| He Hugged Moms and
At McDill Air
Force Base in Florida, Bush met privately with the families
of 10 servicemen killed in the war. According to White
House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, quoted in the Los
Angeles Times of June 17, 2004: "He shared in their
grief. He hugged moms and dads."
Arendt's phrase--"the banality of evil"--had
again become monstrously relevant.
at McDill, the ex-governor of Texas had addressed thousands
of troops and their families gathered in a humid hangar.
As he faced men and women who might soon die in his disastrous
war, he upheld his disproved rationale for the invasion
of Iraq; and he lied effectively, having practiced rallying
calls during his stint as a college cheerleader.
the commander--see, I don't need to explain--I do not
need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting
thing about being president."--George W. Bush, as
quoted in Bob Woodward's "Bush at War."
Iraq, bombs erupted into torches, buildings exploded,
heated winds caked spilled blood on the streets, shots
rang out without pause; and sacrificial expendable American
servicemen, mostly from the ranks of the poor and the
ethnic, died. Uncounted, the numbers of Iraqis killed
and maimed could only be conjectured.
I am an optimistic person. I guess if you want to try
to find something to be pessimistic about, you can find
it, no matter how hard you look, you know?"-—George
W. Bush, Washington, D.C., June 15, 2004.
stood like Napoleon on an aircraft carrier before a banner
that proclaimed MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. This man who had
dodged the draft was dressed in a flight suit befitting
the proud "war president" he had several times
referred to himself as. Although the conflagration in
Iraq was then only a bloody prologue, he announced victory.
think the American people---I hope the American--I don't
think, let me-- I hope the American people trust me."--George
W. Bush, Washington, DC, December 18, 2002.
was the "war president" who had gone blank for
seven minutes of bewildered inaction in a Florida classroom
after being told the Twin Towers in New York had been
attacked by terrorists. No one had been with him to tell
him what to do, what to say. So he held on to the primer
he had been reading from to school children, and he waited
and waited and waited.
seen me make decisions, they've seen me under trying times,
they've seen me weep, they've seen me laugh, they've seen
me hug."- —George W. Bush, USA Today, August
lies should have prompted calls for impeachment. Bill
Clinton had been impeached for a sexual interlude that
harmed no one. Just as they had then, the cowed Democrats,
now watching Bush run rampant over civil liberties with
a contrived "Patriot Act," stood quietly by
like good Germans.
loves you, and I love you. And you can count on both of
us as a powerful message that people who wonder about
their future can hear." —George W. Bush, Los
Angeles, California, March 3, 2004.
a reckless, petulant rich child playing war with toy soldiers
given to him by his daddy," he furiously waged his
personal war against "Sa-dahm Hoo-sayan," a
brutal tyrant, yes, but, more important to Bush, the man
who had once threatened his daddy in an attempted assassination,
and who, incidentally, controlled abundant oil. Never
mind that the Iraqi dictator had once been an ally of
the Bush family, and had during a time not too distant
been given American weapons to wage his own terrible wars.
CIA laid out several scenarios and said life could be
lousy, life could be OK, life could be better, and they
were just guessing as to what the conditions might be
like."-—George W. Bush, New York City, September
the initial violence, Iraq's abundant oil wells had been
guarded sternly (while museums and libraries were surrendered
to looters). Billions of dollars would be made by American
companies restoring what America had destroyed. Vice-
president Cheney manipulated to grant war contracts, no
bidding allowed, to Halliburton Corporation, which he
had once headed; and on the front, badly trained, hurriedly
trained, untrained, inadequately equipped soldiers continued
to fall--soon, over 1000 dead and counting.
has been tough weeks in that country." --George W.
Bush, Washington, D.C., April 13, 2004.
spawned its repulsive cruelties--the beheading of kidnapped
men by Iraqis, the exhibition of headless corpses hanging
from poles, the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Americans,
gaunt Iraqis laughingly photographed, hooded, leashed,
Muslims have died at the hands of killers than-—
I say more Muslims--a lot of Muslims have died--I don't
know the exact count--at Istanbul. Look at these different
places around the world where there's been tremendous
death and destruction because killers kill." —George
W. Bush, Washington, D.C., January 29, 2004. ("I
hope you leave here and walk out and say, `What did he
say?'" —George W. Bush, Beaverton, Oregon,
August 13, 2004.)
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Original material by John Rechy appears
frequently on these pages.