Commentary: Mr. Magoo Flying America into Disaster
As the Iraq War drags on and the economy languishes, Bush attempts to fix what is not broken and ignores what needs to be fixed.
By Regis T. Sabol
How many Americans, I wonder, have been paying any attention to what's going on in Iraq?
While George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld & Co. continue to assure us that democracy is on the march in the Middle East because we invaded Iraq based on a confederacy of lies, the truth is that things are not going well over there and they are most likely going to get worse. They most certainly are not going to get any better.
Even as the news media spoon feeds us the latest tabloid installments of Scott Peterson, Robert Blake, Michael Jackson, and the pathetic circus surrounding Terri Shiavo, here's what's happening in the real world: Iraqi collaborators and innocent civilians are being blown up or gunned down willy-nilly in unconscionable numbers; American soldiers continue to die in a bloody trickle that is now approaching 1,600 body bags; more than 11,300 American troops have been wounded, many of them maimed for life. The wounded return home to find that funds for VA care they desperately need have been cut.
There's more: The Shiites, Kurds, and Sunnis are bickering over who gets to run Iraq in a struggle that, despite what Rumsfeld says, could very well lead to a civil war in which our military would be caught in the middle; polls show that the vast majority of Iraqis want us out of their country (Similar polls show that most Americans want us out of Iraq); and Army recruiters cannot meet their recruiting goals for the regular army, the army reserve or the National Guard. It seems that most young Americans have no desire to experience the thrill of combat or the distinct chance of being gunned down or blown up.
And while Bush continues to trumpet Afghanistan as a success story for American-exported democracy, U.S. troops are still dying there and the country's president is little more than the mayor of Kabul, the nation's capital, since the warlords, Al Qaeda and the Taliban control the rest of the country and have turned Afghanistan into the largest opium exporter in the world. (You'll note that Laura Bush's visit to Afghanistan matched her husband's Thanksgiving visit to the troops in Iraq for its photo-op brevity.) And we still can't find that pesky Osama bin Laden. Remember him? So much for success.
Meanwhile at home, while Bush continues his monomaniacal obsession with dismantling Social Security and his myopic refusal to accept that global warning is real, our gluttonous oil consumption is destroying our economy, and the carbon dioxide and other pollutants, such as mercury, that we continue to spew into the air, earth, and water are literally killing us.
At the same time, the budget deficit has soared into the trillions and the latest Bush budget has slashed vital funds for basic services most Americans expect from their government. Still, Bush wants more tax cuts for the rich. Only a blind man can't see the red ink hemorrhaging from that fiscal policy.
That's right, folks. Mr. Magoo sits in the White House and a bunch of little Mr. Magoos control Congress. At the helm on Capitol Hill are the likes of Dr. Bill Frist, Republican Majority Leader in the Senate and Tom DeLay, the House Republican Majority Leader who took time out from his busy schedule dodging ethics investigations to ram through the pandering ?Save Terri? law that Bush hotfooted it from his Texas ranch to sign.
And America is flying blind into mountains of disaster. As Bette Davis once said, "Hold onto your hats. It's going to be a bumpy ride."
Regis T. Sabol is editor of A New Deal: an online magazine of political, social, and cultural thought. He is also a contributing writer to Intervention Magazine. You can send your comments to [email protected].