He Made a Desert, and Called It Peace: The Bush Success Story

So Bush went to the Middle East, where I presume they hid the breakables before showing him the sights. The world clenched its cheeks-- if you thought things couldn't get worse, imagine 300 more days of this president with a bad case of Jerusalem Syndrome .

Never got closer to what's left of Iraq than Arifjan Base in Kuwait, to meet with General Petraeus and the US ambassador in Iraq. Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium;. atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant... But James Wolcott's column in the February Vanity Fair (overlook the ads, celebrities and royals that pay the bills, the rest of the magazine is terrific) ponders a terrible premise:

What if things really are exactly as Bush could wish? We judge him a failure only on the basis of common humanity and decency, from a limited point of view that says torture is a bad thing, war profiteering a sin, deception in democracy is a crime, and his callow waste of soldiers and civilians is a curse. It's somebody else's kid that got killed, not his, nor any of his inner circle-- and in his selective Christianity, that's pure profit, gain without pain.

For all the troubles stirred up by global warming, the Arctic land rush it's inspiring will mean untold profits for Bush's cronies. Was Hurricane Katrina an unmitigated disaster, or a masterful lesson in laissez faire urban renewal? The ruination of the American economy means a desperate work force scrabbling for Third World wages, and the end of the labor movement: increased profits for Bush's friends, and perdition to his enemies. The regulatory bureaucracy in Washington, a Progressive-era attempt to to ameliorate the excesses of capitalism, is now packed with Bush appointees. If you are Grover Nyquist, who wants to drown governmnent in a bathtub, or a Reagan-era Randite who views regulation as the invention of mental midgets trying to chain the entrepreneurial ubermensch, then the Bush era has been a success.

It was a mistake to invade Iraq...? But from Bush's point of view, he now has boots on the ground in the third largest oil reserve in the world, and they ain't leaving any time soon. This week he made explicit his intention to build permanent American military bases in Iraq. This makes him a success in certain quarters, and within that circle of friends, he need never feel the sting of the pain he's caused to millions. It's barbecues and backslapping for George, maybe a stint as baseball commissioner.

George Bush was, is, and always will be a selfish creature who takes what he wants without counting the cost, then employs a legion of courtiers to make sure that someone else pays for the party. No wonder he still swaggers.

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