing truths about Bush’s war on Iraq, a predominantly Arab
nation, is that it is strongly resented by virtually the entire Arab world, including not
only Arab governments but also Arab populations. Since this was decidedly not the
case with Gulf War I in 1991, the widespread Arab enmity towards Bush’s war can-
not be attributed simply to preexisting hatred of the United States. Rather, it is Bush
himself, cheered on by the do-nothing-good, rubber-stamping, GOP-controlled Con-
gress, who stoked the fires of Arab hostility. Bush, billed as the Great Uniter, suc-
ceeded only in uniting Arabs against America.
Even oil-rich dictators who are long-term bedmates of the Bush family and
America’s petroleum industry—including the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia—
refused to join the Bush League, and their relationship soured as the war dragged on.
At a summit of Arab leaders in Riyadh in March 2007, King Abdullah of Saudi
Arabia slammed the United States and the coalition. “In beloved Iraq, blood is being
shed among brothers in the shadow of an illegitimate foreign occupation,” he de-
clared. He also said that no foreign force would decide the region’s future. Abdullah
is working hard to avoid Tony Blair’s fate, going down in history as Bush’s lapdog
poodle.
As for the 1991 Gulf War coalition, several Arab nations contributed a total of
190,000 Arab troops, which is greater than Bush’s entire 2003 coalition, and several
times greater than the total number of all non-American troops claimed at one time
or another to have been contributed to that 2003 coalition by the rest of the world.
Although a few Arab nations did not join the 1991 Gulf War coalition, a large
majority enthusiastically embraced it. In fact, Egypt, Morocco, Syria (yes, even
Syria, which contributed 19,000 troops) and all six members of the Gulf Cooperation
Council (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emir-
ates) were part of combat operations to remove Saddam from Kuwait in 1991.
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 107

Unfortunately for Bush, not a single Arab nation is a declared member of his
Bush League of Nations. Even Middle Eastern nations that opened up their territory
to the coalition’s use for logistics support, refused to join the coalition against Iraq.
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Qatar and Bahrain are all conspicuously
absent from the coalition. A huge supermajority of their respective populations does
not believe Bush is trying to bring democracy to the region.

SIDEBAR: Questions Never Asked

Why is Bush so hated by the people in the region he allegedly wants to help? Since
most of the people in Iraq’s neighboring Islamic countries live under dictatorships,
why aren’t they flooding across the borders into Iraq to fight with, not against, the
United States and perhaps for their own eventual freedom? Bush and the GOP do not
want you to think about such questions, as the answers are too disturbing. Regretta-
bly, America’s rightwing Big Media are also silent regarding these hugely important
questions.
There was a real need to seal Iraq’s borders against terrorists and insurgents seek-
ing to enter Iraq and fight against American forces. But why haven’t hundreds of
thousands of Iranians entered Iraq to fight on the side of America? How many have?
Perhaps 100,000? No. Perhaps just 1,000? No, although even that small number
would have been a positive sign. How about just one? Has not a single freedom lov-
ing Iranian entered Iraq to fight with America? Regrettably, the vast majority of Ira-
nians despise Bush and his policies as much as they despise their hated dictatorial
rightwing ayatollahs. Perhaps Iranians see too much similarity between Iran’s zeal-
ous Islamic ayatollahs and their Christianist ayatollah counterparts from Texas.
Consider Syria, which is run by a ruthless dictator. Why haven’t tens of thou-
sands of Syrian freedom fighters flooded into Fallujah and other hotspots to support
Bush’s effort “to bring democracy” to Iraq and to the region? If they trusted Bush,
why aren’t they helping Iraq now and thus themselves and their families in the long
run? The answers to these questions are embarrassing for Bush. Hafez al-Assad, the
father of Syria’s current dictator, seized power in a bloody coup in 1970 and main-
tained power until his death in 2000 through incredible brutal measures aimed at
both real and imagined enemies, of whatever religious or ethnic community. The
most infamous of his despotic actions against his opposition, including the Muslim
Brotherhood, was the encirclement and total destruction of Hamah in 1982, a city in
which approximately 20,000 men, women and children were slaughtered.

In 2004 Saudi Arabia proposed—whether seriously or not—that Muslim nations


such as Indonesia, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Malaysia and Yemen send troops to
Iraq to join and replace American troops and operate under the auspices of the
United Nations. Unfortunately, there were no takers, because no Muslim nation
wanted the taint of being associated with Bush, who in any case wanted to continue
calling all the shots. To be clear, none of these nations supported Bush’s invasion
108 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

and occupation of Iraq. Rather, their intended purpose was humanitarian—to help
clean up the mess Bush and the GOP created. In their eyes, this is like refusing to
join a criminal’s plan of arson and looting, but then nevertheless trying later to help
the criminal’s innocent victims.
As for Africa, none of the numerous predominantly Arab or Muslim nations on
that continent chose to participate in Bush’s coalition. Not even Morocco, which is
moderate and strongly pro-American, at least prior to Bush’s reign. The entire conti-
nent of Africa—consisting of 56 nations—contributed a total of zero soldiers to the
coalition,38 thus tying Antarctica.
Egypt’s lack of cooperation is especially noteworthy, not only because of its
prominent position in the Arab world, but also because it is, and has been for many
years, one of the two largest recipients of American foreign aid, the other being
Israel. A member of the 1991 coalition, Egypt refused to join the 2003 Bush League
of Nations.
Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak blames the Bush administration for the unfor-
tunate rise in hatred towards the United States. “After what has happened in Iraq,
there is an unprecedented hatred and the Americans know it. … There exists today a
hatred never equaled in the region.”
Of course, it is not just Arab nations and people who hate Bush and his war on
Iraq. It is the entire Muslim world, which by and large believes Bush’s regime is
waging an imperial war against Islam.
Consider Pakistan, whose government, a dictatorship, is generally heralded by
Bush as a strong ally of the United States in the war on terrorism. Even Pakistan, a
UN Security Council member at the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, opposed
Bush’s war and refused to send troops to Iraq either before or after the invasion.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office announced in August 2004 that Pakistan would not send
troops to Iraq because of the “volatile” situation there.
Pakistan’s unwillingness to help its fellow Muslims in Iraq who desperately need
assistance is regrettable, but understandable given the high level of violence in Iraq.
A poll in early 2004 showed that Bush is widely detested in Pakistan. Only 8% of the
Pakistanis polled were positive on Bush—perhaps the 8% confused him with USC’s
Reggie Bush, the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner—whereas bin Laden was held in
high regard by 65%. In commenting on this poll, conservative Pat Buchanan wrote in
a New York Times editorial of March 26, 2004: “We are losing the hearts and minds
of the Islamic young, creating a spawning pool out of which future terrorists will
emerge.”
Thanks to Bush and the GOP, the opinion of the United States throughout the
Muslim world has dropped into the toilet. As confirmed by countless polls, Bush’s
voluntary war in the heart of the Muslim world drove America’s credibility to all-
time lows.
Muslims especially resent that Bush’s Confederate Party Coalition tried to run
Iraq like a plantation, with Arabs playing the GOP’s neo-Sambo role.

38
For propaganda purposes, five African nations—Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, and
Angola—were claimed by the Bush geniuses as coalition members at one time or another.
Even knee-jerk Bush supporters should be appalled at this insult to their intelligence.
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 109

Here are some additional observations about the two Gulf War coalitions:
• Given the great success of the 1991 Gulf War I coalition assembled by Bush
the Father, it is revealing that Bush the Son didn’t have a Holy Ghost of a
chance to cobble together a real coalition in 2003.
• Many insiders and psychologists have speculated that Bush the Son started
the Iraq war in 2003 simply to “one up” his father.
• While Bush’s 2003 coalition was much smaller and weaker than the 1991
coalition, the mission of his 2003 coalition was much more difficult. The
mission in 1991 was limited to evicting Saddam from Kuwait and defeating
Iraqi forces arrayed in fixed positions in the open desert in southern Iraq,
not to occupying and running Iraq.
• Bush the Father understood the dubious proposition of pressing on to Bagh-
dad in 1991, but Bush the Son chose not to seek his counsel or that of
America’s best military experts and friends around the world.
• Iraq’s military was much weaker in 2003 than it was at the time of Gulf
War I in 1991, largely due to the severe beating it received in 1991 and
years of UN-approved sanctions. The United States estimated that it de-
stroyed 80% of Iraq’s military capacity in 1991.
• On the other hand, Bush the Son inherited an American military that was
much stronger than it was in 1991 (a fact expressly acknowledged by Bush
the Father), thanks to a substantial strengthening of America’s military dur-
ing the Clinton presidency.
• Even though Iraq was much weaker in 2003 and the United States was
much stronger, Bush the Son and the GOP leveraged their incompetence to
create America’s worst foreign policy disaster ever.
• Of the 34 nations in the 1991 coalition, an overwhelming majority, 21, did
not support Bush’s 2003 invasion and wanted no part of it, and the position
of the others can generously be described as reluctant tokenism or silent op-
position.
• Britain was the only major-league supporter of Bush’s disastrous invasion
of Iraq in 2003, and even Britain’s “enthusiasm” in 2003 was only a whis-
per of what it was in 1991.
• Britain sent only a fraction of the troops in 2003 that it sent in 1991, and
when the worsening security situation in Iraq demanded more troops, it
looked for ways to provide fewer and keep them out of harm’s way.
• France was the favorite target of the Bush bullies and America’s Big Media.
How utterly shameful and counterproductive. France is America’s oldest
and most loyal ally, having stood shoulder to shoulder with America during
its Revolutionary War, during Gulf War I, and during many wars in be-
tween. But past sacrifices, long-term friendships, and wise counsel mean
nothing to the Bush League neocons who prefer docile acquiescence from
weak-kneed suck-ups. In addition to the sin of leading the broad opposition
at the United Nations to Bush’s war in 2003, France committed the most
unpardonable sin of all, namely, it had the “Gaul” to be right. The French
people and its government were right, and Bush was wrong, dead wrong,
and he and the GOP owe France an apology.
110 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• The large hate-France wing of the Republican Party wants you to believe
that France always opposes America, which is just another GOP lie in-
tended for gullible minds. Just consider the most recent relevant example,
which is the Gulf War I coalition led by Bush the Father. France was a will-
ing member of that coalition and contributed 17,000 troops, 350 tanks and
38 warplanes. In fact, if you add up all the troops—whether fighting or non-
fighting—provided by the dozens of Bush League “members” other than the
United States and Britain, you get a total force39 for Bush’s 2003 coalition
that is fewer in number than the 17,000 French troops who served in the
1991 coalition.
• France is the definition of a true friend. The French fight shoulder to shoul-
der with America when the cause is just, and they speak the truth as they
see it when the cause is not.
• Let’s also remember that the French gave America the Statue of Liberty, the
world’s most famous symbol of human rights, and that Bush and the GOP
gave America Abu Ghraib, America’s most infamous symbol of torture and
disregard of human rights.
• The 1991 Gulf War Coalition was formidable and legitimate, and no one
called it Bush League. In that genuine coalition, several European and Arab
nations deployed entire divisions of troops.

Troops Contributed to the Iraq Coalition, By Country


The admission “standards” for Bush’s coalition were so low and fraudulent that they
were never written down or publicly disclosed. The Bush League geniuses shang-
haied nations at will, especially small weak nations, and thus created a coalition out
of thin air. Many shanghaied countries expressly disavowed membership. Several
“members” declared themselves neutrals.
There is not a single coalition nation whose citizens broadly supported the Bush
League of Nations and its imperial leader. Not one.
A majority of the 55+ nations claimed at one time or another by the Bush neo-
cons and their cheerleaders to be coalition members have been recently cited by
Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch for various human rights violations.
The 39 most prominent “members” of the Bush League of Nations appear on the
two-page chart that follows.

39
By July 2005, the 26 “members” of the Bush League of Nations other than the United States
and Britain had a total of 16,370 mostly non-combat troops in Iraq, or fewer than 650 per na-
tion.
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 111

Coalition Troops By Country


At End of
Country Max. Jan. 2007 Comments
Invasion 2004

United States 150,000 140,000 162,000 132,000 lowest was 115,000 in Feb. 2004

United most were outside Iraq at invasion,


45,000 8,361 10,000 7,200
Kingdom 5000 by end of 2007

South Korea 3,300 3,700 3,700 2,300 to be cut by half in 2007

Italy 0 3,085 3,085 0 withdrew Nov. 2006

non-combat troops,
Poland 194 2,500 2,500 900
withdrawal planned
non-combat mechanized infantry,
Ukraine 0 1,589 1,589 0
withdrew Dec. 2005

Netherlands 0 1,345 1,345 0 withdrew Mar. 2005

non-combat, reconstruction,
Spain 0 0 1,300 0
withdrew Apr. 2004

Romania 0 700 865 600

Australia 2,000 400 550 550 training security forces

non-combat engineers & medics,


Japan 0 550 550 0
withdrew July 2006

Denmark 0 496 515 470 to withdraw by Aug. '07

non-combat troops and support personnel,


Bulgaria 0 485 485 0
withdrew Apr. 2006
non-combat medical and engineering
Thailand 0 0 423 0
troops, withdrew Aug. 2004

El Salvador 0 380 380 380 humanitarian and peacekeeping

non-combat, reconstruction,
Honduras 0 0 368 0
withdrew May 2004
non-combat construction & guarding
Mongolia 0 180 180 100
pipelines
Dominican non-combat, restrictive rules of engagement,
0 0 302 0
Republic withdrew May 2004
non-combat transportation group,
Hungary 0 0 300 0
withdrew May 2005

Georgia 500 300 300 300 combat, medics and support


112 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Coalition Troops By Country (Continued)


At End of
Country Max. Jan. 2007 Comments
Invasion 2004

Azerbaijan 0 250 250 150 non-combat

non-combat, restrictive rules of engagement,


Nicaragua 0 0 230 0
withdrew Feb. 2004
non-combat, training,
Singapore 0 0 192 0
withdrew Mar. 2005
military engineers,
Norway 0 0 150 0
withdrew Oct. 2005

Latvia 0 122 136 120 non-combat

non-combat gendarmes,
Portugal 0 128 128 0
withdrew Feb. 2005

Lithuania 0 105 105 50 non-combat, including doctors

non-combat, decontamination,
Slovakia 0 105 105 0
withdrew Jan. 2007

Czech 0 100 100 100 military police, 300 at peak

Albania 0 70 120 120 non-combat troops

non-combat engineers,
New Zealand 0 0 61 0
withdrew Sep. 2004
non-combat medics and engineers,
Philippines 0 0 51 0
withdrew Jul. 2004

Estonia 0 55 55 34 non-combat

Armenia 0 0 46 46 non-combat medics, engineers

Tonga 0 45 45 0 non-combat, withdrew Dec. 2004

Kazakhstan 0 29 29 29 non-combat military engineers

Bosnia &
0 0 37 36 non-combat
Herzegovina

Macedonia 0 33 33 33 non-combat

non-combat bomb defusing experts,


Moldova 24 12 12 12
withdrew Jan. 2007, may return

Total 201,018 165,125 192,622 145,530


CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 113

America’s closest neighbors, Canada and Mexico, whose leaders knew Bush
best, courageously refused to join the Bush League, even though they risked retalia-
tion from the Bush White House. Let’s consider America’s shameful treatment of
Canada.
In addition to participating in the war on terrorism, Canada willingly participated
in the war in Afghanistan, and many of its soldiers died there, including several
killed accidentally by friendly American fire. Nevertheless, Canada angered the
Bush neocons when it declared it would participate in the Iraq war only with UN
approval, which was not forthcoming. In December 2003, Bush decided that coun-
tries not supporting his invasion of Iraq could not bid on some $18 billion in recon-
struction contracts, thus denying them a share in the spoils of war. Pumped up by
early military successes, Bush was then at his vindictive best, and he put Canada on a
long list of nations to be punished. This disgusted the Canadian population, including
Canada’s new Prime Minister, Paul Martin, especially in view of the blood shed by
Canada’s troops in Afghanistan and the $300 million already committed by Canada
to the reconstruction of Iraq. Martin said he found Bush’s decision “very difficult to
fathom.” Although Bush later relented, the damage was already done.
The Canadians were victims of a key Bush League rule: The only thing that
counts is what you do for Bush and the GOP today. Forget history. Prior friendship,
cooperation and sacrifices don’t count. Jump when Bush says jump. If you do not
docilely participate in Bush’s latest fiasco du jour, you will be punished. Even
Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper, who was elected Canada’s prime minister
in January 2006, refuses to support Bush’s war.
Many coalition members, such as Rwanda, provided nothing other than the du-
plicitous misuse of their names. The Bush neocons referred to this as “moral sup-
port,” even though the vast majority of the citizens of each such nation opposed the
war. Some countries provided logistical support only, such as the use of air space
and air bases, which in most cases had no military value.
Many so-called coalition members actually opposed the war and wanted nothing
to do with the military campaign, but were nevertheless willing to provide humani-
tarian help in the event Bush foolishly pursued his unilateral war.
The Bush administration bragged about the number of nations in the coalition
without ever referring to the broad opposition of the people of each member nation.
However, there’s a critical distinction between a nation’s people willingly sending
troops to war (whether or not there’s a popular vote) and a nation’s leader making
the decision on behalf of the nation. Again, no coalition member nation ever had a
solid majority of its citizens support Bush’s Iraq war.
The leaders of several coalition members made calculated political decisions to
put their nations’ flags, but not muscle, behind the coalition. By making soft nominal
commitments, many such suck-up leaders hoped to stay in Bush’s good graces and
receive benefits in return, such as increased foreign aid, debt forgiveness, American
investment, or a favorable bilateral trade agreement.
The citizens of each member nation by and large understood the political charade
that their leaders were engaged in, and they cut their leaders some slack, especially
when it became apparent that their troops were to be involved with minimal risk and
in minimal numbers.
114 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

In addition to receiving what is best described as bribes, such leaders also wanted
to avoid retribution. Statistically, it was smaller nations with weak militaries or even
no military that succumbed most frequently to the Bush League bullying. None of
the 20 most populous nations, other than the United States, joined Bush’s grand coa-
lition.
There is not one leader of a coalition member who truly supports and likes Bush
and his Iraq war. Even Tony Blair must regret the day he climbed into bed with
America’s King George III and got royally screwed. In Bush’s dog and pony show,
Blair played a poodle.

Coalition Deaths By Nation (through 2006)


3,500
3,001
3,000

2,500

2,000
Deaths

1,500

1,000

500
127 33 30
18 18 13 11
0
United Great Italy Poland Ukraine Bulgaria Spain All
States Britain others

The source of the data in the above chart is www.icasualties.org.


Very few of the small number of casualties suffered by coalition members other
than the United States and Britain resulted from coalition soldiers taking the fight to
the enemy.
The U.S. military sometimes refers to “swimmers” and “non-swimmers” to dis-
tinguish between those who are truly committed to a military venture and willing to
fight, and those who are not. Unfortunately, virtually all of the nations in the Bush
League are non-swimmers who share the central goal of staying out of harm’s way.
The United States and Britain provided almost 100% of the swimmers. Some non-
swimmer nations lost brave troops in Iraq, but with few exceptions the deaths were
caused by traffic accidents, roadside explosions, mortar and sniper attacks, suicide
bombings, and the like, and were not the result of proactive military engagement
with the enemy.
The Bush League has more flags that swimmers. Virtually all of the flags were
“mailed in” without the heart, soul, and commitment of the respective peoples they
represent. There is so little pride among the members of this coalition that they
choose not to gather for group photos showing off all their colorful flags.
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 115

Only a few countries offered “direct military” participation. Statements by the


Bush administration itself show that more than 90% of the coalition members re-
fused to send troops to actually fight the war. Instead, they offered to participate in
ways that were largely soft and worth little or nothing, such as “political support,”
“moral support,” and “over-flight rights.”
Virtually all of the leaders of the coalition nations wanted nothing to do with
Bush’s war, but were willing after the fact to provide “humanitarian and reconstruc-
tion aid” under what proved to be two huge false assumptions, namely that: (1) their
personnel would be welcome and safe after the Americans and Brits did the shooting
and restored a safe environment, and (2) there would be wonderful opportunities to
make money at the Iraqi Public Trough, which the Bush neocons would keep filled
to the brim with Iraqi oil revenues and U.S. taxpayer dollars.
These leaders are like neighbors who unsuccessfully try to dissuade a drunken
man from beating a small child, but later—after the thug has given his neighbors the
finger and beaten the child anyway—step in to offer some medical aid and comfort
to the battered victim. And if the thug offers them some money in the process, well
what’s wrong with that?
To be clear, we honor the service of all coalition troops, since with rare exception
they bravely followed their orders. The blame lies not with the troops but with their
respective political leaders.

U.S. And Other Coalition Deaths in Iraq by Calendar Quarter


350
U.S.
300 Ot her Coalit ion

250

200
Deaths

150

100

50

0
Q1 2003
Q2 2003
Q3 2003
Q4 2003
Q1 2004
Q2 2004
Q3 2004
Q4 2004
Q1 2005
Q2 2005
Q3 2005
Q4 2005
Q1 2006
Q2 2006
Q3 2006
Q4 2006
Q1 2007
Q2 2007
Q3 2007

Although Bush’s war was created and directed by old, white, typically wealthy,
male politicians, young Americans fight it. More than three-quarters of U.S. fatalities
116 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

are 30 years old or younger. Slightly more than 25% are ages 21 or younger. Half are
from 22 to 30 years old. Fewer than one-quarter are 31 years or older.40
Finally noticing that they had bungled things badly in Iraq, the Bush neocons in
2004 began a hard push to get NATO to join in and help clean up their mess. Their
efforts to engage NATO were less than effective for many reasons.

SIDEBAR: NATO

In addition to Bush’s Iraq war being unlawful under international law, there are sev-
eral other reasons why NATO refused to join his Bush League of Nations. Here are a
few of the lowlights:
• Unilateral Militarism. The Bush neocons made all the decisions regarding the
war it wanted, and all glory and booty would be theirs. To the extent other na-
tions participated, their role was to take orders.
• Disrespect. Bush went out of his way to insult NATO members who disagreed,
and he foolishly and childishly made it personal in order to please his rightwing
base. In November 2002, just prior to the NATO summit in Prague, Bush
shunned German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in a rude display of Bush
League diplomacy. Let’s not forget the GOP jokes about the Germans and the
French, especially the French. Republicans led by crooked Congressman Bob
Ney even had French fries replaced by “freedom fries” on the congressional
menu, but Ney later ate his words and his “freedom fries” when he headed off to
prison to serve a 30-month sentence for corruption.
• More Disrespect. In addition to insulting NATO members that refused to join
his Bush League of Nations, Bush even disrespected the few NATO members
that did by never seriously consulting with them about the conduct of the war.
• Lack of Empathy. Bush failed to consider the domestic political reality facing
each NATO member nation and its leader. Even Tony Blair was not treated as
an equal, which caused the British to call him Bush’s poodle, a lapdog always at
Bush’s beck and call for photo ops and glorious barking whenever Bush’s rat-
ings needed a boost.
• Lack of Trust. It is difficult to find a single world leader who trusts Bush and his
warmongering party.
• Afghanistan. Unfortunately, Afghanistan provided an excellent case study of
how Bush misuses and disrespects NATO.
Although NATO refused to join the coalition, it later helped train Iraq’s military
personnel. Because this peacekeeping effort was not under U.S. control, it was more
popular in Europe. NATO nations unwilling to join Bush’s messy war on Iraq were
understandably willing to help the battered people of Iraq by helping clean up his
mess.

40
The source of this data as well as the data in the preceding chart is www.icasualties.org.
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 117

Knowing Iraq was going to be a cakewalk, Bush, like a spoiled child, did not
want to share any of the delicious cake with anyone. But when the cake he baked
turned out to be toxic, Bush desperately searched for others to eat it. In 2004, and
without the slightest hint of an apology, Bush informed both NATO and the United
Nations that it was their duty to help clean up the mess.
Several Bush League members said in 2004 they would reconsider their plans to
withdraw personnel from Iraq if a UN resolution gave the United Nations more au-
thority in Iraq, but Bush remained intransigent.
Fear of retribution from the Bush administration influenced the decision of many
coalition members to join the coalition and stay longer than planned. However,
Bush’s incompetence and disastrous foreign policy reduced his political and moral
leadership to such a low point that he could not effectively punish nations that left
the coalition or reduced their commitments. Nations opposing Bush drew strength
from their numbers. If Bush were to take punitive action against every nation that
opposed his war, he would have to punish the entire world.
As the security situation in Iraq worsened, many coalition members looked for
face-saving excuses to justify a partial or complete withdrawal as soon as possible.
The meaningless transfer of sovereignty from the United States to Iraq on June 28,
2004, was one such convenient excuse. The series of Iraqi elections, including those
of January and November of 2005, offered additional excuses.
Profiting from the increasing chaos unleashed by Bush’s malfeasance and in-
competence in Iraq, and using the car keys handed to them by Bush, Islamic hard-
liners in Iraq’s elections are riding to power in that famous “democracy” vehicle, a
vehicle they are likely to abandon later at a time of their choosing. Perhaps Bush
thought, “Dang, I thought religious rightwingers in Iraq would be great—no one told
me them dudes wasn’t Christians.”
The extend to which Iraq becomes a theocracy remains to be seen, but expect to
see the marriage of religion and state, with civil law replaced largely by Islamic
canon as embodied in the shariah. The only certainty is that the ultimate rulers of
Iraq will not be the docile pawns so coveted by Bush and his GOP neocons in their
imperialist New American Century dreams.

Ten Reasons Why the United States Must Immediately Withdraw


from Iraq
Here are ten compelling reasons why the United States must immediately withdraw
its military from Iraq.41
1) A huge supermajority of Iraqis wants its government to set a timetable for
the United States to withdraw its forces. Does the Bush administration believe in
Iraqi democracy and self-determination, or not?
• It does not. If Bush’s GOP regime ever believed in democracy, it would
have set a firm timetable for withdrawal years ago, and U.S. forces thus
would already be out of Iraq, whatever the chosen timeframe for withdrawal
(e.g., 3, 6, or 12 months).

41
Of course, the U.S. military would be tasked with determining and implementing a plan for
orderly withdrawal.
118 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• Numerous surveys of Iraqis, beginning within a year of the 2003 invasion,


established that a huge supermajority of Iraqis want American troops to
leave Iraq soon. A survey in late 2005 indicated that 82% of Iraqis were
“strongly opposed” to the U.S.-led occupation.
• According to the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) survey
of September 1-4, 2006, 91% of Iraqis want a firm timetable for the United
States to withdraw its forces. 37% of Iraqis chose “withdraw within 6
months,” 34% chose “within 1 year,” 20% chose “within 2 years,” and only
9% chose “only reduce as the security situation improves.”42 No ethnic
group favored that last choice, an open-ended commitment.
• There is a growing sense of urgency, which is reflected in the polls con-
ducted by the PIPA during January 2006 and again in September 2006. The
latter report states: “As compared to January 2006, there has been, overall, a
growing sense of urgency for withdrawal of U.S.-led forces.”
• If U.S. forces stay in Iraq, at some point they will officially be asked to
leave or will be forced to leave. The United States should proactively man-
age this inevitable exit, not be managed and mangled by it.
2) Sixty-one percent of Iraqis (as of September 2006) approve of attacks on
U.S.-led forces in Iraq.43
• This figure is a substantial 14-point increase from the 47% reported in the
survey conducted by the PIPA only eight months earlier (January 2006.)
The lower 47% figure was outrageous enough by itself, far more than
enough, to compel immediate withdrawal.
• Because the United States is a distrusted, uninvited occupying force, most
Iraqis do not see such attacks on American troops as terrorism, but rather as
a legitimate tool to encourage America to withdraw.
• Here’s another shocking finding from the January 2006 PIPA survey: while
47% of Iraqis supported attacks on U.S.-led forces, only 7% supported at-
tacks on Iraqi government security forces, and only 1% supported attacks
on Iraqi civilians.
• One can speculate as to what percentage of Iraqis smile when they see
Americans killed or wounded in Iraq.
3) Announcing the withdrawal will help reduce Iraqis’ deep distrust regarding
the U.S. government’s intentions in Iraq, and may significantly reduce the at-
tacks on American forces. Here are a few examples of this distrust:

42
The results vary considerably along sectarian and ethic lines, with the Shia results tracking
closely to the overall results. No group favors an open-ended commitment, although the Kurds
by a modest majority favored that approach only eight months earlier. (31% of Kurds chose
the open-ended commitment in the September 2006 survey, down substantially from the 57%
of Kurds that favored this approach only eight months earlier.) The Sunnis favored the fastest
timetable, with 57% of Sunnis wanting U.S. forces out within 6 months, and an additional
34% favoring withdrawal within 1 year (for a total of 91%), and only 2% favoring an open-
ended commitment.
43
The overall percentage of 61% breaks down as follows: 15% of Kurds; 62% of Shia; and
92% of Sunni.
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 119

• A huge supermajority of Iraqis (78%) believes the United States, if told by


the Iraqi government to withdraw all of its forces within six months, would
not do so.44
• A huge supermajority of Iraqis (77%) believes the United States intends to
have permanent military bases in Iraq even after Iraq is stabilized.45
• Only a small minority of Iraqis (18%) believes the United States plans to
remove its entire military once Iraq is stabilized.
• The Bush administration lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi
people within six months of the invasion.
4) Iraqis believe the U.S. military presence in Iraq undercuts the legitimacy and
effectiveness of Iraq’s fledging government, partly because it is viewed as sub-
servient to U.S. control.
• According to the PIPA survey of Iraqis conducted January 2-6, 2006, three
quarters of Iraqis believe America’s withdrawal would make the various
factions in Iraq’s government more willing to cooperate with each other.
• By a margin of 5 to 2, Iraqis believe an American commitment to withdraw
would “strengthen the Iraq government.”
5) The invasion and occupation of Iraq is immoral and in violation of U.S. and
international law.
• The Iraq war is in violation of the principles of a just war set forth in inter-
national law, including the Geneva Conventions.
• The Bush administration waged war on Iraq in violation of U.S. law and in-
ternational law, including the UN charter, and in violation of Congress’s au-
thority to determine the necessity of war.
• The invasion and occupation of Iraq is immoral and was opposed by all ma-
jor religious organizations in the world except the Southern Baptists in
America.
6) The invasion and occupation of Iraq was built on a web of lies.
• Bush and Cheney participated in a conspiracy directed from the White
House to lie to and mislead Congress and the American public about the
reasons for invading and occupying Iraq, including misleading statements
and lies about Iraq’s nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons capability, the
threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), connections between 9/11
and Saddam, connections between al Qaeda and Saddam, and the imminent
threat of Iraq to the United States and other nations.
• Bush’s war on Iraq had virtually nothing to do with promoting democracy
and human rights, but was waged to extend America’s corporate power, es-
pecially America’s Big Oil interests, by establishing a permanent American
military platform in the center of the Middle East, the world’s biggest oil-
can.

44
The overall percentage of 78% breaks down as follows: 64% of Kurds; 76% of Shia; and
96% of Sunni.
45
The overall percentage of 77% breaks down as follows: 58% of Kurds; 73% of Shia; and
97% of Sunni.
120 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

•As late as 2007, 90% of U.S. troops in Iraq still believed the U.S. invasion
was in retaliation for Saddam’s role in 9/11. The U.S. government must stop
lying to our troops and start supporting them. A good first step is to pull
them out of Iraq.
7) A majority of Americans want America’s troops to withdraw.
• As the truth slowly emerged, a growing majority of Americans came to rec-
ognize that Bush’s mission in Iraq is a failed mission.
• It is now too late, as well as politically impossible, for Bush to greatly ex-
pand the U.S. military force in Iraq to a level that would have had a reason-
able chance of controlling the sectarian violence and creating an environ-
ment conducive to reconstruction work. In any case, Bush does not have the
backbone to demand a military draft, and if he did, America would not sup-
port him. As of early 2006 barely 10% of Americans favored increasing
U.S. forces in Iraq by any amount.
• A growing majority of the American people understands that withdrawal
from Iraq is the best of rotten alternatives, all thanks to the incompetence of
Bush and the GOP. The 2006 midterm elections confirmed this.
• Americans also understand that withdrawal is the inevitable course.
• In withdrawing from Iraq, America must place the blame where it belongs,
not on America’s finest, but on America’s worst—Bush and his incompe-
tent GOP administration. A quick withdrawal will best honor America’s
troops, especially those wounded and killed while bravely following orders,
and it will prevent more of America’s finest from dying in the pursuit of
Bush’s immoral war. America must not repeat the timetable of the Vietnam
War, during which more than half of America’s casualties were suffered af-
ter the U.S. government knew its war policies were destined to fail.
8) The continued occupation of Iraq is more harmful than beneficial to Iraq
and most Iraqis.
• A huge supermajority of Iraqis (78%) believe the U.S. military presence is
“provoking more conflict than it is preventing,” according to the PIPA sur-
vey conducted September 1-4, 2006, in Iraq.46 Only 21% believe it is “a sta-
bilizing force.”
• The 2003 invasion put Iraq on the road to civil war, ethnic cleansing and
genocide, all of which are exacerbated by the continued presence of Ameri-
can troops. Unfortunately, Bush’s policies from the start aggravated ethnic
and sectarian differences in Iraq. In helping train Iraq’s army and police, the
United States unwittingly picked sides, and unintentionally encouraged the
growth of sectarian militias and death squads, including Shia death squads
that operate within the Ministry of the Interior and other offices of the Iraqi
government.

46
The overall percentage of 78% breaks down as follows: 41% of Kurds; 82% of Shia; and
97% of Sunni.
CHAPTER 5 — THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 121

• Many of those Iraqis who tolerate the presence of American troops do so


because they believe it serves their particular power-grabbing, revenge-
seeking, or sectarian purposes.
• Raw military power does not give legitimacy to America’s foreign policy.
Trying to influence Islamic populations with military force works precisely
in the opposite direction. The vast majority of Muslims do not hate America
and America’s way of life. They hate America’s Bush League foreign pol-
icy and its imperial leader.
9) Withdrawal from Iraq is necessary because Bush and the GOP are unable
and unwilling to conduct the occupation honestly and competently.
• Bush and the GOP cannot be trusted with matters of war and national de-
fense. They neither talk straight nor shoot straight.
• The mismanaged reconstruction work in Iraq is the most corrupt military
contracting in American history, and the GOP-controlled Congress com-
pletely abdicated its oversight responsibilities.
• The Bush administration itself is a horrible role model for people aspiring to
improve their government and their lives.
• By telling Iraq it must fund reconstruction largely on its own, the Bush ad-
ministration threw in the towel on meaningful reconstruction activities, ex-
cept for America’s huge military bases and fortified embassy bunker com-
plex in the Green Zone—frequent targets of Iraqi insurgents—which are
destined to remain imperial islands in a sea of chaos.
• The Bush administration rejected Powell’s pottery barn rule. Bush’s version
is that if he breaks something, he just break more things, and then blames
someone else.
• Bush’s war propelled Iraq and the region on a course for genocide and war
with unpredictable consequences. Although America’s military presence in
Iraq may keep the lid on the pressure cooker in Iraq in the short term, it is
causing a dangerous build up in pressure in both Iraq and in the region.
• America’s Bush League policymakers are flying blind in Iraq, unable to dis-
tinguish between friend and foe, and unwilling to learn or even talk with
America’s various adversaries and potential allies in the region.
10) America’s so-called war on terrorism is compromised by the continued oc-
cupation of Iraq, which day by day is making America and the world less safe.
• The Bush administration created in Iraq a fertile breeding ground for terror-
ists where none existed before. Ironically, this disastrous turn of events gave
the neocons a bogus rationale for “staying the course” in Iraq, namely that
Iraq now is “on the front line in the war on terrorism.”
• The presence of uninvited U.S. troops in Iraq inflames Muslims worldwide
and is the best marketing tool for the recruitment and motivation of Islamic
terrorists.
• Bush’s occupation also motivates genuine Iraqi patriots who want to expel
all foreign occupiers in a war of liberation.
• One drains the swamp to kill mosquitoes, but the ongoing occupation of
Iraq creates new swamps that breed an endless supply of terrorists. The
122 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Bush regime knows not whom they swat or why, and they cannot explain
why they keep swatting.
Although the way forward in Iraq is fraught with great uncertainty and risk, any
alternative is better than Bush’s so-called “victory” strategy, or “stay-the-course”
strategy, or “surge” strategy, all of which continue to fuel the chaos in Iraq. “Vic-
tory,” “stay the course,” and “surge” are not strategies, but simply slogans that lull
the gullible mind.

SIDEBAR: What’s the Right Question on Dumbness?

What’s the right question on dumbness? Is it, “How dumb does Bush think his sup-
porters are?” Or is it, “How dumb is he?”
During more than three years of war in Iraq, the Bush White House smacked
down dissenting voices by saying America must “stay the course” in Iraq. But in
October 2006, on the eve of the midterm elections, the Bush White House decided to
prohibit the phrase “stay the course” in presidential speeches and public statements.
Perhaps forgetting that modern technology permits things to be recorded, Bush later
that month declared on ABC, “Well, hey, listen, we’ve never been ‘stay the course.’”
Bloggers soon pointed out numerous instances of Bush himself asserting, “stay the
course.”

Bush’s “vision” for Iraq is a schizophrenic fantasy with two conflicting objec-
tives. On one hand, Bush calls desperately for America somehow to extract itself
from the cakewalk-turned-quagmire—the Iraq war that is both a civil war and a war
of liberation—that has cost America a heavy human price and countless hundreds of
billions of dollars. On the other hand, he desperately wants America, by miraculous
hook or crook, to still control Iraq through a puppet regime and a permanent Ameri-
can military presence.
Like misbehaving children with their hands stuck in someone else’s candy ma-
chine—and unwilling to release the candy they’re trying to steal—Bush and his GOP
never-wore-the-uniform neocons still lust for control of Iraq, that long-desired sweet
centerpiece of their un-American fantasy known as The Project for the New Ameri-
can Century.
In the next chapter we’ll take a hard look at more than 50 nations claimed by the
Bush regime and the neocons, at one time or another, to be members of the Bush
League of Nations.
CHAPTER 6

Members of the Bush League of Nations


Lost in the Wilderness—A Leader Without Followers

A Profile in Courage: The policies we are now asked to advance are incom-
patible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our
fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international
legitimacy that has been America’s most potent weapon of both offense and
defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the
largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has
ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not secu-
rity.
—John Brady Kiesling, an American career Foreign Service officer in
Athens, Greece (from his resignation letter dated February 24, 2003, to Sec-
retary of State Colin Powell, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq.)

We turn our attention now to each of the more than 50 nations that have been
claimed, at one time or another, by the Bush neocons and their cheerleaders in Amer-
ica’s rightwing media to be “members” of the so-called Coalition of the Willing, i.e.,
the Bush League of Nations.
First, an important clarification needs to be made. This book—as is the case with
virtually all media—frequently uses the name of a nation as a shorthand reference to
its ruling government, typically its executive branch. It is cumbersome to do other-
wise. For, example, we might state that “Britain” decided to send troops to Iraq, as
shorthand for “the ruling government of Britain” or “Prime Minister Tony Blair”
having decided to send troops to Iraq. Also, in many cases it would be more accurate
to refer to the “dictator” or “ruling junta” of a nation as having taken some action,
rather than using only the nation’s name.
The point here is that the shorthand use of a nation’s name does not imply that
the people of that nation so acted, or even tacitly agreed with the action. In fact, re-
garding Bush’s Iraq war and the Bush League of Nations, the opposite is always true.
Specifically, in no case did the people of any coalition partner of America vote to
support Bush’s war on Iraq, or otherwise broadly support the decision of its leader to
join the Bush League of Nations and invade Iraq. The reader is thus asked to remem-
ber and consider the relevant context in which a particular country name is used.
124 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Afghanistan: Surprisingly, Afghanistan appeared in early 2003 on the original list of


30 nations in the coalition. What were the Bush neocons thinking? Perhaps they read
their own rosy press releases, concluding that there was no more work to be done in
secure and peaceful Afghanistan—Bush’s first huge “mission unaccomplished”—
and that the “freed up” Afghan forces could be shifted to Iraq, joining the American
forces that Bush had already foolishly transferred there. Or perhaps they thought that
Afghanistan’s contribution would be the countless Afghan citizens who would an-
swer Bush’s invitation to “bring them on” and travel to Iraq to fight against the coa-
lition? In any case, Afghanistan was soon unceremoniously cut from the team. One
odd note: When the Bush administration disclosed in early 2003 the first list of coali-
tion members, it announced that Afghanistan “may” open its airspace to coalition
military flights. “May?”

Albania: Albania, a member of the Vilnius Group of countries seeking NATO mem-
bership, was included in the first coalition list of 30 countries, and it remains one of
the more vocal supporters of Bush’s Iraq war. “We’re the most pro-U.S. nation in
Europe,” said Satos Tarisa, its U.S. ambassador. Albanians are grateful that, under
the leadership of President Clinton, the U.S.-led NATO bombing campaign in Serbia
and Kosovo in 1999 saved countless Kosovo Albanians from massacres and ethnic
cleansing at the hands of Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbs. Although Albania an-
nounced plans to almost triple its troop levels in Iraq—to a grand total of 200 non-
combat troops—its participation remains largely symbolic. It also agreed to Ameri-
can use of its bases and airspace. Unfortunately, Bush was unable, perhaps unwill-
ing, to leverage to America’s advantage in the Muslim world the goodwill created by
Clinton when he acted boldly to save the Muslims in Kosovo. By the end of 2006,
Albania had reduced its force level to 120.

SIDEBAR: Vilnius Group

The Vilnius Group—which derives its name from the historic city of Vilnius, the
capital of Lithuania, where the group first met—was created in May 2000 by a group
of nine primarily Eastern European countries seeking membership in NATO. Croatia
joined the group in May 2001, making it ten, and the group is thus sometimes re-
ferred to as V10. The ten member countries are: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia,
Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
For decades the countries in the Vilnius Group have had strong positive attitudes
towards the United States and Americans. This is quite understandable, since the
United States and NATO played a key role in the collapse of the Soviet Union and
the subsequent birth of democracy in Eastern Europe.
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 125

In pursuing the war on terrorism Bush was able to tap into the deep reservoir of
goodwill towards America among the people of the Vilnius Group. Given this good-
will—all of which Bush inherited—and considering the Vilnius Group’s desire not to
offend the Bush administration and thus possibly jeopardize the group’s goal of at-
taining NATO membership, it is no surprise that some members of the group sup-
ported Bush’s war in Iraq, at least with words, albeit not with significant combat
troops.
Unfortunately, through lies and incompetence, Bush squandered the goodwill,
just like he squandered the budget surpluses and the strong military he inherited from
Bill Clinton.
On February 5, 2003, that dark day in American diplomacy when Colin Powell
made his infamous presentation to the UN Security Council regarding Iraq, the Vil-
nius Group issued “The Statement of the Vilnius Group Countries on Iraq.” It in-
cluded the following justification and foundation for the group’s position:

Earlier today, the United States presented compelling evidence to the United Nations
Security Council detailing Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs, its active efforts
to deceive UN inspectors, and its links to international terrorism.

