For forty years Charlie Haughey was one of the most controversial politicians in Ireland, a 'cute hoor' as we say, which has nothing to do with being pretty but a lot to do with being cunning and sly. In 1982 when Charlie was prime minister (he was in and out of office like a jack-in-the-box during the 1980s), a murder suspect was tracked down to the home of the Attorney General where he had been hiding out as a house guest. Only in Ireland, I can hear you thinking, but it was unusual even for us. Charlie's comment to the press was that the affair was "Grotesque, Unbelievable, Bizarre and Unprecedented." From that moment the term GUBU passed into the language.
Today I would like to make a present of this term to the American people. I think it will come in useful while attempting to explain the current presidential campaign to foreigners - not to mention each other.
Here we have two rich guys who went to Yale, both members of the secretive Skull&Bones society. One is a Democrat and the other is a Republican. One went to Vietnam and the other didn't. One was a state governor and the other was a senator. One looks like a chimp and the other looks like a refugee from the Addams Family. This is America's choice. One of these guys will end up as the most powerful man on the planet and both America and the rest of the world will have to live with him, and very likely subject to his decisions, for the next four years. GUBU, indeed.
The incumbent started a war in Iraq which is rapidly spinning out of control. US military casualties have taken a sharp upward swing and the number of Iraqi victims of the ongoing violence is somewhere around the 30,000 mark - about ten times the number of victims of the 9/11 attacks. This is just a guesstimate, based on various web sources, because the US military is no longer in the business of body counts - unless it comes to their own people, and there is no way of getting around that. Every day certain families are receiving that dreaded knock on the door. Within the military itself, there are the beginning rumbles of dissent and alienation from the political direction and the military tactics and strategy employed in this war.
Since it is an election year, one would naturally expect that the progress of the war would be front and center in the domestic political debate. It isn't. Both political camps are arguing about a war that took place thirty years ago in Southeast Asia and about what the rival candidates did or didn't do when they were young men in their twenties: GUBU.
Young soldiers are dying on a daily basis in Iraq and these deaths are being pushed into the back pages of national newspapers, and tacked on as an afterthought to the main TV News. What do we read about in these newspapers and what do we see on TV?
- Swiftvets arguing about Kerry's Purple heart medals.
- Bloggers attacking Dan Rather and CBS News about fonts and spacing in documents purporting to show Bush wasn't a serious member of the Texas Air National Guard.
Hello? Is anybody awake over there?
Here we have a President and an administration that have gulled the American people into a war on a false claim of WMDs, hiding the real reasons for the war which have absolutely nothing to do with bringing democracy to Iraq. There will be no freedom or real democracy in Iraq for decades to come, if ever. This is a geopolitical war based on the need to exert control over dwindling energy resources which happen to exist in the Middle East and Central Asia. America plans to establish permanent bases in Iraq, similar to the bases it has already established in Afghanistan which (strangely enough) lie exactly on the path of a proposed natural gas pipeline from Central Asia to Pakistan. This is the real purpose of the war. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors.
Bases in Iraq were intended to intimidate Syria and Iran (the Iraqi situation wasn't supposed to spin out of control like it has) and provide a backup to Israel in the region. This is all part of a radical plan put forward by the so-called Neocons to project American power into an unstable area. The bottom line is to ensure access to energy resources.
President Putin of Russia is having a very hard time with the revolt in Chechenya. One would presume that America would immediately rally to his support against another Islamist terror campaign with Al Quaida undertones. But that's not what's happening. Instead America is treating the Chechen war as a separate issue (in spite of the horrific school hostage tragedy for which the Chechen leadership has now admitted responsibility) because they want to get the Russians out of the Caucasus. This will give America a free hand with a collection of weak but quasi-independent regimes who will allow them military bases and energy exploitation privileges in return for financial support.
Total fantasy? Have a look. It's happening already. GUBU.
Is there a connection between the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq? Of course there is. Without 9/11 the administration would not have been able to embark so quickly (and without a lot of tedious congressional debate) on its grand plan for controlling energy resources in the Middle East and Central Asia. They don't explain what they are doing because they don't believe the American public needs to know. This is grand global strategy - one of the hallmarks of an empire - which simply doesn't play with the voters at home. So for that reason the administration uses the War on Terror as an excuse to keep the public confused and worried and simply goes ahead and carries out its secret policies.
Holding an election in the middle is a bit of a nuisance, but there is no question of losing it. Just hammer away at the Fear button with the public, and involve your incompetent adversary in a series of trivial press (and blogger) controversies that have nothing to do with the real issues. Stonewall the worsening situation in Iraq, and, if you have to, just tell lies. Some of the people will believe you all of the time, and all of the people - we ARE the government - will believe you some of the time. It should be enough to get 51%.
Grotesque. Unbelievable. Bizarre. Unprecedented.
I am removing Bill Moyer's speech from this site, previously Posts 81 & 82, because it confuses people when they hit a solid wall of text. You can still access this reflective and very angry and hard-hitting speech -- and I urge you to do so! -- at TomPaine.com or by clicking on the link.
Also, be sure to check out Murasaki Angels, my beloved Reeding & Riting class of high school seniors. Go to the start of the September archives for the photos!!