However, the so-called “compelling evidence” was nonexistent, and the world
knew it. More telling, the Vilnius group’s decision to issue the statement had been
made prior to Powell’s presentation.
In any case, the ten nations in the Vilnius Group were shanghaied into Bush’s
coalition, notwithstanding their lack of meaningful support for the war on Iraq. Two
of them, Croatia and Slovenia, objected officially and immediately to their inclusion,
and they were quickly dropped from the list, without the fanfare that typically ac-
companied the announcement of new members.

Angola: Angola was one of six swing votes—the “Middle Six”—on the UN Security
Council during its early 2003 debate of a Bush-backed resolution to end the effective
weapons inspections program in Iraq and authorize war against Iraq. Notwithstand-
ing Washington’s campaign of bribes and threats of retaliation, Angola withstood the
pressure and refused to vote for Bush’s war. Angola simply did not believe Bush’s
claim that he wanted to liberate Iraq. Also, the illegal campaign crafted by the U.S.
National Security Agency to spy on Angola’s UN delegation did not help matters. It
is noteworthy that more than 500,000 people were killed in Angola’s 27-year civil
war that ended in 2002, a war prolonged by the rightwing intervention of the United
States and apartheid South Africa. Because Angola seeks America’s help in rebuild-
ing and developing its substantial oil resources, it had a big incentive to play ball in
the Bush League. However, Angola stuck with its principles and moral values, and
opposed Bush’s war. Oddly, Angola was among the 50 coalition members identified
in the March 27, 2003, resolution of the U.S. Senate. Although Angola said at one
point that Iraq was a threat, Angola provided no troops and no money for the coali-
tion, in addition to not supporting the United States at the United Nations. Its inclu-
sion in the coalition demonstrated the Bush administration’s fundamental dishonesty.
126 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Armenia: Having provided so-called “political support,” Armenia appeared on at


least one early list of coalition members, but the cold feet of the Armenian govern-
ment made its membership uncertain. In September 2004 (six months after the inva-
sion of Iraq) Armenia announced it would send 50 non-combat troops to Iraq for
humanitarian purposes under a “security cooperation agreement” signed by the
presidents of Armenia and Poland. The planned deployment, which was to be under
the Polish Multi-National Force, raised concerns both within Armenia and within
Armenian communities in Iraq and other Arab nations, and the Armenian prime min-
ister later suggested that the deployment might not take place, citing a change in
conditions since the pledge of troops just one month earlier. Passing the hot potato,
the prime minister emphasized that the deployment decision would be made by Ar-
menia’s parliament and constitutional court, even though the president had pledged
the troops. Prime Minister Andranik Margarian explained, “There’s deep concern in
Armenia too since our country will become a target for international terrorism in
case of Armenian servicemen’s participation in antiterrorist actions.” He also
stressed the need to learn more about the situation in Iraq. In October 2004 Armenia
appeared on the State Department’s coalition list, but not on the Multi-National
Force list, demonstrating that the Bush regime could not even agree with itself on the
official Bush League roster. Armenia had 46 medics, engineers and drivers in Iraq as
of early 2007.

Australia: As discussed in the previous chapter, the United States and Great Britain
provided almost all of the combat troops for the invasion of Iraq. The combat troop
contributions from the rest of the coalition can best be described as token or nonexis-
tent, and made for diplomatic and propaganda purposes, not for military reasons.
Australia and Poland are most frequently cited as nations that provided some combat
troops for the invasion, but neither contribution was significant (with Poland con-
tributing fewer than Australia.) Although Australia sent a well-trained, elite force of
2,000 troops to the region, along with fighter aircraft and warships, the majority of
these troops were stationed outside Iraq. Also, their rules of engagement limited the
risk of casualties, and in fact no Australian troops were killed during the invasion. In
the geopolitical poker game, Australia’s contribution was more than a joker but far
less than a full deck. Nevertheless, it was “mission accomplished,” i.e., Bush could
claim Australian support and continue dealing from the bottom of the deck back
home. Rising above the Bush League sleaze of 2003, however, is the central fact that
Australian and American forces have fought side by side many times over the last
century—including in World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf
War I, and Somalia—and that there will always be great friendship between Austra-
lians and Americans.
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 127

SIDEBAR: Geopolitics and Diplomatic Language—From Down Under

The decision of Australia to join the coalition was made unilaterally by the conserva-
tive government of John Howard, notwithstanding the opposition of the Australian
legislature and 75% of the Australian people. Approximately one million Australians
protested against the war on February 15, 2003, and many Australians called Bush’s
charade the “coalition of the silly.” Howard also suffered an embarrassing “no confi-
dence” vote in the Australian Senate at that time, the first such vote by Australia’s
upper house in its 102-year history. However, Australians realized the political game
that Howard was playing—offering enough to give Bush a fig leaf, but not so much
as to upset Australian voters or other nations, especially Muslim nations in Southeast
Asia, plus setting policies that would minimize the risk of Australian casualties.
Most of Australia’s troops were located outside of Iraq in the Persian Gulf area, and
none died during the invasion. As a result, the Iraq war was not the most important
issue in Australia’s elections in October 2004, and Howard was reelected to a fourth
term. Nevertheless, the Iraq war still divides Australia. Howard’s challenger from the
Labor Party, Mark Latham, used Aussie diplomatic language when he described
Howard, Bush and other leaders that sent soldiers to invade Iraq as “a conga line of
suck-holes.”
In another diplomatic faux pas, Bush in June 2004 supported Howard in the up-
coming September election in Australia as Bush spoke at a White House press con-
ference following a meeting with Howard, thus violating an informal rule of diplo-
macy that the leader of one nation (except for the United States apparently) does not
interfere in the domestic affairs and politics of another nation. Bush’s comments
were widely criticized in Australia. Bob Brown, the leader of Australia’s Green
Party, diplomatically noted:

How dare this popinjay of a president interfere in Australian affairs—Australian domestic


political affairs? He should pull his head in. … [W]e don’t need President Bush, from his
biased and quite small-minded point of view in Washington, telling the Australian people
what they should think or what they should do.

After the so-called “combat phase” ended in early 2003, Australia quickly with-
drew more than half its forces from Iraq and the region. Also, by October 2004, only
300 of the remaining 900 Australian troops were actually in Iraq, the rest being on
warships in the Persian Gulf or at air support locations in the region. None of the
remaining troops have combat roles, and much of their effort is focused on protect-
ing themselves and other Australian personnel. In October 2004, Australia refused a
request from the United Nations to send additional forces to Iraq to help protect UN
representatives, although it did agree to train Fijian forces for this purpose. By early
2007 Australia’s forces had been reduced by more than 70%, to 550.
128 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan, another nation with a token non-combat force in Iraq, had
many reasons to suck up to Bush and especially his oil cronies from Texas. This
former Soviet republic has major-league oil reserves and looks to America for con-
tinued aid and goodwill, as well as possible protection in a dangerous part of the
world. With Russia on its northern border and Iran to the south, Azerbaijan and the
bordering Caspian Sea offer transit routes for narcotics, terrorists and black-market
weapons. Also, it is involved in a border conflict with Armenia, which occupies
about 20% of its territory. Azerbaijan draws a parallel between this Armenian occu-
pation and Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait. Azerbaijan thus joined the coalition as one
of the first 30 members, offering “political support” and post-war humanitarian aid.
As one of the few predominantly Muslim (93%, mostly Shiite) nations in the coali-
tion, its forces protected Iraq’s holiest Shiite sites, located in Najaf and Karbala. It
had 150 troops in Iraq in 2004 but reneged on a plan to add 250 troops to that total.

Bosnia & Herzegovina: The people of Bosnia & Herzegovina suffered greatly dur-
ing the civil war and genocide that followed the breakup of Yugoslavia, and the ex-
perience gained in disposing of landmines and other explosives is being put to bene-
ficial use in Iraq by 37 troops well trained in the disposal of unexploded IEDs and
other ordinance. Their efforts are undoubtedly saving lives in Iraq.

Bulgaria: As an inducement for Bulgaria to send 480 troops to the Iraq region, the
Bush regime promised to buy $1.7 billion in debt Iraq owed Bulgaria. This pencils
out to $3.5 million in U.S. tax dollars for each “rented” non-combat Bulgarian sol-
dier, and it thus was an attractive business transaction for Bulgaria, notwithstanding
the collection risk of being stiffed later by the Bush administration. Bulgaria, a for-
mer Warsaw Pact nation, also wanted to curry favor in order to be admitted to
NATO, and in 2004 it became a NATO member. An additional inducement for Bul-
garia was the prospect of sharing in the spoils of war, namely billions in reconstruc-
tion contracts. Initially wanting to be an anonymous member of the coalition, Bul-
garia flipped back and forth before officially opting in, and its peacekeeping partici-
pation began five months after the invasion. Although its troops were skilled in han-
dling non-conventional biological and chemical attacks, Bulgaria refused to provide
combat troops. It also provided the United States with over-fly privileges and the use
of an airbase on the Black Sea. When deciding later not to completely withdraw its
troops from Iraq, Bulgaria oddly allowed any of its troops who wanted to go home to
do so. As of April 2004, more than 60 of its troops had so chosen to leave Iraq.47

47
The following is for Casablanca movie fans only: In this scene Annina, who is desperate to
escape Casablanca, has been weighing Captain Louis Renault’s proposal of sex for exit visas
for herself and her husband. She seeks the advice of Rick Blaine:
Annina: Oh, monsieur, you are a man. If someone loved you very much, so that your
happiness was the only thing that she wanted in the world, but she did a bad thing to
make certain of it, could you forgive her?
Rick Blaine: Nobody ever loved me that much.
Annina: And he never knew, and the girl kept this bad thing locked in her heart? That
would be all right, wouldn’t it?
Rick: You want my advice?
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 129

Also, for safety reasons its diplomats moved from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan, in
October 2003. According to a mid-2004 survey, about 80% of Bulgarians believe
Bulgaria’s role in Iraq could cause a terrorist attack on Bulgaria. In the run-up to the
Iraq war, Bulgaria, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, was ag-
gressively courted by the United States, and it was in the minority on the Security
Council that sided with the United States. Notwithstanding this support, Bulgaria
was one of five Security Council members targeted for illegal espionage by the Bush
administration, which instructed the National Security Agency (NSA) to ask Great
Britain for help in the illegal bugging. This was just another strand in the wicked
web of international distrust woven by Bush. By early 2007 Bulgaria had reduced its
non-combat forces in Iraq by more than two-thirds, to 155.

Colombia: Colombia, one of the world’s most dangerous places, was included on
the original State Department list of 30 coalition members. Because Colombia de-
pends heavily on American aid and military assistance to fight its anti-drugs war and
FARC rebel forces, Colombia was willing to play ball to the extent of perhaps offer-
ing “political support.” Like many other coalition members, it did nothing to help the
coalition and was quickly and quietly dropped from the list. Perhaps the United
States and Colombia should team up to show Afghanistan how not to win its war
against drugs.

Costa Rica: This nation is one of a half dozen unarmed countries that appeared on
propaganda lists distributed by the Bush administration in early 2003. It was later
dropped unceremoniously from the Bush League. That’s only fair, since its citizens
broadly opposed Bush’s war, plus Costa Rica asked in September 2004 to be taken
off the list.

Croatia: Like many other “members” of the Bush League, Croatia appeared on a
few early lists hyping the coalition’s size, including that of the Heritage Foundation,
a rightwing “think tank” and shill for the Iraq war that was part of the White House’s
coordinated propaganda campaign to sell its illegal war. On March 19, 2003, just
hours after Bush gave his 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam, the Heritage Foundation
released its article, “‘Coalition of the Willing’ Already Larger than the 1991 Gulf
War coalition.” The U.S. Senate’s resolution of March 27, 2003, which “drafted” 50
members into the coalition, identified Croatia as one of the countries providing “dip-
lomatic and strategic support.” However, the Bush administration soon dropped
Croatia, and Washington’s bullying threats regarding Croatia’s flagging support
caused relations between America and this bully-target country of 4.4 million to de-
teriorate. Croatia never provided a single soldier—combat or non-combat—to Iraq,
and it stated that its airports and airspace would be open only to civilian transport
aircraft.

Annina: Oh, yes, please.


Rick: Go back to Bulgaria.
130 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Czech Republic: Although the Czech Republic refused to participate in Bush’s in-
vasion of Iraq, it did provide humanitarian aid in the form of a field hospital. In late
2003 its hospital personnel were replaced by a contingent of military police. By late
2004 Czech support for Bush’s Iraq war had dropped to 10%, and various plans to
withdraw Czech troops were floated. Nevertheless, troop levels have been evenly
maintained at 100, the maximum approved by the Czech government, with rotations
occurring every three months. The expectation of reconstruction contracts for dozens
of Czech companies—another Bush League mirage—was a key reason the Czech
Republic allowed itself to be suckered into Iraq in the first place.

SIDEBAR: Leaving on a Jet Plane

The Czech government was embarrassed in January 2003, shortly before the start of
the Iraq invasion, when the Czech Defense Minister, who was in Kuwait visiting a
Czech anti-chemical unit deployed there, made a symbolic offer to his troops—
anyone who wanted to go home before the invasion could do so. At least 27 of the
250 troops decided to leave, with seven of them leaving immediately on the Defense
Minister’s jet and the rest following later. They weren’t supposed to do that! Many
military experts were amazed, with Jane’s Defence Weekly saying it was “certainly a
unique approach” to troop morale.

Denmark: Notwithstanding strong opposition from the Danish people and from all
opposition political parties, the rightwing government of this NATO nation was one
of the truly voluntary contributors to the coalition, although the level of its support
was lukewarm. Denmark’s government gave its support voluntarily without evidence
of coercion or bribes, although rightwing geopolitics was probably part of the mix.
Denmark’s contribution included a submarine intended to monitor Iraqi intelligence,
other ships, and medical personnel. However, its 470 troops did not include troops
for ground combat, and requests for additional troops were refused. During Bush’s
ballyhooed surge of U.S. troops in 2007, Denmark de-surged its troops, withdrawing
all of them by September 2007.

Dominican Republic: Spain’s withdrawal of its troops in April 2004 provided the
Dominican Republic with a convenient excuse to do likewise, which it did in May
2004, while citing increasing domestic opposition. As part of the Ultra Plus Brigade
led by Spain, the Dominican Republic depended upon Spain for logistical support. It
was one of the 15 infamous “unwilling to be named” nations trumpeted by the State
Department in March 2003. The MNF-I (Multi-National Force-Iraq) website as of
October 2004 erroneously still listed the Dominican Republic as a member, although
its flag had been removed. The Dominican Republic is one of several Latin Ameri-
can countries with a history of rightwing American military intervention, including a
bloody history of American-supported death squads that rivaled those of Saddam.
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 131

Dominican personnel were frequently subjected to mortar attacks, but they had no
casualties.

El Salvador: The 380 personnel from El Salvador are mostly engineers and medical
personnel assigned to civil reconstruction and the training of Iraqi forces. El Salva-
dor is the only remaining member of the Ultra Plus Brigade, which consisted of five
Spanish-speaking nations led by Spain. Spain, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic
and Honduras all withdrew from Iraq in 2004. In June 2004 Salvadoran President
Elias Antonio Saca said that El Salvador’s troops would relocate to “a safer place”
until their mission ended.

Eritrea: The inclusion of Eritrea on the State Department’s March 18, 2003, list of
30 coalition members was greeted with disbelief and derisive commentary. Eritrea is
an extremely poor country plagued by famine and decades of war with neighboring
Ethiopia, and its current president, a dictator, refuses to implement the constitution
approved by the people in 1997. UN peacekeepers still patrol the border between
Eritrea and Ethiopia under a 2000 peace agreement, and each country seeks Amer-
ica’s help in resolving the ongoing border dispute in its favor (even though it is
unlikely Bush could identify either nation on a map of Africa.) The dictators of these
two human-rights-deprived countries raced each other to be the first to suck up to
Bush by proclaiming that Saddam was a bad dude, thus “joining” the coalition. This
is Bush League at its best. Without explanation, Eritrea was soon dropped from the
coalition list.

Estonia: Wanting to join NATO and get in line for military and economic benefits
from America, Estonia offered a token force of 31 non-combat troops—enough to
fill one mid-sized bus—to help in “postwar” reconstruction. It became a NATO
member in 2004. Estonia had 34 non-combat personnel in Iraq in 2007, down from a
peak of 55.

Ethiopia: As noted above, Ethiopia competed against Eritrea in a suck-up race to


join the Bush League of Nations, with both countries seeking America’s help in their
boundary dispute. Ethiopia’s government, a totalitarian regime with little regard for
human rights or freedom of the press, disingenuously offered “moral support,” and
Washington shamelessly included it in its first list of 30 coalition members. Like so
many other members of the Bush League, Ethiopia’s total contributions to the war
effort exactly equaled that of the extended Bush family: nothing. But Ethiopia was in
no position to help, given that it was devastated by decades of war, famine and cor-
rupt brutal government. In sharp contrast to the fanfare when Ethiopia “joined” the
coalition, Ethiopia was soon quietly removed from the coalition roster.

Georgia: This former Soviet Republic, which wishes to remain in the good graces of
the United States, has been in the coalition from the beginning. It first sent troops to
Iraq in August 2003. As of 2007, Georgia had 300 troops in Iraq, down from a peak
of 500 in 2003, and it suffered zero casualties.
132 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Great Britain: When the Iraq coalition was formed a large majority of the British
people opposed the war, believing that the case for war had not been made and that
the United States and Britain should not act unilaterally. An anti-Iraq war protest in
London on February 15, 2003, was the largest protest in British history. The subse-
quent unraveling of the many lies used to justify the war further strengthened the
opposition. Prime Minister Tony Blair took a beating because of his unquestioning
support for Bush, with more than half of all Brits believing it was accurate to charac-
terize Blair as Bush’s poodle, a lapdog serving at Bush’s beck and call. Blair’s re-
spect and love for America and his appreciation of Britain’s special long-term rela-
tionship with America outweighed his substantial doubts about Bush, and ultimately
led him down the wrong path. Not expecting much from Bush, Blair may have calcu-
lated that if Bush could rise to the occasion and offer just one-third the competence,
integrity and leadership of Bill Clinton, then everything would turn out fine. It did
not. Bush severely damaged the goodwill between America and Britain, and intense
negative views of him are found in all British political parties and throughout Brit-
ain. In September 2004 the British ambassador to Italy, Ivor Roberts, while speaking
at a conference in Tuscany, stated that Bush is “the best recruiting sergeant ever for
al Qaeda.” Blair, foolishly following Bush’s lead, stuck too long to discredited posi-
tions on weapons of mass destruction and other lies and justifications for the war,
further exasperating British voters. According to former chief UN weapons inspector
Scott Ritter, “Blair’s discredited comments only underscore the sad fact that the issue
of Iraqi WMD, and the entire concept of disarmament, has become a public joke.”
Even as late as December 2003 Blair claimed that “massive evidence” of Saddam’s
illegal weapons activity had been uncovered. Rather than simply admitting he and
Bush had lied—thus taking the moral high road—Blair did a song and dance as he
shifted the justification for war to the removal of Saddam from power. By shirking
his share of the responsibility for mistakes made, Blair undercut both his own moral
authority and Britain’s influence in the world.

SIDEBAR: Blair, Unlike Bush, Acknowledges the Problem

Although Tony Blair is reluctant to take responsibility for major mistakes in judg-
ment and policy in Iraq, it is to his credit that he was willing early in the game to at
least articulate some of the problems created by the Anglo-American invasion and
occupation of Iraq. In the prime minister’s annual foreign policy speech to the Lord
Mayor of London’s banquet in November 2003 Blair admitted there was broad op-
position to the war in Britain, in the Middle East, and throughout the world. He said
that what ultimately happens in Iraq will greatly affect the future of world politics
because
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 133

it will test the validity of the view of those whose protest goes far wider than merely con-
demnation of the war in Iraq and extends to the whole of American and UK foreign pol-
icy. For this large body of people, the coalition is an army of occupation; its purpose is to
suppress the Muslim population of Iraq; we are out to steal Iraq’s oil; and, even if they
abhor the methods of those causing terror in Iraq, they will say we’ve brought it on our-
selves. Their view is: you should never have been there, and get out now. That is the view
of parts of the Arab and Muslim street and a significant part of western opinion and cer-
tainly of the developing world. More than that, these people say: the whole episode of
Iraq is the epitome of the way the US/UK treat the Arab and Muslim world. It is a form
of colonialism, that seeks to impose its culture, its rules and its beliefs on its unwilling
victims.

Blair’s hope of course was to prove this view incorrect, but events on the ground
in Iraq, as well as the coalition’s inept leadership, dashed his hopes.

Blair must have taken some comfort in knowing, or at least hoping, that Bush had
a host of competent advisors, including especially Colin Powell, to hold his hand.
Unfortunately, Blair “misunderestimated” the weaknesses of Bush, as well as the
degree of control exerted by the Bush neocons, especially plantation boss Cheney.
Given Blair’s experience in foreign affairs and Britain’s special relationship with
America, Blair also reasonably expected to have a large measure of influence in the
relationship, perhaps even as an equal. Blair was disappointed on all accounts, and
one cannot help but feel a measure of sympathy towards him. Largely because of
voter anger over the Iraq war, including doubts about Blair’s truthfulness and judg-
ment, Blair’s Labour Party was soundly beaten in Britain’s midterm local elections
in June 2004. It received only 26% of the votes and fell to third place. The most
prominent winner in Blair’s Labour Party was London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who
opposed the Iraq war, calling Bush “the greatest threat to life on this planet.” In the
European Union elections the same month, Blair’s party received less than 23%.
Blair left office in 2007.

SIDEBAR: Less Than a Full Measure

Although Britain is America’s strongest ally in the coalition—and the only ally that
made a meaningful contribution to the war effort—its level of military support was
only a fraction of what was required. Britain committed 46,000 military personnel,
plus warships and aircraft, to the Iraq invasion, but by May 2004 it had only 8,600
troops in Iraq, with an additional 3,500 in theater.
134 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

As the war dragged on, Britain further reduced its presence in Iraq, even though
more coalition troops, not fewer, were needed. During Bush’s troop surge in 2007,
Britain in fact “de-surged” its troops by about 2,200. In October 2007 Britain’s new
prime minister, Gordon Brown, announced Britain would halve to 2,500 its remain-
ing force of 5,000 by the spring of 2008, and other British officials said there was no
guarantee that any British troops would remain in Iraq after 2008.

UK Military Personnel in Iraq:


Peak during major combat (March/April 2003): 46,000
End of May 2003: 18,000
End of May 2004: 8,600
January 2007: 7,200
January 2008: 5,000
April 2008 (est.): 2,500
Soon: 0
Extra credit: Britain’s contribution to Bush’s surge: (minus 2,200)

Ignoring for the moment that the coalition from the beginning needed far more
troops from both America and Britain, as well as other nations—at least 300,000
more according to America’s best military experts—let’s nevertheless take the
46,000 troop level to define what a true “full measure” from Britain would have been
to maintain security in Iraq. By this conservative measure, the 7,200 British troops in
Iraq at the beginning of 2007 represented about a “15% measure,” which is like or-
dering a pint of ale at an English pub but getting served less than three ounces in the
bottom of your glass. No one in his right mind—or even in his intoxicated mind—
who received such a partial measure would be happy with the bartender—Bartender
Blair in this case.
Compounding the shortfall, British troops took part in fewer offensive actions
against Iraqi insurgents as the war dragged on, and minimization of British casualties
became a preeminent goal.
The British forces were headquartered in the Iraqi city of Basra, in an area in
southern Iraq that is more peaceful than the Sunni Triangle and other hot spots. From
time to time the Blair government entertained proposals to redeploy some of these
forces to areas of greater violence, but political unrest for Blair back home was an
obstacle.
In November 2004 Britain did send 850 Black Watch soldiers from Basra to the
“triangle of death” area near Baghdad to free up American soldiers for the taking of
Fallujah. Five of these British soldiers were killed within days after their redeploy-
ment, causing a political backlash in Britain.48

48
These five deaths increased to 74 the number of British troops killed in Iraq. By 2007 the
number of British deaths had increased 127. Many Americans, including your author, if ever
faced with a life-or-death situation and having to jump into a two-man foxhole with an Ameri-
can ally of his or her choice, would pick a Brit.
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 135

To be clear, those five British soldiers gave the full measure to Britain. Doing
their duty when called, they deserve our ultimate respect and gratitude. Likewise,
every coalition soldier individually deserves our respect and gratitude—a full meas-
ure. No fault lies with them, but rather the fault rests entirely on the shoulders of
Bush and Blair, and is due to their lies, half measures, and arrogant incompetence.
Our soldiers deserved better. The Iraqi people deserved better.
As Bush scrounged for additional troops for his ballyhooed surge in Baghdad in
early 2007, neither Britain nor any other coalition member answered the call.
Britain’s military operations in Iraq are conducted under Operation TELIC, as
part of the MNF-I run by the United States. Britain provides the headquarters for the
Multi-National Division South East, which includes the southern city of Basra and is
one of six MNF-I geographical areas. Its focus shifted from direct anti-insurgency
action to training Iraq’s security forces, most of whom are Shiites friendly to Iran
and unfriendly to the United States.
In 2007 Britain retreated from Basra, turned its bases over to the Iraqi govern-
ment, and confined its troops to the Basra airport.
Senior retired British military personnel sharply criticize Bush’s Iraq policies, es-
pecially the failure to do post-invasion planning. On August 31, 2007, British Major
General Sir Mike Jackson, who headed the British army in Iraq in 2003, said Amer-
ica’s approach in Iraq was “intellectually bankrupt” and that Rumsfeld’s claim that
America’s forces “don’t do nation-building” was “nonsensical.”
British Major General Tim Cross, the deputy head of the coalition’s Office of
Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, added his criticism, saying Bush’s
policies were “fatally flawed” and that Rumsfeld dismissed his warnings about the
lack of planning detail, the troops levels needed to maintain security, and the need to
involve the United Nations. “The US had already convinced themselves that Iraq
would emerge reasonably quickly as a stable democracy. … Anybody who tried to
tell them anything that challenged that idea – they simply shut it out.”

In a February 2004 flip flop, Britain dropped charges against Katharine Gun, a
29-year-old linguist who admitted she leaked a top secret request from the U.S.
National Security Agency for Britain’s help in bugging several members of the UN
Security Council during its debate on Iraq in early 2003. The targeted members of
the 15-member Security Council were Angola, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile and
Pakistan. Gun said, “I felt that the British intelligence services were being asked to
do something which would undermine the whole United Nations democratic proc-
ess.”

Guatemala: This Central American nation was briefly on a coalition list. Following
the Madrid bombing and the anticipated withdrawal of Spain and the Ultra Plus Bri-
gade, Guatemala’s President Oscar Berger decided Guatemala would not send any
troops to Iraq, in spite of earlier commitments.
136 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Honduras: By May 2004 Honduras had pulled all of its 370 troops out of Iraq,
pointing out that its troops had been sent to Iraq for reconstruction, not combat.
However, the MNF-I website (as of October 2004) still incorrectly listed Honduras
as a member of the coalition. As a participant in the Ultra Plus Brigade, Honduras
depended on Spain for logistical support and followed its lead in pulling out of the
coalition. Honduras was among the 15 original coalition members “unwilling to be
named.” It is among several Central American countries with a history of American
military intervention and Saddam-style death squads.

Hungary: Hungary’s 300 non-combat troops withdrew from Iraq by May 2005. This
strongly pro-American ally had deployed a transportation group of 300 non-combat
troops south of Baghdad, notwithstanding the fact that more than 80% of Hungarians
opposed the Iraq war. Hungary, a member of NATO since 1999, has a profound
sense of gratitude towards America because of its role in helping Hungary gain its
independence from the Soviet Union. Hungary’s desire to support any American
president, even Bush, was thus understandable. However, the Hungarian goodwill
towards America was soon shattered by the lies, unilateralist policies, refusal to ad-
mit errors, and rightwing propaganda spilling out of the Bush White House. The
abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison also increased domestic calls for Hungary to with-
draw its support. In one of many debacles involving the Bush neocons’ favorite
conman, Ahmed Chalabi, and his Iraqi National Congress, Hungary agreed before
the start of the Iraq war to provide a base where the United States could train 3,000
Iraqi exiles—Chalabi’s infamous Free Iraqi Forces—to serve as guides and inter-
preters for American troops and as Iraqi administrators after the war. Several hun-
dred U.S. army trainers went to Hungary’s Taszar airbase to establish the training
facilities, but the program was quickly dismantled after only about 100 Iraqis had
been trained, apparently due to a shortage of Iraqi volunteers and also because of
questions about the scope of the training. Oddly, Hungary had approved the training
program on the condition that there would be no combat training.

SIDEBAR: A Hungarian Spanking of Boy George

On October 16, 2004, the newly elected Prime Minister of Hungary, Ferenc Gyurc-
sany, delivered a diplomatic spanking to Bush when he declared that he did not be-
lieve in preemptive war. “Personally, as the father of four children, as a young man,
as a working Hungarian who trusts in the future, and as head of government, I be-
lieve not in preventive war but in policies which prevent conflicts,” Gyurcsany de-
clared. “Those who believe in the power of violence will fail.”49

Iceland: The Bush administration included Iceland on its list of the first 30 coalition
members, then later dropped it from the list, and then reinserted it, and then dropped

49
Reported in the Associated Press, October 17, 2004.
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 137

it. You should check with flip-flopper Bush to determine the latest. This nation of
294,000 has no military and is defended by the U.S.-manned Icelandic Defense
Force. As one of several Bush League “members” with no military, it obviously con-
tributed no military forces and certainly was never a member.

SIDEBAR: Pointy Heads in Bush Administration Seek Pointy Helmets

According to The Washington Post: “Asked if Iceland would be supplying troops,


ambassador Helgi Agustsson gave a hearty Scandinavian guffaw. ‘Of course not—
we have no military,’ he said. ‘That is a good one, yes.’ In fact, Agustsson added,
‘we laid down weapons sometime in the 14th century,’ when the Icelandic military
consisted largely of Vikings in pointy helmets.”

Italy: Italy withdrew completely from Iraq in November 2006. The conservative
government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi decided to join the coalition not-
withstanding widespread opposition to the war at home. However, weak-kneed Ber-
lusconi offered no troops for the invasion and sent 3,085 troops only after Baghdad
had fallen. More than 80% of Italians opposed Italy’s military involvement, and the
government’s efforts in the war on terror also got poor marks in Italy. Surveys show
that Italians believe the risks of terrorism have greatly increased since 9/11. In the
European Union elections in June 2004 support for Berlusconi and his party, Forza
Italia, fell to 22.5%. His rightwing coalition includes neo-Mussolinist and neo-fascist
extreme rightwingers that have much in common with the Bush neocons and the
Bush family. Berlusconi, Italy’s richest person and its most powerful media tycoon,
ruthlessly uses his media domination for personal and propaganda purposes and to
counter corruption charges. In September 2004 Italy reportedly paid a ransom of at
least $1 million to secure the release of two female Italian charity workers who had
been kidnapped in Iraq and held for 21 days. In May 2006 Berlusconi narrowly lost
his reelection bid to Romano Prodi.

Japan: “For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the
great and enduring alliances of modern times,” noted Bush, while in Tokyo on Feb-
ruary 18, 2002. A century and a half? Before each meeting with America’s “Buffoon
in a Bubble,” foreign leaders must pop pills that suppress snickers and guffaws. Al-
though Japan is a nation that loves baseball and America, it refused to send combat
troops to Iraq, whether for the invasion or for subsequent use. The government of
Junichiro Koizumi “joined” the coalition simply by declaring that Iraq was a threat.
Although Japan’s pacifist post-WWII constitution prohibits the use of Japanese
forces outside of Japan to settle international disputes, this posture has been changing
in the post-Cold War environment as Japan considers how to use its substantial mili-
tary power, including the second or third strongest navy in the world, to counter ter-
rorism and other new threats, and to protect Japanese corporate interests. Special
legislation in 2003 paved the way for Japan’s Self Defense Forces to do reconstruc-
138 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

tion work in Iraq and elsewhere. Koizumi obtained parliamentary approval to send
up to 1,000 non-combat troops to Iraq, which reflects a policy of tokenism, given the
enormous capabilities of Japan and also the security umbrella provided Japan by the
U.S. military. However, in late 2003 Koizumi postponed their deployment because
of the worsening security situation in Iraq, and eventually deployed only 550 non-
combat troops in Iraq. Japan pledged $5 billion in reconstruction funds and agreed to
forgive most of the $4 billion owed it by Iraq. Japan withdrew completely from Iraq
in July 2006.

SIDEBAR: Ten Billion Yen in Japanese Bribes to Protect Japanese Soldiers


and Japanese Oil Interests

Japan paid 10 billion yen ($95 million) in bribes to several tribal leaders in early
2004 for the stated purpose of protecting Japan’s troops stationed in Samawa in
southern Iraq. Because most Japanese opposed the deployment, the Japanese gov-
ernment was obsessed with keeping its troops out of harm’s way. The scheduled de-
ployment of its troops to Nasiriya was suddenly halted because suicide bombings
made that deployment too dangerous. The troops were later redeployed to Samawa, a
relatively peaceful city with few security concerns. One might have assumed,
wrongly, that Japanese soldiers had been sent to Iraq to protect Iraqis—to the con-
trary, Japan paid Iraqi tribal leaders to protect Japanese troops in an area of low secu-
rity concerns.
The payment of $95 million works out to $172,000 in protective services for
each of the 550 Japanese soldiers deployed in Iraq.
Of course, the $95 million greasing of palms had objectives beyond force protec-
tion. A principal purpose of the grease was to help ensure Japan’s lucrative role in
the reconstruction of Iraq. In particular, Japan, which imports more than 99% of its
oil, wanted to resurrect its plan to help develop the huge Al Ghavraf oil field, which
is conveniently located only 40 miles from Japan’s military base in Samawa, Iraq.

Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev opposed Bush’s inva-


sion of Iraq, saying that Iraq should be handled “only within the framework” of the
United Nations. Along with the vast majority of UN members, NATO, and the entire
world, Kazakhstan was “UN-willing.” Six former Soviet Republics,50 including Ka-
zakhstan, condemned Bush’s military action, saying it was “counter to the principles
and norms of international law.” However, Kazakhstan later played the Bush League
game perfectly when it decided to send a token force of 29 non-combat military en-
gineers to Iraq. This decision was made shortly before Wolfowitz decreed on De-
cember 5, 2003, that only coalition members would be allowed to compete for $18
billion in prime contracts in Iraq. Kazakhstan’s token contribution put it on the “A

50
The five other former Soviet Republics are Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Taji-
kistan.
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 139

List” of contractors, opened friendly doors in Washington, and gave the Bush neo-
cons the propaganda boost they desired—the claim of another coalition member. The
subsequent displays of phony gratitude by America’s General John Abizaid and oth-
ers towards Kazakhstan were truly shameful. When the Iraqi insurrection became
more heated in the spring of 2004, Kazakhstan confined its troops to their camp in
Kut and threatened to withdraw them from Iraq.

Kuwait: Although Kuwait was included in the U.S. Senate’s resolution of March 27,
2003, that identified 50 members in the coalition,51 it was soon dropped from the
Bush League roster. Before being dropped, Kuwait was the only Middle Eastern
country in the coalition (other than Turkey, which also was promptly removed).
Muslim nations in the Middle East are ashamed to be associated with Bush and his
Bush League for many reasons, including the fact that an overwhelming majority of
the citizenry in these nations despises Bush and his policies. In fact, Kuwait func-
tions as a large American military base, with about 60% of its total area available for
such use, and most of America’s troops and equipment in Iraq passed through Ku-
wait. This important accommodation is the minimum amount Kuwait could do, given
that the United States led the coalition in 1991—a real coalition—that rightly liber-
ated Kuwait from Saddam. However, Kuwait provided zero troops for Bush’s war on
Iraq and does not want to be included in the Bush League.

Latvia: Seeking NATO membership and Iraq reconstruction contracts, Latvia’s par-
liament authorized a small non-combat force for Iraq, which stood at 120 in early
2007. Even though the contribution of non-combat troops by Latvia is window dress-
ing, 80% of Latvians opposed their deployment. Latvia became a NATO member in
2004.

Lithuania: Seeking NATO membership and wishing to curry favor with the United
States, Lithuania offered some humanitarian help for Iraq, including doctors, which
it provided in the token form of 105 non-combat troops, later reduced to 50 by early
2007. Lithuania officially joined NATO in 2004.

Macedonia: Macedonia joined the coalition to have closer relations with the United
States, obtain American help in collecting Iraqi debts, and share in the expected feed-
ing frenzy surrounding reconstruction contracts. It also wanted to demonstrate its
commitment to NATO in order to gain support for its NATO accession bid. Mace-
donia has a small group of 33 non-combat troops in Iraq—less than one busload.
While awarding medals to Macedonia soldiers at an October 2004 ceremony, Rums-
feld said the United States supported Macedonia’s eventual membership in NATO.
Later that same month it was disclosed that three kidnapped Macedonian construc-
tion workers for an American company had been executed in Iraq, two by beheading.
Angry family members blamed Rumsfeld’s photo-op medal ceremony and the Ma-
cedonian government for their ghastly deaths. Notwithstanding these killings, Mace-

51
As was the case for dozens of other nations, Kuwait was included simply because it had
declared that Iraq was a threat.
140 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

donia declared it would not withdraw its troops from Iraq. However, other Macedo-
nian workers for the U.S. construction company soon left Iraq.

Marshall Islands: The Marshall Islands is among the many former coalition mem-
bers that Bush could not locate on a map. This nation has no military, and its contri-
bution to the coalition is, or was, merely words and a flag. As a former Pacific Trust
Territory, it is heavily dependent on the United States for economic assistance, and it
follows the U.S. lead at the United Nations. Since citizens of the Marshall Islands
may serve in the U.S. military, it is possible that some may become casualties in
Iraq. This nation is located about half way between Hawaii and Australia, and its
57,000 citizens live on atolls and reefs scattered across several hundred thousand
square miles of the Pacific Ocean.

Micronesia: Like the Marshall Islands, this nation is a former U.S. Pacific Trust
Territory heavily dependent on the United States. It has no military, but 400 to 600
of its citizens are on active duty in the U.S. military. Through September 2004 at
least three soldiers from the broader Micronesia region died while serving with the
U.S. military in Iraq, and we honor their service. The Marshall Islands is no longer
on the coalition list.

Moldova: In 2004 Moldova reduced the number of its troops in Iraq to 12, from 24.
Yes, that’s 12, not 12 thousand or 12 hundred, or even 12 dozen. In January 2007 it
withdrew the remaining dozen.

Mongolia: Situated between China and Russia—two historically dangerous


neighbors—the democratic nation of Mongolia, with a population of only 2.8 mil-
lion, needs any international friends it can find. Genuinely pro-American and eager
to play ball, Mongolia offered troops for the coalition apparently without being
asked. After the end of the so-called “major combat operations” phase in 2003,
Mongolia sent 180 all-volunteer non-combat soldiers to Iraq to work on construction
projects and guard oil pipelines. At a February 2003 ceremony at the White House,
Bush thanked Mongolia’s president, Natsagiyn Bagabandi, for joining the coalition.
Two months later Mongolia requested a favor in return, a free-trade agreement.

SIDEBAR: Mongolian Peacekeepers Arrive: “Better 745 Years Late than


Never”

Baghdad was a commercial and cultural center of the Islamic world until February
10, 1258, when the Mongols under General Hulagu Khan, a grandson of Genghis
Khan, sacked the city, slaughtering 800,000 people, including the Abbasid Caliph,
over a period of 40 days and destroying most of what had been the largest Arab city
in the world. For good measure the Mongols in 1401, this time under Tamerlane,
again sacked the city.
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 141

May the Mongolians who arrived in 2003 succeed in their peaceful mission and
be better appreciated by the local citizenry than their 13th and 15th century ancestors.
Speaking of invaders, Bush visited Mongolia in November 2005 to praise its gi-
gantic contribution of 160 non-combat soldiers to the coalition. In return, the United
States gave Mongolia a bribe—well, aid—of $11 million in military assistance. This
works out to $68,750 per soldier, which is a multiple of what Iraqi soldiers are paid
annually. By 2007 Mongolia had reduced its deployment to 100.

Netherlands: With a peak of 1,400 troops in Iraq, the Netherlands was one of only
five coalition members (other than the U.S.) with more than 1,000 troops in Iraq. It is
apparently one of the very few nations that joined the coalition willingly without
undue bullying or bribes. But enough is enough. It withdrew all its troops by March
2005.

New Zealand: New Zealand appeared on the MNF-I coalition list during part of
2004, even though its government stated it never joined the coalition, and even
though its troops were deployed in Iraq at the request of the United Nations. New
Zealand had only 61 military engineers in Iraq, and it withdrew all of them in Sep-
tember 2004, notwithstanding the fear that Bush would retaliate with vindictive trade
policies.

Nicaragua: On the State Department’s original list of 30 members, Nicaragua with-


drew all 230 of its non-combat soldiers in February 2004. They served in the Span-
ish-led Ultra Plus Brigade, which consisted of soldiers from five Spanish-speaking
nations. Spain’s withdrawal from Iraq gave Nicaragua the excuse to leave also.

Norway: Norway is another coalition dropout that was never really in the coalition.
In 2003 Norway’s Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik declared that Norway op-
posed the war, but wanted to help rebuild Iraq. Although Norway withdrew all of its
150 military engineers in September 2005, the Bush administration continued to list
Norway as a coalition member for several months.

Palau: Palau appeared on early-2003 Bush League rosters showing more than 45
coalition members. Palau later dropped out, perhaps because of embarrassing satire
regarding its possible role in Iraq. This Pacific Ocean nation of 20,000 people has no
military, is defended by the United States, and is known for its scuba diving and
tapioca. Curiously, Palau’s president offered its airfields and ports to the Iraqi ef-
fort—perhaps he suspected that Bush believed Iraq was located in the Pacific Ocean.
It is possible that Palau’s contribution was to be coconuts, which would explain that
multi-billion dollar no-bid contract received by Halliburton for giant slingshots. Ex-
cept for those coconuts, Palau is unarmed.

Panama: Like many coalition “members,” Panama provided nothing of value to the
coalition and is no longer listed as a member. It was included in the group of coali-
142 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

tion nations “unwilling to be named,” as well as in the GOP-controlled Senate’s


resolution of March 27, 2003, that deceitfully identified 50 coalition members. Pa-
nama merely offered “political support” by issuing a “made-as-instructed” declara-
tion that Iraq was a threat.

Philippines: During a hostage situation in July 2004 the Philippines government


announced that it would withdraw all its troops (approximately 80) from Iraq by their
scheduled departure date in August 2004, which it did. When the Philippines
dropped from the coalition, many Filipinos were surprised to learn it was ever in-
cluded.

Poland: Polish leaders in October 2004 announced they would withdraw all of Po-
land’s 2,500 non-combat troops from Iraq by the end of 2005, as the Iraq war had
become increasingly unpopular, with 73% of Poles opposed to the deployment of
their troops in Iraq, according to a poll released in August 2004 by the CBOS gov-
ernmental polling agency. An even larger majority said that Poland could experience
retaliatory terrorist attacks. In fact, “only” 1,600 withdrew, leaving a reduced force
of 900. Poland requested lots of military aid as it considered whether to keep any
troops in Iraq. Poland leads and provides the headquarters for one of the coalition’s
six geographical areas, the Multi-National Division Central South. By 2006 the
number of coalition members participating in this division had shrunk to 12, with a
total troop level of only 2,500, or slightly more than a paltry 200 per nation. Only
three countries (the United States, Great Britain and Italy) sent more troops than Po-
land to Iraq, although the Polish total was not huge. When Poland first appeared on
the coalition list, it requested that its name not be used for propaganda purposes. In
spite of Bush, the Polish people are among the most pro-American in the world.
Notwithstanding Poland’s withdrawal of most of its troops, Bush frequently praised
Poland for being such a steadfast ally. Through 2006, 18 Polish soldiers and several
civilians had died in Iraq. Although Poland said its troops would play only a non-
combat role, some of its commandos did covertly participate in the initial attack,
which the Polish government acknowledged only after Reuters released photos of
masked Polish commandos in action. Poland expected many financial benefits by
participating in the coalition, including: (1) recovery of a debt of $560 million owed
by Iraq, (2) reconstruction contracts for more than 100 Polish companies, including
more than 20 firms under contract with a Halliburton subsidiary to rebuild Iraq’s oil
infrastructure, (3) payments of more than $250 million by the United States to cover
some of Poland’s military costs in Iraq, (4) the participation of Poland’s Bank Mil-
lennium in a consortium of banks that would run Iraq’s trade banking, (5) and loans
from the United States. Poland’s foreign minister, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, char-
acterized direct access to crude oil as its “final goal.”
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 143

SIDEBAR: “Taken For a Ride”

Bush’s position as least trusted leader of all NATO leaders is secure. In March
2004—about the time of the first anniversary of the invasion—Polish President
Aleksander Kwasniewski said, “They deceived us about the weapons of mass de-
struction, that’s true. We were taken for a ride.”

Portugal: The rightwing Portuguese government of former Prime Minister Durão


Barroso sent 128 gendarmes (national guard) and modest funds to Iraq for develop-
ment and training projects. Many in Portugal’s rightwing ruling elite—who fondly
remember Portugal’s imperial days and regret the way Portugal gave up its colonial
empire—were content to be a small part of America’s imperial efforts. In a 2004 poll
of Portuguese citizens however, about three-quarters said they wanted their forces to
be pulled out of Iraq, and in April of that year its interior minister said Portugal
might pull out if the fighting worsened. Portugal withdrew completely in February
2005. On a happier note, Iraq’s soccer team on August 12, 2004, shocked favored
Portugal 4-2 in Iraq’s first match of the 2004 Olympics.

Romania: Romania is one of many rent-a-state coalition members that provided no


combat troops for the invasion of Iraq, although it agreed to participate in reconstruc-
tion and security efforts after “organized hostilities” ended. When cobbling the coali-
tion together, the United States agreed to buy the substantial debt owed Romania by
Iraq. Hoping to be admitted to NATO, Romania sent 700 troops to Iraq, and in 2004
it became a NATO member. In early 2006 the United States and Romania announced
that America’s first permanent military presence in a former Warsaw Pact nation
would be established at a Romanian air force base on the Black Sea, with the base to
serve as headquarters of the U.S. Eastern European Task Force. By 2007 Romania
had reduced its troops in Iraq to 600 from a maximum of 865.

Rwanda: More than 800,000 Rwandans, mostly Tutsis, were slaughtered in the 1994
genocide, and millions more fled the country or were internally displaced. This coun-
try of 8 million people continues to be in desperate need of international aid and co-
operation. Its people are unable and unwilling to contribute to America’s occupation
of Iraq. The Bush administration acknowledged that Rwanda provided only “moral
support” to the coalition, and its inclusion in the Bush League roster for several
months was shameful.

Singapore: Singapore also is no longer in the coalition. By March 2005 Singapore


had withdrawn all 192 of its forces, most of whom had been in a unit that trained
Iraqi police.

Slovakia: Slovakia withdrew completely from the Iraq coalition in January 2007.
Formerly part of Czechoslovakia and under the thumb of the Soviet Union, the de-
144 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

mocratic Slovak Republic was established in 1993. Its 105 non-combat support
troops in Iraq were specialized in chemical warfare decontamination and worked to
clear mines. Slovakia also authorized flyover privileges and the use of its bases.
Grateful to be a free nation and desiring NATO membership as part of the Vilnius
Group, Slovakia has several hundred skilled personnel deployed worldwide in vari-
ous UN and NATO peace support operations. Slovakia was admitted to NATO in
2004. The right-center government of Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda, who lost his
reelection bid in 2006, had strongly supported Bush in Iraq. Robert Fico, the new
prime minister who had campaigned hard on a withdrawal from Iraq, declared, “Slo-
vak soldiers can start packing their stuff, because they have to be home in February
2007. With this, the government is fulfilling its promise.”

Slovenia: Slovenia was caught by surprise when the U.S. Senate passed its resolu-
tion of March 27, 2003, identifying Slovenia as one of 50 coalition members. The
Slovenian embassy in Washington had previously advised the White House not to
include it in the war coalition. Opposition parties in Slovenia threatened an extraor-
dinary parliamentary session if the government did not clarify its stand, and there
was a call for the prime minister to resign. Prime Minister Anton Rop reiterated the
government’s position that Slovenia was not in the coalition. A related controversy
concerned the Slovenian government’s “mistaken” impression that the United States
was going to pay it $4.5 million as a reward for supporting the war.

Solomon Islands: The unilateral inclusion of the Solomon Islands in the coalition
highlighted the propaganda efforts of the Bush propaganda machine. Upon hearing
reports in March 2003 that his nation was on the coalition list, Prime Minister Allan
Kemakeza stated, “The government is completely unaware of such statements being
made, and therefore wishes to disassociate itself from the report.” The Solomon Is-
lands was dragooned and shanghaied into the coalition of, well, the unwilling, and
this unarmed, almost-bankrupt nation with no independent military should never
have been included.

South Korea: South Korea, a key long-term American ally dependent upon the
United States for aid and security, joined the coalition early, although its hopes to get
something significant in return were soon dashed. In particular, it wanted America to
help South Korea negotiate directly with North Korea. Unfortunately, poke-em-in-
the-eye Bush treated South Korea’s leaders with scorn, the same way he treated
North Korea’s dictator. South Korean polls show that South Koreans intensely dis-
like Bush and believe the United States to be a greater threat to peace than North
Korea, which is a member of Bush’s infamous Axis of Evil. South Korea initially
offered to send to Iraq an engineering battalion, as well as aid for war refugees. It
later offered to send a total of 5,000 troops, subsequently scaled back to 3,700. Secu-
rity for its personnel was a central issue, complicated by widespread opposition in
South Korea to their deployment, as well as the beheading in Iraq of a Korean hos-
tage. During his acceptance speech at the 2004 Republican Party convention Bush
expressly named and thanked eight coalition nations, but he unwittingly failed to
mention South Korea, even though only the United States and Great Britain contrib-
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 145

uted more troops to Iraq than South Korea. By 2007 Korea had reduced its troops in
Iraq to 2,300 from a peak of 3,700.

Spain: This nation, which had provided the eighth greatest number of troops (1,300
non-combat troops) to the Bush League, withdrew all its troops in April 2004, thus
fulfilling a campaign pledge of its newly elected Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodri-
guez Zapatero. The previous Spanish government, the right-center government of
Jose Maria Aznar, was second only to Tony Blair in its support of Bush’s invasion of
Iraq, even though it had been opposed by 90% of Spain’s citizens, an incredibly high
percentage. Imagine what it would take to get 90% of Americans to agree on any-
thing. Thus the Spanish people were never willingly part of Bush’s so-called Coali-
tion of the Willing.

SIDEBAR: 3/11 in Madrid

Exactly 2 ½ years after the 9/11 attacks, ten terrorist bombs exploded on commuter
trains in Madrid, killing more than 200 people and wounding thousands more. Pull-
ing a page from the Bush/GOP playbook, Jose Maria Aznar’s ruling party, the
Popular Party, quickly lied and pointed the finger of responsibility at a politically-
convenient target, the Basque separatist group known as ETA. Why? Because
Spain’s rulers feared the Spanish people would focus their anger on them if al Qaeda,
and not the ETA, was responsible for the bombings.
Why would Aznar’s ruling party be so deceitful, especially since the truth about
the bombers would ultimately be known? Well, Spain’s general elections were only
two days away, and with skillful management of the news the ruling party, which
was expected to easily win the elections, could get through the campaign and remain
in power.
But the deception backfired. Unfortunately for Spain’s ruling party, it did not
have America’s rightwing Big Media to shill for it. Fortunately for truth and democ-
racy, early evidence including videotape immediately fingered al Qaeda as the re-
sponsible terrorist group, and in an astonishing upset in the general elections, Span-
ish voters ousted the ruling party. The voter turnout was strong, 77%, which com-
pared with a turnout of only 55% in the general elections four years earlier.
The large majority of Spain’s citizens believed the Bush regime had deceitfully
rushed to war against a nation that posed no threat to the United States, Spain, or any
other country.
It is surprising that the Spanish electorate, just two days after “Madrid’s 9/11,”
did not overwhelmingly stick with their ruling party as a demonstration of their anger
and patriotism. Somehow the understandable human desire for revenge did not pre-
vail, and the ruling party was held accountable. The Spanish people understood that
Bush’s war on Iraq had spawned terrorists and made the world less safe.
The new Spanish leader said that one nation cannot bomb another nation “just in
case” and that wars should not be started on the basis of lies.
146 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Prior to its withdrawal, Spain commanded the troops of Nicaragua, El Salvador,


Honduras and the Dominican Republic under the umbrella of the Ultra Plus Brigade.

Taiwan: When the Bush administration was asked why it included Taiwan in an
early list of coalition members, the answer was that Taiwan had made its airspace
open to American military aircraft, a “rationale” that deserved and received wide-
spread ridicule. Perhaps Bush’s handlers calculated that, with the assistance of
America’s Big Media, they could slip it by a geographically challenged president and
his geographically challenged supporters. In any case, Taiwan was quickly dropped
from the coalition list for other reasons discussed below. Later, in 2004, when Bush
was searching for chumps to clean up the mess he created, rightwing Representatives
Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Jim Ryan (R-KS) proposed that the United States ask
Taiwan to send 5,000 marines to Iraq to fight alongside American soldiers. This
made some sense since Taiwan is not only a democracy but also a longtime Ameri-
can ally dependent upon the United States to protect it from Beijing. However, the
Bush administration immediately declared it would neither seek nor welcome Tai-
wan’s troops in Iraq, the justification being its desire not to ruffle the feathers of the
dictatorship in Beijing. The proposal to send Taiwanese troops to Iraq was also re-
jected by Taiwan’s president, Chen Shui-bian, as well as an overwhelming majority
of Taiwan’s citizens, including especially its small Muslim community of 50,000.

Thailand: Thailand withdrew all its troops from Iraq in August 2004 at the end of its
one-year humanitarian commitment and was removed from the roster of coalition
members. From the beginning Thailand declared itself to be neutral in Bush’s war
against Iraq. It later agreed to a humanitarian mission involving 451 non-combat
engineering and medical troops. An April 2004 poll showed that the majority of
Thais wanted their 451 troops in Iraq to be withdrawn and only 22% wanted them to
stay. The war was especially unpopular among Thailand’s minority Muslim popula-
tion. Thailand’s prime minister stated that the nation’s troops would be withdrawn if
any of them got hurt. In fact, the deteriorating security situation caused them to re-
main in their camp in Iraq until their withdrawal in 2004.

SIDEBAR: A Few Enlightening Questions

Question 1: Why would the Bush administration proudly list Thailand in its so-
called Coalition of the Willing when in fact Thailand had declared itself a neutral in
Bush’s war, and a vast majority of Thais opposed it?
Question 2: Why would the Bush administration proudly count Thai personnel in
its total of coalition troops when in fact these troops went to Iraq solely for non-
combat humanitarian purposes without any intention of killing Iraqis or anyone
else?52

52
This same point applies to the large majority of other countries in the Coalition of the Will-
ing.
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 147

Question 3: If Bush truly wants to bring democracy and freedom to Muslims in


Iraq and elsewhere, why are Muslims in Thailand and throughout the world so ada-
mantly opposed to his efforts?
HINT: The following should appear prominently in your answers: “oil,” “cha-
rade,” “Bush League,” “America’s Corporate Media,” “gullible American voters in
red states,” “duplicity, deceit and deception,” “lazy not-too-bright pretend-cowboy,”
“incompetent uninformed untrustworthy leader,” “liar,” “panderer to the Religious
Wrong,” “Armageddon,” and “Crusader for Upside-Down Christianity and the Super
Rich.” Extra credit for “lying scumbags.”

Tonga: In March 2003 the Bush administration proudly announced that this small
nation of 106,000 people (the last of the South Pacific Polynesian kingdoms, located
about one-third of the way from New Zealand to Hawaii) was the 49th member of the
coalition. Because the United States protected Tonga in World War II, Tonga felt
bound by honor to support the coalition. Bush the Father never asked Tonga for as-
sistance during Gulf War I. In fact, George the Son’s “request” for military assis-
tance was the first such request since World War II. In July 2004 Tonga deployed 45
royal marines—enough for one large war canoe—to Iraq as peacekeepers, but they
withdrew completely by the end of the year. U.S. government sources disagreed with
themselves as to whether Tonga was ever in the coalition.

Turkey: The Bush regime foolishly rushed to put Turkey on their initial roster of 30
coalition members, but Turkey did not remain there long. In another huge misjudg-
ment and diplomatic blunder, the Bushies assumed that this American ally and
NATO member would play ball in the Bush League. It did not, choosing instead to
actively obstruct American military plans to invade Iraq, although it did eventually
reluctantly allow the use of its air space. The Bushies planned to use Turkey—which
shares a 218-mile border with Iraq—as a staging area for 60,000 American troops
scheduled to invade northern Iraq under Operation Iraqi Freedom war plans. The
Bushies haggled with the Turkish government as to the size of the bribe—
euphemistically called economic aid—to be paid Turkey in return for this favor. Tur-
key wanted about $30 billion, preferably in cash since it did not trust Bush League
promises. The Bush administration initially offered $6 billion in “special economic
assistance” if Turkey’s parliament approved the use of its territory for the invasion,
and it eventually upped the proposed bribe to $20 billion in grants and guaranteed
loans, but it was still not enough. In a panic to try to close the elusive deal, the Bush
regime offered major “OK, you can screw the Kurds” concessions to Turkey.
148 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

SIDEBAR: Selling Out the Kurds

In duplicitously attempting to sell out Iraq’s Kurds—who have longed for a separate
state in northern Iraq for decades—the Bush regime thought it had closed the deal
with Turkey by promising the Turkish military that it could invade Iraqi Kurdistan, a
virtually autonomous quasi-state in northern Iraq since 1991, which had been pro-
tected under the northern No-Fly Zone created by the United States and Great Britain
in the aftermath of Gulf War I. The Bush neocons acquiesced to Turkey’s demands
that the four million Iraqi Kurds would not be allowed to form their own nation,
which Turkey feared would further aggravate the long-voiced demands of the 12
million Kurds in Turkey for their own independence. As part of this attempted sell-
out, the Bush neocons gave Turkey the green light to send tens of thousands of
troops into northern Iraq, under the pretense that they were needed to protect the
small Turkmen population and Turkish interests in oil-rich northern Iraq. Such a
move by the Turkish military was vehemently opposed by the Iraqi Kurds—
America’s most loyal allies and friends in Iraq—and would have led to war between
them and Turkey.
The unfortunate Kurdish people, who number about 30 million, have no home-
land or nation, just the mythical Kurdistan (the land of the Kurds), which is spread
throughout a large unfriendly region of the world that includes parts of Iraq, Turkey,
Syria and Iran. The Kurdish language ranks about fortieth among the world’s several
thousand languages, based on the number of native speakers.
Even the tyrant Saddam—who gassed thousands of civilian Kurds—treated his
Iraqi Kurds better than Turkey treated its Turkish Kurds. For decades Turkey sup-
pressed Kurdish history, language and culture, and countless Turkish Kurds were
slaughtered, and hundreds of thousands displaced, during the 15-year PKK (Kurdish
Workers Party) insurrection in Turkey that temporarily ended in 1999. Kurds
throughout the region are quite familiar with the lesson afforded by Turkey’s
genocide of Armenian Christians in the early part of the 20th century, a genocide in
which between one and two million Armenian Christians were killed and millions
more were forced from their homeland.
Bush rewarded the Iraqi Kurds for their loyal support of American policy in Iraq
by trying to stick a Bush League dagger in their back. Of course, the Kurds have
been betrayed in the past by the United States, both in 1975 and 1991, on the latter
occasion when Bush the Father encouraged Kurdish uprisings against Baghdad, but
then failed to follow through with promised support.53 In the end, Bush’s proposed
deal in 2003 with Turkey—built on Bush League bribes and betrayal—fell apart be-
cause the Turkish parliament refused to play ball, and Turkish troops thus quite for-
tunately did not enter Iraq in any significant numbers during the invasion.

53
For on-line accounts of the ongoing betrayal of the Iraqi Kurds by the United States, you
should read “Kurd Sellout Watch,” by Timothy Noah, who writes “Chatterbox” for Slate.
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 149

If Iraq’s Kurds emerge from Bush’s Iraq quagmire without getting screwed, it
will be in spite of the Bush neocons, who would sacrifice them in a heartbeat if it
served some perceived interest in the neocons’ fantasies. The Iraqi Kurds’ best hope
with respect to Turkey—other than counting on themselves and their own substantial
armed forces—is that Turkey, under European pressure and influence, will further
moderate its policies against the Kurds as it seeks to integrate itself into the
European Union. But don’t count on it.

The breakdown of the “You Can Screw the Kurds” deal offered to Turkey on the
eve of the invasion was a great embarrassment and surprise to the Bush neocons,
although it should not have been, given the enormous opposition of the Turkish peo-
ple to Bush’s war on Iraq. When Turkey pulled the welcome mat out from under the
tens of thousands of American troops waiting on warships in the eastern
Mediterranean Sea, the Bushies had to hurriedly rewrite their war plans, with in-
creased risk to American troops. Unable to deploy through Turkey, these troops had
to redeploy via a much longer route, which eventually took most of them to Kuwait.
Fortuitously, the Turkish obstructionism did not greatly compromise the military
campaign. Nevertheless, with “friendly” Bush League teams like Turkey, who needs
enemies? It is mind boggling that Turkey was ever called a coalition member, given
its outright obstruction and opposition to the war. Even though other NATO mem-
bers agreed to defend Turkey from Iraqi missiles, the vast majority of the Turkish
people—more than 90%—strongly opposed Bush’s invasion of Iraq. With a long
history of problems on its long border with Iraq, Turkey could have been among the
strongest, most important coalition members, but the Turkish people and its govern-
ment did not trust Bush and his war party. As a final note, in September 2003, after
the “combat phase” of the war had ended, Turkey “considered” sending 10,000
troops into Iraq, and in return it actually received $8.5 billion in loan guarantees.
Turkey then turned around and decided not to send any troops. Halliburton could not
have played the game better.

SIDEBAR: No French Fries or Turkey for Thanksgiving

In order to give the finger to the French government and all French people, countless
Bush League supporters gleefully refused to eat French fries unless they were called
“freedom fries.” Given Turkey’s bold rejection of Bush’s bribes and war plans—and
in the interest of geopolitical and gastrointestinal consistency—these Bush League
nitwits should also boycott turkey. Specifically, they should eat chicken instead of
turkey for Thanksgiving, plus generous portions of crow and humble pie, and defi-
nitely no French fries. Vive la France!
150 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Uganda: Although Uganda provided no troops, no civilians, and nothing else for the
coalition, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said Uganda would remain a mem-
ber. Perhaps he wanted this status in order to more effectively criticize Bush and his
Bush League policies. On October 12, 2004, Museveni noted that:
• he had blindly supported the war;
• he joined because Bush claimed Saddam had WMDs and because Saddam
was a friend of Sudan’s president Omar el-Bashir, “who was my enemy;”
• Bush pursued interests in Iraq that were not disclosed to coalition partners
before the invasion;
• the strategic mistakes made by the Bush administration in Iraq had forced
him to regret his support;
• he regretted that the United States had appointed Paul Bremer as governor
of Iraq, and that Bremer subsequently demobilized 1,000,000 Iraqi troops;
• the bloody Iraqi insurgency was caused by U.S. “arrogance” and the mis-
handling of relations between American troops and Iraqi civilians;
• the Bush administration did not invest much in building civilian confidence
and support in Iraq, which are essential for success; and
• the Bush administration had no interest in his opinion, even though he was a
member of the coalition.
For some reason the White House dropped Uganda from the coalition. In joining the
coalition in March 2003, Museveni offered to “assist in any way possible,” which is
Bush League diplomatic language for “no assistance.” Uganda, a country with con-
tinuing human rights violations, has a long history of brutal dictators, civil wars,
wars with neighboring nations, genocide under Idi Amin, massive poverty, drought,
starvation, and disease, including the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Ukraine: Before joining the growing list of Bush League dropouts, Ukraine had
about 1,600 non-combat mechanized infantry troops in a peacekeeping brigade in
Iraq in 2004, making it only one of six nations (including the United States) with
more than 1,000 troops involved. A key reason for Ukraine joining the coalition was
the desire of its corrupt regime to buy some friendship in Washington and soften
U.S. claims that Ukraine had circumvented UN sanctions imposed on Saddam. In
January 2005 outgoing President Leonid Kuchma ordered the withdrawal of all
Ukrainian troops from Iraq in the first half of 2005. He apparently wanted to steal the
credit for the withdrawal from Ukraine’s new president-elect, Viktor Yushchenko,
who had made withdrawal a campaign issue. The decision to leave Iraq was
strengthened when a huge explosion in southern Iraq killed eight Ukrainian soldiers
and one from Kazakhstan. In Ukraine, it’s not just the old Republican Guard-style
dictators and the newly democratically elected leaders who oppose the Bush
League—the Ukrainian people also overwhelmingly oppose Bush’s war on Iraq. All
Ukrainian troops departed Iraq by the end of 2005.

United States: “The Coalition is US.” Even including all the non-combat troops of
other coalition members, the United States provided almost 90% of the troops for
Bush’s war. This means that if Bush had increased America’s troop levels in Iraq by
only about 10% at the beginning, he could have efficiently dispensed with all other
CHAPTER 6 — MEMBERS OF THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS 151

coalition members and avoided all the coalition nonsense. This would have allowed
him complete freedom, versus 99.9 % freedom, to run his own unilateral American
war. Bush did increase American troop levels by about 10% in late 2004 and early
2005—and again in 2007 as part of his so-called surge—as security in Iraq wors-
ened. Of course, Bush also had “cut and run” plans in place from time to time. In
mid-2004 there were plans in place to reduce the number of American troops in Iraq
to 115,000 over several months, from a level of 140,000. However, intense Iraqi re-
sistance to Bush’s occupation caused him to cancel those withdrawals. Earlier, in
January 2004, the Bush White House said it hoped that U.S. forces could be reduced
to 50,000 by the end of 2005. Although the strategy of “cutting and running” was
perfected by Reagan after 241 American troops were killed in the suicide bombing of
the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut on October 23, 1983, it is politically incorrect for
America’s corporate media to use that term to describe actions by GOP presidents.

Uzbekistan: Although Uzbekistan, the most populous nation in Central Asia, was
quietly dropped from the coalition in 2004, Bush should be ashamed that this right-
wing despotic regime was ever considered on the team. President Islam Karimov is a
ruthless dictator who suppresses all freedom of speech, assembly and religion, and
uses the “war against terror” to justify his brutality. This justification for attacking
civil liberties should be familiar to Americans. Many Uzbek Muslims have been
jailed simply for having a beard in this primarily Sunni Muslim nation. Countless
political opponents and other innocents have been tortured to death, and there is no
independent judicial system. Karimov’s cozy relationship with members of the Bush
regime goes back to the 1990s when Bush was governor of Texas, and ruthless
Karimov has been an honored guest in the Bush White House. Although Uzbekistan
was listed as an early coalition member and received hundreds of millions of dollars
from the Bush regime, it never provided any troops for Iraq. During the run-up to the
war in neighboring Afghanistan, Uzbekistan allowed U.S. forces to use its Soviet-era
airbases.

SIDEBAR: In and Out of Bed … a Tortured Marriage

Uzbekistan is a favorite torture destination in the Bush regime’s illegal and immoral
extraordinary rendition program, under which suspects around the world are kid-
napped and transported to various rightwing nations for outsourced torture.
Although there was substantial public discussion in 2007 regarding illegal torture
conducted directly by the CIA—especially during the congressional nomination
hearings regarding Bush’s appointment of Michael Mukasey to replace the criminal
Alberto Gonzales as attorney general, with Mukasey carefully dancing around the
torture technique known as waterboarding in order to protect Bush and other war
criminals in his administration from subsequent prosecution for war crimes—there is
virtually no public discussion of even more horrific torture techniques committed in
America’s name at rendition sites around the world.
152 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

A principal source of information regarding the Uzbekistan connection is Craig


Murray, the British ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004, who was fired by
Britain after he blew the whistle on the CIA’s extraordinary renditions to Uzbekistan
and the resulting torture of rendered suspects by Uzbek security forces acting on
behalf of America. The sunlight of truth is a wonderful disinfectant.
In addition to dropping Uzbekistan from the coalition, the Bush State Department
in 2004 “decertified” Uzbekistan (under U.S. law requiring the State Department to
certify annually that governments receiving American aid adequately support human
rights), thus effectively cutting off most American aid. Nevertheless, numerous other
dictatorships continue to routinely receive positive human rights certifications, in
spite of their routine violation of human rights, and notwithstanding the objections of
numerous international organizations such as Amnesty International and Human
Rights Watch. Congressional pressure and special legislation in 2003 to take action
against Uzbekistan also helped change the Bush regime’s policies toward Uzbeki-
stan, although its broader practice of outsourced torture continues.

Other “Almost Shanghaied” Nations: Believe it or not, in addition to the long list
of nations just discussed, there are several more nations that Bush supporters tried to
slip into the coalition. Because their attempts to shanghai these nations were espe-
cially fleeting and feeble, we list here these additional nonmembers—the “almost
shanghaied”—simply for the sake of completeness. They are: Austria, Bahrain,
Belgium, Canada, Fiji, Finland, France—yes, even France!—Greece, Ireland,
Jordan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, and the
United Arab Emirates.
There is a large army working for the United States in Iraq that does not appear
on the long list above, one that rivals the entire coalition in size. It is the shadow
army of mercenaries fielded by a host of unleashed, for-profit companies that are
making a killing in Iraq. Their presence, together with the rightwing worldview that
placed them there in the first, is a central reason why Bush and the GOP lost their
“little war” in Iraq. These mercenary companies are the subject of the next chapter.
CHAPTER 7

Private Military Contractors


Making a Killing in Iraq

Where is the justice of political power if it executes the murderer and jails
the plunderer, and then itself marches upon neighboring lands, killing thou-
sands and pillaging the very hills?
—Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

Contrary to popular belief, Britain does not provide the second largest coalition force
in Iraq. Rather, that force number two consists of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of
private for-profit companies, which are euphemistically called private military con-
tractors, private military firms, and the like. These very profitable companies are
paid to recruit and field shadow mercenary armies estimated to total substantially
more than 100,000 personnel by early 2007, although no one on God’s Earth knows
exactly how many are deployed, or by whom exactly, or precisely what their various
missions are (other than to make money.)
The force of 100,000 privately contracted employees in Iraq in 2007 is:
• about three-quarters the size of America’s entire military force then in Iraq,
• more than 13 times the size of Britain’s total of 7,200 troops still in Iraq as
of January 2007, and
• more than seven times the size of the entire Bush League coalition, exclud-
ing only the United States.
America’s media coverage of this humongous mercenary force is abysmal—let’s
say AWOL—even when the topic is the so-called surge in early 2007. The Bush
regime understandably talks little about its mercenaries.
In helter skelter fashion, America’s shadow army in Iraq sees action from time to
time and has suffered significant casualties, although no one in the Bush regime is
keeping count, or at least not openly disclosing the information. Having said that, the
total number of U.S. mercenaries killed in Iraq through 2007 is probably about
1,000.
The maze of private military contractors operates in Iraq—GOP style—behind a
wall of governmental and corporate secrecy. Multiple layers of interconnected, po-
litically well connected, contractors and subcontractors obfuscate the truth, cripple
the mission, and guaranty windfall profits, which is the primary objective of this
GOP program of governmental malfeasance and corporate welfare. Some of these
154 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

companies played roles in the prisoner abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere
in Iraq, as well as at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in a Bush League-style gulag of
illegal secret military prisons in Eastern Europe, Asia and elsewhere.
In plain English, the troops provided by the so-called private military contractors
are mercenaries, although international law experts may quibble as to the precise
legal definition of a mercenary. For example, regarding the Iraq Civil War, most
experts would not consider Iraqi citizens to be mercenaries, whether or not paid by
the United States, because mercenaries are typically defined to exclude citizens of
the country experiencing the conflict.54 In any case, the Bush League neocons prefer
to use misleading softer terms like civilian contractor, rather than mercenary.
America’s private mercenary companies in Iraq perfectly match the Bush re-
gime’s worldview and unconstitutional governance. They are music to a dictator’s
ears. These armies function above and outside the law, doing Bush’s bidding in the
dark, without appropriate accountability and oversight. Beholden to him and the
GOP, they protect America’s corporate empire and serve as the emperor’s praetorian
guard, much like Saddam’s Republican Guard, only less competent at their core mis-
sion and much more expensive.
The presence of the huge foreign mercenary armies, together with the cancerous
worldview that caused them to be there in the first place, are a central reason why
Bush and the GOP lost their war on Iraq.
Private mercenary armies make it easier for foolish American leaders to initiate
and prosecute foolish wars, or, “fuelish wars,” if you prefer. Such armies and wars
require only the wallet of the American people, not their heart and conscience, and
definitely not a military draft. Mercenaries are the antithesis of America’s proud tra-
ditional military that is of, by, and for the American people.
When Bush and Cheney outsourced America’s military, they outsourced Amer-
ica’s soul and American values. They also made it less efficient, more corrupt, and
much more expensive.
The private mercenary armies in Iraq must be immediately withdrawn and dis-
banded. This action is as important as withdrawing American troops. To withdraw
one and not the other makes no sense.
The flow of funds to war profiteering companies must also stop, and their con-
duct and the conduct of their enablers in the Bush regime must be thoroughly inves-
tigated.
The vast majority of the mercenaries in Iraq are recruited and employed by doz-
ens and dozens of American and British companies with names generally not well
known to the public. However, a few public-trough companies such as Halliburton,
KBR (formerly the Kellogg, Brown and Root subsidiary of Halliburton), DynCorp,
Blackwater USA, and the Carlyle Group are more familiar because of their high-
level rightwing political connections and numerous allegations of war profiteering,
fraud and corruption.
Blackwater, with hundreds of employees in Iraq, became well known primarily
because of one of the war’s most horrendous incidents. Four of Blackwater’s security
contractors were killed on March 31, 2004, in an ambush in Fallujah after they had

54
Accordingly, the mercenary totals set forth herein do not include Iraqi citizens.
CHAPTER 7 — PRIVATE MILITARY CONTACTORS 155

gotten lost, and their bodies were savagely mutilated and burned by a crowd, with
the remains of two of the charred bodies then hung on public display on a bridge
over the Euphrates River. The misguided, incompetently-executed operation by
Blackwater—Blackwater’s Fiasco in Fallujah—caused an enormous escalation in
violence in Iraq, leading to the death of countless Americans and Iraqis.
The intense media coverage of Blackwater’s Fiasco in Fallujah caused many
stunned Americans to realize for the first time that America had hired mercenaries to
fight its wars, and many wondered why. If the mission was important, why weren’t
America’s finest, America’s citizen military, carrying it out? Why were corporate
profiteers mucking it up?

SIDEBAR: A Rapidly Growing Worldwide Market for Mercenaries

An investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)


identified about 90 private for-profit companies that offer mercenaries for hire
around the world, on six continents, in 110 countries. A veil of secrecy undoubtedly
causes the number of such firms to be understated. In any case, the business of kill-
ing allows them to make a killing.
These firms are sometimes hired by the U.S. government to perform missions
that cannot legally be performed by America’s military. Sometimes they are hired to
perform missions that are simply illegal by any standard.
The worldwide annual revenues for such mercenary companies are estimated at
more than $100 billion. American and British companies, which dominate this rap-
idly growing market, have especially profited since the Iraq war began, largely be-
cause the United States and Britain are the two nations that have done almost all of
the heavy lifting, including funding, in prosecuting the war. According to a security
firm in London, the annual revenues of British-based private military contractors
have increased by more than five fold, to more than $1.7 billion, since the com-
mencement of the war in 2003.
Many of America’s finest left the regular military for the higher pay offered to
private soldiers for hire, and it is difficult to blame them. Former soldiers of all ranks
are included among the mercenaries. MPRI, a privately-held company headquartered
in Alexandria, Virginia, brags that it has more generals per square foot than the Pen-
tagon.
The shift to mercenaries is part of a hugely negative, global, rightwing economic
tsunami that includes privatization, the outsourcing and off-shoring of jobs, and the
maximization of corporate power and profits—all at the expense of human beings,
human benefits, and human rights. However, unlike the cost savings resulting from
the private Wal-Martization of America, i.e., the outsourcing and off-shoring of jobs
by America’s private industry, the hiring of mercenaries by America has exactly the
opposite effect—it greatly increases costs. The grease—the raison d’être—for this
odd phenomenon is that government money, not private money, is being spent, mis-
spent and stolen—as the Bushies religiously feed their public-trough cronies.
156 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

If mercenaries were included in the total U.S. military presence in Iraq, then the
total force would be at least two-thirds greater (e.g., the total of 150,000 troops in
2007 would swell to more than 250,000 if the mercenaries were counted.)
Looked at from a different perspective, if this total force of 250,000 consisted
only of America’s finest, with no mercenaries, then the total cost would be reduced
by upwards to 70%, while at the same time both performance and accountability
would be greatly improved.
Ironically, American textile workers have lost their jobs to Asian workers who
may be paid only one-tenth as much as the axed Americans were previously paid, but
American soldiers, on the other hand, are replaced by mercenaries who are paid 5 to
15 times more. (In addition, lots of corporate overhead is added to the mercenary
compensation.) What is wrong with this picture? Well, when you’re talking about the
GOP-abused cash cow known as the U.S. Treasury, the Halliburtons of the world
suck as much milk as possible from as many teats as possible, while not worrying
about the health or ownership of the cow.
Of course, maximizing the profits of large corporations is the common goal in
both the outsourcing of textile jobs and the outsourcing of military jobs.
The huge compensation disparity between the cost of an American soldier and
the cost of a mercenary extends all the way up to those at the top of the GOP’s mer-
cenary milking operation. The CEO of a large private military contractor can make
10 to 100 times, or more, the compensation of a four-star general in the U.S. Army.
Ultimately, U.S. taxpayers pay the price.
War profiteers commonly milk their cost-plus contracts by adding multiple layers
of contractors and overhead to the actual pay received by the individual soldier.
Private military contractors grease the skids for their government contracts by
paying lobbyists to milk Congress and by making millions of dollars in both illegal
and perfectly legal payments, including bribes—political contributions, if you like—
to America’s elected officials, who happily participate in the milking of America.
In addition to helping their cronies grab government contracts, the GOP-
controlled Congress blocked congressional investigation and oversight, in violation
of their oaths of office.
Cronyism, waste and corruption are hallmarks of the Bush regime. Politically
connected companies such as Halliburton have an inside track to win war contracts
and have, in effect, an exemption—similar to a Bush Family Pass—from effective
oversight by either Congress or the American people. Will the last person in America
who trusts Halliburton please turn out the lights on the way out?
In fairness, let’s remember that Halliburton is not all bad. One benefit of its war
profits, properly earned or not, is that they help ensure the continued annual payment
of tax-avoiding deferred compensation to Cheney.
Meanwhile, as the lucrative corporate milking operation continues around the
clock, peace is an orphan. Using American taxpayer dollars that have found their
way into their pockets, private military contractors promote and market war, all in
America’s name. No peace drums are beaten, only the drums of war. Peace has no
voice and no marketing budget.
CHAPTER 7 — PRIVATE MILITARY CONTACTORS 157

Dictatorships and large international corporations have increasingly turned to


private military firms to protect their interests and project their will around the
world, almost always to the disadvantage of downtrodden populations. The innocent
masses—plus democracy and human rights—are the most common victims of the
mercenary business.
And some Americans still wonder why America has such a difficult time winning
hearts and minds around the globe.

The large shadow army of private corporate mercenaries operates below the pub-
lic radar, thus offering many political advantages to the Bush regime and its GOP
supporters:
• In sharp contrast with the reporting requirements governing American troop
casualties, the Bush administration is not required to report casualties in-
curred by the mercenary force, which causes an understatement of the total
American dead and wounded in Iraq.
• The private employers of the mercenaries likewise are not required to report
their respective casualties, and they typically do not, preferring to avoid
negative publicity.
• The use of the shadow army, rather than the U.S. military, helps the Bush
regime circumvent the Geneva Conventions. Before he was nominated to be
Attorney General of the United States, Alberto Gonzales, who was affec-
tionately called “mi abogado” (“my lawyer”) by Bush, famously wrote “tor-
ture memos,” in which he referred to provisions of the Geneva Conventions
as “obsolete” and “quaint.”
• The mercenaries were granted immunity from Iraqi law by an edict issued
by the U.S.-controlled Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and by the
willingness of the Iraqi government to look the other way. Paul Bremer’s
Coalition Provisional Authority Order No. 17 of June 2004 gave contractors
blanket immunity from Iraqi law, thus setting a precedent for no account-
ability even as laws subsequently changed.
• Because the mercenaries are not employees of the United States, they are
not clearly and directly in the U.S. military chain of command, and they are
not subject to the rules of engagement and the Uniform Code of Military
Justice that apply to America’s armed forces.
• A heavy blanket of secrecy, including a Get Smart “cone of silence,” pro-
vides cover to military and civilian leaders all the way to the top of the Pen-
tagon and the White House, whether or not they personally authorized mer-
cenary misdeeds. Plausible deniability is a treasured defense of the Bush
regime.
• The use of mercenaries helped the Bush regime keep members of Congress
uninformed and misinformed as to its activities. Only after the GOP lost its
death grip on both houses of Congress in 2006 did meaningful investiga-
tions begin, and these investigations are being obstructed.
158 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• In addition, many mercenaries are able to circumvent U.S. law because they
are not American citizens, or because they were employed by the Coalition
Provisional Authority, or because they not directly under U.S. military
command and control.
• Using a narrow definition of “mercenary,” many arguably are not even sub-
ject to the body of international law that applies to mercenaries.
• The Bush regime’s practice of placing themselves above and outside do-
mestic and international law gives coalition mercenaries additional comfort.
• The use of mercenaries reduces the need to increase the size of the U.S.
military or reinstate the draft. For an administration lacking the will to rein-
state the draft, mercenaries provide an easy alternative.
• Without these mercenaries the Bush regime could not engage in the level of
war it practices in Iraq and elsewhere.
• Without these mercenaries, the opportunities to funnel humongous piles of
taxpayer dollars to GOP-connected contractors and subcontractors would be
greatly restricted. “It’s the money, stupid. Follow the money.”
An estimated 40% of the money spent by the Bush regime in Iraq goes to private
contractors, although no one knows the exact percentage. There is no system in place
to evaluate effectively the performance of each contractor, and no matter how bad
the performance, with rare exception the contractor gets paid.
Americans, as well as Iraqis, have good reason to trust the professionalism and
performance of the U.S. military, but they have little or no reason to trust the maze of
private mercenary companies.
Through 2006 only one contractor in Iraq had been indicted for crimes. It is the
golden age for mercenaries—America’s GOP Mafia protects its own.
Serious investigation of the dark underbelly of America’s mercenary business did
not begin until the American people in 2006 wrested control of Congress from the
GOP, which throughout the Iraq war partnered with the war profiteers in a deadly
game of grime, crime and cover-up. The 110th Congress, whose two-year term
started in 2007, has the Herculean task of investigating crimes and malfeasance in
Iraq, and it will take many years and a measure of good luck for the truth to emerge,
if ever.
As for Blackwater, the most “successful” of the corporate mercenaries, a good
starting point is Jeremy Scahill’s book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most
Powerful Mercenary Army. Blackwater owns and operates the world’s largest private
military base, which covers 11 square miles in North Carolina.
Erik Prince founded and personally financed Blackwater USA at age 27. He is a
secretive multimillionaire rightwing Christianist whose family funded and helped
many Religious Right and GOP causes, including James Dobson’s Focus on the
Family and Christian Freedom International. He is the poster child for what contrac-
tors should not be in America’s war to win the hearts and minds of Muslims world-
wide, especially those inclined to believe the United States is engaged in a war on
Islam.
The revolving door between Blackwater and the GOP administration is well
greased. Blackwater’s senior executives include controversial Joseph Schmitz, who
resigned as Defense Department Inspector General in 2005 to join Prince’s company.
CHAPTER 7 — PRIVATE MILITARY CONTACTORS 159

The killing and mutilation of the four Blackwater contractors in Fallujah in


March 2004 made them heroes and immediately increased Blackwater’s visibility.
Moving quickly to exploit the golden opportunity, Blackwater—just one day after
the tragedy—hired Alexander Strategy Group, a lobbyist firm involved in the GOP’s
K Street Project. By the end of the year, Blackwater was bragging about its 600%
growth. Applications for employment jumped. Its president declared they were in a
billion-dollar industry, and “Blackwater has only scratched the surface of it.”
The K Street lobbyist firm hired by Blackwater deserves a paragraph in this
book. Founded by a former chief of staff for Tom DeLay, Alexander melted down
and was shuttered in early 2006 in the face of the Jack Abramoff scandals. Former
staffers and associates of Tom DeLay ran the firm, which gave it solid roots in GOP
sleaze. Another Alexander client was PerfectWave, the defense contracting firm
owned by Brent Wilkes, who was convicted in November 2007 in connection with
the Randy “Duke” Cunningham government contracting scandal. (As we discuss in
Chapter 18, Cunningham is in prison serving a sentence of eight years and four
months, the longest sentence ever given a U.S. congressman.)
The families of the four men killed in Blackwater’s Fiasco in Fallujah filed a
wrongful death lawsuit against Blackwater, alleging numerous mistakes, malfea-
sance and negligence by Blackwater, including sending the four into harm’s way
without sufficient force and equipment and in violation of contractual commitments.
As reported in The Nation, the families of the four dead decided to sue only after
they had been stonewalled, misled and lied to by Blackwater as to what really hap-
pened. “Blackwater seems to understand money. That’s the only thing they under-
stand,” said Katy Helvenston, the mother of one of the victims. “They have no val-
ues, they have no morals. They’re whores. They’re the whores of war.”
Congress has started investigating Blackwater, but don’t expect Blackwater and
its political allies to cooperate. In the case of the Fallujah incident, it took a long time
for Congress or anyone else to even identify the subcontract under which the four
dead were employed, thanks to Blackwater’s obfuscation and stonewalling. War
profiteering in Iraq is conducted with a profits-enhancing maze of contracts and sub-
contracts, and no one even knows how many exist.
The shift to private corporate mercenaries has cost America and its military
dearly. America’s military has been crippled by the GOP’s relentless campaign to
privatize everything, all for the benefit of corporate interests. The rightwing pirates
simply hate government and its employees, including its military personnel.
Rumsfeld in particular despised the Pentagon organization for years and wanted
to transform and privatize it. Incredibly, Rumsfeld declared war on the Pentagon on
September 10, 2001, exactly one day before 9/11, that day of infamy when Flight 77
crashed into the Pentagon killing 189. He issued his declaration of war in an address
at the Pentagon, warning his audience of an “adversary that poses a threat, a serious
threat, to the security of the United States of America,” one that “attempts to impose
its demands across time zones, continents, oceans, and beyond. With brutal consis-
tency, it stifles free thought and crushes new ideas. It disrupts the defense of the
United States and places the lives of men and women in uniform at risk.” Rumsfeld
wasn’t referring to al Qaeda or bin Laden. He was talking about the U.S. Department
160 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

of Defense itself and his desire to radically transform it. He said, “the adversary’s
closer to home. It’s the Pentagon bureaucracy.”
Ironically, history would soon show that Rumsfeld’s words could better be ap-
plied to himself and his band of neocon suits: an “adversary that poses a threat, a
serious threat, to the security of the United States of America … It disrupts the de-
fense of the United States and places the lives of men and women in uniform at risk.”
These words should be chiseled on his tombstone.
Rumsfeld and his supporting cast of well-connected executives from public
trough companies like Enron wanted the U.S. military to have a “small footprint”
and its leaders to function like venture capitalists in an MBA-filled boardroom. In
reality, a “small footprint” for America’s military meant a “huge footprint” for war
profiteers, allowing them to pork up at the public trough with minimal public scru-
tiny and oversight. To function like “venture capitalists” really meant to devour like
“vulture capitalists.”
The war on terrorism, 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq were all dreams come true for
America’s corporate mercenaries and the neocons. Rumsfeld must have thought he
had died and gone to Heaven. But, in reality, America had lost its marbles.

SIDEBAR: Halliburton—None Dare Call It Treason

In March 2007 Halliburton, the energy services giant then headquartered in Houston,
announced it was moving its corporate headquarters to Dubai, the United Arab Emir-
ates, along with its CEO, David Lesar, apparently in recognition of the fact that
Texas is fading in energy and rapidly becoming an empty oilcan, whereas Dubai is a
boomtown in the middle of the world’s largest oil reserves. The announcement was
met with disbelief in Washington, although no one should be surprised by anything
Halliburton does.
The move by Halliburton from Houston to Dubai illustrates where its loyalties
lie, and, in the words of Senator Patrick Leahy, is “an insult to the U.S. soldiers and
taxpayers who paid the tab for their no-bid contracts and endured their overcharges
for all these years.”
Henry Waxman, the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Re-
form Committee, said in February 2007 that a government audit indicated Hallibur-
ton was responsible for $2.7 billing in “suspect billings.” Halliburton enjoyed a
multi-year $16 billion contract with the U.S. Army, as well as many other Iraq war
contracts. It also enjoyed the protection of the Halliburton White House and the GOP
Congress.
Although Halliburton declared the move will not result in tax benefits, we should
expect further restructuring by Halliburton, including probably a reincorporation
outside the United States, which could cost America’s taxpayers tens of billions of
dollars, in addition to helping further protect Halliburton from public oversight and
U.S. law.
CHAPTER 7 — PRIVATE MILITARY CONTACTORS 161

In 2007 Halliburton spun off its notorious military contracting subsidiary, KBR
(formerly Kellogg Brown & Root), and the company is at the center of a host of al-
leged crimes, some going back to Dick Cheney’s 1995-2000 reign as Halliburton’s
CEO.
Halliburton is America’s leader in war profiteering. America can trust its public
servants who wear its uniform, but it has little reason to trust its private serpents who
owe their loyalties to their profits, not to America or its soldiers.

As is the case with America’s military personnel in Iraq, some mercenaries per-
form non-combat work, and some engage in combat. It is anyone’s guess as to what
the mix actually is. In comparison, the coalition members other than the United
States and Britain provide zero troops for combat. In addition, many mercenaries
died in Iraq because of the incompetence and greed of their private corporate em-
ployers.
The Bush regime is quite secretive as to exactly what functions the private mili-
tary contractors perform and how many individuals perform each function. The
range of activity is certainly broad, from logistics support—such as training, trans-
portation, and food services—to actual combat and providing security for senior
American officials and numerous key installations, such as the Green Zone in Bagh-
dad.
Iraqis desperately in need of employment are appalled at the high cost of hiring
foreign mercenaries and other foreign workers to perform services in their country.
They see foreigners being paid a large multiple of the salary for which they are will-
ing and able to work. In more extreme cases, the cost of a U.S. mercenary might be
more than 100 times the cost of hiring an Iraqi soldier to do the same work. Imagine
the peace dividend of giving a mercenary the boot, and then using the cost savings to
hire several Iraqi citizens, with each one then having the wherewithal to support a
family of several people.
An exercise in empathy is useful here. Imagine the “insurgent” violence and pa-
triotic outrage of Americans if an unwelcome, uninvited foreign imperial power in-
vaded and occupied America and then, rubbing salt in the wounds, hired foreign con-
tractors at a cost many times what American workers would accept—say at two mil-
lion dollars each—rather than hiring unemployed American policemen and firemen.
The Bush regime simply does not trust Iraqis or anything about them—especially
their religion—and therein lies a major reason for Bush’s and the GOP’s catastrophic
failure in Iraq. Whatever tidbit of respect the Bushies had for Iraqis was greatly out-
weighed by their love for their private public-trough buddies.
Civilian mercenaries who drive around Iraq in unmarked vehicles, without mili-
tary uniforms or identification, represent to Iraqis an extremely offensive face of the
occupation of their country. Some of these mercenaries committed horrendous
crimes against innocent Iraqis, with impunity.
As for the ballyhooed surge in Baghdad in early 2007, no one explained the role
of America’s private mercenary army, and America’s Big Media ignored this highly
relevant issue.
162 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

The goal of the mercenary companies is to maximize profits and do what is best
for their companies, not to implement U.S. policy or do what is best for America or
Iraq. However, there is virtually no public discussion of this inherent conflict of in-
terest, a conflict that exposes America’s troops to greater danger.
You can count on an American soldier, but you cannot count on a fat-cat CEO of
a war profiteer.
One problem is that employers of mercenaries typically retain the right to with-
draw their personnel if security becomes an issue. U.S. troops under fire in a combat
situation who need rescue or reinforcement can take comfort if American troops,
under the American military chain of command, are coming to their aid, rather than
unknown mercenaries hired by a company that may choose to keep its employees out
of harm’s way.
America’s private corporate mercenaries cause friction and compromise Amer-
ica’s mission in numerous ways. An American soldier who may be paid about
$20,000 per year to drive a truck has to question the sense and fairness of a private
corporate mercenary getting $100,000 and better benefits to do the same job. At a
time when the U.S. military has repeatedly missed its recruiting goals and lowered its
recruiting standards, it is not helpful that private companies “poach” many of Amer-
ica’s best soldiers in Iraq, including its special operations forces.
For a variety of reasons, including cost and availability, mercenaries from nu-
merous countries around the world are also hired to work in Iraq, and in some cases
the hiring standards are low or nonexistent. Dozens of soldiers who served with the
pro-apartheid military, paramilitary and secret police in South Africa and Namibia
have worked in Iraq. Others have trained and served under other brutal rightwing
dictatorships, such as the Pinochet regime in Chile.
Mercenaries vary greatly in experience and training. Some are among the most
competent and experienced warriors in the world. The pay rates vary greatly, from
perhaps $300 per month for Fijian or Kurdish soldiers to over $1,000 per day for
certain former Green Berets and experienced special operations forces. Blackwater
reportedly charged in the range of $1,500 per day per employee for some of its op-
erations. By comparison, in late 2003 many of the new recruits for Iraq’s new army
quit because of difficulty in supporting their families on $60 per month, which is $2
per day.
The GOP’s privatization and profiteering schemes have also found a home in
America. For example, Blackwater expanded its domestic operations and reportedly
charged up to $950 per day per person for its contracted employees during Katrina.
Bush and the GOP would rather pay millions to GOP cronies than give a needy black
person a lunch worth $5.
Although the United States used mercenaries in many conflicts prior to 9/11, in-
cluding Gulf War I, the scale of their usage in Iraq is unprecedented. On a percentage
basis, more than ten times as many are employed in the current unsuccessful Iraq war
as were employed in the successful Gulf War I.
Bush’s war on Iraq is just another opportunity for the Republican Party, the Cons,
to engage in so-called privatization, which truthfully should be called pirate-ization
or piratization. The Cons don’t believe in government—other than bloating and
CHAPTER 7 — PRIVATE MILITARY CONTACTORS 163

milking it—and thus are incompetent and untrustworthy to run it. That especially
applies to America’s military and America’s national defense.
Just as an atheist who doesn’t believe in Christianity is unfit to be the pastor of
your church, the Cons who don’t believe in America’s government are unfit to run it.
Whether it’s the Cons’ vendetta to privatize and gut Social Security, or the
deregulation of the savings and loan industry, or the Enron-style deregulation of the
energy industry, or America’s student loan program, or the Medicare corporate wel-
fare legislation, or operation Katrina, or Bush’s war on Iraq, or the Afghanistan war,
the result is always the same: corruption, inefficiency, and an explosion in adminis-
trative costs, with America’s middle- and lower-income taxpayers getting screwed to
the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.
Putting the GOP in charge of America’s military is like marrying a pimp—a
bloated, white, over-the-hill, cocaine-addicted, womanizing, wife-abusing pimp—
whom you know is marrying you for your money. Yes, you will get screwed, but
don’t expect any of that romance you were promised.
In the next chapter we turn our attention to the Religious Wrong, that decidedly
unchristian warmongering gang of “Mission Accomplices” who bless and empower
the GOP’s War on Iraq and its War on America.
PART III

Bush, the GOP and Bush


League Religion
CHAPTER 8

The Religious Wrong


Creating the Neo-Jesus—Pro-Rich and Pro-War

When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying
a cross.
—Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951)

One World Government and Other Bush League Fantasies


The central purpose of the Bush League of Nations was to provide Bush and the
GOP neocons with a veneer of political cover both in the short term—in their unilat-
eral decision to invade and occupy Iraq—and also in the longer term—in whatever
additional military campaigns they raged in pursuit of their broader imperial goal of
expanding American supremacy in the world. In the eyes of the world, the neocons
desired a modern American version of the Roman Empire, but much bigger geo-
graphically, and much more intrusive, exploitive and dictatorial. A vast majority of
rightwing Christians fell for the coalition charade hook, line and sinker.
The Bush League of Nations is a subterfuge intended to make rightwing Chris-
tians and other gullible American voters believe that most of the world was with us
in a willing coalition of nations to share the mission and the load in Iraq. But as the
war dragged on, increasing numbers of Christians slowly awakened to the reality of
the Big Lie.
The subterfuge was a necessary inconvenience for the Bush warmongers only be-
cause America still conducts elections, more or less. The vast majority of the rest of
the world saw the Bush League for what it was and still is, and they yearned for
America to come to its senses, restore integrity to the White House and Congress,
and return to its traditional values.
In the run-up to the Iraq war, Bush took the worst proposed foreign policy that
was slithering around the GOP dumpster—The Project for the New American Cen-
tury—and then foolishly decorated it with “Jesus Kills” cloth while donning his new
crusader cap. The world after 9/11 wanted to be led by America, but Bush gave them
his Bush League brand of American imperialism cloaked in America’s new national
religion.
The Taliban wing of the Republican Party had entered the White House. A viru-
lent strain of Christianity had become the religion of empire. America had lost its
marbles.
168 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Incredibly, millions of rightwing American Christians supported Bush because


they believed God communicates with him, supports him, and directs his decisions
and policies. Bush and his handlers encouraged such misguided beliefs. While cam-
paigning in Pennsylvania in July 2004 Bush said, “I trust God speaks through me.
Without that, I couldn’t do my job.” This amazes America’s allies and repulses the
Islamic world. It also costs the lives of thousands of American soldiers in Iraq and
elsewhere.

SIDEBAR: A 9/11 in Iraq Every 11 Hours

As for the number of Iraqis who died because of Bush’s illegal unjust war on Iraq,
neither the Bush regime nor the Iraqi regime is really counting. Neither is America’s
Christian right. In Chapter 4 we discussed the comprehensive independent Lancet
survey that estimated, through July 2006, that 655,000 Iraqis had died as a conse-
quence of the Iraq war. The estimate range was 943,000 at the high end and 393,000
at the low end. The middle figure of 655,000 Iraqi dead is more than 200 times the
number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, and equal to about 218 9/11s during the 40-
month period of the study.
Taking into account that America’s population is about 12 times that of Iraq, we
conclude that Iraq on a per capita basis has been experiencing the equivalent of one
9/11 every 11 hours—around the clock, 24 hours a day.
As indicated in Chapter 4, Iraq has suffered, on average on a per capita basis, the
equivalent of 5,952 Virginia Tech massacres per month, or one Virginia Tech mas-
sacre every 7 minutes and 30 seconds—around the clock, 24 hours a day.
Whatever estimate of Iraq’s dead you choose—even the lowball estimates be-
grudgingly offered by the Bush regime—the suffering in Iraq is staggering and in-
comprehensible to Americans.
Every church in America should be angered and outraged by the horror that was
unleashed in Iraq in America’s name and in Christ’s name.
As for those Christians who supported Bush’s war so proudly and eagerly, one
would hope to see some tears some day. Even a few crocodile tears would be a start.

Whether or not Bush has a hotline to God, the Bush League charade appeals to
many conservative Christians caught up in various rightwing prophecies of the end
of the world—the “End Times”—including the Second Coming of Christ, the rapture
and the Battle of Armageddon, which religious speculation we will discuss in the
next chapter. The Bush League foray into the heart of the Islamic world also gives
comfort to rightwing Christian evangelicals and fundamentalists who believe Amer-
ica should lead a militant Christian Crusade against the dark evil forces of the world,
primarily Islam.
At the same time, many conservative Americans have no use for any interna-
tional coalition, whether Bush League or not, and want America to unilaterally set
and pursue its own global agenda as it sees fit, free of any international taint, espe-
CHAPTER 8 — THE RELIGIOUS WRONG 169

cially that of the United Nations. This is appealing to many Americans on the ex-
treme right who believe various conspiracy theories such as one world government
and new world order.
According to most variations of these theories, a powerful group of individuals is
intent on obtaining complete control over every person on Earth, an Earth that would
no longer have national or political boundaries. Fearing an ongoing assault upon the
sovereignty and freedom of America, these conspiracy believers vociferously oppose
the United Nations and other international organizations.
If you are not very familiar with these conspiracy theories, you should Google
terms such as “Black Nobility,” “Committee of 300,” and “illuminati,” in addition to
“one world government” and “new world order.” You will be shocked by the crea-
tive lunacy you find, especially its biblical flavor.
Ironically, America itself has far more power and influence in the world than all
of these real or imagined conspiracy organizations put together, and thus America,
especially under Bush and his neocons, is, or rather was, the closest thing on Earth to
the “feared” one world government or new world order.
Any rightwing American who is truly fearful of such one world government or
new world order should empathize and role play for a moment—by stepping into the
shoes of non-Americans who might be similarly concerned about concentrated
power, and considering how these foreigners might reasonably view imperial Amer-
ica in these early years of the 21st century, which the neocons themselves call “The
New American Century.” Foreigners—say, for example, Brazilians, Iranians, or Ca-
nadians—have much more reason to be fearful of such a new world order than
Americans. Indeed, Bush’s War Party created such fear abroad where none previ-
ously existed, and where it did already exist it dumped gasoline on the flames.
Before the Bush regime assumed power, the disease of such paranoia had been
largely confined to rightwing America, where it has been nurtured by many funda-
mentalist biblical interpretations that are both recent and peculiar to America. Oddly,
many of the supporters of this new, made-in-America Christianity—one might say
“evolving” Christianity—are anti-science folk who don’t believe in evolution.

The Religious Wrong and the Separation of Church and State


The de facto religion of the Bush League of Nations is rightwing political Christian-
ity, as exploited by the rightwing political cabal known as the Religious Right,55 a
term that is Orwellian doublespeak, since the vast majority of the Religious Right’s
political agenda is an insult to Christ’s message of peace on Earth and compassion
for the poor. So when you hear the term “Religious Right,” you should mentally
translate it into something more accurate, such as the “Religious Reich,” the “Reli-
gious Wrong“ or the “Unchristian Right.” Another accurate label for the Religious
Right is “Extreme Religious Right,” or “ERR,” as in “to ERR is human, and defi-
nitely not divine.”

55
The terms Religious Right and Christian Right are often used interchangeably.
170 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

SIDEBAR: To ERR is Human, and Definitely Not Divine

The core agenda of the Religious Right is political, and not particularly religious,
unless you count as religious the idolatrous worship of wealth, the wealthy, power,
the powerful, war and weapons of mass destruction. In the case of any conflict be-
tween Christ’s message and rightwing politics, the latter always prevails. Rightwing
politics trump the Bible. War is good. Follow the money. Cronyism and corruption
crush Christ.
The “religious” tag used by the Religious Right serves the purpose of maintain-
ing the knee-jerk support of religious voters for rightwing policies no matter how
extreme, including especially the secular schemes of the Super Rich and powerful.
The so-called Religious Right has moved so far to the right that it should be called
the Extreme Religious Right, or “ERR,” as in: “to support the GOP is to ERR.”
The noun in the term “Religious Right” is “Right”—specifically an extreme
rightwing political constituency—and the word “Religious” is merely an adjective
that puts gloss on it. The ratio is at least 95%-to-5% in favor of extreme rightwing
politics, with the 5% “religious” part consisting of divisive social issues cherry
picked from the Bible, or simply picked out of thin air, so as to achieve extreme
rightwing political goals, which are primarily economic.
The Religious Right began to gel in the late 1960s and early 1970s, partly as a re-
sponse to liberal, progressive Christians—Jesus would say “true Christians,” I be-
lieve—who pushed for civil rights and opposed America’s war in Vietnam. Political
action groups on the right such as the Moral Majority—led by Rev. Jerry Falwell
during its lifespan, 1979-87—became powerbrokers and money magnets. Recogniz-
ing the potential in grafting religion onto rightwing politics, many political and reli-
gious leaders who previously had believed in the constitutional separation of church
and state did a flip-flop, and rightwing politics became their main passion. They
made a Faustian pact with the Devil, and America has been paying the Devil’s price
ever since.
The exclusionary Religious Right is dominated by white males, and, with the ex-
ception of its opposition to abortion rights and same-sex marriage, its agenda is that
of the Super Rich and Big Business, for whom Christ has become a lobbyist. Be-
cause the Religious Right is deeply rooted in rightwing political goals and not par-
ticularly religious values, it has no difficulty turning Christianity on its head when-
ever Christ’s message is inconsistent with rightwing political objectives, which is
most of the time. This is why so many policies of the Religious Right bear no resem-
blance to Christ or Christ’s ministry.
The Extreme Religious Right is an extreme political faction that effectively con-
trols the Republican Party. It backs its man Bush in whatever madness he may en-
gage in—such as the invasion of Iraq and the Bush League of Nations charade—and
helps convince Christians that Bush can do no wrong because God is acting through
him. Bishop Bush, in return, recklessly and relentlessly pursues the ERR’s corporate
agenda: “of the Super Rich, by the Super Rich, and for the Super Rich.”
CHAPTER 8 — THE RELIGIOUS WRONG 171

Until a few decades ago all Christian denominations in America, including all
Baptist branches, strongly believed, as a matter of theology and common sense, in
the separation of church and state, which separation is intended to ensure freedom of
religion and freedom from religion. In short, virtually all Christians supported the
U.S. Constitution. However in the late 1970s an unfortunate blending of Christian
fundamentalism and the Republican Party began, leading to the erosion of the sepa-
ration of church and state, and to the rewriting and shredding of the Constitution.
Ultraconservative Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), the GOP candidate for
president in 1964, presciently saw the dangerous religious writing on the wall by the
early 1980s (long before your author did), and he condemned uncompromising pulpit
politicians for using religion as a weapon to force government leaders to follow their
God-determined positions 100%, and threatening to withhold votes and money.

I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as
a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C and D. Just
who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to
dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who
must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted
right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I
will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to
all Americans in the name of conservatism.
—Goldwater’s speech to the U.S. Senate on September 16, 1981

Bush has taken the Religious Right’s misguided un-American efforts to new ex-
tremes, with little regard for the Constitution or their negative impact on all religions,
including his own. Oddly, he shows no glimmer of curiosity as to why our founding
fathers wisely separated church from state. Perhaps the most curious thing about
Bush is his lack of curiosity.
Religious fundamentalism by itself is generally not bad, when kept securely in
the private realm and outside government. But fundamentalism transformed into
theocracy is dangerous and frequently deadly. Americans who believe religious fun-
damentalists should run their government would be at home in Saudi Arabia or Iran
or Bush’s Iraq, although they wouldn’t care for the particular flavor of toxic religious
Kool-Aid being served.

SIDEBAR: Thomas Jefferson and the Separation of Church and State

“I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal as-
cendancy of one sect over another.”
—Thomas Jefferson
172 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people
which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establish-
ment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separa-
tion between church and state.”
—Thomas Jefferson

Oblivious to the irony, Bush works to meld religion and state in America, while
he prays that the two will be separated in Iraq. But separating religion and state in a
predominantly Islamic nation is much more difficult than in the predominantly
Christian nation of America, a nation that from its founding in the 18th century rec-
ognized the wisdom of such separation. Bush and the GOP are thus on a fool’s er-
rand—the Devil’s errand—in both Iraq and the United States.
In sharp contrast to the Bible, the Koran strongly interweaves Islam and the state,
and this structure is reflected by centuries of tradition in the Islamic world. On the
other hand, Jesus is frequently given credit for inventing the separation of church and
state, when he said, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto
God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:21, Mark 12:17.
The unholy marriage of Christian fundamentalism and rightwing economic poli-
tics, together with their joint assault on religious freedom and the separation of
church and state, are peculiar to America. We should praise God that no other pre-
dominantly Christian nation suffers from this disease of the mind and the heart.
Unfortunately, there are several extreme rightwing Islamic nations, including Iran
and Prince George’s princely Saudi Arabia, where Islam is coupled to a rightwing,
exclusionary, elitist, dictatorial regime run by and for men. They are Islamic ana-
logues to Bush’s vision of a Religious Right America. Just imagine the repressive
toilet America would become if zealots like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and James
Dobson made up 51% of America’s population.
Religion will simply not work in this small world unless the vast majority of be-
lievers of all faiths respect the religious freedom of others at least as much as they
respect their own religion.
As for the future of America itself, the memorable words of Abraham Lincoln
spoken on June 16, 1858, in Springfield, Illinois, echo to this day: “A house divided
against itself cannot stand.” Just as an America divided on slavery could not stand,
an America divided by religious fundamentalism cannot stand.
The neocons in effect are hoping and praying that the huge Islamic majority in
Iraq—more than 95% of the population—and the large Shiite majority in particu-
lar—about 60% of the population—will behave much more liberally, democratically
and justly in ruling Iraq than the Bush regime and his Confederate GOP have in rul-
ing the United States. Iraq’s new rulers, without the benefit of democratic traditions,
are expected, miraculously, to represent all Iraqis and to eschew Bush’s favorite
tools: militarism, greed, corruption, bigotry, the misuse of religion, cronyism, poli-
tics by division, lying, and eye gouging. Now that would be a miracle.
Ironically, largely below the radar of the American public, Bush’s blunder in Iraq
spawned countless tragedies for Iraqi Christians and other Christians in the Islamic
CHAPTER 8 — THE RELIGIOUS WRONG 173

world. For example, approximately 40,000 Christians left Iraq in a period of less
than 18 months following the American invasion in March 2003, according to an
August 2004 report of the Migration Ministry of Iraq. The Bush League incompe-
tence fueled religious fundamentalism and violence, which frequently targets Chris-
tians.
The funneling of taxpayer money to favored religious groups is one of Bush’s
most infamous attacks on the separation of church and state in America. Upon as-
suming office Bush pushed Congress to approve his so-called faith-based initiatives,
intended to break down the constitutional barrier between church and state and use
U.S. tax dollars to fund tax-exempt religious organizations that provide social and
other services. Because of obvious First Amendment concerns, Congress correctly
refused to pass the legislation Bush wanted, even though Republicans controlled
both houses of Congress. More than a few Republicans saw the unconstitutional evil
afoot. So Bush circumvented Congress and implemented his faith-based initiatives
by executive order.
The result, notwithstanding the Constitution, is that federal funds flow to reli-
gious service providers from the newly created Compassion Capital Fund. This effort
is directly and politically controlled by the White House Office, which steers faith-
based centers in seven federal agencies (expanded to ten in May 2004), and the gov-
ernment bureaucrats now in charge are people who meet Bush’s litmus test for ap-
propriate religiosity. Of the first $1 billion in tax dollars distributed from the Com-
passion Capital Fund, virtually all of it went to Christian groups. Jewish and Muslim
groups received little or nothing.
Also troublesome is the fact that the selected religious service providers, even
though they receive federal funds, can discriminate in ways that other organizations
receiving federal funds cannot. For example, the taxpayer-funded religious service
providers can refuse to hire people of other faiths. Jews and Muslims need not apply.
Also problematic for the Bush administration are the revelations of a former
White House official—a deeply religious person who sincerely wanted to help the
poor—that Bush’s inner circle privately made fun of evangelical supporters who
visited the White House, calling them “goofy,” “nuts” and worse, while embracing
them in public in order to win elections. The revelations appear in the book,
Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, by David Kuo, the former
Deputy Director of Bush’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Kuo
describes how rightwing evangelicals were taken for granted and co-opted by the
Republican Party, losing their influence and respect along the way.
Bush bragged about, while underfunding, his faith-based initiatives at the same
time he worked hard to cut funding for various social services. Here is a small sam-
pling of his favorite cuts, most of which are from his 2005 budget proposal:
• massive cuts (largest ever) in loans for needy college students, together with
increased interest rates
• cuts in funding for energy and natural resources programs intended to re-
duce America’s dependence on foreign oil
• cuts in incentives for developers to build affordable housing for the working
poor
• cuts in child care assistance for needy mothers who work
174 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• caps on Section 8 rent subsidies for the poor, which are paid primarily to
below-poverty-level families that include the elderly, the disabled, or chil-
dren
• cuts in funding for mass transit, highways, bridges, and other essential ele-
ments of America’s infrastructure
• cuts in community development
• cuts in funding for rural education intended to meet the requirements of the
No Child Left Behind law
• cuts in the FAA budget, which will compromise aviation safety
Let’s remember the context in which Bush worked so hard to make these cuts
and screw America’s most needy and America’s middle class. Let’s remember for
whom Bush works and that his priorities are the GOP’s priorities. Bush proposed his
first round of massive tax cuts for the Super Rich because there was a budget surplus
(thanks to Clinton.) Bush proposed his second round of massive tax cuts for the Su-
per Rich because there was a budget deficit (which Bush created.) Bush then wanted
to make these and other massive tax cuts for the Super Rich permanent even though
there persists a massive deficit (which he created.)
From a Christian perspective, all of Bush’s and the GOP’s budgets are immoral,
as they victimize America’s middle- and lower-income Americans by cutting pro-
grams to benefit them, while at the same time enriching the Super Rich through tax
reductions, tax exemptions, reduced IRS enforcement, earmarks, government con-
tracts, and public-trough crony capitalism.
Voting for Bush and the GOP is like dropping off your kids—again and again—
at the home of a babysitter known to be a child molester.
During the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, as well as during the 2002 and
2006 midterm elections, there were countless disturbing Republican Party campaign
tactics that abused religion and the Constitution. Here are just a few examples from
the run-up to the 2004 presidential election:
• Republican leaders supported amending the tax laws to increase the power
of religious leaders to engage in partisan politics, notwithstanding constitu-
tional limitations. These politically motivated amendments were intended to
placate congressmen such as Representative Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC), who
for years had wanted a law allowing religious leaders to endorse political
candidates from the pulpit.
• The Republican Party ran a campaign to enlist 1,600 so-called “friendly”
congregations in Pennsylvania—as well as thousands of congregations in
other battleground states—to register voters and distribute Republican Party
campaign literature.
• The Bush/Cheney campaign later distributed a list of 22 duties for church
volunteers, including forwarding the church’s membership roster to GOP
party headquarters so that church members could be solicited for campaign
contributions and votes.
• The GOP pushed legislation in Congress that would expand the ability of
houses of worship to preach politics from the pulpit and otherwise engage
in partisan politics.
CHAPTER 8 — THE RELIGIOUS WRONG 175

• Jerry Falwell endorsed the reelection of Bush in 2004 in a newsletter sent


from Jerry Falwell Ministries, his tax-exempt foundation.56 He also urged
his readers to give up to $5,000 to Campaign For Working Families, a po-
litical action committee headed by Gary Bauer. Tax exempt as a Section
501(c)(3) organization, Jerry Falwell Ministries is prohibited by federal law
from endorsing political candidates or engaging in political lobbying.
The Religious Right has effectively turned many churches into Republican Party
mouthpieces and partisan political headquarters. Your personal political beliefs are
now a measure of your Christian faith.
Without adequate regard for the Constitution, Christian fundamentalists are
working hard to project their particular religious beliefs into many areas that must
remain secular:
• Faith-based education. Public education is under attack. An increasing
number of rightwing Christians want private education, including religious
education, to be paid for by taxpayers, at the expense of public education,
which has been a bedrock valued institution in America for more than a
century.
• Faith-based textbooks. Grass roots fundamentalist activists have lobbied
hard to have evolution replaced by creation science—an oxymoron—in sci-
ence textbooks used in America’s public schools. Unfortunately, textbook
publishers frequently dummy down their textbooks to avoid religious con-
troversy and to appeal to a large dummy subset of Republican voters. Fun-
damentalists strive to censor anything that conflicts with their religious
views, at the expense of the constitutional rights and personal freedoms of
everyone else.
• Anti-science policies. Any aspect of science that conflicts with the funda-
mentalists’ literal reading—or creative reading—of the Bible is subject to
rejection and attack. Science is being mugged by rightwing religious big-
otry, and an amazed world laughs at America. The Religious Right wants its
interpretation and rewriting of the Bible—a form of New Age spiritual-
ism—to control everything, everybody, everywhere. The extreme Young
Earth Creationists (YEC), who believe the entire universe was divinely cre-
ated only 6,000 to 8,000 years ago, want their unverifiable supernatural
views to be taught in science classes in public schools. In doing so, YEC
gives “YUK” a bad name. Muslims, even extreme rightwing Muslims, are
more respectful of science than America’s rightwing Christianists.
• The Age of Endarkenment. America was built on the principles of the Age
of Reason and the Age of Enlightenment, but the Bush regime has opened
the door to the Age of Endarkenment.
• Junk science. The Bush administration suppresses and ignores facts and
widely accepted scientific principles that displease favored large corpora-
tions and donors to the Republican Party. When it cannot successfully sup-
press the unwelcome truth, including in many cases extensive multiple stud-

56
Falwell wrote, “voting for principle this year means voting for the re-election of George W.
Bush. The alternative, in my mind, is simply unthinkable.”
176 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

ies by the government itself, the Bush team readily accepts as gospel what-
ever junk science its corporate paymasters fabricate.
• Rewriting of science. Numerous rightwing political appointees without sci-
entific credentials or training, such as Phillip Cooney whom we will discuss
later, edit scientific reports to make them fit GOP ideology.
• Anti-conservation and anti-environment. Notwithstanding biblical mandates
to respect and preserve God’s World, large polluters and exploiters are
loved and protected by Bush and his rightwing Christianists. Many on the
extreme right oppose the environmental movement because it smacks of
one world government.
Early in his presidency Bush went out of his way to publicly project his own re-
ligiosity and promote his own religion, giving a skeptical world good reason to dis-
trust him. It should have been no surprise that so many predominantly Muslim na-
tions refused to join his Bush League of Nations in Iraq.

The GOP and Upside Down Christianity


In addition to eroding the separation of church and state, the marriage of the Repub-
lican Party to religious fundamentalism and the Religious Right has caused central
truths of Christianity to be discarded along the way.
What are these discarded Christian truths? One is Christ’s compassion for
women, the poor, the sick, the diseased, the suffering, the scorned, the destitute, the
forgotten, and the downtrodden. As for possibly helping these poor people of Christ,
the policy of the Religious Right and the Bush Administration is that government
must help rich people first in every way possible, and then perhaps some benefits
will filter down to the poor. This approach contradicts not only the teachings and
ministry of Jesus Christ, but also the teachings of the world’s other great religions,
including Islam whose faithful we should be trying to influence positively.
Christ’s compassion is also missing from America’s foreign policy, which is de-
fined best by the “Of the Rich, By the Rich, and For the Rich” banner carried by
America’s Prince of War, George W. Bush. The world looks on in horror.
In Bush’s America and in Bush’s World, the Super Rich and large corporations
grab as much as they can at the public trough—with the eager assistance of the Re-
publican Party and an army of lobbyists that has doubled in size since the start of
Bush’s administration—and if anything filters down to the poor and hungry, it is not
by design but only because the nets of the greedy missed a few crumbs.
CHAPTER 8 — THE RELIGIOUS WRONG 177

SIDEBAR: The Rich Ruler

Luke 18: 18-25: “George W. Bush57 asked him [Jesus], ‘Good teacher, what must I
do to inherit eternal life?’ … ‘You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and
give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow
me.’ When W heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.
Jesus looked at him and said, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of
God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich
man to enter the kingdom of God.’”
Bush, born into a life of inherited wealth and class bigotry, has totally rejected
the letter and spirit of this scripture, and his example makes it easy for other rich
Christians to also turn their backs on Jesus’ teaching. Bush implemented multiple
humongous tax cuts for the Super Rich, the largest tax cuts in history, with the lion’s
share going to the top one percent, and he shafted poor people at every turn.

Another Christian truth discarded by the blending of the Religious Right and
fundamentalism with the Republican Party is Christ’s role as the Prince of Peace.
With his deeds, George Bush anointed himself the Prince of War and profited enor-
mously at the polls.
Every tenet of the Beatitudes from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount has been turned
on its head and rewritten. The new GOP rendition is now entitled, “Blessed are the
Warmakers.”
In addition to the rejection of compassion for the less fortunate and Christ’s role
as Prince of Peace, the merger of the Religious Wrong and the Republican Party also
has subverted many traditional American values, including:
• Fiscal responsibility—GONE; SCREW THE UNBORN
• Balanced budgets—GONE
• A fair taxation system—GONE
• Separation of church and state—GOING, GOING …
• Respect for other nations and cultures—SCREW YOU
• Respect for other religions—YOU ARE GOING TO HELL
• Cooperation with allies and institutions such as NATO and the United Na-
tions—GONE
• War only if just—THE EMPIRE STRIKES FIRST
• Isolationism (formerly valued in some GOP quarters)—DITTO. SEE YOU
AT ARMAGEDDON
• Respect for human life—THOU SHALL KILL
• If war, then shared sacrifice—WAR PROFITEERING; TAX CUTS FOR
THE WEALTHY

57
Some manuscripts say, “A certain ruler.”
178 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• Truthful leaders and integrity in government—GONE; THOU SHALL LIE


AND STEAL
• Accountability in government—GONE
• Fair elections / one person, one vote—STOLEN ELECTIONS; ONE DOL-
LAR, ONE VOTE; “MONEY BUYS US.”
• A general sense of fair play—GONE
• Compassion for the less fortunate—BLESSED ARE THE RICH
• Respect for parents, the disabled, the elderly—“HEY, HEY, HO, HO, SO-
CIAL SECURITY’S GOT TO GO”58
• Respect for unborn generations of Americans—GONE. THEY DON’T
VOTE.
• Respect for God’s Earth—GONE.
• Respect for God—SHOW ME THE MONEY
For many decades both major political parties by and large agreed with the above
list of values, and their policy differences were usually debated in the middle in an
honest manner. However, the Republican Party, kidnapped by neocons and theocons,
abandoned all of these values, and massively corrupted the political process in
Washington.
The above list of values reflects not only secular values but also spiritual and re-
ligious values. Almost all of these values are endorsed by the mainstreams of the
world’s great religions. However, starting with Reagan in the early 1980s the GOP
replaced these Christ-centered values with a “show-me-the-money” Culture of Cor-
ruption—a Culture of Cha-Ching.
When covering “religious matters,” America’s media docilely use the slogans of
the Religious Right to narrowly frame the issues and mislead. For example, in a
shameful display of self censorship, the media love the phase “culture of life,” limit-
ing it to abortion and stem cell research while ignoring a host of unchristian GOP
policies with life-or-death consequences that make “culture of death” a more apt
moniker for the GOP. Bush’s immoral war on Iraq alone has caused the deaths of
thousands of American troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, not one of whom
had any responsibility for 9/11. This is the GOP’s work, not God’s work.
By cutting out so much Scripture—the heart and soul of Christ’s message—the
Religious Right turned the Holy Bible into its Holey Bible. Its slimmed down, un-
christian version is used to support extreme rightwing causes and doublespeak, such
as: “War is Peace,” “Enriching the Rich is Compassionate,” and “Deficits Don’t
Matter.”
The Holey Bible thumpers on the Religious Right even support the GOP urinat-
ing on the U.S. Constitution. In Bush-speak, it is: “The Constitution Don’t Matter.”
How did rightwing religion, including Christian fundamentalism, help transform
and damage the Republican Party? At the core of religious fundamentalism is a bed-
rock, black-and-white, religious belief that “I am right, and anyone who doesn’t
share my religious beliefs is wrong.” In the fundamentalist’s eyes, God blesses those

58
When Republican Senator Rick Santorum met with his supporters, he was encouraged by
chants of, “Hey hey, ho ho, Social Security’s got to go.” Make no mistake about the GOP’s
intentions regarding Social Security. They’ll be back.
CHAPTER 8 — THE RELIGIOUS WRONG 179

who profess his or her particular correct beliefs, and all others are not blessed—in
fact, they are all literally going to Hell. In the words of Eric Hoffer, “absolute faith
corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.”
Here’s the truth. In God’s entire world, there is no living person who knows the
specifics of Heaven and Hell—where and what they are exactly, or whether they
even exist—and no one knows who will go where. Nevertheless, many fundamental-
ists claim they know, and they have a long list of categories of people who will go to
Hell. One recently created category of the Hell-bound is for Americans who don’t
vote Republican.
How about other people of faith, say Muslims? Christian fundamentalists know
with certitude that all Muslims are destined for Hell. This makes “winning their
hearts and minds” a little tricky.
How about Mormons? Fundamentalists believe the Mormon religion is a cult and
that all Mormons will go to Hell (unless they convert to the right brand of Christian-
ity, in which case, of course, they would no longer be Mormon.) At the same time,
because most Mormons vote Republican, the political apparatus known as the Reli-
gious Right embraces them.
But Muslims and Mormons shouldn’t feel they are the only ones picked on by
Christian elitists. After all, there are many other categories of people on the Christi-
anists’ long list of people going to Hell, including Jews and Catholics, and probably
you too, dear reader, simply because you are reading this book.
This infallibility of America’s fundamentalists carries over to the actions of their
chosen and blessed leader, Bush, and their chosen and blessed party, the Republican
Party. Since blessed Bush and the blessed Republican Party can do no wrong, they,
along with the Super Rich and large corporations sustaining them, are free to commit
whatever wrongs they wish. Even if it sometimes appears they are doing something
wrong and immoral, they really aren’t, because God moves in mysterious ways.
The GOP has morphed from that formerly respected “Grand Old Party” into the
“Gang of Pharisees.” The GOP has been taken over by its Taliban Wing.
Anyone who believes the Earth and the entire universe were created in seven
days and are only about 7,000 years old is capable of believing anything, including
the claim that God directs Bush and that Bush is a “compassionate conservative.”59

SIDEBAR: God Should Speak More Clearly

It’s a mystery why God gives conflicting advice to various rightwing leaders about
issues as important as war. Consider his directions to Bush and Pat Robertson, two
leaders who claim hotlines to Heaven.

59
Likewise, regarding Islamic fundamentalism, anyone who believes he gets to copulate with
lots of virgins by dying for Allah is subject to believing anything.
180 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

On one hand, as discussed later in this chapter, Bush said God had instructed him
“to strike Saddam, which I did,” and Bush believed that things were going to go well
in Iraq. On the other hand, Pat Robertson related a different message from God dur-
ing an interview with CNN reporter Paula Zahn on October 19, 2004, in which he
recounted his pre-invasion conversation with Bush. Robertson, who also had spoken
with God about the upcoming invasion of Iraq, warned Bush in advance about the
war. “I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be (a), a disaster, and (b), messy.” “I
was trying to say, ‘Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for
casualties.’” Robertson said Bush replied, “Oh, no, we’re not going to have any
casualties.”

Another costly result of the unholy marriage between fundamentalism and the
Republican Party relates specifically to how policy decisions are made. Since God
directs the decision making process, there is no need to think too much about com-
plex issues, or to solicit diverse perspectives and expert advice before deciding.
With God on your side, there’s no reason to be concerned about one million Iraqi
dead. Rev. Falwell—a staunch supporter of the Iraq war who died in 2007 at age
73—summed it up nicely when he described how terrorists should be killed—“blow
them all away in the name of the Lord.”
With God on your side, there is no reason to be concerned about science or in-
convenient facts or people who get in the way. There is no need to debate or explore
alternatives. To do so would violate God’s will. Knowing that God is on his side,
Bush prides himself in decisions based on “his gut.” This characterization is better
than admitting that Bush is intellectually lazy, and unable to think clearly or deeply.
A myriad of Bush’s decisions, especially his decision to invade Iraq, gave new
meaning to the expression, “It’s a no brainer.”
The only debate permitted by God-directed Bush and the GOP-dominated Con-
gress was between extreme far right and wacko far right. “Do we need 12 permanent
military bases in Iraq, or is 18 the right number?”

Bush and God


For political correctness, Bush generally moderates his religious comments when
speaking in secular forums and to the outside world, even going so far as to articulate
policies of religious freedom and tolerance. However, when appearing before
friendly handpicked rightwing Christian audiences, this politician frequently wears
rightwing religiosity on his sleeve. His speechwriters frequently used biblical words
and phrases that have specific reassuring meaning to rightwing Christians, but which
are not well understood by broader audiences.
Bush works hard to appear different to different religious groups. When he spoke
during the 2004 campaign to thousands of conservative Catholics at a Knights of
Columbus gathering in Dallas, he repeatedly referred to a “culture of life,” one of
Pope John Paul II’s favorite phases. Bush kissed up to the Pope, calling him a “true
hero,” when in fact the Pope strongly opposed Bush’s war on Iraq and was intensely
disliked by the Bush neocons.
CHAPTER 8 — THE RELIGIOUS WRONG 181

Bush has avoided saying exactly what he believes on certain basic questions of
faith. Does he believe in evolution?60 Does he believe gays and lesbians will all go to
Hell? His closest advisors say they don’t know. It is possible that Bush himself does
not know what he believes.
Political expediency dictates Bush’s vagueness. He learned early that he could
suffer politically if he were too specific and truthful. In the 1990s Bush held the view
that Heaven was open only to people who accepted Jesus. Although this exclusivity
claim is a basic belief of most of his Christian backers, Bush apologized in writing to
the Jewish Anti-Defamation League prior to the 2000 campaign, denying that he ever
made such an exclusivity claim. Bush knew that the truth would present difficulties
when he ran for president, so he took a softer position publicly. However, his right-
wing religious followers know what he believes, and they are satisfied with his
winks and nods.

SIDEBAR: Matthew 6:5-6

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in
the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. … But when you pray,
go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your
Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
—Matthew 6:5-6.

Bush distorts the Bible and good theology whenever it serves his political pur-
poses. He believes God chose America to lead the war against evil in the world, and
he believes God chose George W. Bush to lead America in this faith-based war. In
referring to America and himself, Bush completely turns John 1:5 on its head. John
1:5 reads: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness shall not overcome it.”
This passage refers to Christ as the light. However, in Bush-speak, Bush and Amer-
ica are the light, not Christ. It addition to being deceitful, this is simply bad theology.
Following 9/11 Bush increased his use of strident, militaristic, moralistic text
cherry-picked from the Bible. He assured us that God is not a neutral party, but is on
our side in the battle between good and evil. Bush tried unsuccessfully to force eve-
ryone to pick sides in this battle. In his simplistic black-and-white world, “either you
are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” This had the unintended consequence—
some would say intended consequence—of uniting America’s enemies, while divid-
ing America’s friends.
Many GOP leaders used the same simplistic, black-and-white, either-or “logic”
to label dissenting Democrats as terrorists and unpatriotic. But let’s follow the

60
Bush suggested in 2000 that evolution and creationism should be taught side by side in pub-
lic schools, noting that “religion has been around a lot longer than Darwinism.” Of course,
under this “reasoning,” the world would still be flat, and American blacks would still be
slaves.
182 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

“logic.” To the GOP’s dismay, a majority of Americans by 2006 had finally con-
cluded Bush’s Iraq war was a mistake, and they wanted America out of Iraq.61 This
means, following such GOP logic, that a majority of Americans must now be terror-
ists and unpatriotic.
Fortunately, the rest of the world does not view the world through Bush’s faith-
based, reality-deprived, unchristian, black-and-white glasses. The rest of the world
looks at reality and sees a complex world quite unlike the fantasy known as Bush
World.
If Bush wants to know the number one reason why his Bush League of Nations is
such a failure, he can simply look in a mirror. Nothing would please the world more,
and do more to improve America’s standing in the world, than the impeachment and
removal from office of George W. Bush and his chief puppeteer, Dick Shooter Che-
ney.

SIDEBAR: God Should Receive Bush’s Salary

“God told me to strike Al Qaeda and I struck, and then he instructed me to strike
Saddam, which I did,” said Bush. (According to the Israeli paper Ha’aretz, this is
how Bush explained things to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Prime Minister.)
Bush—America’s Mr. Teflon when it comes to personal responsibility—in effect
blames God for the Iraq disaster. This is slander of the Highest.
Don’t expect any apologies. Bush must be certain that God does not want Bush to
apologize for God’s mistakes—well, something like that.
Here’s a message from Heaven that Bush ignored: A Host of Heavenly Angels
thus chastised Bush: “You never listen! Mouthing faith in Jesus is not enough. Ex-
pecting God to do your job disappoints God, in addition to raising questions about
what exactly it is that you do, and why you are even paid. Jesus wants his followers
to get their noses out of their Bibles and their neighbor’s bedroom and, based on the
reality of the world around them, work with others, including Jews and Muslims, to
create peace and justice in the world. He wants his followers to use their hearts and
God-given gray matter, and not be eye pokers and dividers. God does not favor ‘gut
feeling’ over an active brain and a caring heart. If She did, She would have given
man a Ouija board between his ears, which is all you appear to have.”
When Christ returns in the Second Coming, it’s a pretty good bet that Bush will
be among the first to get a good “whupping.” Yes, “W” also stands for “whupping.”

Thanks to Bush’s telepathic pipeline to God, the invasion and occupation of Iraq
was divinely conceived and blessed, even though Iraq had absolutely nothing to do
with 9/11. Because Bush/God said, “it is good,” we don’t need to shed any tears for,

61
A February 2006 Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey showed that an overwhelm-
ing majority (72%) of American troops in Iraq believe the United States should exit within 12
months. That 12-month milestone passed long ago.
CHAPTER 8 — THE RELIGIOUS WRONG 183

or even count, the multitudes of innocent Iraqis injured, tortured and killed. At the
end of the day, all the non-Christian Iraqis are going to Hell anyway, and Bush is
doing them a big favor by reducing their days of suffering on Earth, in that new Hell-
on-Earth known as Bush’s Iraq.
Americans traditionally preferred a president of faith, but most Americans do not
want a president who:
• when deciding whether to invade Iraq, says he seeks the advice of his Fa-
ther in Heaven, rather than the advice of human experts, including his
earthly father who had more relevant experience than anyone regarding the
formation of a successful coalition to invade Iraq,
• believes that God is directing his actions in all matters,
• believes that God favors America over all other nations,
• believes that God favors Christianity, or a particular Christian denomina-
tion, over all other religions, and
• wishes to impose his religious views on the rest of the world
Any person of faith who allows his religion to short-circuit his God-given brain
and heart discredits both himself and God. Such a person is prone to manipulation by
others who misuse his religion to achieve their purposes, and such a person is also
more likely to slip into self-deception, the hallmark of the Bush administration.
When that person is an average citizen, the prospects for damage to the society are
not great, but when that person is the President of the United States—say, a lazy
shallow man who puts his religion first, ahead of his brain and heart, and avoids
shouldering the hard work demanded by his oath of office—he deserves impeach-
ment and removal from office.
The world recognizes the countless moral ironies in Bush’s World, such as Bush
finding no WMDs in Iraq, while at the same time driving the United States to make
more and better WMDs. Is there any sane Christian who believes God is telling Bush
to build more and better WMDs?
Especially regarding crucial matters like waging war on Iraq, why haven’t jour-
nalists asked Bush if he writes down or, better yet, electronically records God’s in-
structions? “Mr. President, could you please give us an official recording or written
copy of God’s instructions to you regarding Iraq?” Just for fun, you might want to
send a request for this to the White House under the Freedom of Information Act.
You might also ask if God sent Bush a written plan for post-invasion Iraq. If God
never sent Bush a plan, then the civil war and genocide in Iraq cannot be Bush’s
fault.
Suppose Bush’s language-impaired brain misfired while he was transcribing
God’s command. Suppose, for example, Bush asked God, “Hey, Big Guy, should I
continue invading Gulf Coast countries like Iraq to get their oil?”—and God replied:
“Stop! Don’t! Stop! Don’t! Stop! Don’t! Stop!”—but Bush mistakenly heard this as,
“Don’t Stop! Don’t Stop! Don’t Stop!” Who knows? This could have happened. It’s
certainly as plausible as any of the many justifications offered by Bush and the GOP
for their Iraq war.
Unfortunately, it is politically incorrect in America’s Big Media to question the
sincerity and depth of Bush’s stated religious beliefs—even though he shoved the
issue into play through his speeches and policy decisions and by claiming that he
184 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

talks with God for direction. It is simply off limits for Big Media to explore whether
Bush is the Great Pretender when it comes to religion, and whether his religious pos-
turing before trusting Christian voters is simply the means to an end, i.e., grabbing
enough votes to attain the power to deliver Big Goodies to Big Business and the Su-
per Rich.
To be clear, Americans should have the freedom to hold whatever personal reli-
gious beliefs they wish, including believing that their religion is the only true relig-
ion and that their God is infallible. This progressive right—freedom of religion, free-
dom from religion—is worth protecting, even though the world continues to struggle
with the tremendous costs of wars and discrimination caused or fueled by this or that
exclusionary religion, each one of which has too many followers who believe their
particular religion is the only true religion.
However, religious infallibility becomes Hell on Earth when individuals go be-
yond their personal religious beliefs and attribute infallibility to their political lead-
ers. Individual Americans certainly have the constitutional right to believe that God
is infallibly directing Bush, and when they do so, they are merely being gullible and
foolish. However, when an American president—Bush in this case—asserts that God
is infallibly directing him, the line has been crossed, and he deserves impeachment,
plus confinement in a mental institution.
Once fundamentalists, whether Christian or Muslim, arrive at the point of infalli-
bility, it’s an easy slippery slope into a dangerous abyss. The Bushians and the bin
Ladenians exploit that abyss, where the respective nonbelievers deserve and get
whatever punishment the true believers choose to inflict upon them. War anyone?
Whenever leaders, whether Christian or Muslim, claim they converse with God
or quote scripture while making the case for war, it’s a safe bet that evil is afoot.

SIDEBAR: A Prayer for Christians

“Dear God, if Heaven is reserved only for those who profess one particular flavor of
Christianity, then please count me out. If it pleases you, I prefer to take my chances
in whatever place you have reserved for all your good people, of whatever faith, in-
cluding Christians, Muslims, and Jews, who endeavor to lead just lives here on your
Earth, faithfully striving to make life better for all, especially the poor, the dispos-
sessed, the sick, the lame, and the discarded.”

The central problem with America in the first decade of the 21st century is that an
extreme rightwing political faction—many of whom are much more rich than reli-
gious—has set an extreme rightwing agenda, and too many voters rubber stamped it,
CHAPTER 8 — THE RELIGIOUS WRONG 185

thinking the agenda has its roots in a correct religion. In effect, countless pews have
been marked, “For Republicans Only.” And “Jesus wept.”62
The neo-GOP ignores the Bible’s most important political issue—the poor—and
uses a distorted Christianity as a subterfuge to wage class warfare. The neo-GOP
wants you to believe that the Bible is their ultimate oracle, but “through a glass
darkly” they intentionally misread and misuse the Good Book to justify whatever
schemes they brew. Yes, even Satan can quote the Bible.
In an American tragedy, Christianity has been reduced to rightwing economic
politics, and this enables the mischief of Bush and the GOP. When the chips are
down, Bush and the GOP do the rightwing thing, not the right thing.
Like atheist bank robbers who for cover ride the church bus to their next bank
heist, rightwing GOP kleptomaniacs have hijacked Christianity in order to loot the
national treasury.
Angry white fundamentalist males find it especially easy to justify discrimination
and hatred against people who practice other religions or no religion, against other
races, against immigrants, against women, against gays and lesbians, against for-
eigners—well, against anyone who is perceived to be different or doesn’t share their
particular brand of religion or other bigotry.
Fundamentalists love to dominate women and keep them in their place. Whether
it’s Christian fundamentalism or Islamic fundamentalism, fundamentalism is always
men, and always mean.
Republican Party leadership cleverly promotes such discrimination and hatred
while it pretends to be compassionate. Although religious bigotry is sometimes an
unfortunate byproduct of religious freedom, it is irresponsible and blasphemous for
Christian and political leaders to promote it.
Quintessential dividers, Bush and the neo-GOP created and exploited several
wedge issues. But if and when Jesus returns to Earth, he will give Bush the mother of
all wedgies. Yes, “W” stands for both “wedge issue” and “wedgies.”
The prophets of the Bible frequently spoke to the rulers and kings of nations, ad-
monishing them that the powerful are called to greater responsibility and account-
ability. At the same time, the biblical prophets spoke for the hungry, the homeless,
the helpless—the least, the last, and the lost. They effectively spoke about a nation’s
priorities and how it spends its limited resources.
The biblical prophets knew that power corrupts, and that absolute power corrupts
absolutely. And thus, two millennia after Christ, with Bush’s Confederate Party in
absolute control of the U.S. government, America lost its way financially and mor-
ally, and found itself going to Hell in a handbasket.
In Bush’s White House there is no room at the dining table for the least, the last,
and the lost. Jesus asks all Christians to feed his sheep, but Bush fleeced the sheep
before feeding them to his Wolves.
Every GOP budget during Bush’s reign has been an immoral, anti-Christian tool
of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. During every war in America’s history, all

62
John 11:35. Yes, you are quite right—I am using the verse out of context. However, this is
much fairer than Bush and Cheney using “Iraq” and “9/11” in the same sentence, which is
criminally devious. Besides, whenever they do that, I know in my heart of hearts that Jesus
weeps.
186 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Americans—including the rich and powerful—were called upon to make sacrifices.


That is, until Bush’s elective war on Iraq. When Bush and neo-GOP wage war, the
rich get richer without personal sacrifice, while America’s soldiers are sacrificed.
In addition to using war as a distraction for domestic plundering, the GOP uses
many other tricks to sell its extreme rightwing economic policies to middle- and low-
income Christians, virtually all of whom are directly harmed by those very economic
policies.
One such trick is to remind low- and middle-income Christians that they should
exalt in their poverty and misfortune. Blessed are the poor. Compassionate Bush is
really doing you a favor when he makes the rich richer and you poorer. Praise the
Lord!

Oppressors as Victims
Another trick of the Confederate Party and the Religious Right—which is related to
the “wedgies” trick—is to create and play the “victim card,” casting themselves as
victims of the many evil forces that control and pollute America.
These evil ones are everywhere. They include: liberals; progressives; Hollywood;
libertarians and librarians; video games and television; commies; East Coast; Left
Coast; city dwellers; Christians who don’t blindly vote for witless warmongers; ille-
gal immigrants; lots of legal immigrants too; The New World Order; evolutionists;
Jews; foreigners; New Age Religion nuts (but excluding the Religious Right them-
selves); queers; secularists; children once they leave their Mom’s womb and need
food and health care; Catholics (but not if they vote Republican and believe transfer-
ring pedophiles to another diocese solves that problem); Harry Potter; perverts; the
United Nations; Islamofascists; people who think women are people too and that
middle-aged rightwing men obsessed with sex should stop telling women how to live
and love; scientists; left-handed Norwegians; Democrats; blacks and Chicanos; the
entire State of Massachusetts; intellectuals; anyone caught reading this book; Mexi-
cans; Canadians too because some of them speak French; anyone else who speaks
French; anyone “who don’t speak English real good;” professors; union workers;
France; lawyers (excepting the hundreds of thousands of lawyers who work for Big
Business and the Religious Right); abortionists; environmentalists; women who
don’t know their place (“If you don’t know where it is, we’ll tell you”); and
Hillary.63 Whew! Yes, “W” stands for “Whew!”
Life is just a battle of good and evil forces. It’s us versus them. Rightwing Chris-
tians just can’t let their guard down. Whatever problem they have—poverty, loss of
job, those secret urges, no health insurance—they can blame it on some evil doer,
some poor bastard who had nothing to do with it. Welcome to Bush World. Wel-
come to the new GOP.
Rightwing Christians should look in the mirror. America is in the toilet precisely
because it is the Confederate Party—in league with the Religious Right and Big
Business—that grabbed control of America for too many years. Their almost abso-
lute control included all of the federal government—the Presidency, the U.S. Senate,
the U.S. House of Representatives, the Supreme Court (with 7 of 9 justices having

63
A woman’s place is in the house … and the Senate … and the White House.
CHAPTER 8 — THE RELIGIOUS WRONG 187

been appointed by Republicans), and all federal agencies including the FCC—as
well as America’s Big Media and a large majority of state governorships and legisla-
tures. But the Religious Right claims they are the victims. What nonsense from an
alternate universe!
In the GOP’s 21st century version of the Passion Play, all of the actors playing
“the heavies” are found in the Bush administration—the Roman Emperor, Pontius
Pilate, the moneychangers, Judas Iscariot, the Roman soldiers and the Pharisees—
and their number one victim is Christ and his message, just as it was two millennia
ago. And it is the Religious Right that made the difference and put these thugs and
nitwits on America’s main stage—and cheered them on.

America’s President Who Really Is a Christian


Among all American presidents of the last century, former President Jimmy Carter
stands out head and shoulders above the rest in living a Christian life, one devoted to
helping the less fortunate in the world, and one that Jesus would applaud. He is re-
spected and trusted throughout the world.
Since leaving the presidency, Carter has devoted his life to promoting freedom,
peace and health in the world. Among his many activities is Habitat For Humanity
International (www.habitat.org) a nonprofit ecumenical Christian housing ministry
that has built more than 175,000 houses for families in the United States and around
the world. Carter began volunteering with Habitat in 1984, and each year he and
Rosalynn spend a week constructing houses. And he still makes time to teach Sun-
day school at his Baptist church in Plains, Georgia.
Carter’s love for his country and all the peoples of the world is legendary. But he
regrets that the United States, a “great country with great potential,” is not doing
more to promote peace, freedom and health in the third world. “The problem lies
among the people of the U.S. … It’s time to assess what the government is doing,
and shape and influence it appropriately.”
The Atlanta-based Carter Center (www.cartercenter.org), founded in 1982 by
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, wages peace, fights disease, and builds hope around the
world. In more than 65 countries it has engaged and challenged governments while
at the same time working side by side with poor people to help improve their lives.
In promoting democracy throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America, Carter is
frequently called upon to mediate international disputes. In August 2004 Carter,
along with Carter Center staff members and other respected international officials,
spent many days in Venezuela to help ensure the fairness and peacefulness of the
national referendum election to decide whether President Hugo Chavez should re-
main in office. Their credibility and actions gave authenticity to the election results,
and bloodshed was avoided.
Unlike America, Venezuela uses a system of electronic voting that: (1) includes a
paper ballot backup, and (2) records voters’ thumbprints electronically, transmits the
thumbprints by satellite, and then checks them almost instantaneously to prevent
people from voting more than once.
The States of Florida and Ohio should hire Venezuela to install honest voting
systems in those two states and to provide election monitors to prevent the
Republican Party from suppressing the black vote and committing other election
188 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

fraud. Fidel Castro offered to send election monitors to Florida prior to the 2004
election, but Governor Jeb Bush did not accept his kind offer.
Thanks to the Religious Right’s clout, a large majority of southern white evan-
gelicals voted against Jimmy Carter, America’s first evangelical president and a
southern white evangelical like them, because he was not of the right political party.
Carter did not satisfy the Religious Right’s most important “religious” test—that you
have to be a Republican.
Jimmy Carter truly is a compassionate Christian. He remains actively engaged in
the world and walks his faith everyday.
Carter calls upon America to do more to promote peace, democracy and social
justice in the world. One of his central concerns for years has been the AIDS epi-
demic in Africa, and a growing number of evangelicals have joined this moral fight.
Perhaps hearing the growing number of passionate voices from across the politi-
cal spectrum, Bush in his 2003 inaugural address pledged $15 billion over five years
to fight AIDS in Africa. Bush deserves great credit for this initiative named PEPFAR
(the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief.)
Although $15 billion is less than what Bush wastes in one month on the Iraq war,
it is a lot of money, and it is saving countless lives in Africa. Nevertheless, many on
the right saw a number of “sins” imbedded in the program. How could the GOP use
taxpayer money (sin #1) to help destitute foreigners (sin #2) living in Africa (sin #3)
who had brought the AIDS problem on themselves (sin #4) and were black (sin #5)
and mostly women and children (sin #6.)
The GOP Congress, which rubberstamped ever madness of Bush, somehow let
this flawed but definitely compassionate “75% good” program slip though. The fact
that a Republican president launched this program will make it difficult for other
Republicans to stop the Democratic leadership and progressives of all stripes from
expanding the program and correcting some of its literally fatal flaws, i.e., the “25%
bad” part, which is killing countless people, and which includes the expenditure of
funds to push abstinence over condoms, other contraceptives and family planning.
Bush opposes the use of condoms (except for his family), and opposes comprehen-
sive women’s rights and reproductive choices in family planning (except for his fam-
ily).
Upward to 3.5 million people die from AIDS in the world each year, according to
a UN estimate.
All things considered, PEPFAR is a major step forward and a hopeful sign.

Other Hopeful Signs


Mainstream Christians must not give up hope, as there are numerous hopeful signs
emerging from Christians on the right. A rapidly growing number of Bush and GOP
supporters have had it with the GOP’s agenda of warmongering and doing every-
thing possible for the Super Rich. Many have already rejected those phony “Chris-
tian” banners carried by “Christian” Bush.
The support of white evangelicals for Bush and the GOP appears to have peaked,
temporarily at least, sometime after the 2004 presidential election, in which Bush
carried the white evangelical vote by about 4-to-1 over Kerry. By the 2006 midterm
elections, a growing number of white evangelical Bush supporters had come to their
CHAPTER 8 — THE RELIGIOUS WRONG 189

senses, which contributed to the GOP losing control of Congress. Many Christians
abandoned their blind trust in Bush and the GOP upon realizing they had been lied
to, manipulated, and taken for granted. Extensive GOP corruption and incompetence
both in Iraq and at home also helped end the GOP reign of error, in Congress at least.
There are many, many hopeful signs. Here are just three examples:
• In November 2006 Rev. Joel Hunter quit as president-elect of the Christian
Coalition of America because the organization would not let him expand the
Coalition’s narrow agenda beyond the issues of gay marriage and abortion.
Hunter said he quit because the coalition was unwilling to part with its par-
tisan Republican roots. “To tell you the truth, I feel like there are literally
millions of evangelical Christians that don’t have a home right now,” he
said. Earlier in the year, Hunter had joined a coalition of several evangelical
groups to help fight global warming. He wanted to help save the
environment and also reduce poverty. “These are issues that Jesus would
want us to care about,” he said. But these are issues that the Christian Coali-
tion does not want to address. According to Hunter, “they began to think
this might threaten their base or evaporate some of their support, and they
said they just couldn’t go there.”
• Shortly after the 2006 midterm elections, Rick Warren, pastor of the
Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, California, and au-
thor of the best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, withstood rightwing
pressure and invited Barack Obama to speak at a church gathering to dis-
cuss the AIDS crisis. Warren joined a growing number of socially conserva-
tive Christian leaders who decided to put space between themselves and the
GOP political machine and agenda. Because Obama is pro-choice and be-
lieves condoms have a place in the prevention of AIDS, many conservative
evangelical leaders publicly criticized Warren’s decision to invite him. Al-
though socially and religiously conservative—Warren is anti-abortion and
opposes same-sex marriage—he and his wife are committed to fighting the
AIDS epidemic in Africa. “I’m a pastor, not a politician,” he told ABC
News. “People always say, ‘Rick, are you right wing or left wing?’ I say,
‘I’m for the whole bird.’”
• An increasing number of young evangelicals are questioning the hard right
agenda of the Christian right. Rove thought he had picked a safe “bubble”
location for Bush when he arranged for the president to give the com-
mencement address in May 2005 at Calvin College, a conservative Chris-
tian liberal arts college in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the heart of Republi-
can country. Bush was greeted by a letter of protest that appeared as a full-
page advertisement in the local newspaper. The respectful letter, signed by
more than 800 students, faculty members and alumni, stated, “Your deeds,
Mr. President—neglecting the needy to coddle the rich, desecrating the
environment and misleading the country into war—do not exemplify the
faith we live by.” Although a majority of the Calvin community probably
still favored Bush and his GOP policies, the protest was remarkable. Even
at theologically conservative Calvin there is a growing Christian left.
190 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Well, these are just a few of many hopeful signs among religious conservatives.
In the next section we return to two of the hopeless on the Religious Right—bin
Laden and Bush.

Bin Laden and Bush


The parallels between Bush and bin Laden are striking. Although of different faiths,
Bush and bin Laden both followed the same handbook of dirty religious politics:
• Move to the extreme religious right;
• Use rightwing religion to drive policy and stifle dissenting views;
• Imply or claim that you are correct because God is directing you;
• Seize exclusive ownership of your book of faith through grand displays of
religiosity;
• Divide at every opportunity;
• Spread fear;
• Label dissenters unpatriotic cowards or apostates;
• Act outside the law because you are special, a Chosen One;
• Couple your religion as tightly as possible with yourself and your renegade
organization.
Bin Laden and Bush are the heads of two symbiotic warmongering movements,
and their shotgun marriage created a two-headed, out-of-control monster that leaves
a path of death and destruction wherever it slithers. Bush and his bumbling Christi-
anist party needed rightwing Muslim terrorists to fuel the GOP fear machine and
divert attention from the GOP’s shameless kleptomaniac policies at home, and bin
Laden and a multitude of independent Muslim terrorist groups around the world
needed Bush and the GOP to breath life into their evil causes and provide an endless
lethal stream of martyrs. Although each side claims divine inspiration, their marriage
is definitely not made in Heaven.

SIDEBAR: Bush and bin Laden—Two Peas in a Pod

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious
conviction.”
—Blaise Pascal (1623-62)

“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil
people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
—Steven Weinberg

A comparison of bin Laden and Bush is instructive. They share many character traits,
including a lust for power. Each preaches his particular brand of religion—rightwing
militant fundamentalism in the case of Bush, and rightwing militant fundamentalism
in the case of bin Laden. Both could be called militant “evangelicals.”
CHAPTER 8 — THE RELIGIOUS WRONG 191

Bin Laden is a militant Islamist, and Bush a militant Christianist. Both are theo-
conservatives, or theocons for short. Both are cons. Both are wacko.
Are there any differences between the religious banners they carry? Yes—
although their respective victims, especially the dead, may not appreciate the differ-
ences. Bin Laden carries the militant banner of a peculiar strain of Islam, one that is
inconsistent with the Koran as followed by most Muslims. Bush carries the militant
banner of a strained interpretation of Christianity, one that is inconsistent with the
Bible as followed by most Christians in the world.
We know both are true believers because they and their rightwing propaganda
machines tell us so.
To his credit, bin Laden was a scholar of Islam during his formative years.
Bush’s beliefs, however, were AWOL during the first two-thirds of his life, and his
sins, crimes and corruption during that long period of extended adolescence were
conveniently wiped clean when he was reborn, thus giving him a clean blank slate to
pursue a political career—with more sins, crimes and corruption.
Each professes to feel the spirit of God and claims that God supports and guides
his decisions. Each uses and exploits God and a wonderful religion for political ex-
pediency and personal power. Each uses his religion to kill innocent people.
Each was born into a wealthy life of privilege and wealth, devoid of any anchor
of social and personal responsibility. Their two families—the House of Bush and the
House of bin Laden—are cut from the same gold cloth.
Each family hobnobbed with the House of Saud, which runs Saudi Arabia, fre-
quently engaging in crony public-trough capitalistic schemes, without regard to the
impact on their respective nations. Each family “dined” at the same Saudi public
troughs, drank the same fine wines, and coveted the same fine oils. It would be nice
to report that true love connected their families, but “what happens in Riyadh stays in
Riyadh.” After all, what is life without love? Don’t the countless parties, sleepovers
and season’s greeting cards mean anything? Or was it really only about money and
power?
It is rumored64 that the directors of “Brokeback Mountain” tried to recruit Bush
and bin Laden as the movie’s co-stars, but bin Laden unfortunately could not be
reached, although Bush made half-hearted attempts to locate him.
Bush is tall, and bin Laden is taller. At 6-feet, 5-inches, bin Laden stands out in
any crowd, which makes Bush’s failure to locate him all the more remarkable.
There are other differences. For example, Bush loves the Saudi princes and sup-
ports their crony capitalism, welfare for the wealthy, and terrorist-supporting Islamic
state. On the other hand, bin Laden hates the Saudi princes and wants to destroy their
anti-American, anti-West, anti-democratic, anti-religious-freedom government and
replace it with his own anti-American, anti-West, anti-democratic, anti-religious-
freedom government.

64
which rumor I started
192 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Thanks to family connections, Bush attended Yale as a rich fraternity boy and
prancing cheerleader and was selected for Skull and Bones Society. Bin Laden also
was a rich prince who enjoyed many of the debaucheries available in the West to a
man of substance and family connections. Both loved to get hammered and hammer
as many females as possible.
The randomness of birth separates them. Bin Laden was born into a Muslim fam-
ily of kings and princes, and Bush was born into a Christian family of kings and
princes. Their respective faiths were determined simply by chance, by an accident of
geography as to place of birth.
If Bush had been born in Riyadh, his oil DNA would have been the same, but, as
for religion, he probably would have become a prancing cheerleader for the extreme
rightwing Wahhabi sect of Islam. This raises at least two questions: (1) Can you
imagine Bush trying to speak Arabic, especially while prancing? (2) Does “W” really
stand for “Wahhabi Wannabe?”
Bush was born an Episcopalian, but a later switch to the Texas Pretend-Rancher
sect of Pseudo Christianity offered two bankable interlinked advantages: (1) a new
inexhaustible supply of Bush Family Passes, and (2) lots of votes, if he could play
the Religionist Card right and learn how to ride a horse.65
There is a rumor66 that bin Laden greatly admires Bush’s profitable misuse of
Christianity and would like to cash in on it too by following in Bush’s footsteps.
Specifically, bin Laden wants to convert to the Texas Pretend-Rancher sect, get for-
given for all his sins and crimes, buy himself a ranchette just over the fence from
Bush’s, and become U.S. president just like Bush.67 If that happens, it will be tough
to tell the difference in the White House, other than the fact that bin Laden report-
edly actually has some compassion for the oppressed and the poor—you know,
Christ’s people.
Perhaps this rumor about bin Laden strikes you as a little farfetched, but it is not
as farfetched as GOP propaganda that Bush is compassionate, or as farfetched as the
GOP tales about Iraq and Saddam being behind 9/11. In any case, bin Laden’s con-
version and relocation to Texas would take care of Bush’s Number One Mission Un-
accomplished—tracking down the master criminal behind 9/11.
The fact that bin Laden and Bush League have the same initials could be a sign
from God. Who can say with certainty that it is not?

65
Bush never learned how to ride a horse, but rightwing Texans overlooked that requirement.
66
which I am hereby starting.
67
If you see bin Laden, please don’t tell him U.S. presidents must be native-born Americans.
If you do, he may not relocate voluntarily to Texas. After all, we really do need to kill or cap-
ture him.
CHAPTER 8 — THE RELIGIOUS WRONG 193

Bin Laden would likely be a much better American president than Bush, since
Bush is by far the worst American president ever.68 It would be difficult to do worse.
Bush has created more terrorists and killed more innocent people than bin Laden, so
there would probably be some improvement there. Bush has done more damage to
America’s reputation and military power than bin Laden ever dreamed of achieving,
so there could be some improvement there too.
Putting bin Laden in Bush’s chair in the White House would also cause, at last,
all Americans to finally realize and agree upon something extremely important—
something they all should have known since 2001—that America has a dangerous
nut case in the White House.
Even though lots of Republican voters think an American president really doesn’t
need to know where Europe and Asia are located, bin Laden does know much more
about the world and Christianity than Bush ever will know about the world and Is-
lam.
Bin Laden speaks Arabic better than Bush speaks English. Bin Laden also speaks
English better than Bush speaks English.
Then there’s that weird codependency, that symbiosis, between bin Laden and
Bush. By slaughtering thousands of innocents on 9/11, bin Laden gave Bush a
chance to resurrect his faltering image and failing presidency. Returning the favor,
Bush invaded Iraq and gave enormous legitimacy to bin Laden and his Grand Old
Party of Terrorists, just when they needed a jumpstart. Although each now suppos-
edly hates the other, each continues to promote the other’s career. Maybe we will see
them together at last in Brokeback Mountain II. Two peas in a pod.
The rumors that bin Laden contributed lots of cash to Bush’s reelection campaign
are probably false, although there’s the possibility that Halliburton tried to broker a
deal. A sticky point in negotiations might have been whether bin Laden would agree
to be captured shortly before America’s 2004 presidential election. (Here’s a partial
transcript of the negotiations actually obtained during a legal69 wiretap: bin Laden
asks, “But how can I trust your promise to let me live with 50 virgins during my life
of luxurious, leisurely captivity in your Club Med in Midland, Texas?” Bush replies,
“Trust me? Dude, that’s stupid—I don’t even trust myself!” And the deal fell
through.)
On a more serious note, here is the sad reality. Thanks to Bush, bin Laden would
do well in a free, fair, democratic election for high office in many Islamic countries,
while Bush would be sent to prison or the looney bin at the first opportunity.

Bush gives reassuring messages to his rightwing religious base without regard to
his moral responsibility to represent all Americans. His numerous gaffes include him
holding up the Bible and saying it is the “universal handbook” for our government.
Stunts of that sort play really well in the Islamic world. Bush is his own worst en-
emy, as well as America’s worst president. He, not bin Laden, is the principal reason

68
Yes, “W” also stands for “Worst.”
69
but fictitious
194 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

why the United States is losing the hearts and minds of Muslims in Iraq and through-
out the world.
The vast majority of the Muslim world sees Bush as a “my-God-is-stronger-than-
your-god” Christian crusader who knows in his heart that their religion, Islam, is
inferior and false. Bush is unable to separate his religious sectarianism and bigotry
from his broader moral and constitutional responsibilities as president. Many incom-
petent appointees were cherry-picked for his administration precisely because of
their narrow religious beliefs and willingness to exploit their new powers for sectar-
ian purposes. Sometimes their bigoted babbling goes beyond the pale.
One prominent example is Lt. Gen. William Boykin, Bush’s deputy undersecre-
tary of defense for intelligence, who headed the Pentagon office charged with finding
targets such as Osama bin Laden. Notwithstanding his high level position and the
fact that he set critical policy, Lt. Gen. Boykin appeared in full uniform before doz-
ens of church audiences to preach politics and assert the superiority of Christianity
over Islam. On numerous occasions he slammed Muslims and Islam. When referring
to an enemy warlord in Somalia, he preached, “I knew my God was bigger than his. I
knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.”
Boykin also declared that Bush “is in the White House because God put him
there,” not because of an election.70 While commenting on the war against terrorism,
Boykin remarked, “we in the army of God, in the house of God, kingdom of God
have been raised for such a time as this.” He believes “our spiritual enemy will only
be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus.” Identifying Satan as the
mastermind of terrorists, Boykin said Satan “wants to destroy us as a Christian
army.”
Bigoted Christianist fools like Boykin play into the hand of Osama bin Laden and
others who want to create a broader religious war. Boykin’s bombastic declarations
also violate official White House statements and policies intended to placate moder-
ate Muslims and reduce the distrust and hatred of Muslims towards the United
States.
When publicity finally caught up with him, Boykin apologized for his remarks,
and Bush later stated that he disagreed with what Boykin had said. However, rather
than being demoted or sacked, Boykin only received a mild hand slap, because ap-
propriate punishment would have upset Bush’s rightwing base. Sadly, Boykin’s anti-
Islam bigotry reflects the beliefs of numerous other senior officials in Bush’s ad-
ministration. The Islamic world knows that Bush League crusaders are alive and well
in the 21st century. Bin Laden must be smiling.
In the next chapter we turn our attention to the important topic of the End Times
prophecies rooted in the Bible’s Book of Revelation, which are important to millions
of Christian fundamentalists. Unfortunately, End Times malarkey has helped dummy
down, misinform and misdirect U.S. foreign policy in the greater Middle East, with
disastrous consequences for the Bush League of Nations in Iraq, and for America’s
stated goal of winning the hearts and minds of Muslims.

70
Fact: Bush was put in the White House not by God, but by five Republican politicians on
the U.S. Supreme Court.
CHAPTER 9

Eschatology and The Book of Revelation


Weapons of Mass Deception on the Road to Armageddon

Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are ser-
vilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for
every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a
God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of rea-
son than that of blindfolded fear.
—Thomas Jefferson

Eschatology is the study of the end of history—the end of the world—from a reli-
gious perspective. Christians have probably written more obscure text about escha-
tology than any other religious topic. We are talking about the End Times, so hold
onto your seats!
If you’re not already familiar with the End Times prophecies in the Bible’s Book
of Revelation, you should read this last book of the New Testament and come to
your own conclusions. Although the Book of Revelation was written in mysterious,
symbolic language and code, many Christians choose to interpret it as literally—and
as creatively—as possible. You too can make up your own religion.
A good point of departure is to Google some key words of biblical prophecy,
such as: revelation, End Times, prophecies, millennialism, rapture, Anti-Christ, Bat-
tle of Armageddon, Second Coming, red heifer, 666 (Mark of the Beast), tribulation,
and Final Judgment. You will find a treasure trove of information, including widely
varying opinions regarding the prophecies and what they mean for Christians as well
as non-Christians. You will find anything and everything, as well as their opposites.
If you are appalled by all the rightwing “holier than thou” Christian religiosity,
you should nevertheless consider devoting some time to studying the End Times
literature. More broadly, if you left Christianity because of its hijacking and distor-
tion by the Religious Right, you should nevertheless consider studying it as much as
you study other religions such as Islam and Buddhism.
In addition to all the helpful material on the Internet, you will also find a host of
websites and discussion groups that accomplish nothing other than inciting hatred
and violence by throwing gasoline on the growing fires of animosity towards Chris-
tianity and America. For some, that is exactly the goal—making certain that the road
to Armageddon, Heaven and Hell is well lit.
196 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

To be clear, all Americans should fully support freedom of religion and


separation of church and state. These protections should extend to all the various
viewpoints of the End Times—even if you disagree with all of them—as well as to
the religious beliefs of Jews, Muslims, Mormons, atheists and everyone else.
We include this End Times discussion here because:
• The End Times dogma profoundly affects America’s foreign policy, with
millions of rightwing Christians using it as justification to vote for right-
wing Republican militaristic leaders no matter how bad the outcome. In
fact, the worse the outcome—the worse it gets in Iraq, for example—the
better it is from an End Times perspective. Yes, the road to Hell is paved
with “good” intentions.
• The rest of the world—including our long-term allies and potential allies, as
well as the Islamic world we presumably are trying to favorably influence—
waits for America to come to its senses.
• This religious dogma—coupled with Bush’s and the GOP’s natural inclina-
tion to divide and inflame people with “us versus them,” “good versus evil”
policies—is making America more divided and acrimonious than anytime
in the past century.
• The religious dogma reflected in our foreign policy has also polarized the
world, except that instead of the roughly 50-50 polarization found in Amer-
ica (with the balance shifting slowing away from the neo-GOP and in the
direction of sanity, as reflected in the 2006 midterm elections in the United
States), the rest of the world is now 95-5 opposed to America’s imperial
wars.
Most mainstream Protestants and most Protestant churches, as well as the
Catholic Church (a frequent target of rightwing prophecies), do not read the Book of
Revelation literally. They are not caught up in useless and sometimes dangerous
speculation as to when the world will end and what exactly will transpire. Most are
appalled that the rightwing fringe has gone bonkers on religious doctrine and pol-
luted government in the process. With enormous influence over Bush and his party,
this fringe has helped the GOP evolve into the Gang of Pharisees.
There are millions of Americans who carefully study and interpret the Book of
Revelation and the End Times prophecies, sometimes developing their own theories
and beliefs as to the specifics regarding the main End Times events, together with a
correct timeline for everything.
For these people the End Times study is not an idle exercise, since for them it
concerns the most important event of all—going to Heaven or Hell.71 Many search
for signs of the End Times in current events here on Earth, especially happenings in
the Middle East relating to Israel and the Palestinians, and in Iraq, the home of an-
cient Babylon.

71
They are going one place and you (maybe) and I (certainly) are going elsewhere. I recall a
North Dakota sage telling me years ago that he preferred to go to Hell so he could be with his
friends. On the other hand, can you imagine spending eternity in Heaven with religious bigots
and flamethrowers like Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, Jerry Falwell, and James
Dobson? Don’t bet on that unfortunate scenario, however. Your best strategy may be to go to
Heaven so you won’t be with people like that!
CHAPTER 9 — ESCHATOLOGY AND THE BOOK OF REVELATION 197

There are numerous variations of the main events and the timeline for the End
Times, simply because people have different interpretations of the key events of the
Revelation prophecies, and when they will occur with respect to each other. Specific
timelines result depending on what the individual believes regarding the key events:
the tribulation (whether it’s pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation);
millennialism (whether it’s post-millennialism, pre-millennialism, or amillennialism),
and so forth.
The “wheels within wheels” nature of this religious interpretation and invention
has split rightwing Christians into various camps, which may be quite bitter towards
each other. To attract followers, many rightwing religious leaders compete on religi-
osity and certitude. In the process, they do America and Christianity a disservice.
This is especially the case with those leaders who believe that the biggest crowds and
biggest bucks are attracted most to the dog that barks the loudest with the most certi-
tude and spittle.
If you are unfamiliar with the End Times prophecies, please have some patience
as we wade through the main points in summary fashion. Yes, this chapter is just a
summary of a complex religious topic about which countless thick books have been
written and will be written. Because it is impossible to write such a summary satis-
factory to everyone, many will disagree vociferously with what is written here, and
some will feel offended. Having said that, let’s barge ahead.
Here is some End Times terminology:

The rapture:72 the sudden, unannounced transportation of all true Christians to


Heaven by Christ around the time of his Second Coming (more below on this “New
Age” rapture phenomenon). When Christians use this term, it means they are going
to Heaven. Already dead Christians will rise up from their graves (be resurrected);
living Christians will then also be gathered up with the predeceased in the clouds;
and together the two saved groups will meet Christ “in the air” and be with him for-
ever in Heaven.
For the minority of Christians who are caught up in this new rapture interpreta-
tion, there are three principal variations of the rapture, which are called pre-
tribulation, mid-tribulation, and post-tribulation. These refer to when the rapture will
occur.
• Pre-tribulation: The rapture comes before the tribulation.
• Mid-tribulation: The rapture comes during the tribulation.
• Post-tribulation: The rapture comes after the tribulation.
Christians sometimes refer to these in shorthand as pre, mid, and post. For exam-
ple, a rapture Christian may describe himself as pre, which means that he believes
people will be raptured—taken by Christ to Heaven—before the period of great de-

72
The concept of the Rapture comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, although the word “rap-
ture” is not found anywhere in the English translation of the Bible. The word “rapture” itself
means “caught up” and is derived from the Latin word “rapere,” which in turn comes from the
Greek word “harpadzo” found in 1 Thessalonians 4.
198 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

struction known as the tribulation.73 Pre-millennialists (discussed below) popularized


these three terms.
We’ll discuss the rapture more later, including the concept of a “secret rapture,”
but first we need to cover some additional important terminology.

The tribulation: a period of great destruction, usually thought to be seven years,


during which the Anti-Christ (Satan’s agent) comes to power and reigns over the
Earth. During the tribulation the Earth is destroyed by unimaginable plagues, wars,
earthquakes, diseases and other horrible sadistic events, and Christians are severely
persecuted. (This is even much more horrific than living in America and Iraq under
GOP rule—really.) Everyone is killed except for the chosen Christians, and some say
the number so saved is limited to 144,000.74 Christ defeats the Anti-Christ at the bat-
tle of Armageddon, which marks the end of the tribulation.

Armageddon: During the last 50 years, the Battle of Armageddon has become a
central topic of discussion in some Christian circles. The Anti-Christ starts this final
terrible battle, and the victorious Christ and his heavenly armies finish it. This
bloody battle, in which the Anti-Christ and his armies are slaughtered, takes place in
the valley of Megiddo near Haifa, Israel. (I am not making this up.) God takes out his
enormous wrath and anger on the human species and the world.75 Jesus then reigns
during the ensuing millennium of peace and paradise on Earth. Armageddon is espe-
cially important to pre-millennialists (more on this later). Pre-millennialists list more
than a dozen key events on their eschatological timeframe, and Armageddon is one
of them. Many see current events in the Middle East as signs that this battle in immi-
nent. For many, an all-out war between Christianity and Islam in the Middle East
would be wonderful news.

The millennium: As noted above, the millennium is a golden age of peace on Earth
under the reign of Christ. End Timers disagree as to whether the millennium is liter-
ally a period of one thousand years. The Book of Revelation uses the term a “1,000
years” several times to describe the period during which Christ rules.76 For back-
ground you should read Revelation 20:1-10. This Revelation scripture is among the
most difficult and controversial text in the Bible. There are three different principal
views of the millennium, which depend upon when Christ will return to Earth:

73
Perhaps on-line matching services such as Match.com should take this variable into account
when introducing prospective lovers. Would a “pre” and a “post” repel each other? Or do op-
posites attract?
74
The limit of 144,000 is a minority view. After all, who wants to believe that only such a
small number of Christians will go to Heaven, when there are hundreds of millions of people
“competing” to be chosen?
75
See Revelation 4-19, Matthew 24, and Daniel 9.
76
The word “millennium” does not appear anywhere in the Bible, but a “thousand years” ap-
pears several times in Revelation 20. The ancient religion of Zoroastrianism was the first relig-
ion to describe such a period of universal peace.
CHAPTER 9 — ESCHATOLOGY AND THE BOOK OF REVELATION 199

• Post-millennialism: Christ will return after (“post”) the millennium, the


long period of peace and prosperity on Earth during which Christ’s church
prevails over evil in the world and most people convert to Christianity. Fol-
lowing this return of Christ—the Second Coming—there will be the
tribulation, the victory of Christ over Satan, and the final judgment of both
the living (the “quick”) and the dead. The “1,000 years” in Revelation is
taken figuratively, not literally, and thus the millennium is not a definite
knowable length of time. This post-millennialist view was the most popular
view well into the 19th century, but very few End-Times Christians sub-
scribe to it now.
• Amillennialism (also known as non-millennialism, meaning that there is
no literal millennium): The millennium is not a future golden age on Earth
during which everyone converts to Christianity. Rather it describes the pre-
sent period in which we now live, and it thus refers to both Christ’s reign in
Heaven with his saints who have died before us, as well as to Christ’s cur-
rent spiritual reign on Earth though the Christian Church. Good and evil co-
exist on Earth until that point when Christ returns to Earth—his Second
Coming—to sort everything out, at which time there will be the rapture and
the final judgment. This is a simpler, more straightforward view, and most
mainstream Protestants subscribe to it—to the extent they think about it, if
at all. The major protestant reformers such as Martin Luther, John Calvin,
and John Wesley (the founder of Methodism) held this view, although many
newer groups of evangelicals and fundamentalists no longer do.
• Pre-millennialism: The “pre” means that Christ will return shortly before
the millennium. The Anti-Christ will first appear and the extraordinarily
painful tribulation will ensue. Christ will successfully overcome the Anti-
Christ in the Battle of Armageddon, and the 1,000-year millennium of peace
will then take place, followed by the Final Judgment. One problem with this
is that most scholars believe the Bible does not support a 1,000-year gap be-
tween the Second Coming and the Final Judgment. In recent years this pre-
millennialist view has become most popular among evangelicals and fun-
damentalists. Amillennialism once was their most popular view.

By the way, many so-called Christians on the extreme right speculated that Presi-
dent Bill Clinton was the Anti-Christ prophesized in the Book of Revelation.77 How-
ever, applying any plausible test regarding the identity of the Anti-Christ, Bush cer-
tainly fits the bill much better than Clinton ever did, especially after Clinton left
power without doing all those evil things befitting the Anti-Christ. So, in fairness,
where are the Anti-Christ speculators among the Religious Right when it comes to
Bush? The answer is that it is all rightwing politics, not religion. The Anti-Christ
obviously cannot be a member of the Republican Party. Just for the record, Bush is
not the Anti-Christ either.
Let’s now continue our discussion of the rapture.

77
After Clinton’s presidency ended, Hillary became a popular choice for the Anti-Christ. I’m
not joking.
200 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Perhaps you have noticed a bumper sticker or two about the rapture, without un-
derstanding the message. Such a sticker might say something like, “Attention: Upon
Rapture, This Vehicle Will be Driverless.”
Well, the driver is letting you know that he or she may suddenly disappear with-
out warning and be transported to Heaven, leaving the driverless car careening down
the road. Really. This sort of chaos will occur in the same instant all over town, and
all over the world (except for Massachusetts where obviously there are no Christians
worthy of being raptured). In that one instant, countless automobiles, trucks, aircraft
and so forth will suddenly be left with no one in control. If by chance you are a pas-
senger in such a situation, you must quickly jump into the driver’s seat and take the
wheel.78
The so-called “secret rapture” is at the center of what we have just described. Ac-
cording to this pre-millennialist viewpoint, Christians are taken up to Heaven by
Christ during his Second Coming, but no one sees it happen. Millions of saved
Christians instantaneously vanish, leaving behind their clothes and everything else.
Accordingly, this has been called the “secret” rapture. Most Christians believe such a
secret rapture is inconsistent with biblical text79 describing Christ’s Second Coming
as very visible and tumultuous.
Also, a serious problem with a secret rapture is that it effectively requires not
only a Second Coming of Christ but also a later Third Coming at the end of the
tribulation (i.e., before the Battle of Armageddon, the 1,000-year millennium, and
the Final Judgment.) However, there is no biblical authority for this additional return
of Christ, which would be the Third Coming.
Catholics and the vast majority of mainstream protestant Christians simply do not
believe these modern, overwhelmingly American interpretations of the End Times.
Nor do Eastern Orthodox Christians. Most Christians do not believe these neo-
interpretations any more than they believe the Koran or the Book of Mormon.
An excellent critique of the End Times fever is The Rapture Trap, by Paul
Thigpen. Although this book is written from a Catholic’s perspective, mainstream
Protestant Christians who wonder what this rapture and End Times excitement is all
about will also find it illuminating.
Mainstream Christians who have serious misgivings regarding this rapture craze
should nevertheless respect the right of other Christians to believe what they wish—
and perhaps you will decide to believe it too after you have studied it more, which is
your right. At the same time, however, mainstream Christians should not feel that
they are missing something important—they aren’t—or that they should buy into this
legalistic doctrine just because it is promoted with such religious fervor both person-
ally and though the mass media. The rightwing rapture viewpoint is difficult to miss
on American religious radio because rightwing Christian radio dominates the market

78
This raises some serious public policy questions. Should rapture believers be allowed to
drive? Shouldn’t each be required to hire a DPD (“Designated Pagan Driver”)? Does not the
safety of the rest of the citizenry count for anything? At a minimum, shouldn’t rapture believ-
ers pay higher auto insurance premiums?
79
1 Thessalonians 4.
CHAPTER 9 — ESCHATOLOGY AND THE BOOK OF REVELATION 201

for religious programming through its ownership or control of a huge number of ra-
dio stations.80
The secret rapture is at the center of the incredibly popular Left Behind series of
books (Number 1 on The New York Times bestseller list) that focus on the drama of
all those people “left behind” when millions of Christians around the world disap-
pear in one cataclysmic rapture. The first twelve books in this fictional series sold
more than 60 million copies and helped spawn a huge industry with an End Times
theme. By the way, if you liked the movie The Passion of the Christ, but thought it
was a little short on gratuitous violence, then the Left Behind series should appeal to
you.
The co-authors of the Left Behind series, Rev. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins,
also wrote another book, Are We Living in the End Times?, in which they explain
why they “think this generation will witness the end of history.” By the way, we
won’t. Countless other “biblical scholars” and nitwits such as Pat Robertson have
opined as to exactly when the world will end. For them, their fiction is money in the
bank. But they are all full of, well, baloney—now that is something you can bank on.
Early Christians believed Jesus would return during their lifetime. Jesus said to
his disciples, “This generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:22-
32. Similar text in Matthew 24:30-34 and Mark 1:24-30.) He also said: “But of that
day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Fa-
ther alone.” (Matthew 24: 35-36.)
Most of America’s rightwing Christian fundamentalists have narrow, time-
limited, self-centered views of the world. Everything is about them, and everything is
now. They expect the end of the world to occur during their lifetime, and many liter-
ally pray for the rapture to occur now.
Most readers of the popular Left Behind series do not know that LaHaye helped
fashion the Religious Right, wants to turn America into a strict Christian fundamen-
talist nation, would turn public schools into fundamentalist centers with Christian
prayer and creationism, would ban sex education and eliminate the Department of
Education, despises the separation of church and state, attacks Catholics and others
not subscribing to his extreme narrow views, and is a paranoid purveyor of bizarre
conspiracy theories.
In the early 1990s Rev. LaHaye co-founded the Pre-Trib Research Center as a
“think tank” to further “the cause of pretribulationism and the literal interpretation of
Bible prophecy.” The Center publishes The Pre-Trib Perspectives, a monthly jour-
nal, “keeping the reader on the cutting edge of unfolding prophetic events.” He also
founded the Tim LaHaye School of Prophecy where he teaches a one-year residency
course of study in prophecy. The website notes, “Understanding Bible Prophecy can
help you become a more confident Christian because knowing ‘how the story ends’
will help you realize that God has EVERYTHING under control!”
LaHaye, a Bob Jones University graduate, is among the most influential evan-
gelical fundamentalist leaders in America. Although wacko, he cannot be considered

80
Driving anywhere in America you will find both rightwing religious programming and
rightwing political programming several times as you go from one end of the radio dial to the
other. One hand washes the other.
202 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

a fringe player. In addition to ties to GOP illuminati such as John Ashcroft and
George W. Bush, LaHaye is one of the Moral Majority’s original board members,
and in the early 1980s he also co-founded the Council for National Policy, a secre-
tive theocracy-pushing organization on the far right with strong connections to the
rightwing of the GOP.
To monitor the chances of the rapture happening anytime soon, go to Rapture-
Ready.com and check the Rapture Index, which tracks 45 specific categories of
events, e.g., “Volcanoes,” “Globalism,” “Occult,” “Oil Supply/Price,” “Gog (Rus-
sia),” “Liberalism,” “Beast Government,” “Ecumenism” and “W.”81 The index is
even calibrated for convenient use, as follows:
• Rapture Index of 85 and below: Slow prophetic activity
• Rapture Index of 85 to 110: Moderate prophetic activity
• Rapture Index of 110 to 145: Heavy prophetic activity
• Rapture Index above 145: Fasten your seat belts
The website notes, “You could say the Rapture index is a Dow Jones Industrial
Average of end time activity, but I think it would be better if you viewed it as pro-
phetic speedometer. The higher the number, the faster we’re moving towards the
occurrence of pre-tribulation rapture.”
During most of Bush’s watch, the Rapture Index has been in the highest cate-
gory—“Fasten your seat belts.” For example, in 2006 it was well above 150—not a
record, but still pretty dang good.
In a 1970 bestseller, The Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsay carefully exam-
ined biblical text and Middle East events and concluded that the end of the world
would occur in 1988—40 years after the founding of the nation of Israel. In case you
don’t remember, it didn’t.82 But the book did scare the bejesus out of millions of
young impressionable readers, which was exactly the point. Such books are part of
an unholy array of weapons of mass deception—religious WMDs—intended to ma-
nipulate people though fear—fear of God, fear of Hell, fear of their shadow, fear of
life—with the goal of converting them to a specific brand of rightwing Christianity
and thus “saving” them, and perhaps causing them—totally a coincidence—to give
their savings to a particular rightwing reverend or church. Cha-ching.
In the twelfth book in the Left Behind series, Glorious Appearing, Christ returns
to Earth to torture and destroy all non-Christians, sending them to eternal suffering in
Hell. Can you imagine the uproar in America if the shoe were on the other foot, and
60 million copies of an Islamic End Times series were purchased by Muslim readers,
an Islamic version in which billions of Christians and other non-Muslims were tor-
tured, flayed, spattered, mutilated, crucified, and, well, you get the idea. Suppose
further that millions of American Muslims believed these Islamic novels reflected
God’s truth and were directly connected to current events in the Middle East.

81
OK, “W” is not really on the Rapture Index list, but he should be. An “umbrella” W could
replace several other disasters, and the list would then be shorter and more manageable.
82
Since the world didn’t end in 1988 as promised, you may be wondering if Lindsay, a
wealthy man, refunded all the money paid for his books. Nope.
CHAPTER 9 — ESCHATOLOGY AND THE BOOK OF REVELATION 203

All good men and women of faith, both Christians and Muslims, should reject the
militancy, hatred, and bigotry that come from their respective camps of extreme
rightwing lunatics who want a “war of civilizations.”
Whether intended or not, the Left Behind novels effectively endorse and encour-
age the current bloody developments in the Middle East as necessary stages along
the End Times boulevard. The disastrous imperial Bush policies in Iraq and through-
out the greater Middle East are good news to the discerning rightwing Christian who
is engaged in religious fantasies and looking forward to the Second Coming. After
all, how can anyone question God’s plan and eschatology so clearly set forth in the
Book of Revelation? Derivatively, how can anyone question Bush’s “plan?”
The secret rapture at the center of the Left Behind series, which is a pre-
tribulation rapture, fortunately offers convenient “Bush-like Passes” that are espe-
cially attractive to those rightwing Christians who suffer from two character flaws:
1) A shortage of courage, and
2) A desire not to help the less fortunate in the world.
First, by getting beamed up to the safety of Heaven before the tribulation, these
raptured Christians avoid all the blood and guts, death and destruction, that take
place during the period of incredible suffering. From the safety of box seats in
Heaven at the right hand of God, they can watch and enjoy the horrible suffering of
their former neighbors, friends, and close family members who are left behind. Simi-
lar to a “Get-Out-of-Jail” card, the rapture is a free avoid-the-consequences card for
true believers.
Second, most believers in this rapture also believe that the only way to Salva-
tion—which means eternal life in Heaven with Jesus—is through the simple ac-
knowledgement of Jesus as their personal savior, and not through good works on
Earth. This convenient copout from hard work and justice is especially popular with
rightwing GOP Christians in Texas who want to ignore Christ’s message of compas-
sion for the less fortunate and vote for crony-capitalism Republicans who believe
God’s motto is “Of the Rich, By the Rich, and For the Rich.”
Thus, regardless of the facts, these Republican voters from Texas can be counted
on to support Bush and his GOP Busheviks. Sadly, a Republican congressman from
Texas who claims to be a Christian has to be found in bed with, as they say, “either a
live boy or a dead girl” before his supporters will dump him.
Much of the End Times excitement sweeping the United States, especially any-
thing connected with the rapture, is best viewed as another slice of New Age stuff
from America, but coming this time from the far right. The use of the “New Age”
label here is not intended to disparage rightwing Christians, although some may be
displeased with the association. When hearing the term “New Age,” most Americans
associate it with a fairly recent, unorganized and decentralized spiritual movement
involving a smorgasbord of ideas and techniques, such as channeling, pyramid
power, meditation, crystals and anything outside mainstream religion.
New Age could also be used to describe that definitely disorganized late-1960s
movement among American youth who wanted to positively change the world—with
love, peace and a broader concept of God. Dissatisfied with traditional institutions,
204 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

many “members” of this New Age or hippie movement experimented with drugs83 as
part of their spiritual quest, in addition to exploring other religions and other tradi-
tions such as meditation and yoga.
Both fortunately and unfortunately, Americans are busy, creative, searching84
people. Americans have invented lots of wonderful things—such as vaccines, the
telephone, television, computers and airplanes—as well as lots of terrible things—
such as the first atomic bomb, the hydrogen bomb, the Hummer, and virtually all
other modern WMDs used around the world. We also are creative in spiritual mat-
ters, as we search for something better—or at least different—in which to believe, or
at least to cause others to believe. Many rightwing televangelists search for that new
clever twist that can expand their power and fatten their wallets.
The main points here are that: (1) this latest rapture phenomenon is new doctrine,
dating only from the 19th century, and, (2) its most tremendous growth has been in
America. Although its origins were in Great Britain in the early 1800s, it grew
quickly in America when John Darby (1800-82) brought it from England to Amer-
ica.85 The 1800s were a period of great spirituality in America, a time in which new
religions (including the Mormon religion) and many new doctrines and interpreta-
tions took root. Darby coined not only the term “rapture,” but also other End Times
terms such as “great tribulation” and “millennium.”
To be clear, it is the right of all Americans to believe what they wish, whether the
idea is from the 1860s or the 1960s, but let’s not pretend that everything is clear and
crisp when you open the Bible. It is not.
Unfortunately, much of the world knows there is far too much rightwing religious
“wackocity” in America and in the Bush White House, but let’s leave the fruitful
topic of American “wackocity” for another day. (For now, we’ll note only that
“wackocity” is not a real word, but that in honor of W it should be, along with “de-
cider” and “truthiness,” and that the “W-Scale” to measure “wackocity” should also
be in honor of W.)

83
Others including George W. Bush did drugs simply because it was fun, without wanting to
make the world better.
84
Sometimes Americans search, or pretend to search, for things that don’t even exist, such as
WMDs in Iraq.
85
John Darby (1800-82), leader of the Plymouth Brethren, preached in the mid-1800s con-
cerning a secret coming of Christ, and he traveled several times to the United States in the
latter stages of his life. His ideas became known as “Dispensationalism,” and they rapidly
spread through many American and British congregations. He and his ideas became especially
popular among American fundamentalists. The Scofield Reference Bible, published in 1909,
helped popularize his ideas, which included a secret rapture. Dispensationalism is so named
because it divides all of history into seven progressive stages called “dispensations.” During
each Dispensation God reveals more of his plan, and humans are tested in various ways, al-
ways failing. The Dispensational scheme has two distinct divine plans, one for Jews (the
“earthly” people), and one for Christ’s Church (the “heavenly” people). Accordingly, the Bi-
ble has to be divided between those passages intended for Jews and those intended for Chris-
tians. As you can imagine, this footnote can only offer a slight hint of Dispensationalism’s
incredible complexity. Also, you can understand why fundamentalists and many evangelical
Christians are so focused on the Middle East, where they see God’s plan playing out. President
Bush, thank you for your war on Iraq!
CHAPTER 9 — ESCHATOLOGY AND THE BOOK OF REVELATION 205

If you decide to research the explosion of American spirituality in the early


1800s, sometimes called The Second Great Awakening—The First Great Awakening
having taken place in the 1730s and 1740s—you should check out the Millerites, the
tens of thousands of followers of William Miller who believed the apocalypse and
Christ’s Second Coming would occur on March 21, 1844, later changed to October
22, 1844. When Jesus did not reappear, the Millerites were bitterly disappointed,
especially those who had given away all their possessions, and the nonevent became
known as the Great Disappointment.
Perhaps the failed presidency of George W. Bush will be known in history as the
Great Disappointment Redux.
By the way, addressing a group of conservative journalists on September 12,
2006, Bush said he sensed a “Third Awakening” in America that coincides with
America’s struggle with terrorism. “A lot of people in America see this as a confron-
tation between good and evil, including me,” said Bush, but he didn’t say which side
he was on. Another crusade, anyone?
As for the “secret rapture,” Christ never spoke about it, nor did any of his
Apostles. It was all Greek to them.86 The early leaders of the Church in the first three
centuries after Christ—often called the Fathers of the Church— knew nothing and
wrote nothing about the “secret rapture” and undoubtedly would have considered it
blasphemy. These leaders include the leaders who knew the Apostles personally, and
they include the following generations of leaders who, inspired by the Holy Spirit,
wrote the basic creeds of the Church and assembled the Bible as it exists today.
Eastern Orthodox Christians also never heard of the “secret rapture.” Nor did Saint
Augustine. Nor did the Catholic Church. Nor did any of the Protestant reformers,
such as Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Wesley. Nor did any of America’s
founding fathers who wrote the Constitution. Nor did the vast majority of American
Protestants, including your author, living today who were raised in the Christian tra-
dition. Whew!
Jesus must be having a good chuckle about all this made-in-America apocalyptic
hogwash.
Well, what does Bush think about all this? Who knows? Probably not even Bush
himself knows what he thinks. The truth is that Bush lived through the 1960s but
chose poorly, which is one of his more prominent leadership skills. He did the 1960s
backwards, upside down, and inside out. He chose the drugs and free sex part of the
menu but passed on the Jesus part and helping others. He freely sampled the fun
“sideshow for a few,” which was the focus of America’s media—marijuana, cocaine,
alcohol and sex—but he went AWOL87 regarding the main course—Jesus’ message
of “peace, compassion, tolerance and love”—you know, all that Hippie stuff that is
despised by so many practitioners of the exact opposite—“war, greed, bigotry and
hate.”
Unfortunately for Bush, he chose poorly. Unfortunately for America, this man is
now the poster boy for American-style Christianity. If Bush were to be scored in the

86
Perhaps we should say, “It was all English and American to them.”
87
Another Bush leadership trait.
206 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Christian Olympics event of “Making the World Better,” all the judges would have
to give him a 0.0.88
Although Bush’s specific views on the End Times are not publicly known, he
successfully causes his supporters to think he agrees with them. In any case, he does
nothing to dissuade them of their views, or to discourage their efforts to have their
particular brand of religion monopolize American politics.
Many rightwing Christians welcomed the current Iraq war and turmoil in the
Middle East because these bloody events appeared—through a glass darkly—to fit
several popular versions of the End Times prophecies. Many rightwing Christians
believe that God established the permanent boundaries of Israel thousands of years
ago, and that the Bible predicted the overthrow of the Iraqi regime. Millions believe
that God is now carrying out his master plan through Bush and that we should there-
fore praise Bush and support the war.
Babylon’s role in the Bible is decidedly negative. It is portrayed as a center of
decadence, greed, corruption and other forms of evil, and its fall and destruction are
to be celebrated. Millions of rightwing American Christians speculate as to whether
the chaos in Iraq means the end of the world is at hand. If in fact God’s grand plan is
playing out before us, and we are about to witness the Second Coming, then Chris-
tians should not question the “details” of these events, such as the death of so many
innocent people.
Is it possible that this rightwing “Christian” perspective helps explain why the
Bush administration made so many terrible decisions in Iraq and turned the world
against America? For example, when American forces entered Baghdad in April
2003, their commander in chief never bothered to ask whether the world-renowned
National Museum of Iraq and other cultural assets were being protected. He appar-
ently didn’t care. American forces however were under orders to protect the Iraqi Oil
Ministry. Notwithstanding the Geneva Conventions, and notwithstanding numerous
international requests during the run-up to the war that Iraq’s museums be protected,
the Bush neocons did nothing to protect them. The predictable result was the loss of
thousands of ancient books, manuscripts and artifacts covering several thousands of
years of human history in what is now the GOP’s Mess-opotamia. Both the Western
and Islamic worlds see the looting of the National Museum of Iraq and dozens of
other museums and educational sites as a cultural catastrophe. On the other hand,
how many Bush League Christians took pleasure in the loss of so many relics of
false religions?

88
Except for the Saudi judge.
CHAPTER 9 — ESCHATOLOGY AND THE BOOK OF REVELATION 207

SIDEBAR: Camp Babylon

The ruins of the ancient city of Babylon in Mesopotamia lie 55 miles south of Bagh-
dad, in Babil Province just north of the modern Iraqi city of Hilla. Babylon, the capi-
tal of the ancient Kingdom of Babylonia and frequently referred to as the cradle of
civilization, was home to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Won-
ders of the World. According to Genesis, Babylon was the first city built after the
Flood, and it plays a central role in rightwing biblical prophecy and the End Times.
American forces established Camp Babylon shortly after the 2003 invasion and
transferred control of the base to Polish-led forces in September 2003. In 2005 the
Iraqi government assumed control. According to a British Museum report and a
January 15, 2005, article in the Guardian, the construction and operation of Camp
Babylon caused “widespread damage and severe contamination to the remains of the
ancient city of Babylon.” Insurgent attacks against the base also caused damage.
Military vehicles and construction activities, including construction of a helipad,
damaged significant archaeological sites. Sand and earth, sometimes containing im-
portant artifacts, were used to fill sandbags. Visitors noted that it was difficult to
distinguish the ancient ruins from the new ruins.

Although rabid anti-Semitism has been alive and well in rightwing Christian cir-
cles for a long time,89 especially in the old Confederacy, the rising popularity of End
Times prophesy has caused Christian fundamentalists to support Israel. But this sup-
port has many perverse ironies, including the fact that fundamentalists still don’t
have any particular high regard for Jews. Israel and the Jews are simply necessary
pawns along the fundamentalists’ private exclusive path through the End Times to
Heaven. The fundamentalists’ real unspoken message to Jews is: “We love the Jew-
ish people because through them we will be raptured and go to Heaven. Yes, it is
unfortunate Jews will burn in Hell for all eternity, but we warned them, and we can’t
be blamed for their bullheaded refusal to convert to Christianity.”
Jews of course recognize the irony and the crocodile tears. Nevertheless, Israel
has little choice but to embrace support from wherever it can get it, even from war
criminals.
Another irony is that anti-Israel sentiment, always a problem, has been greatly in-
flamed by the inept rightwing policies of Bush in the Middle East, as well as the ex-
treme rightwing Israeli policies that Bush encourages. The Bush administration has
done more to damage Israel than any other administration.
The more Bush screws up in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, the more fun-
damentalists are comforted, and the more they want him to “stay the course.” Esca-

89
American presidents have also exhibited anti-Semitic tendencies. Newly released White
House tapes from 1972 show President Nixon and Billy Graham exchanging anti-Semitic
banter, something for which Graham apologized after the recording was made public.
208 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

lating carnage and body counts are welcomed evidence that biblical prophecies are
coming true.
The one-sided support by American Christian fundamentalists for Israel is based
predominantly on extreme biblical interpretations and decidedly not on questions of
justice, human rights, or international law. Bush’s Middle East Mess unfolded with-
out any rigorous policy debate as to what is best for Israelis, Palestinians, the Middle
East, the United States, and the rest of the world. In fact, the Bush White House and
the GOP Congress prevented that debate, as they slammed the brake on meaningful
efforts to bring peace to Israel and the Palestinians.
At the center of Christian fundamentalist support for Israel is the belief that the
construction of the Third Temple90 in Jerusalem, as part of the reconstruction of the
Kingdom of David, must take place before the eagerly-awaited End Times, including
the Second Coming of Christ, can occur. Inconveniently, the construction site—the
Temple Mount—must first be liberated from Islamic control. This will require the
destruction of Al-Haram al-Sharif, the 35-acre Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem, which
is one of the three most important religious sites in Islam, and includes the Dome of
the Rock at the center and the Al-Aksa mosque at the southern end.91 The most com-
mon belief is that the Dome of the Rock occupies the exact spot where the first two
temples stood.
Since the creation of Israel in 1948 all American presidents, including Bush’s fa-
ther, strongly supported Israel but at the same time more or less worked to imple-
ment policies fair to both Palestinians and Israelis, with the goal of attaining peace
though peaceful negotiations. That is, until Bush the Wrong.92 Bush rejected the
policies of all American presidents, including his father, regarding the Middle East,

90
King Solomon built the First Temple in the tenth century B.C., and the Babylonians de-
stroyed it in 586 B.C. It was rebuild as the Second Temple about seventy years later, around
515 B.C. The Second Temple was renovated by Herod the Great around 20 B.C. and de-
stroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. Part of the outer western retaining wall, the “Wailing
Wall,” is all that remains of the temple complex.
91
Although most mainstream Orthodox Judaism scholars oppose any attempt to build the
Third Temple before the Messiah returns, many rightwing Israeli Jews wish to build the Third
Temple as soon as possible. Many of them rejoiced in the recent birth of a “red heifer” on a
religious kibbutz in Israel, a sign from God that they should start building the Third Temple in
Jerusalem. In the 1980s a group of extremist Jews were arrested because they planned to blow
up the Dome of the Rock. Apparently no red heifer had been born since the Romans destroyed
the Second Temple in A.D. 70. The red heifer requirement comes from the Book of Numbers
in the Bible, although cooperating rightwing Jews and rightwing Christians have different
beliefs as to what the final end point is. For the Jews, the red heifer is tied to the start of their
millennium, and the rebuilding of the temple—the Third Temple—will allow the Jewish mes-
siah to enter Jerusalem. For many Christians, the Jews cannot rebuild the temple until after
Christ returns in the Second Coming, and their Christian view of the millennium is quite dif-
ferent from that of the rightwing Jews. Also, all Jews will burn in Hell forever (unless they
convert in time to Christianity.) This is a very short summary of the “wheels within wheels”
complexity of all this. You may want to Google “red heifer” and jump in. You might also wish
to reflect upon what Muslims think of all this.
92
Yes, “W” also stands for “wrong,” as in “Bush the Wrong,” “dead wrong” and “Religious
Wrong.”
CHAPTER 9 — ESCHATOLOGY AND THE BOOK OF REVELATION 209

by becoming a captive of the neocons and the Religious Wrong. The result is greatly
increased bloodshed on a path away from peace, with greater suffering and risk for
both Israelis and Palestinians.
Thanks to Bush, the way forward in the Middle East is much more difficult and
dangerous. In every nation in the region, the prospects for progressive peaceful de-
mocratic reform have greatly diminished, and animosity towards America—the cen-
tral victim of 9/11—has soared. America’s effectiveness and credibility in the region
have been savaged, and Bush’s successor will have a much weaker hand to play.
America’s rightwing Christianist leaders played a major role in the tragedy by
blindly supporting and encouraging Bush at each step on the road to Hell. The extra-
loopy leaders with large television and radio audiences deserve extra credit.
Which, as we end this chapter, brings us to Pat Robertson, that first-class nitwit
whose television program, The 700 Club, is beamed to millions daily by his Christian
Broadcasting Network. When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a massive
incapacitating stroke on January 4, 2006, Robertson insinuated the next day on The
700 Club that God had caused Sharon’s stroke as punishment for his decision to
withdraw Israeli troops and settlers from Gaza. Robertson declared, “The prophet
Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who, quote, ‘divide my
land.’ God considers this land to be his.” Robertson also pointed out that the assassi-
nation of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 was “the same thing.”
It was divine punishment for “dividing God’s land,” which was promised to the Jews
in the Bible.
CHAPTER 10

A Call to Christians
and Other People of Faith
Don’t Give Up—Embrace Your Faith and Continue Your
Faith Journey

I have often suggested to American Christians that the only way to under-
stand their mission is to ask what it might have meant to witness faithfully to
Jesus in the heart of the Roman Empire. Certainly, when I preach in the
United States, I feel as I imagine the Apostle Paul did, when he first passed
through the gates of Rome—admiration for its people, awe at its manifest
virtues, and resentment of its careless power. American preachers have a
task more difficult, perhaps, than those faced by us under South Africa’s
apartheid, or Christians under Communism. We had obvious evils to engage;
you have to unwrap your culture from years of red, white and blue myth. You
have to expose, and confront, the great disconnect between the kindness,
compassion and caring of most American people, and the ruthless way
American power is experienced, directly and indirectly, by the poor of the
earth. You have to help good people see how they have let their institutions
do their sinning for them. This is not easy among people who really believe
that their country does nothing but good, but it is necessary, not only for
their future, but for us all.
—Rev. Peter Storey, President of the Methodist Church of South Africa,
and a member of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in
his open “Dear Friends in the United States” letter, written shortly after 9/11.

The Religious Right represents neither mainstream American values nor traditional
religious values. No thinking person of faith who believes in Christ’s message of
compassion for the poor, Christ’s role as Prince of Peace, social justice, the separa-
tion of church and state, and freedom of religion should let Religious Right politi-
cians speak for him or her.
Just as Bush’s neocons moved so far to the Neanderthal right in foreign policy
that they completely abandoned traditional American values, so have Bush’s right-
212 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

wing fundamentalist and evangelical supporters moved so far to the extreme right
that they have abandoned mainstream Christianity and Christ himself. All forms of
religious extremism drink from the same well of hate.
We offer the following call to Americans of all faiths.

A Call to Americans of All Faiths


1) Americans of all faiths or no faith must defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights
against the relentless unchristian attack by America’s extreme right.
• Help defend religious freedom and the separation of church and state. The
White House must protect the constitutional right of all Americans to prac-
tice any religion or no religion, free from governmental pandering or pro-
motion on behalf of any particular religion. The government’s proper role is
to help ensure freedom of religion, not to help Christians win a war among
religions, and not to help rightwing Christianity replace sane Christianity.
Support the “separation of church and hate.”
• Oppose the public financing of faith-based education and faith-based text-
books. Stand up to the junk science and anti-science policies of Bush, the
GOP and the Religious Right.
• Demand the termination of Bush’s unprecedented faith-based initiatives,
under which hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been funneled,
without congressional approval, to favored religious organizations, virtually
all of which are Christian organizations meeting Bush’s litmus test.
• Demand that the White House be the voice for all Americans, not a Bush
League parsonage and pulpit for rightwing Christians.
• Oppose Bush’s divisive religious litmus tests for judicial appointments.
• Help expose the phony self-described “martyrs” on the Religious Right who
invent nonexistent evils such as “The War on Christmas,” when the real
danger is “The Religious Right’s War on Christianity.”
• Keep on agitating for peace, justice and human rights. Help defend and add
to America’s rich history of progressive values and accomplishments that
the world so admires. Take comfort in the knowledge that countless mil-
lions of people of different faiths throughout the world pray for America to
come to its senses and turn toward the light, away from the darkness that
has permeated the Bush League White House.
• Demand the restoration of habeas corpus.

2) Embrace your faith, whatever it is, and continue your faith journey.
• Whatever your faith, do not assume that the loud sanctimonious voices on
the extreme right speak for the majority of America’s churches and Chris-
tians, and don’t let them speak for you.
• If you abandoned your Christian faith or no longer attend church, check out
a mainstream or progressive church. Do this even if you are an agnostic or
atheist. You are likely to fit in well at the majority of America’s mainstream
churches, which by and large are filled with people who know they do not
know all the answers, but have chosen to continue their faith journey to-
CHAPTER 10 — A CALL TO CHRISTIANS AND OTHER PEOPLE OF FAITH 213

gether as they try to make the world better and safer. They welcome people
of all nations, races, religions, economic classes, sexual orientations and po-
litical parties.
• Stand tall and be outspoken about your faith and principles. Support pro-
gressive media that are a small but growing alternative to the vast corporate
networks of rightwing voices that dominate America’s political and reli-
gious media. Don’t let the power of Christianity be monopolized by the Re-
ligious Right.
• Check out and join interfaith organizations such as The Interfaith Alliance
(www.interfaithalliance.org) that strive to promote peace and interfaith co-
operation, rather than sectarian exclusivity and bigotry.
• Another excellent resource is Sojourners, a Christian ministry that practices
the biblical call to integrate spiritual renewal and social justice
(www.sojo.net.) Sojourners magazine is inspiring, as is the best-seller
book, God’s Politics—Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t
Get It, written by Jim Wallis, the Editor-in-Chief/Executive Director of So-
journers.
• Renounce the two unholy banners that Bush and the GOP so proudly carry:
GOP Banner No. 1: “Of the Rich, By the Rich, and For the Rich;” and GOP
Banner No. 2: “Prince of War—Pandering Warmonger for the Religious
Right.”
• Fight for better religion, not less religion. If you are a Christian (Lutheran,
Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, Baptist or whatever), don’t separate
yourself from your faith just because the neo-GOP and the Religious Right
have given Christianity a bad name.
• Proudly carry the banner of the Prince of Peace as you support Christ’s mis-
sion of compassion on Earth.
• Remember the Eighth Commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Steal,” and take
back the Bible that the Religious Right stole.
• So enter the religious discussion and use the Holy Bible, not the Religious
Right’s revised version known as the Holey Bible. Engaging and exposing
the Religious Right without using the Bible is like hunting rats at the city
dump without using your best ammo.
• Just for enlightenment, check out that peculiarly American, rightwing doc-
trine known as the End Times prophesies, as well as other such New Age
spiritualism peculiar to America.

3) Americans should work with their friends throughout the world to help build
bridges of trust and peace, many of which were destroyed by America’s Bush
League government.
• Americans of faith should encourage their foreign friends to tell their truth,
and not to give up on America. Ask them to call upon their leaders to speak
candidly about America’s leaders and policies, and to courageously set forth
their proposals and vision for a better world.
214 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

• Support specific activities to build cultural bridges, such as student ex-


change programs, foreign travel, the study of foreign languages, and hu-
manitarian programs.
• Join the growing millions of Americans—a majority of Americans—who
want and demand a saner better America. Wage peace. America’s longtime
allies in Europe and the rest of the world are with you.
• Remember the words of Gimli in Lord of the Rings: “Certainty of death.
Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?”

4) Remember the American spirit represented in the Statue of Liberty, that wonder-
ful gift from France the construction of which was completed in 1886, and remember
the famous final lines from the poem The New Colossus about that American beacon
of hope, which boldly declare:

Give me your tired, your poor,


Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Help rekindle that American spirit of freedom, hope and opportunity for all, not just
the privileged and chosen few.

5) Above all, don’t let any Bush family member or Religious Reich leader instruct
you in religious or family values they don’t follow themselves. Remember their
motto: “Rich in Valuables, Poor in Values.”

Rightwing Christian evangelicals and fundamentalists control virtually all of


America’s religious radio and television media, having purchased wide networks of
radio and television stations over the past four decades. This control enabled them to
set for America a decidedly narrow list of “religious issues,” as they pursued their
extreme rightwing politics. Media power does matter. Ownership has its privileges.
Over 1,600 rightwing Christian radio stations and about 250 Christian television
stations constitute a rightwing web that provides a consistent rightwing message.
Pat Robertson, a minister of politics and propaganda who ran for president in
1988, even has his own television network called the Christian Broadcasting Com-
pany, on which he has hosted The 700 Club for decades. This live television program
is broadcast daily from Virginia City, Virginia, and, according to the network’s own
website, airs in 95% of America’s television markets and in almost 90 million
American homes, and is seen daily by about one million viewers.
Robertson is hardly the loopiest or most dangerous of the rightwing preacher
politicians. For example, check out D. James Kennedy, a Dominionist fundamental-
ist and biblical literalist who had a political agenda that many would say makes the
Taliban look mainstream, and who believed God wants Dominionists to seize control
of all branches of the U.S. government in the name of God. Kennedy built and until
his death on September 5, 2007, ran a $35 million-per-year empire with a focus on
winning elections for Christian fundamentalists. His Coral Ridge Ministries in Flor-
ida has a radio and television audience estimated at 3.5 million. The Coral Ridge
CHAPTER 10 — A CALL TO CHRISTIANS AND OTHER PEOPLE OF FAITH 215

Hour shamelessly promotes a rightwing political agenda and is broadcast to about


150 countries in the American Forces Network. Bush genuflected before Kennedy
and obtained his blessing before running for president. In return Kennedy had special
access to the Bush White House.
Although lacking formal theological training, hard-line extremist James Dobson
leveraged his Focus on the Family media empire to become the most effective evan-
gelical proselytizer and Christianist for Bush in 2004, and in 2006 he launched an-
other nationwide church-based campaign focused on using churches in key close
election districts to register millions of Republicans and distribute millions of elec-
tion guides carefully crafted to support Republican candidates. Dobson has about 7
million listeners and organized stadium rallies for Bush.
Rightwing extremist preachers have unintentionally converted many good Chris-
tians to atheism. Don’t let them do the same to you.

Be Proud of America’s Liberal, Progressive Accomplishments


In the 1960s many Christians in the South, including many evangelicals and Baptists,
both liberal and conservative, joined the liberal progressive cause of bringing civil
rights to blacks in the South. This struggle for social justice must have made Jesus
proud.
The landmark federal legislation known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned
discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. President
Kennedy sent the legislation to Congress in 1963, and President Johnson coura-
geously supported and signed it even though he knew this legislation would cause his
party to suffer tremendously in the South. Immediately after signing the bill, Johnson
said, “We have lost the South for a generation.” Johnson was right except that he
underestimated the time period. In fact, the Democratic Party’s Christian stand
against racism caused it to lose the South for several generations.
The majority of Southern whites who supported segregation and opposed the ex-
pansion of civil rights for blacks held their noses and bolted for the Republican
Party, which welcomed their bigotry and Old South “white-sheets” mentality with
open arms. While much progress has been made for equal racial opportunity since
1964, Jesus knows that the struggle for civil rights in the South, in the rest of Amer-
ica, and throughout the world continues into the 21st century. Although the GOP in
the 21st century has no monopoly on racism, 92.666%93 of the racists in the United
States are proud members of the GOP, which ever since 1964 has been skillfully
throwing racist raw red meat to undereducated and poor whites, who ironically are
natural political allies of blacks, not their enemies. When Bush became President,
America’s values went South.
From the time of America’s founding to the present, virtually all of the major ad-
vancements in freedom and the American way of life were due to the hard work of
liberal progressive people of faith. Their beliefs and long history of accomplishments
shaped America into the beacon of freedom that many in the world still admire, not-
withstanding Bush and the neo-GOP. Although that beacon has been dimmed by
imperial Bush League policies, values and incompetence, never has the time been

93
OK, I made up this precise number. The actual percentage could be even higher.
216 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

better for liberals and progressives of faith to rise to the great challenge, revitalize
America, and pursue that never ending American quest for freedom, hope and oppor-
tunity for all, not just the privileged and chosen few.

SIDEBAR: Another Big Media Lie—that “Liberal” is a Dirty Word

As masters of Orwellian doublespeak and dirty politics, the Republican Party has
worked hard over the years to make “liberal” a four-letter word. America’s rightwing
Big Media, especially the “hate radio” spectrum spawned and monopolized by the
extreme right, relentlessly pushes this mean-spirited slander.
Bush and the GOP avoid meaningful debate on important issues where their posi-
tions are weak and would not be supported by the people if the truth were on the
table. They count on enough voters to be gullible and misinformed. They count on
unprecedented piles of cash from Big Money to make their slogans and deceptive ads
overwhelm the public discourse. As Big Money capitalists, they market their decep-
tive message just as Big Tobacco markets cigarettes. They believe and practice the
words of Edith Sitwell, “The public will believe anything, so long as it is not
founded on truth.”
But remember also the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Repetition does not
transform a lie into a truth.” So be proud of being a liberal, or a “progressive” if you
prefer that synonym.
When you turn on the radio and hear the word “liberal” uttered with scorn, just
for fun think of that four-letter word “Bush.” Unfortunately for America and Bush
himself, W took a good family name—Bush—and in the eyes of the world turned it
into an obscenity.
Speaking of obscenities, Bush single handedly made “FEMA”94 a dirty four-letter
F-word for millions of people in the South. Just one of many disastrous fumbles by
Bush during his Bush League watch, Hurricane Katrina showcased his administra-
tion’s cold unchristian uncaring corporate heart, plus the unprecedented corruption
and clumsy incompetence that so epitomizes his administration and the “Republi-
can’t Party” in this 21st century. In his January 2007 State of the Union speech he
didn’t even mention Katrina or New Orleans.
Jesus is the ultimate compassionate liberal. He’s so liberal that he’s a revolution-
ary. The only quibble with the term “compassionate liberal” is that it is redundant—
since liberals are naturally compassionate, you can save a word and just say liberal.
So let’s simply say Jesus is a liberal. Period.
On the other hand, let’s consider the oxymoronic label “compassionate conserva-
tive” that Rove cleverly pulled out of thin air and stuck on Bush. The reason for this
marketing trick is that “conservative” sounds too, well, mean, especially to anyone
who had a glimmer of what Bush and the neo-GOP wanted to do to the bottom 90%
of America.

94
Federal Emergency Management Agency.
CHAPTER 10 — A CALL TO CHRISTIANS AND OTHER PEOPLE OF FAITH 217

Well, Rove had a problem, because “conservative” does mean “mean.” So Rove
added “compassionate” to it. “Compassionate conservative” did sound better, even
though no one could figure out what it really meant. But, as Jesus said, “no matter
how much lipstick you put on a pig, it’s still a pig.”95
Jesus was the liberal. Herod the Great and Emperor Tiberius were the conserva-
tives. Jesus was compassionate. Herod and Emperor Tiberius were not. Likewise,
there is no compassion in America’s latter-day neocon warmongering empire build-
ers. Thus Jesus speaks today to Bush and the GOP: “Stop the spying, stop the lying,
stop the dying.”

The American Revolution: Yes, those rotten liberals—revolutionaries even—of


America’s 13 colonies, especially the true blue, progressive patriots of
Massachusetts, risked their lives in the birth of our nation. The American conserva-
tives of those days strongly supported England’s King George III, even though re-
portedly he could not speak English coherently, and they called our liberal patriots
bad names such as traitor. Had he been alive then, America’s King George III—W,
that is—would have opposed any change in the status quo, not wanting to jeopardize
the big profits he was making at the public trough in the government regulated tea
trade, a Halliburton-type cha-ching operation he inherited from his father, aka 41.
Our King George III might have said, “Don’t rock the boat—we rich is doing fine,
and I hate elections anyways.”
It’s a proven fact that 99%+ of the DNA of America’s George III is identical to
the DNA of the British Empire’s George III. Yes, all these “Georges” are confusing.
Let’s just all agree that America has suffered greatly from too many greedy, gorging,
not so gorgeous, Georges.
Speaking of liberal patriots (who are willing to put their own lives on the line in
just wars) and conservative Super Rich phony cowboys (who risk only the lives of
others), we’ll take the New England Patriots over the Dallas Cowboys on any Sun-
day.
All Americans benefit from the liberal progressive values underlying the Ameri-
can Revolution.
The Emancipation Proclamation: Virtually all Americans also now support and
benefit from the liberal values that underlie the Emancipation Proclamation, which
was issued by Abraham Lincoln during America’s Civil War (1861-65), and which
freed America’s blacks from slavery. Southern whites had wanted to keep their black
slaves, who were legally classified as property and considered sub-human or non-
human. This slavery seemed just and Christian because the whites had purchased
their blacks in a perfectly legal manner. But a wide spectrum of liberal progressive
Christians disagreed, and America fought its bloodiest war.
It is sad and ironic that Southern whites—most of whom bolted the Democratic
Party when it went too far in fighting for civil rights four decades ago—have hi-

95
OK, Jesus didn’t actually say this, but he probably wishes he had. He did say: “You shall
love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39.
218 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

jacked Lincoln’s Republican Party, jettisoned its traditional values, and now run it as
the Confederate Party. It is difficult for southern white Republicans to say “Abraham
Lincoln” and “Republican Party” in the same sentence without laughing. Jefferson
Davis must be smiling. The Confederate flag is still much more popular in the South
than the Stars and Stripes, and a Confederate currency has replaced the dollar thanks
to the financial malfeasance of Bush and the neo-GOP. Meanwhile, the struggle for
civil rights continues to this day.
American Civil War: Well, you know the theme here, although none dare call it
treason. It really all comes down to family values. Was the family known as The
United States of America worth preserving? Would America allow those who didn’t
believe in social justice for all to take their black slaves and split in an ugly divorce?
The patriotic liberals of the north, led by Abraham Lincoln, fought America’s most
ugly and bloody war with the racist whites of the South, led by Jefferson Davis.
The American Civil War officially ended in 1865, and Northerners stopped fight-
ing it then. However, the South never stopped fighting, and many Southern whites
will acknowledge this if you ask. Well, the Civil War is now really finally over, and
the South won. Conservative Southern white males grabbed control of the
Republican Party in order to run America like a plantation for its new plantation
owners—the Super Rich and Big Corporations.
Voting Rights for American Women: Looking back to a time about a century
ago, it is hard now to fully appreciate the long struggle of liberal progressive Ameri-
cans to give women the right to vote. American women now take their 19th Amend-
ment rights for granted, rights that conservative males opposed because women were
going too far.
The struggle for sexual equality in America continues today, and it’s grounded in
that liberal, revolutionary notion that women are people too.
Not that much has changed. The primary enemy of American women today still
is America’s wiener-take-all misogynists—a huge rutting herd of old conservative
white males, many from the so-called Religious Right—who want to control women,
dictating what women can and cannot do, especially regarding personal and private
matters of the family, the bedroom, reproduction, and the female body.
Women, continue to stand up for yourselves and your families. Men, stand up for
women and your families, and help elect more women to public office. Imagine how
much better, and more peaceful, the world would be if only women could vote and
only women could be national leaders. A constitutional amendment implementing
this would make more sense than any of the constitutional amendments recently pro-
posed by conservatives males.
Integration of the Military: Blacks fought in World War II with distinction but
largely in segregated units. Following the war Harry Truman ordered the integration
of the U.S. military, notwithstanding the heated opposition of many generals, mostly
Southern whites who inaccurately predicted terrible negative consequences including
morale problems, violence, and a reduction in military capability. Our nation still
benefits from Truman’s decisive liberal action to promote social justice and civil
rights.
The New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt, including Social Security: The GOP’s
efforts to emasculate Social Security will continue.
CHAPTER 10 — A CALL TO CHRISTIANS AND OTHER PEOPLE OF FAITH 219

Medicare: This efficiently run program for America’s seniors was signed into
law in 1965 by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson as an amendment to Social
Security, and he enrolled Harry Truman as the first Medicare beneficiary. The GOP
has been busy trying to gut it, along with Medicaid. We’ll discuss both of these im-
portant programs in the next chapter, along with Social Security.
Well, you see the picture. The list of liberal, progressive achievements is long,
and there are many items that we could add to it. Here are just a few: minimum
wage; worker safety; child labor laws; veterans’ rights and programs; food and drug
safety; transportation safety; rights for the disabled; clear air and water legislation;
anti-discrimination protections; equal employment opportunity; GLBT rights; birth
control and family planning; public education; and let’s not forget the Constitution
itself and the Bill of Rights.
America’s liberals and progressives had to fight for each one of these achieve-
ments, sacrificing and working hard to overcome reactionary conservative opposi-
tion. On occasion conservatives supported these efforts, but generally they did not.
Eventually, the “radical” views of progressives are adopted by most conservatives, or
at least by their children and grandchildren, who learn, for example, that giving
blacks and women the right to vote is not really that bad an idea.
The progressive achievements are based on progressive values that are, or be-
come, cherished American values. They are at the core of what defines America as a
free and just society, and they were the envy of the world until the Religious Right
and the neo-GOP arrived on the scene.
Listening to the propaganda of America’s rightwing media and politicians, one
might conclude that rightwing Christians go to bed each night smugly knowing they
are morally superior to the rest of us. In the real world, however, rates of teen preg-
nancy, births outside marriage, divorce, adultery, spousal abuse, premarital sex,96
child abuse, adulterous gay sex by televangelists, bigamy, and so forth, are just as
high, and typically higher, in the red zones of America’s Bible Belt than they are in
Massachusetts and the rest of that American Sodom and Gomorrah known as the
East Coast. And when it comes to hypocrisy, the readings in those red zones are off
the charts, unequaled anywhere in the world.
Acknowledging that sad reality, a few evangelical leaders on the right have be-
moaned the fact that they cannot truly expect to change America until rightwing
Christians lower their own divorce rates, etc. and practice what they preach. Amen.
This discussion provides clues as to the answer to that pithy question raised by so
many American voters: “Why is it so difficult to find a viable GOP candidate for
high office who is not a serial wife abuser and adulterer?”
The Religious Right constantly shouts the exclusive correctness of their Christi-
anity, but Christ’s teachings are much more in line with liberal Christianity. You
don’t have to be the loudest right-eous Christian to do Christ’s work, and in fact you
don’t have to be a Christian. However, if you want to do Christ’s work, it certainly
helps if you’re a liberal.

96
By the way, if you never get married, it’s not “premarital” sex. (This has nothing to do with
this chapter—it’s just funny.)
220 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

There are many Christians of all denominations, as well as countless non-


Christians, doing God’s work in Afghanistan and Iraq, trying, typically in small per-
sonal ways, to make life better for Afghanis and Iraqis in any way they can. They
aren’t in the spotlight, and they don’t seek it. They are not getting rich, and some
have been killed, such as Tom Fox of Christian Peacemaker Teams who was killed
by his captors in Iraq in March 2006. Their dedication and bravery contrast sharply
with that of America’s rich rightwing televangelists. In the run-up to the Iraq war
some of these television stars gushed about how great it was going to be to go to Iraq
and convert Muslims to Christianity. Their subsequence silence was deafening.
To be clear, there are countless evangelical Christians of all stripes who contrib-
ute enormously to charitable and humanitarian efforts around the globe. Just don’t
expect to see the “show-me-the-money” Pat Robertsons of America knocking on
doors in Baghdad any time soon, trying to convert the residents to Christianity, or
trying to make their lives better.

Bush League Christianity is Bombing in Baghdad


Whether real or fake, the religious underpinning of the Bush League of Nations
alone is reason enough to end it. It is both unconstitutional and counterproductive for
the U.S. government—which until Bush was anchored in religious freedom and
separation of church and state—to promote Christianity of any flavor in the world.
Especially harmful are Bush’s statements, intended primarily for his far right-
wing political base, to the effect that he feels directed by God and that he feels God
chose him to lead American’s efforts against terrorism.
The disastrous Bush League of Nations charade in Iraq must be ended immedi-
ately. America must renounce the misguided and un-American goals of The Project
for the New American Century, while folding up the Bush regime’s imperial tents.
The world understands the insanity, but the true believers in the Bush regime will
never admit they were wrong, and they will abandon neither their Bush League war
on Iraq nor their imperial policies that led to it, so long as they hold the reins of
power. Only the American people can force the change.

SIDEBAR: Five People Bush Meets in Hell

Security Guard (Saddam Hussein): “Stay in line there, cretin!”


Bush: “Cretin? Don’t you know who I am? Me and my kind always go to the front. I
want the best table, free gore-may food, that kinda stuff.”
Saddam: “Everyone knows who you are. In fact, the vote letting you in was unani-
mous.”
Bush: “There’s voting here? Where am I? In Hell? Hah, hah, hah …”
The background din was replaced by several seconds of Pure Silence, which always
happens in Hell when a Profound Truth is uttered.
CHAPTER 10 — A CALL TO CHRISTIANS AND OTHER PEOPLE OF FAITH 221

Bush: “Well, just take me to my ranch. I’m scheduled for another three-week vaca-
tion … and, dang, I haven’t had one since last month. Hey, come to think of it, I
had only a half dozen vacations—or was it six?—right before 9/11 ... or was it
11/9? Dang, I know I was on vacation more than half the time, a little over 40%.”
Saddam: “‘Take you to your ranch’—now that’s pretty funny. Hmm, maybe we’ll
arrange a side trip for you— it’s just a few brimstones away, right above us in
Texas. Say, you don’t recognize me, do you?”
Bush: “Well, you kinda look familiar, but your neck looks funny. And you’re much
too dark for him. Too colored … too tanned, I think.”
Saddam: “We all get a little toasted that way down here. So color doesn’t matter
here—unlike up top in Texas where so many of you Damned Republicans come
from. Hell, you Republicans from Texas alone make up 66.6% of Hell—if we ran
an election down here, you dudes would win in a landslide without even cheating.
But I suppose you’d cheat anyway, just on habit and general principles.”
Bush: “Well, ouch! That really hurts! So how do you divide people, you know, pick
on them? Do you have blacks, too?97 Hey, do you have any queers? … immi-
grants? … and poor people and crips? … and colored, OK other colors … I
mean all those targets on Karl’s list … what I mean is … ”
Saddam: “Shut up! I don’t have time to listen to your babble. You’re causing my
head to overheat. Shut up!”
Bush: “Hey, there must be lots of hot babes here … huh?”
Saddam: “Hot babes? Oh, you mean women.”
Bush: “Yah, that’s it. How many do I get? How many are there?”
Saddam: “Well, there are none, at least none for you Damned Republicans.”
Bush: “None! Why’s that?”
Saddam: “Because the worst woman is better than the best male Republican.”
Again … sudden Pure Silence, this time setting a new record for length. The pain
oozing from all the horny, testosterone-afflicted, Hellions was palpable.
Saddam: “Dubya, you’re going to be bunking with Cheney in the Paris Room.”
Bush: “Holy shit! I must be in Hell! Please! Please take this Bush Family Pass and
send me to Heaven. I have to get away from him … and Rumsfeld … and Rove …
and away from Cheney … and …”
Saddam: “Hey, stupid, you already said Cheney!”
Bush: “Well, for Dick Shooter, I just wanted to be sure.”

97
“Do you have blacks, too?” This was Bush’s nitwit question to dumbfounded Brazilian
President Fernando Cardoso in late 2001.
222 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Saddam: “A Bush Family Pass for Heaven? No such luck. By the way, I’m bunking
with you guys too. Hey, I’ll show you that neat photo of Rummy and me back in
the good ol’ days— it’s posted on the volcano entrance. You know, back in the
1980s when he and his Neanderthal neocon gang were helping me kill all those
Iranians … what a gas! More than one million bastards killed … lots of civilians
and child soldiers … hah, hah, hah … makes me feel good just thinking about it.”
Bush: “Yah, me too. So our weapons … our chemical weapons related programs …
the WDMs … or BMWs … or WMDs whatever … the intelligence … plus Rummy
… that kinda stuff … helped you a lot, huh?”
Again, Pure Silence.
Bush: “Hey Saddy Boy, maybe me and you can gang up on good ol’ Cheney … you
know, good ol’ Chicanery Boy. Now he’s one dude I never trusted, never liked. A
real world class Dick. But he had those photos of me and … dang!” … [pause, as
Bush mulls over his fate] … “Hey, Saddy Boy, I bet your mustache tickles.”
Saddam: “Here’s looking at you kid.”98
Bush: “Yah, we’ll always have the Paris Room.”99
Pure Silence.

We now turn our attention to “The GOP’s War on America,” which is Part IV of
this book (Chapters 11 and 12.)

98
With apologies to Casablanca fans.
99
Ditto. I hope thoughts of Bush and Saddam in flagrante delicto don’t cause you to throw up
the next time you watch Casablanca.
PART IV

The GOP’s War on America


CHAPTER 11

The GOP’s War on America’s Workers,


the Poor and the Disadvantaged
Of the Rich, By the Rich, For the Rich

There’s an old saying in Tennessee—I know it’s in Texas, probably in Ten-


nessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you
can’t get fooled again.
—George W. Bush, Sept. 17, 2002

The Bush neocons wanted to invade Iraq long before 9/11, and 9/11 gave them the
convenient excuse they sought. However, they faced a major inconvenient fact—that
Saddam and Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. In fact, the connection was so nonexis-
tent that it is highly likely that not even one individual among the hundreds of thou-
sands of Iraqis who died because of Bush’s war had had even an inkling of bin
Laden’s 9/11 plan, let alone supported him or his plan (versus Bush himself, who
had had much more than an inkling, but ignored all warnings.)
The neocons correctly concluded that they could make it to Baghdad by duping a
do-nothing-good, see-no-evil GOP Congress and gullible American voters through a
relentless campaign of lies and distortions. The Bush League of Nations, one key
element of that campaign of mass deception, was intended to make Americans be-
lieve that there was broad international support for the Iraq war.
Although the Bush League did provide modest military advantages to the United
States in Iraq, its main purpose was to provide essential propaganda for domestic
consumption, thus paving the road to war.
The war in turn helped push an extreme domestic agenda for America, which is
the subject of this Part IV of this book. It did so by: (1) distracting the voters’ atten-
tion from domestic legislation and executive decisions, both legal and illegal, and (2)
fueling perpetual fear, thereby boosting knee-jerk support for America’s “war presi-
dent” in both international and domestic affairs, including his unprecedented assault
on the U.S. Constitution and America’s democracy.
Do Bush and the GOP have a strategy for success in Iraq, let alone an exit strat-
egy? Is there anyone in the entire world outside America who believes Bush and the
GOP have a strategy for success in Iraq, or ever did?
226 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

As for Bush’s personal “exit strategy,” it’s apparent to the most casual observer
that he intends to hang on until January 20, 2009, and then “cut and run,” dumping
his Bush League mess into the lap of his Democratic successor. This will fit well that
familiar pattern of George W. Bush’s entire personal, business and political life:
defecate and go, leaving the cleanup to others.
In parallel, Bush’s and the GOP’s domestic plan is “gut and run.” Give trillions
of dollars to the Super Rich and Big Business. Savage the U.S. government by bloat-
ing it while making it less efficient and massively more corrupt. Run up multiple
enormous unsustainable deficits and debts. Bankrupt America both morally and fi-
nancially. Plant the seeds for the GOP Great Depression II. Screw generations of the
unborn by giving them the GOP Shaft. Take the money and run. “Gut and run.”
Both internationally and domestically, someone else will have to cope with the
enormous piles of GOP excrement left by America’s worst president ever and Amer-
ica’s most corrupt Congress of the last century.
Going for a Bush trifecta, let’s throw in Bush’s personal plan for his early ado-
lescent years—the first two-thirds of his life—which was “rut and run.”
So, to sum it up, here’s Bush’s trifecta:
1) Adolescent Years (to age 40)—Rut and Run
2) International/Iraq—Cut and Run
3) Domestic Policies—Gut and Run
In this chapter we’ll focus on a few choice items from the GOP’s destructive do-
mestic agenda.

The Wedgies—A Phony Culture War


The focus of this chapter is on the big money issues—feeding the Super Rich at the
expense of everyone else—the raison d’être of the Bush administration and the GOP.
Included are some of the so-called cultural issues used by the Bush regime and the
GOP to inflame, divide and conquer—anything to remain in power so they could
continue carrying water for the Super Rich.
The Bush administration is especially adept at amplifying, and frequently creat-
ing out of thin air, so-called “wedge” issues designed to rally and inflame its sup-
porters and gain lots of votes. Although the immediate purpose of this assault—
which ramps up right before each election—is to win elections, the real long-term
prize is the milking of America by and for the Super Rich.
The “wedgies,” which typically are soft inflammatory “cultural/religious” issues,
are tricks of the trade to accomplish an unrelated secular agenda that could not be
accomplished without these tricks. At the same time, they deflect attention from real
Christian issues that demand but don’t get attention.
Prejudices are exploited, minorities are bashed, wars are waged, and artificial so-
cial issues such as Terri Schiavo (including the publicity stunt of Bush flying back to
Washington to sign a bogus bill) are created—all for the purpose of energizing
Bush’s base and distracting America so that the GOP and the Super Rich can take the
loot out the back door.
Gay marriage is one of the most prominent wedge issues. In the run-up to the
2004 presidential election, Bush conservatives calculated correctly that pushing an
amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage in all states would be a
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 227

clever wedge issue to use against Democrats and attract the Religious Right to the
polls. Republican senators wasted the U.S. Senate’s time on this charade even though
they knew it would be impossible to get the necessary three-fourths approval of the
Senate.
When campaigning in Ohio in 2004, where conservatives were attempting to get
a ban on gay marriage on the ballot, Bush was met with a newspaper ad that read:
“Jobs lost in Ohio since 2001: 255,000; gay marriages in Ohio: 0. Focus on Ameri-
cans’ real priorities, Mr. President.”
That sums it up. The cultural bashing by the GOP successfully diverted attention
from truly important problems, especially Bush’s shortcomings in Afghanistan and
Iraq. Bush was reelected in 2004, the GOP maintained control of Congress, and
America was safe for GOP looting for at least another two years.
A growing number of conservatives believe it is not appropriate to amend the
Constitution for the purpose of banning gay marriage. Even Dick and Lynne Cheney,
who have a lesbian daughter, believe this is a matter for the states to decide, not the
federal government, or so they said. It was not until after the 2004 election, shortly
before Christmas 2006, that their daughter, Mary, announced she and her partner
were going to have a baby in the spring.
We wish the new family of three well, and we pray for that day in America when
the birth of a child to good parents like Mary Cheney and Heather Poe no longer
triggers such ill will from the Religious Wrong or anyone else. We pray for that day
when such a joyful event will be no more newsworthy than the birth of any other
child in America.

SIDEBAR: “Gay Marriage? Haven’t They Been Punished Enough?” (Jesus


Talks About Gay Marriage.)

Jesus sat listening to a group of dusty travelers at a dusty camel stop along a dusty
Interstate near dusty Anywhere, Texas. The travelers were bemoaning the sad state
of American-Style Marriage, especially in blood-red areas of red states like Texas.
One dusty sage noted, “About half the red marriages in Texas are total failures—
divorces, I mean—and 62% of the rest are close to cardiac arrest.”
“Yup,” interjected Jesus, “you wouldn’t buy a camel with that track record.”
Seeking to bait and trap the long-haired hippie liberal, the Pharisee Phat Robert-
son—who had just stepped out of his air-conditioned “Leave-No-Chauffeured-
Preacher-Behind” limo and was both cranky and cranked up—asked Jesus: “Why
should those perverted, disgusting queers—the evil doers who have caused every
abomination, every hurricane, every fornication and plague afflicting God’s people,
the South’s defeat in the Civil War and the freeing of our slaves, the collapse of
Christian … well, all things evil—why should those friggin’ fornicating fornicators
have the right to marry and thus pervert that most holy institution of …”
228 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Interrupting the sputtering well-lathered Phat, Jesus replied: “And so, Pharisee
Phat, you are trying to ask, ‘Should American gays and lesbians have the right to
marry?’ My Father in Heaven recently told me, ‘Of course not, Son! Haven’t they
been punished enough?’”
A “hah, hah, hah” hallelujah chorus rang out from the crowd, except that no
laughter came from the gurgling gullet of Pharisee Phat. Sadly, Phat’s unique dou-
ble-stranded helix of DNA—one strand for Bigotry and one for Buffoonery—
permitted him joyful laughter only when the least, the last, and the lost were being
screwed, barbequed and tattooed by the Religious Right.
“But kidding aside,” continued Jesus, “I say that even a blind woman can see that
it is heterosexuals, especially the males—Dad sometimes calls them the ‘Dumb-Stick
Afflicted’—who most violate and profane marriage. Therefore I say onto you that it
is the heterosexuals who should forfeit their right to marry, and thus, henceforth,
only gays and lesbians should have that sacred right.”
“Yes, a gay marriage is better than an unhappy marriage,” Jesus noted.
“You see,” continued Jesus, “marriage is like a camel. A camel looks a little dif-
ferent from each perspective … it just depends on where you’re standing. Unfortu-
nately, bigoted rightwing male Texan politicians don’t know squat about raising
healthy camels.”
Jesus then reinforced the lesson with several parables—all grounded in love, tol-
erance, faith, liberty and personal responsibility—including the observation that a
Christian is obligated to worry first about the log in his own camel’s eye and not the
speck in his neighbor’s camel’s eye.
Well, Jesus was talking pretty fast at this point, and although your faithful scribe
may have missed something, you get the general idea. Jesus did add something here
about Christians not having the right to judge or screw up their neighbor’s camel,
particularly when they’re busy mis-screwing their own. Like I said, Jesus was talking
pretty fast. Anyway, reinforcing his lesson with a nice simile, Jesus said, “A loveless
marriage is like Bush’s horseless ranchette in Texas—a sham and a shame. In the
Middle East, we Arabs and Jews say it is like a wannabe leader who is all saddle and
no camel.”
With sad disappointed eyes, Jesus then looked straight into Pharisee Phat’s
heart—or, more accurately, into that part of Phat’s fat corpus where a heart is usually
found—and spoke thus: “It is more difficult to find a multi-millionaire Religious
Right preacher who has not violated his marriage vows—one who lives the purity
tests that he wishes to impose on all others, especially women—than it is to find a
flying camel that speaks fluent French.”
This last observation by Jesus for some reason—perhaps it was the French part—
really got Phat’s camel—or rather, his goat—turning Phat permanently into a Cate-
gory 5 hurricane of foaming fury and ballistic bigotry, although many longtime Phat
observers later remarked they could hardly tell the difference.

Tens of millions of rightwing American Christians, including Pharisee Phat


Robertson, believe that Muslims will burn in Hell for eternity unless they convert to
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 229

Christianity and accept Jesus. As a personal religious matter, this belief represents
freedom of religion—and Bush as an individual is free to believe this—but as an
ingredient, even the slightest ingredient, of American foreign policy, it represents
insanity, and that’s where “W” the president became “Wacko.”
Bush grossly misused and abused religion to sell his war on Iraq. If Christianity
were a child, Bush would be a pedophile. His immoral Bush League values are just
not in the ballpark.
Much of the world sees Bush’s war on Iraq as a militant evangelical Christianist
war. Along the way Bush and the Religious Right co-opted the term “evangelical”
and gave evangelicals a bad name. The invasion of Iraq offered rightwing evangeli-
cals the illusory prospect of traveling to Iraq and converting Muslims into Chris-
tians—but, alas, not one rich leader of America’s Religious Right has had the cour-
age to go to Iraq and chew on that bone.
The milking of cultural/religious issues by Bush and the GOP Cons has several
hallmark characteristics. These conservatives talk or cast meaningless votes about
the soft issues, but, after the election, they go back to work for the Super Rich, who
actually get something. Lies and deception are standard operating procedure. Say one
thing and do another. This is Bush and GOP conservatism at its best—conservatives
con you when it serves their interests. They especially con middle- and low-income
workers who vote Republican for this or that hot social issue. Here are some exam-
ples:
• GOP conservatives talk about making government smaller—but the Super
Rich get a big cut in capital gains taxes (and, along the way, the conserva-
tives actually make government much bigger, which helps keep that “issue”
alive.)
• GOP conservatives talk about bashing gays and restricting their rights—but
the Super Rich get the elimination of the estate tax (which only helps the
top one-half of 1% of all estates, as the bottom 99.5% paid zero estate tax in
the first place.)
• GOP conservatives talk about restoring traditional values in America—but
the Super Rich and Big Business get tax breaks totaling more than one
thousand billion dollars, plus reduced IRS audit and enforcement regarding
their tax returns.
• GOP conservatives talk about stopping abortion—but the Super Rich and
Big Business get massive deregulation—typically involving privatization of
the profits and socialization of the costs and risk—and stuff hundreds of bil-
lions of dollars into their own pockets.
Bush, his family and his neocon team do not practice what they preach. For ex-
ample, the Bush administration pushes abstinence-only sex education. But what are
the odds of finding even one adult member of the extended Bush family who has
practiced abstinence before marriage? If Bush wanted to demonstrate moral consis-
tency and strong leadership regarding this “important” issue, he could have de-
manded virginity tests for his two daughters.
The Bush regime criticizes the content and language in movies and on television.
Yet both Bush and Cheney use foul language without apology, and their policies are
much more deadly than anything in the media.
230 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

The storm troopers in the Cons’ attack on minority rights and women’s rights are
a gaggle of gleeful white men, who especially love to tell women what they can and
cannot do with their bodies, while their own testosterone-driven defects are immune
from scrutiny.

Bush’s Domestic Banners


Virtually all of Bush’s domestic agenda can be explained and predicted by two ban-
ners he proudly carries on behalf of the Republican Party:
• Banner No. 1: “Of the Rich, By the Rich, and For the Rich.” Does a policy
favor the Super Rich and large corporations? If yes, then Bush knows it is
an excellent policy. Consequences and fairness don’t matter, since the core
of the GOP’s donor base is happy. The corollary is that if a policy helps the
working poor or middle class, it is a bad policy.
• Banner No. 2: “The Prince of War—Pandering Warmonger for the Reli-
gious Right.”
Don’t even pretend to represent all the people. Show your strength, leadership
and extreme religiosity by dividing and bashing. Your kind of so-called Christians
will love you for your rightwing religiosity. Ignore facts and avoid critical thinking,
knowing that God is directing you. You need the “Christian” vote in order to screw
America’s workers and the world.
These Bush banners have cost middle-and lower-income Americans dearly. They
represent class warfare on America.
The two Bush banners also weaken America’s influence and power in the world.
• Regarding future international coalitions, why would any nation or people
trust Bush or the neo-GOP enough to join America in a major league way?
• Why would poor oppressed peoples living under dictators rally behind a
man who represents the Super Rich and whose family is Exhibit A for crony
capitalism?
• Why would poor but hopeful people in fledging democracies like Gaza and
Iraq respect a warmongering elitist and his party who actively oppose their
interests and aspirations?
• Why would oppressed Muslims anywhere in the world trust this crusader
for the Christian right—a crusader who knows you are going to Hell unless
you convert to his particular flavor of Christianity, and who enjoys sleep-
overs with the rightwing princely dictators of Saudi Arabia?
• Why would workers or the unemployed in Iraq expect anything good from
this two-Americas man who stiffs the working class of America to the ad-
vantage of the don’t-need-to-work class?
Although Bush’s two banners gained him and the GOP millions of votes at home
and hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions, they cost America the
support and goodwill of billions of “voters” around the world.
We turn our attention now to a few of the most important items on the Con’s de-
structive domestic agenda.
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 231

Gutting Social Security to Feed the Super Rich

SIDEBAR: Bush Talks Good about Retirement

“Now, we talked to Joan Hanover. She and her husband, George, were visiting with
us. They are near retirement—retiring—in the process of retiring, meaning they’re
very smart, active, capable people who are retirement age and are retiring.”
—George W. Bush, Feb. 12, 2003

Social Security taxes are very regressive and fall most heavily on middle- and
lower-income working families. Although this fact alone is bad enough, the whole
truth about Social Security is much worse.
Social Security is a major piece of the U.S. tax system—a system that, especially
over the last 25 years, has become a scheme “of the Super Rich, by the Super Rich,
and for the Super Rich.” As we shall see, GOP kleptomaniacs have raided the Social
Security lockbox to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, and their privatization
schemes—better known as pirate-ization schemes—are intended to kill the system
completely. Reagan was the first president to raid Social Security funds, and he is
responsible for destroying the Social Security lockbox.
The Internal Revenue Code has grown in length from 14 pages at its inception in
1914 to 17,000 pages. Chances are good that none of those additional pages were
written by or for you, unless you are a member of the Super Rich. But Bush’s corrupt
friends at companies like Enron and Halliburton have their dirty fingerprints all over
them.

SIDEBAR: The K Street Project

A huge army of Washington lobbyists works for the Super Rich and large corpora-
tions. They are paid well because they work financial miracles for their clients in the
hallways and backrooms of Congress. They are welfare workers for the rich and
powerful. They are expert navigators of the GOP public trough in Washington.
There were already far too many lobbyists in Washington when Bush took office,
but the number more than doubled under his watch. The number exploded because
America’s GOP-controlled government was for sale. When it comes to understand-
ing GOP values, just follow the valuables.
By 2005 the number of registered lobbyists in Washington had grown to more
than 34,750, which means there are about 65 lobbyists for each of the 535 elected
senators and representatives in Congress. The scale of corruption is unprecedented.
So is audacity—lobbyists frequently even write the legislation for lazy lawmakers
who are too busy raising money, living high on the hog, and milking the system.
232 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

The GOP launched the “K Street Project” in 1995 to force lobbying firms to hire
Republicans and give generously to GOP politicians and causes.100 Among the GOP
thugs leading the carrot-and-stick effort was Tom DeLay, the House majority whip.
The carrot for the lobbyists’ cooperation included access to GOP leaders, reduction
in government regulation and oversight, and the ability to write the legislation and
regulations they really wanted. The stick was the threat to cut off access to Amer-
ica’s GOP-controlled government. The GOP took names, maintained hit lists, and
operated like the Mafia.
The GOP-centric lobbyists and the GOP-run Congress worked hand in hand with
the GOP White House on their pro-Big Business and pro-Big Government agenda.
Yes, notwithstanding the decades of rightwing propaganda about the GOP advocat-
ing smaller government, the exact opposite is true. The expansion of the federal gov-
ernment under Bush and the GOP Congress is unprecedented, and the reason for this
is simple. It’s all about money, lots of money. The bloated, porked-up, GOP-
mismanaged government provides countless opportunities for hungry GOP pigs to
dine at the trough. The “GOP” richly deserves to be called the “Gang of Pigs.”
At the same time, GOP lobbyists are as happy as pigs in mud. Their compensa-
tion has risen enormously since Bush took office, and the amount charged new cli-
ents has about doubled. Average starting salaries for Washington lobbyists have
jumped to about $300,000 per year. The revolving door for government workers and
elected officials has never been better “greased,” with many sought-after individuals
making more than $1 million annually.
What a great system! Everyone is happy, right? Well, not exactly. Middle- and
low-income Americans are getting screwed. In fact, America’s bottom 99% is get-
ting the GOP shaft.

If you want to get sick and outraged about America’s tax system, then you should
read, Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the
Super Rich—and Cheat Everyone Else. The author of this popular book is David Cay
Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times.
If you’d like to focus on the Social Security shell game, which is the subject of
this section, then you should read that book’s Chapter 8, “How Social Security Taxes
Subsidize the Rich.”
Here’s an expanded road map of the gutting of Social Security to date:

Step 1: Congress in 1981 passed the biggest income tax cut in history, even though:
(1) the federal deficit that year was $125 billion; (2) the United States had not had a
balanced budget since the 1960s; and (3) the federal debt was almost $1 trillion. The
Super Rich were the main beneficiaries of this Reagan tax cut—of course. The rich-
est 1% received more than half of the estimated $1.3 trillion tax cut. The highest
income tax rate was substantially reduced from the then current 70%. The now-

100
The GOP’s “K Street Project” takes its name from Washington’s K Street, where many
lobbying firms are headquartered.
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 233

discredited champions of supply-side economics pushed the tax cut, although the
Democrats also played a key role in the tax cutting frenzy. [Key point: The Super
Rich made out like bandits.]

Step 2: What happened? Well, the supply-side wizards representing the views of the
Super Rich said that the lower income tax rates for the rich would cause more in-
vestment, more economic growth, and, ultimately, an increase in tax revenues and a
balanced budget. Regarding their promise of increased tax revenues and a balanced
budget in two or three years, they either lied or were stupid, although “they lied” is
the best bet. In any case, they were fox raiding the chicken coop. In 1982 the federal
deficit more than doubled from the previous year, and in 1983 it increased again, to
$343 billion. Our federal government was fiscally out of control, and unemployment
hit 10%. [Key point: The Super Rich were doing fine—they were getting wealthier
because they were not paying their fair share of taxes.]

SIDEBAR: Voodoo Economics

During the 1980 presidential campaign, George H. W. Bush famously referred to the
supply-side theories favored by Reagan as Voodoo Economics. David Stockman,
Reagan’s budget director, later blew the whistle on these theories, together with their
promise of “trickledown” benefits to the middle- and lower-income classes, in his
1996 book, The Triumph of Politics, Why the Reagan Revolution Failed. Reagan, to
his credit, may have initially believed the theories would work. He probably wasn’t
certain, but thought they were worth trying. In any case, when he realized they didn’t
work, he recognized his mistakes and tried not to repeat them, which is to his credit.
However, as discussed below, George W. Bush has repackaged the failed supply-side
snake oil and relentlessly pushed it. Faith-based ideology, coupled with unbridled
greed, has triumphed over facts and common sense.

Step 3: Things were such a mess that Reagan had to accept several tax increases.
However, since Reagan politically couldn’t call them “tax increases,” he consistently
referred to them as “revenue enhancements.” (The progressives in your author’s
home state of North Dakota call this sort of duplicity lying, but in GOP-speak it’s
called talking.) These 1982 tax hikes did not reverse any of the previous income tax
cuts for the rich. Rather, various regressive excise taxes were imposed, including a
nickel-a-gallon gasoline tax, which had the biggest impact on the working poor.
Johnston notes that the revenue enhancements “could also have been called tax hikes
on Joe Lunchpail to benefit the rich.” [Key point: The Super Rich did fine—thanks
to Reagan, their income tax cuts were still in place, and they felt no pain from the
recession or from the “revenue enhancements” pinned on the little people. Very key
point: The tax-and-spend Republicans took a giant stride forward in achieving their
principal goal: shifting as much of the tax burden as possible from the Super Rich to
middle- and lower-income working Americans.]
234 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Step 4: Partly to distract attention from the federal budget mess and the high unem-
ployment rate, the Reagan administration shifted the spotlight to Social Security. A
commission headed by Alan Greenspan in 1982 said that Social Security was in ter-
rible shape, and that unless something was done, there would be a big problem in
about 31 years—yes, 31 years! Democrats and Republicans then worked together to
greatly increase Social Security taxes, even though many said the administration was
just using scare tactics. Senator Daniel Moynihan called the increase “thievery”—the
rich would be the beneficiaries of the stolen goods since they kept their Reagan in-
come tax cuts while everyone else paid more in Social Security taxes. [Key point:
The Super Rich are doing fine—you don’t need to worry about them, given that the
President, Congress, and an expanded army of lobbyists and tax attorneys work for
them.]

Step 5: Several additional increases in Social Security taxes were imposed in the last
three decades. The maximum Social Security tax was $327 per employee in 1970.
By 2006 it had risen to $5,840.40. Since the employer pays the same amount on be-
half of the employee, the maximum tax on the employee is really $11,680.80 per
year in 2006. If your spouse works, you can double this amount to $23,361.60! The
employee and the employer each pay an amount equal to 6.2% of the employee’s
wages, up to a wage cap of $94,200 in 2006. For Joe Lunchpail, or any other middle-
or lower-income wage earner, the effective Social Security tax rate is really double
the 6.2%, which is 12.4%. [Key point: The Super Rich are very happy. For someone
with $1 million in annual income, the effective Social Security tax rate is about one
percent, vs. the effective rate of 12.4% for Joe Lunchpail. For someone making $10
million per year, the effective tax rate is only, well, you get the idea. But keep read-
ing. It gets much worse.]

Step 6: Working Americans have been paying much more each year into Social Se-
curity than is paid out in benefits. This overtaxing started in 1983, and it was very
modest then (only $4.5 billion for the year), but since then it has dramatically in-
creased. From 1999 through 2002, the total amount of Social Security overtaxing
was almost $640 billion. Between 1984 and 2002 the U.S. Government collected
about $1.7 trillion more in Social Security taxes than it paid out in benefits. [Key
point: This is a shill game designed to benefit the Super Rich. To see how, keep
reading.]

Step 7: You are probably thinking, “But wait—the government should be collecting
a lot more each year in Social Security taxes than it pays out, because it has to set
that money aside and have it available years later when people retire—especially
with the baby boomers about to retire.” You would be entirely correct if our govern-
ment was honest, but our government is not. The $1.7 trillion is Social Security over-
taxing has not been set aside in any lockbox. (Remember how the rightwing and the
media laughed at Al Gore for his lockbox focus during the 2000 presidential cam-
paign. Well, he was right, and the expensive joke is on us.) The U.S. Government
has spent all of the $1.7 trillion on its day-to-day operating expenses. The money has
not been invested for us in stocks, bonds, real estate or anything of value other than
U.S. Government IOUs. [Key point: The $1.7 trillion in extra Social Security pay-
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 235

ments by middle-and lower-income taxpayers was used to help reduce the large
budget deficits caused by Reagan’s 1981 income tax cuts for the Super Rich. Your
$1.7 trillion was used to offset the taxes no longer paid by the Super Rich. The Super
Rich are doing fine.]

Step 8: Our national debt grew greatly during this period (1984-2002), even though
the $1.7 trillion in Social Security overpayments was used to cover day-to-day ex-
penses of the U.S. Government. As noted above, when Reagan took office, the na-
tional debt was less than $1 trillion. Between 1983 and 2003 the national debt grew
by an additional $3.6 trillion, and it would have grown by an additional $1.7 trillion
(for a total increase of $5.4 trillion) if the $1.7 trillion had been put in a separate
Social Security lockbox where it belonged. [Key point: The Super Rich are doing
fine. Using the keys to the phantom Social Security lockbox, they took and pocketed
most of the $1.7 trillion.]101

SIDEBAR: A National Lottery Creating 1,700,000 New Millionaires.

$1.7 trillion is a lot of money. Note: It’s $1.7 trillion, not $1.7 billion, and not $1.7
million. In billions, it’s 1,700 billions. In millions, it’s 1,700,000 millions.
So, as an alternative, if the $1.7 trillion stolen from the Social Security lockbox
had instead been distributed in a super lottery with $1,000,000 prizes awarded to
random middle- and lower-income taxpayers, rather than just to the Super Rich,
America could have had 1,700,000 new millionaires. Well, America did conduct
such a lottery, but the system was rigged to give virtually all the winning tickets just
to the Super Rich—and they didn’t even have to pay taxes on their winnings.
Alternatively, as David Cay Johnston notes, the $1.7 trillion was enough to dou-
ble the value of all 401(k) retirement plans in the United States.

Step 9: We were snookered again, this time in June 2001 by George W. Bush—just
a few months after he took office following his selection by five Republicans on the
U.S. Supreme Court. Ignoring a multitude of terrorist threats, Bush instead focused
on one of his highest pet priorities—additional tax cuts for the Super Rich. He im-
mediately accomplished this in two mighty blows for them and against everyone
else. First, the most wealthy 1% of all taxpayers received the lion’s share of his fis-
cally irresponsible $1.3 trillion income tax cut. Second, the federal estate tax was
greatly reduced over a period of several years, going to zero in 2010 (with reinstate-
ment in 2011), which estate tax savings, contrary to rightwing propaganda, benefited
only the top 2% of all estates, since 98% of all estates already were totally exempt

101
From 2004 through 2006 Bush grew the national debt by more than an additional $1+ tril-
lion, and stole and gave to the Super Rich many hundreds of billions of dollars more from the
Social Security lockbox. For the “National Lottery” example in the sidebar, however, we’ll
simply stick with the lower $1.7 trillion figure, and not add hundreds of billions of dollars to
it.
236 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

from the estate tax. By 2007, only 1 of 200 estates (one-half of 1%) paid any estate
tax whatsoever. Additional rounds of humongous tax cuts for the Super Rich fol-
lowed. [Key point: The Super Rich got much richer. Bush was successful in further
widening the rapidly growing gap between the Super Rich and everyone else.]

SIDEBAR: Welfare for the Wealthy

Bush and other Republicans lied when promoting the elimination of the federal
estate tax. In particular, they painted a totally bogus picture that countless farming
families had lost their farms because of the estate tax. “To keep farms in the family,
we are going to get rid of the death tax,” lied Bush. In fact, he and his lying cocon-
spirators greatly overstated the number of farms lost due to the estate tax. In fact, no
one could identify a single farm that had been lost. There apparently were none! On
the other hand, countless thousands of American families have lost their farms due to
low prices for agricultural products—the result of the new religion of the extreme
right: corporate agribusiness, global competition and the so-called free trade system
that punishes small farmers.
Many of the richest people in America opposed the elimination of the estate tax.
Bill Gates, Sr. and Warren Buffet are two prominent examples. More that 120
wealthy Americans signed a statement in 2001 arguing that “repealing the estate tax
would enrich the heirs of America’s millionaires and billionaires while hurting fami-
lies who struggle to make ends meet.” The Walton family alone would be enriched to
the tune of tens of billions of dollars by the repeal. The estate tax helps promote an
America meritocracy, not an aristocracy of wealth where economic and political
power is passed down from generation to generation.
Bush and other Republicans also lied when saying that the estate tax was unfair
because assets were being taxed multiple times (say, once when you earn it, another
time when you save it, and another time when you die.) To the contrary, without the
estate tax, many of the largest fortunes are never taxed. For example, virtually 100%
of the extended Walton family fortune of tens of billions of dollars in Wal-Mart
stock has never been taxed, and under Bush’s giveaway plans there will never be any
estate tax on it. The Walton family loves Bush’s tax plans, and over the years has
taken extraordinary steps to avoid paying taxes.
In sharp contrast to the Walton billionaires, the Bill Gates family realizes the un-
fairness of all this, and along with many other thousands of very rich Americans,
including Warren Buffet, Paul Volcker and George Soros, oppose the elimination of
the federal estate tax.
“Without an estate tax, these rich men believe, America will have a growing con-
centration of power, not in the hands of the industrious or even the merely lucky, but
in the hands of people whose only smart economic decisions were picking their par-
ents and staying in their good graces,” notes David Cay Johnson.
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 237

These enlightened wealthy people believe a person’s success should be based on


merit and less on hereditary. Among the many other reasons why they oppose Bush’s
estate tax madness is that the elimination of the estate tax would hurt countless chari-
ties because it would reduce the tax incentive to make charitable gifts.

Step 10: This is really part of Step 9 and involves a campaign of lies. How could
American voters be so dumb as to allow another Republican president to raid Social
Security for the benefit of the Super Rich? Well, Bush and the GOP lied to America.
During the 2000 presidential campaign, some voters were smart enough to at least
ask about the impact of the proposed huge income tax cut on Social Security. Bush
promised many times during the campaign that he would not touch Social Security
money and that at least $2 trillion of the expected federal surplus (created under Bill
Clinton’s watch) would be locked up safely for Social Security. Bush said, “For
years, politicians in both parties have dipped into the [Social Security] Trust Fund to
pay for more spending. And I will stop it.” Bush lied. He repeated those promises
after his inauguration. Bush lied again. By the time the tax cut legislation passed in
June 2001, several newspapers including The Wall Street Journal had already re-
ported that Bush really intended to pick the Social Security lockbox. [Key point: The
ends—more humongous tax cuts for the Super Rich—justify the means—lies by
Bush.]

SIDEBAR: Paul O’Neill: “We’d all be in jail”

Bush’s handpicked former Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill, was extremely
critical of the way Social Security is managed. Speaking to a group of investment
managers just days after Bush’s tax cuts were passed in June 2001, O’Neill said that
if he and his fellow executives had managed their corporate pension funds the way
the U.S. Government managed Social Security, “we’d all be in jail.” O’Neill, a truth
teller who previously was chairman and CEO of Alcoa, said, “we would not be per-
mitted to have pension-fund obligations without assets behind them.” He went on, “I
come to you as managing trustee of Social Security. … Today we have no assets in
the trust fund. We have promises of the good faith and credit of the United States
government that benefits will flow.”

Step 11: This is another snookering of the Social Security system and all middle-
and lower-income taxpayers (like Step 9 above.) Following the 2002 midterm elec-
tions, Bush took the opportunity to further line the pockets of the Super Rich by im-
posing another supply-side tax cut on an already Bush-damaged economy. More than
two-thirds of this $350 billion income tax cut goes to the top 10% of taxpayers. This
further crippled the ability of the U.S. government to set aside funds for Social Secu-
rity. [Key point: The Super Rich are happy. Bush and the Republican-controlled
238 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Congress further lined their pockets, and, in any case, the Super Rich don’t need
Social Security benefits.]

SIDEBAR: The Greenspan Flip Flop

Regarding the interplay between Bush’s record budget deficits and the future of So-
cial Security, flip-flopper Alan Greenspan bowed to rightwing political demands that
there not be any tax increases for the Super Rich (or any cancellation of the large tax
cuts previously given them by Bush.) In testimony before the House Budget Com-
mittee on February 25, 2004, Greenspan urged Congress instead to cut Social Secu-
rity benefits for future retirees. He later repeatedly made this plea. The main cause of
the massive record budget deficits is the tax cuts for the Super Rich, but Greenspan
wanted to protect the Super Rich, while scalping middle- and lower-income retirees.
However, in 2001 Greenspan had assured Congress that the Bush tax cuts would not
jeopardize Social Security benefits. Incredibly, this flip-flopping shill later advocated
that the tax breaks for the Super Rich be made permanent.

Step 12: Assess your level of outrage. If you are a middle- or lower-income worker
(say, anyone but the top 2%) and are retired, or will be retired soon, you should be
outraged at what Bush and the GOP are doing to Social Security and your financial
future. If you are a young middle- or lower-income worker not close to retirement,
you should be incredibly, incredibly outraged:
1) Guess who is now paying for all the Social Security benefits that are cur-
rently being paid out each year to the people already retired;
2) Guess who is effectively pocketing the Social Security “overpayment” that
you make each pay period (hint: it’s not you, and none of your dollars are
going into any Social Security lockbox);
3) Guess who will pay for all Social Security benefits for those people who re-
tire in the coming years, including the baby boomers;
4) Guess who should plan on funding his or her own retirement.
[Key point: You’ve been screwed, and you should be mad.]

Step 13: (making it a baker’s dozen): For simplicity, in the above saga of misdeeds
we focused on the interplay between the tax cuts for the Super Rich and the gutting
of Social Security. There is also interplay—disastrous interplay—between the tax
cuts for the Super Rich and: (1) Medicare, (2) Medicaid, and (3) our exploding na-
tional debt. We’ll cover these topics later in this chapter. If you are not a member of
the Super Rich—or if you are a member of the Super Rich who cares about fairness
and the future of America—then you should be alarmed by the GOP policies of the
Bush administration. [Key point: The screwing is continuing, and you should be
very mad.]
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 239

SIDEBAR: Bush’s Base

In October 2000, while wearing a tuxedo and apparently joking to an affluent crowd,
Bush declared, “This is an impressive crowd: the haves and the have-mores. Some
people call you the elites; I call you my base.” [Laughter]

Another disadvantage of Social Security taxes is that they are a form of double
taxation. The wages of Joe and Judy Lunchpail are subject to income taxes, and the
same wages (up to $97,500 in 2007) are also subject to Social Security taxes. (The
Super Rich thus pay this double tax only on a small portion of their income—the first
$97,500 in 2007—which is another nice tax break for them.)
In general, middle- and lower-income working Americans are being double and
triple taxed, but the Super Rich are frequently being single taxed, or half-taxed, or
no-taxed. Capital gains, for example, which are at lower rates, disproportionately
benefit the Super Rich, for whom they are designed. Republicans want work income
to be taxed at a higher rate than idle income. In fact, many Republicans want their
idle income completely exempt from income tax! Also, Republicans have success-
fully shifted much of the tax burden from the income tax to other forms of taxes
(sales tax, gasoline tax, various license and use charges, and so forth, in addition to
the Social Security and Medicare taxes discussed above) that are regressive and thus
fall most heavily on middle- and low-income Americans. For example, a wealthy
person making a million dollars a year could not smoke enough cigarettes, use
enough gasoline, or take his family to enough parks, to make those taxes and charges
constitute more than a drop in the bucket compared to his income. That, of course, is
precisely the goal of Bush’s “of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich” policies. In
addition, higher usage fees—say, for America’s national parks—help keep the riff
raff out.
For years many conservative Republicans had their sights set on destroying So-
cial Security and Medicare, which they see as socialistic. Yes, Social Security is so-
cialistic, and that’s good. Both working and retired Americans strongly support and
need this valuable liberal, progressive program. Americans who count on, or expect
to count on, Social Security benefits in their retirement, as well as Americans who
have family members in that position, would be off their rockers to vote for the GOP,
aka the Cons, aka the Republican’t Party.
One strategy of rightwing conservatives in the GOP is to “starve the beast,”
which means cutting taxes so much for the Super Rich that programs such as Social
Security can no longer be afforded and will have to be cut or eliminated. The strat-
egy also involves making life so painful for middle- and lower-income workers that
they will become predisposed to gutting government. Unfortunately, with Bush at the
financial helm, the “starve the beast” strategy is no longer mere rhetoric. It is being
achieved in an exceptionally aggressive and deceitful manner. Kiss Social Security
and America goodbye.
240 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

One of the leading Republican architects of the strategy to kill off the U.S. gov-
ernment is Grover Norquist, who in 1994 helped Newt Gingrich draft the Contract
with America, better known as the Contract on America. In a May 25, 2001, inter-
view with Mara Liasson of National Public Radio, Norquist said, “I don’t want to
abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the
bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
Incredibly, Bush and his party, the Cons, have taken the “starve the beast” strat-
egy to new previously unimaginable levels of madness. Bush has not only greatly
increased the size of government (versus shrinking it to a size where it can be
drowned,) but he also has run massive budget deficits in order to give tax cuts to the
Super Rich. The resulting huge deficits previously could not have been imagined by
even the most looney Norquist supporters, who undoubtedly believed, “No Republi-
can would do that.” But the Republican Party did do that. Thanks to Bush, America
is on the road to bankruptcy and financial Armageddon—the GOP Great Depression
II—with America’s power and financial future increasingly in the hands of foreign
bankers, including de facto enemies of America and governments that support terror-
ism. The GOP is willing to kill America in order to kill Social Security, which will
be just one minor victim on the GOP road to Armageddon.
The GOP’s massive tax cuts for the Super Rich created the massive budget defi-
cits, which in turn are being cited to justify cuts in Social Security benefits. Unless
America really wakes up, the Cons will get away with this. Greenspan argued for
such cuts in Social Security, even though Social Security now takes in much more
each year than it spends (which is due mainly to huge increases in Social Security
taxes paid by working Americans and the fact that the baby boomers have not yet
started to retire.)
Thanks to tax cuts for the Super Rich, federal revenue as a percentage of gross
domestic product (GDP) declined by 5.2 percentage points (a 25% decline) from
2000 to 2004. This decline exceeded the entire budget deficit by 45% for that year.
Federal individual income tax collections equaled 6.7% of GDP in 2004, having
peaked at 10.2% in 2000. This is a decline of 3.5 percentage points (or 65%) in four
years, and is just slightly less than the entire federal budget deficit ($413 billion) for
that year (2004.)
Because this financial stuff is very complex, it is perfect clay for lying rightwing
politicians who know they cannot sell their snake oil if they tell the truth. Here in a
nutshell is their three-step Dance of Duplicity:
1) they raise regressive taxes (including Social Security taxes) on middle- and
lower-income American workers;
2) they give massive tax cuts to the Super Rich; and, surprise,
3) they reduce or eliminate benefits for workers and retirees.
If you make less than $300,000 per year, the joke is on you.
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 241

SIDEBAR: Death Taxes

Karl Rove and other Republican liars are adept at coming up with bumper sticker
slogans to market their deadly snake oil. One example is the deceptive term “death
tax,” which they couple with other lies to hide the truth that 98% of all estates paid
no federal estate tax, and that 99%+ of all estates would have paid zero if reasonable
exemption increases proposed by Democrats had been approved, rather than the ac-
tual looting by Bush which gives hundreds of billions in tax breaks to humongous
estates that now will pay zero taxes.
Duplicitous slogans unfortunately work, especially against working Americans
who work such long hours that they don’t have time to pay attention. For example,
when taxpayers are asked if they are for or against “death taxes,” a huge majority
answers “against.” (Of course! Being against death is like being against disease.)
However, when these same taxpayers are given the essential facts—for example, that
only 2% of Americans who died had an estate big enough to result in any taxes under
the prior law—then by a wide margin they do not want to eliminate the estate tax.
Yes, this tax stuff is complicated and difficult to understand, which works to the
advantage of the Republican liars.
“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” —Attributed to
Albert Einstein.
So don’t feel too bad or alone if you don’t understand all the issues. However,
unless you are Super Rich or have your own tax lobbyist in Washington, D.C., you
are getting screwed by those who do. Thus, it may be worth some of your time to get
involved and let your voice be heard.

Never giving up on their goal of eliminating Social Security, rightwing extrem-


ists can be expected to push forward on privatization, which means the creation of
new personal retirement accounts. In practice, this will prove to be another tax dodge
for the wealthiest in America, who will receive the lion’s share of the tax benefits.
GOP-friendly Wall Street conservatives also love this idea, as it presents an opportu-
nity for fat cat investment bankers and brokers to make hundreds of millions of dol-
lars in additional fees, while greatly increasing the cost of running Social Security. It
will also undermine Social Security financing. Consider also what would have hap-
pened to the value of your private Social Security account during the recent stock
market downturn if this scheme had been in place. Fortunately, the American people,
including not only Democrats but also a significant percentage of Judy and Joe
Lunchpail Republicans, have slowly been awakening to the fact that Bush and the
Cons are pushing fiscal schemes from Hell.
The GOP-run Congress got away with its milking and destruction of America be-
cause too many voters were not paying attention. The voters’ swallowing of the
GOP’s “deficits don’t matter” mantra is adequate proof of that. There are countless
examples of voters not paying enough attention. One of the most costly examples is
the deregulation of the savings and loan (S&L) industry in the 1980s and the result-
242 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

ing collapse of most of America’s S&Ls, which cost American taxpayers more that
1,000 billion dollars. (Imagine a pile of one million dollars, and then imagine one
million such piles.) Not really understanding the complexities, Americans snoozed,
and members of Congress were astounded and relieved that they received passes for
the deregulation mess they caused, with not a single member of Congress losing his
job, going to jail, or even being taken to the woodshed.
Another expensive example is the deregulation of the electric power industry in
recent years, which cost consumers countless billions of dollars in inflated electricity
charges. In this case, Bush-friendly looters including Enron gamed the system and
made out like the bandits they were. Once again, the GOP-controlled Congress, as
well as American voters, handed out too many passes to the GOP’s fat cat corporate
base.
The gutting of Social Security—called privatization by the Bush League loot-
ers—will have even more disastrous consequences. American workers and retirees
should remember that in the GOP dictionary, “privatization” means “pirate-ization.”
American workers and retirees should also heed Bush’s own words, “fool me once,
shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can’t get fooled again.”
Thanks to God and Franklin Roosevelt, the safety net of Social Security is in
place. If it did not exist, the Banana Republicans would oppose its creation, just as
they did during the GOP Great Depression of the 1930s. Unfortunately, thanks to the
Devil, the GOP aims to destroy the safely net by replacing Social Security with
“broker security” and “social insecurity,” while opening the door to fraud.
Bush spent the first year of his second term traveling across America unsuccess-
fully trying to sell the GOP’s Social Security schemes to America’s voters. The time
he wasted would have been better spent on planning an exit strategy for Iraq, some-
thing he refuses to think about.

SIDEBAR: Strengthening Social Security

The best way to strengthen Social Security is to eliminate the cap on income subject
to Social Security tax ($97,500 in 2007), without changing the payments to retirees.
This cap elimination also has the advantage of ameliorating a major Social Security
negative that operates to the disadvantage of low- and middle-income workers and to
the advantage of the rich, namely that the current tax is very regressive. For example,
a low-income worker making only $10,000 per year pays 6.2% of that in Social Se-
curity tax (12.4% if we include the employer matching amount), while a Bush fat cat
making $1,000,000 per year pays less than 0.6% (less than 1.2% if we include the
employer match.)

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)


This public entity exists to protect retirees by guaranteeing the pension obligations of
certain defined benefit pension plans, although the monthly payments per retiree are
capped. The PBGC exists as a safety net for employees and retirees in the event a
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 243

covered plan fails or is in danger of failing, which happens when corporations fail to
set aside enough funds each year to cover the retirement benefits that they have
agreed to pay.
Unfortunately, senior executives of many large corporations use such underfund-
ing of pension obligations as a creative accounting tool to pump up corporate profits
and thus their own incentive compensation. In the process they stiff their employees
and retirees, as well as American taxpayers who may later get stuck with a huge bill.
Corporations with covered plans pay insurance to the PBGC, which hires money
managers and consultants to prudently invest the money. All parties have a legal
fiduciary duty to act on behalf of employees covered by the plans, but there is inade-
quate review and auditing by the federal government, since corporations, money
managers and other consultants do not want such oversight.
In 2001 the PBGC had a surplus of more than $7 billion, but by 2005 the PBGC
had a deficit of $23 billion, due to a huge number of corporations walking away from
their pension obligations. Their behavior was definitely Bush League.

Medicare and Medicaid


Medicare is a nationwide, federally administered health insurance program that cov-
ers the costs of certain medical care and hospitalization services for seniors over age
65 and certain other eligible individuals. President Lyndon Johnson signed it into law
in 1965, and most Americans over 65 are covered by it.
Medicaid is a nationwide program sponsored by the federal government and op-
erated by the individual states that provides health care services to certain low-
income individuals. Within broad federal guidelines, the individual states decide who
is eligible, the services covered, the pay rates for providers, and so forth. The pro-
gram varies from state to state and does not provide services to all low-income peo-
ple.
As discussed previously in this chapter, Bush’s massive tax cuts for the Super
Rich have jeopardized both Medicare and Medicaid. Under Bush’s expanded version
of Reagan’s Voodoo Economics, the amounts deducted from your paycheck for
Medicare are not being set aside in any lockbox to be available when needed. Rather,
100% of the amount you pay each pay period (1.45% of all your wages, without
limit, in 2006) is used to pay the current operating expenses of the U.S. government,
and, of course, to fund the GOP’s massive ongoing tax cuts for the Super Rich.
Republicans pump out much propaganda to encourage Americans to believe that
almost all of the federal government “free benefits” go to lazy, shiftless people who
can work but simply choose not to (a description, by the way, that applies better to
the inherited-wealth aristocrats who don’t need to work, and will never need one cent
of benefits from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the like.) All sorts of pro-
grams, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, get lumped together in the
rightwing propaganda, and the federal government is incorrectly painted as bloated
with high administrative costs. Out of necessity and greed, Republicans resort to
such lies in order to sell their bogus policy of cannibalizing America’s social safety
net for middle- and low-income Americans in order to fund Bush’s massive tax cuts
for the Super Rich.
244 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Extreme rightwing GOP Neanderthals would completely eliminate all these pro-
grams if they could.
How about the GOP Congress? Although it did strive to screw middle-and low-
income Americans whenever it could by cutting benefits, its primary mission was to
manipulate these programs to create a massive welfare system for large corporations
and the wealthy. We will discuss this further below.
Regarding Medicaid, columnist Bob Herbert in a June 11, 2004, opinion in The
New York Times provides a good example of Republicans at work at the state level.
In May 2004 Mississippi “approved the deepest cut in Medicaid eligibility for senior
citizens and the disabled that has ever been approved anywhere in the US.” When he
signed the rollback legislation, Mississippi’s governor Haley Barbour—a former
chairman of the national Republican Party—complained about taxpayers having to
“pay for free health care for people who can work and take care of themselves and
just choose not to.” The truth is that the new law, in addition to other cuts, ends
Medicaid eligibility for 65,000 low-income seniors and people with severe disabili-
ties, including, for example, “a 36-year-old mother of three who was left a quadri-
plegic after a car accident.” The “stunning rollback of services in Mississippi’s
Medicaid program” was initiated by the Republican-controlled state senate. Accord-
ing to Herbert, “If you want to see ‘compassionate’ conservatism in action, take a
look at Mississippi, a state that is solidly in the red category (strong for Bush) and
committed to its long tradition of keeping the poor and the unfortunate in as ragged
and miserable a condition as possible.”
Hurricane Katrina and a GOP-run FEMA provided another more recent example
of “compassionate” conservatism and incompetence at work. Even organizations
officially classified as terrorist organizations by the United States, such as Hezbollah
in southern Lebanon, provide emergency assistance faster and better than the Bush
League FEMA, and that’s just one reason why they, and not Bush, are winning the
hearts and minds of Muslims.
The Bush administration pushes Medicare policies that favor its base of wealthy
contributors and large corporations over everyone else. The main thrust of Bush’s
2004 massively expensive Medicare legislation—the largest expansion ever—was to
reward pharmaceutical companies, HMOs and other large corporations, all at the
expense of middle- and lower-income working Americans.
Because it is impossible for the Bush regime to sell its Medicare policies to Con-
gress and the American people based on the merits, it resorts to lies, distortion and
anti-democratic tactics.
The Bush regime’s pattern of duplicity is illustrated in the Medicare legislation it
pushed through Congress in 2004. Among the abuses:
• The Bush team lied to Congress about the expected cost of the proposed
legislation. Knowing Congress wouldn’t approve a bill costing more than
$400 billion, the Bush team lied, saying it would cost only $400 billion, and
withheld much higher official cost estimates. Specifically, Medicare’s Chief
Actuary, Richard S. Foster, said the Bush administration threatened to fire
him if he disclosed to Congress cost estimates showing the legislation
would be about one-third higher than the $400 billion. In hiding the relevant
information from Congress, the Bush regime even lied to the members of its
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 245

own party, and it later blocked an effective independent investigation of the


fraud.
• Republican House leaders including Tom DeLay apparently even tried to
bribe a GOP House member to get him to vote for the legislation. Following
the longest roll call in the history of the House, the legislation passed by a
few votes shortly before dawn. In a break from House procedures, the vot-
ing was kept open so that dissident House members could be coerced and
bribed. Representative Nick Smith (R-MI) told a radio station that GOP col-
leagues had offered a $100,000 campaign contribution for Smith’s son (who
was running to replace his father, who was retiring) if he voted for the
Medicare bill. The House ethics panel later played patty cake with the crook
DeLay as it did a milquetoast investigation of the bribery and coercion
charges. Smith did not run for reelection in 2004.
• In May 2004 the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is the
investigative arm of Congress, determined that the Bush administration
(through its Department of Health and Human Services) violated two fed-
eral laws in the way it conducted its publicity campaign promoting the new
Medicare changes. In hyping the legislation, the Bush team illegally spent
taxpayer money to produce phony videos that were made to resemble news
reports. The “announcers” in the videos were not real reporters, and they
were paid with taxpayer money. At the end of the English version of the so-
called “story package,” a woman says, “In Washington, I’m Karen Ryan re-
porting.” At the end of the Spanish version, a male “announcer” says in
Spanish, “In Washington, I’m Alberto Garcia reporting.” The GAO’s legal
opinion stated that the deceptive videos: (1) violated a statute prohibiting
the use of federal funds for covert propaganda, and (2) violated the federal
Antideficiency Act, which applies to the unauthorized use of federal funds.
• As for the substance of the legislation, this incredibly expensive legislation
was a sellout by the Bush administration to pharmaceutical companies and
the managed care industry (HMOs, etc.), which contribute enormous sums
to Republican coffers. During the drafting, debate and passage of this Big
Pharma welfare legislation, the pharmaceutical industry had an army of
more than 700 paid lobbyists in Washington working hand in hand with
Bush and the GOP Cons to screw America.
• GOP Congressman Billy Tauzin, who played a key role in shepherding Big
Pharma’s Medicare legislation through Congress, became the head of Big
Pharma’s most powerful trade group on January 3, 2005, the same day he
left Congress, and received an annual compensation package valued at $2.5
million.
• One of the most outrageous provisions of the Medicare bill prohibits the
U.S. government from negotiating lower drug prices for Medicare’s
41,000,000 beneficiaries. Stunningly unbelievable—this massive price-
fixing is so corrupt and anti-American that it is difficult to comment upon.
So let’s simply repeat what the Bush legislation does: It prohibits the U.S.
government from negotiating lower drug prices for Medicare’s 41,000,000
beneficiaries!
246 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

SIDEBAR: Price Fixing and Welfare for Big Pharma

Yes, this Republican corruption and sellout—this corporate welfare for the pharma-
ceutical industry—actually prohibits the U.S. government from negotiating lower
drug prices for Medicare’s 41,000,000 beneficiaries! Medicare, probably the single
largest purchaser of drugs, is thus not able to negotiate volume discounts or any other
price discounts. Price negotiation used to be part of the free enterprise system in
America, and anyone selling to the federal government would have expected price
negotiations during the procurement process. Of course. However, the Republican
Party has carved out an un-American exception for Big Pharma, and all Medicare
recipients and American taxpayers are getting screwed.
The cost will be enormous—countless tens of billions of dollars. America already
pays much more per prescription than any other industrialized country in the world.
Prescription drugs purchased in the United States totaled about $184 billion in 2003,
which was 13% higher than the previous year. Annual price increases typically
greatly exceed the rate of inflation, with double-digit increases being common.
In sharp contrast, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides an excellent
model for the purchase of drugs by the United States government. Thanks to a 1992
law, the VA for over a decade has been negotiating the prices of drugs it buys for
millions of American veterans. According to a 2001 study by the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services of a list of 24 drugs, the VA paid 52% less, on average,
than did Medicare!
It is truly amazing how rightwing Republicans—most of whom claim to be
Christians—have no problem with enormous amounts of corporate welfare, say $10
billion or $100 billion, being handed out like pieces of candy to the pharmaceutical
industry, while at the same time, if a disabled black woman in Mississippi gets $100
more in some form of “welfare,” they go ballistic, believing that to be the end of the
civilized world.

• The bill also provides for massive payments, billions of dollars, to large
corporations that already provide drug benefits to their retirees. These cor-
porations did not even request this pork.
• Drug and insurance companies spent $140 million lobbying Republican
Congressmen on the Medicare drug benefit. They are the big winners in the
GOP giveaway, and America’s seniors are the losers, as are future genera-
tions of Americans who will have to foot the bill for the GOP’s fiscal mad-
ness and thievery.
• The bewildering Medicare D Prescription Drug Plan dumped on America’s
seniors in 2005 appears intended to confuse and “torture” them, while
pumping huge profits to dozens of GOP corporate donors and creating a
wonderful environment for scams. The pro-Big Pharma, anti-seniors
hodgepodge plan is yet another example of the GOP’s duplicity and incom-
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 247

petence. Any middle- or low-income senior who votes for the Cons might
just as well pray for cancer.
• The Republican welfare legislation for Big Pharma also prohibits the pur-
chase and reimportation of lower-priced prescription drugs from Canada—
drugs that were manufactured in the United States. This is another Bush
poke-in-the-eye for American consumers, especially the elderly who need
more prescriptions, and it is designed to reward Bush’s donor base. See the
following sidebar for how some states are responding.

SIDEBAR: Reimportation of Drugs from Canada

Prescription drugs in America have become so unaffordable for many middle- and
lower-income consumers, especially seniors who require more drugs, that many con-
sumers are trying to buy their drugs from Canada via the Internet, notwithstanding an
FDA prohibition on reimportation of drugs manufactured in the United States.
Consumers should demand answers from their congressmen to a broader ques-
tion: How can prescription drugs that are manufactured in the United States and then
shipped to Canada be so much cheaper than the same drugs sold in the United
States? The shipping to and from Canada, together with the costs and profits of the
additional middlemen, should make it more expensive for Americans to buy these
drugs from Canada. Yet the drugs purchased from Canada and shipped back to the
United States are frequently 50% less expensive than the same drugs purchased in
the United States.
Several states tried to take action to allow their citizens to purchase FDA-
approved drugs from Canada and elsewhere and have them shipped (“reimported”)
to the United States. These states include Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, North
Dakota, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Illinois, Maine and New Hampshire. In February
2005 a group of senators led by Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
introduced S. 334, which would allow Americans to purchase FDA-approved medi-
cations from other countries, prevent drug companies from interfering with these
purchases, and ensure drug safety. The co-sponsors of this Senate bill included 21
Democrats and 7 Republicans. The reimportation of FDA-approved drugs has broad
bipartisan support among the American people.
However, the Big Pharma-friendly Bush administration and the GOP congres-
sional leadership opposed these efforts, favoring price fixing over the free market.
Even the so-called “free trade” agreement with Australia, which became effective
January 1, 2005, prohibits the reimportation of drugs from that country. Of course,
Big Pharma has given enormous sums of money, as well as countless junkets and
other perks, to GOP candidates.
248 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

The pharmaceutical industry is attacking these efforts in numerous ways, includ-


ing lobbying Congress and the FDA to stop the reimportation of drugs, restricting
drug sales to Canadian pharmacies, and suing Canadian companies. Also, the indus-
try claims there are consumer safety issues, which is a disingenuous argument since
Canadian pharmacies work under drug quality and safety control laws similar to
those in the United States. Also, the drugs in question are manufactured in the United
States.

• Many traditional Republicans, even rightwing Republicans, feel betrayed by


Bush and the modern GOP, the Cons. These include Bruce Bartlett, former
member of the Reagan White House and author of the 2006 book, Imposter:
How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Leg-
acy. Regarding Medicare, the traditional GOP perspective was that Medi-
care was too big and too expensive, and needed reform. But the GOP, with
control of all branches of the federal government, didn’t reform or improve
anything. The Cons added about $18 trillion in new benefits and greatly in-
creased Medicare’s unfunded liabilities, while making Medicare operations
less efficient. Traditional Republicans once again were betrayed by their
own party.
The pork barrel Medicare legislation pushed through by the Republican Party—
the Cons—has numerous other major problems that are beyond the scope of this
book. It is worth noting, however, that the largest organization representing retired
Americans—the supposedly “nonprofit” AARP—was an accomplice of Big Pharma
and rightwing Republicans during the legislative process (although the AARP later
regretted its actions.) See the following sidebar.

SIDEBAR: AARP Sellout

Millions of members of AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Per-


sons) were outraged by AARP’s role in the passage of the pork barrel Medicare leg-
islation pushed through by the Republican Party. The central problem is that AARP
has many conflicts of interests that adversely affect its representation, or pretended
representation, of 35 million retired Americans. The conflicts would not exist if
AARP’s only source of revenue were its membership dues. Unfortunately, AARP
receives much more revenue from other sources than from membership dues. These
other revenues include royalties for insurance that is marketed under the AARP
name, payments from the sale of its membership lists to insurance companies, and
millions in advertising revenue from drug and insurance companies that advertise in
AARP’s magazine. AARP also stood to gain much from the Medicare legislation,
especially in the sale of so-called Medigap insurance, which pays costs not covered
by Medicare. Greed triumphed over the best interests of AARP members.
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 249

AARP later expressed regret for its actions. Nevertheless, AARP members
should consider leaving AARP and joining or creating a membership organization
that truly represents them, an organization without inherent conflicts of interest, an
organization with the backbone to stand up to GOP politicians.

Although consumers should continue fighting for the right to buy drugs outside
the United States, this should be viewed as a short-term fix. A better solution is to
make sure that drug prices in the United States are fair, and that pharmaceutical
companies cannot sell drugs in the United States at prices higher than what they
charge outside the United States.
In addition, drug costs are only a small portion of the total cost of health care.
More urgently needed is political action by millions of average consumers to help
reform the entire health care industry. This industry is dominated by huge corpora-
tions and other for-profit entities that use an army of lobbyists and lots of campaign
cash to kill unfriendly legislation and push their preferred legislation through a for-
sale Congress. Especially pliable is the Republican right that is heavily biased by its
“of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich” DNA. Most industry legislation slides
through without notice, but on rare occasions American voters learn about something
that is so outrageous that they decide to get involved. This happened with drug prices
and reimportation, but the wave of protest was still not strong enough to cause
change. Time will tell whether consumers have enough staying power to eventually
reform and fix the system.

Health Care and Health Insurance


The number of Americans with no health insurance has risen steadily and relent-
lessly during every year of Bush’s and the GOP’s war on middle- and lower-income
Americans. The number of uninsured Americans rose to 47.0 million in 2006, an
increase of 7.2 million over the 39.8 million uninsured in 2001. The percentage of
Americans uncovered also grew every year during Bush’s reign—from 14.1% in
2001 to 15.8% in 2006.
During the same five-year period—2001 to 2006—the percentage of Americans
covered by employer-based insurance plans dropped steadily every year, from 63.2%
in 2001 to 59.7% in 2006. Most of those still receiving benefits were forced to
shoulder an increasing portion of the load, thanks to benefit cuts and higher co-pays
and deductibles. Millions of Americans with employer plans now pay more money
for less coverage.
The United States is the only nation among the top 25 industrialized nations that
does not provide health coverage for all its citizens. At the same time, America
spends much more per capita on health care costs, almost 2.4 times the average of
other industrialized nations ($5,267 per capita annually, versus $2,193.) Although
paying much more, Americans get much less than their foreign counterparts and are
unhappier with their system. Compared to the Western average, Americans go to the
doctor and the hospital less frequently, and have a shorter life expectancy. The same
250 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

immoral story applies to America’s children, who have lower vaccination rates and
higher infant-mortality rates.
The privately run and milked U.S. health care system is incredibly inefficient,
heavily burdened with paperwork and confusing procedures, and structured to pro-
vide maximum returns for shareholders and wealthy industry executives who are not
caregivers (doctors, nurses and so forth.) America’s private system is far too decen-
tralized, has too many layers of administration and paperwork, and is operated in
large part so as to deny and delay coverage, thereby increasing profits, while passing
around like “hot potatoes” those individuals most needing medical care. As a result,
America spends more than $1,000 annually per capita—almost $400 billion annu-
ally—on administration and paperwork, while Canada, for example, spends less than
one-third this amount on a per capita basis.
Why is America’s health care system so wasteful? It is wasteful precisely be-
cause it is private. It is a private con game run by and for huge corporate interests,
which—in a surprising coincidence—lavishly donate principally to the GOP. For
these corporate con artists, “primary care” and “compassionate care” refer not to
human patients, but to the con artists themselves and to their incestuous crony rela-
tionship with America’s for-sale government.
The health insurance companies and other large corporate interests that are at the
heart of America’s health care system do not actually provide health care. In fact,
they make more profit when they deny health care to patients.
Rather than providing health care, America’s private health insurance companies
spend billions each year on advertising and gaming the system for their own advan-
tage. Their key “added value” is to create bureaucratic red tape and other obstacles
for patients and the actual caregivers—doctors, nurses and other staff—who are
forced to waste enormous time and money coping with the bureaucratic obstacles
and the paperwork of hundreds of different billing and reimbursement systems.
Along the way, health insurance companies have enjoyed record profits, and their
CEOs and other senior executives pocket exorbitant compensation. According to
Forbes magazine, William McGuire, the CEO of UnitedHealth Group, received
compensation totaling $124.8 million in 2005. UnitedHealth is the nation’s leading
insurer, and McGuire was number three on Forbes’ list of highest-paid CEOs. Critics
noted that his compensation of $124.8 million in 2005 could cover the average health
insurance premiums of more than 33,000 Americans.
Incidentally, McGuire retired under pressure in October 2006 due to a pay and
stock options scandal affecting UnitedHealth and dozens of other large U.S. compa-
nies. An investigation determined that McGuire’s options to purchase 1.5 million
shares had probably been “backdated” to increase their value. His stock option pack-
age has been reported to be worth $1.6 billion (imagine 1,600 piles of $1 million
each.) This is literally many thousands of times what is paid to the most highly com-
pensated executive in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which is run much
more efficiently and fairly than America’s private health care system.
The additional reported amount of $1.6 billion in stock options for McGuire
could have paid the health insurance premiums for an entire year for 422,400 Ameri-
cans, or it could have paid for health insurance for all uninsured Americans in sev-
eral of America’s least populous states.
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 251

The large majority (74%) of those without insurance coverage are in working
families. There are more than 8.5 million American children (more than 11% of
America’s children) without coverage, and 65% of those are in families where one
parent works full time.
Hispanics are least likely to have health insurance. During the three-year period
from 2002 to 2004, an average of more than 32% of Hispanics were not covered.
Young adults in America constitute the age group least likely to have health in-
surance. As of 2004, more than 31% of young adults (18-24 years old) were not cov-
ered.
The percentage of middle-class workers without insurance coverage has risen
enormously. Among American workers ages 25-34 who earn the median income or
more, the uninsured rate is 26%, double what it was in 1979. As for middle-income
workers ages 35-44 earning at least the median income, the rate almost doubled,
standing at 19%.
The number one cause of personal bankruptcy in America is unpaid health care
bills.
Health insurance premiums for businesses, especially small businesses, have
risen enormously, to the disadvantage of both small employers and their employees.
In the five-year period ending in 2004, annual inflation averaged 2.5% while health
insurance premiums for small businesses jumped about 15% annually.
American workers planning to retire in the next several years are likely to be se-
verely affected by a disturbing trend regarding health care benefits for retirees. A
study released in January 2004 showed that in 2003 alone 10% of larger U.S. com-
panies (those with 1,000 or more employees) eliminated health care benefits for fu-
ture retirees. An additional 20% of the large companies surveyed said they were
likely to eliminate such benefits within four years.
The health care delivery system in America has not been designed for the bottom
95% of America’s patients and is desperately in need of overhaul.
Although the purpose of this book is not to propose a solution to America’s
health care crisis, one fact is clear—the leadership of the Republican Party wants
tens of millions of Americans to be without health coverage, and it works relent-
lessly and successfully to increase that number every day. Although one reason for
the GOP’s opposition to universal coverage is legitimate ideology relating to goals
such as self reliance, the main reason for the opposition is that scores of huge corpo-
rations—which contribute to both major parties but predominantly to the GOP—
stand to lose hundreds of billions of dollars annually if the inefficiencies, political
influence peddling, and public trough opportunities—including “perfectly legal”
price fixing—are eliminated.
Even though America’s health care system needs major surgery, it is the kiss of
death for any political leader to push reform because the corporate and political
forces on the right have demonstrated their ability to kill the messenger and sidetrack
any serious policy debate on the merits.
A second central fact is that America can and must massively improve its health
care system. Studies indicate that more than $250 billion annually could be saved in
reduced paperwork alone under a system of national health care financed by the fed-
eral government, in place of the current one run by private insurance companies.
252 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Americans need health care—not health insurance companies.


One excellent solution is universal coverage with a single payer, based on indi-
vidual choice and modeled after America’s efficient public Medicare system—just
eliminate Medicare’s age requirement and give each American the right to choose
Medicare or not.
In any case, it is criminal for Congress and the American people not to have this
debate. One feature deserving more consideration is a value-added tax (VAT) to pro-
vide partial funding for universal health coverage. Although a VAT tends to be re-
gressive, it would significantly reduce the competitive disadvantage faced by U.S.
businesses that now pay employee health coverage costs when their foreign competi-
tors do not. Another advantage is that everyone would pay into the system as they
purchase American goods and services. This would include millions of illegal aliens,
as well as foreigners legally visiting the United States—just as Americans visiting
Europe help pay for European health care costs when they pay a VAT in Europe.

Slamming Education—Leave No Rich Child Behind

SIDEBAR: Bush Discusses Children and Learning

“Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”


—George W. Bush, Jan. 11, 2000.

In his proposed budget for 2005, which is typical of all his budgets, Bush wanted
to kill 65 federal programs, more than half of which relate to education. The total
projected savings from killing the 65 programs was under $5 billion, a significant
sum but only one percent of the projected budget deficit, and about equal to what the
United States spends in Iraq in only two weeks. The cuts, which would affect many
children, are microscopic when compared to the GOP’s tax cuts for the Super Rich.
Bush’s real education motto is “No Rich Child Left Behind.” Because this motto
has always worked well for Bush and other members of his family, he must think it
makes sense as an educational policy for all.

SIDEBAR: Bush Discusses Children and Illiteracy

“[T]he illiteracy level of our children are appalling.”


—George W. Bush, Jan. 23, 2004.

In February 2004 the Utah House of Representatives, which is dominated by Re-


publicans, defiantly expressed its frustration with the No Child Left Behind federal
education program by voting to prohibit Utah’s education authorities from using any
CHAPTER 11 — THE GOP’S WAR ON AMERICA 253

local money to comply with the federal law. The Utah lawmakers said the federal
legislation invades the state’s right to run its own education programs, and costs a lot
more money than the federal government provides. The Bush administration has
become increasingly more intrusive in dictating costly requirements to state and local
governments without adequately funding the associated costs.

SIDEBAR: Bush Discusses Childrens and Learning

“[C]hildrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured.”
—George W. Bush, Sept. 26, 2007.

Many other states have voiced similar objections. In January 2004 the GOP-
controlled Virginia House of Delegates adopted a resolution, 98 to 1, to ask Congress
to exempt Virginia from the federal law. The resolution said No Child Left Behind
presented the “most sweeping intrusions into state and local control of education in
the history of the United States.” The chairman of Virginia’s House Education
Committee said the law was “utopian nonsense.” The 700-page federal law has
strong bipartisan opposition and is unpopular among both local educators and voters.
During Bush’s tenure, the cost of attending college greatly outpaced the rate of
inflation. Nevertheless, Bush in his 2005 budget proposed cutting federal assistance
for needy college students by $550 million, and he also jacked up the interest rates
paid by college students on their loans. Our “education” president is certainly
“schooling” young Americans and their families in the realities of rightwing politics.

Bush League Unemployment—in Iraq and America


A major contributing factor to the failure in Iraq was the inability of the Bush ad-
ministration to create jobs in Iraq following the initial military successes. America’s
troops did their job superbly, but their civilian commander in chief was AWOL—
again. The most casual observer would have known that Iraqis, like Americans, need
and want jobs in order to support their families. America had a tremendous unprece-
dented opportunity to show Iraqis and the world that freedom and progressive capi-
talism could improve their lives.
Unfortunately, Bush and his neocons—without an ounce of working class DNA
among them—made the decisions. With neither a plan nor the desire to help the Iraqi
masses, they focused instead on making Iraq profitable for American contractors, a
dubious mission at best, which they botched with tragic consequences. Their mis-
guided malignant focus cost the support and goodwill of the Iraqi people, and, ironi-
cally, in the process Iraq became much more dangerous for American contractors.
The Bush regime has little empathy for people who must work to survive. Bush
personally has more in common with Saudi princes and the world’s Super Rich than
he does with America’s working class.
254 THE BUSH LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Consider Bush’s “plan” regarding the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi military and
police forces living and working in Iraq at the time of the invasion. Here, in effect,
are Bush’s communications to the Iraqi armed forces:
1) “Trust me and America. We are on your side against Saddam. Please do not
resist our invasion. We are going to build a new Iraq together.” (By and
large, Iraq’s armed forces happily did as requested. Their hopes wer