Below is an excerpt from the newly revised Empire Burlesque, the book-length collection of columns and new material that comprises an alternative history of history of Bush Regime. The e-book version is being updated right now (the current edition ends in June 2004), and should be available shortly.
The piece deals with a point that I think is very important to remember, although it doesn't seem to get much attention in the dissident media -- the fact that whatever happens in Iraq, Bush and his faction have already won. In a very real sense, it's been a win-win situation for them all along -- and that's probably one big reason why they've been so slapdash with the occupation: deep down, they don't give a damn how the country is sorted out -- because they've already accomplished their main objective. But more on this below.
From Chapter Seven: Serious Business (January-August 2005)
....By summer's end -- with grieving mother Cindy Sheehan standing vigil outside his ranch -- Bush seemed thrown back on the defensive, stumbling, trying to find a new line of patter, a new propaganda ploy to regain the initiative. But it was obvious that the war was lost. The only "successful" outcome possible was the installation of an unstable, violence-ridden Islamic state. There was no way that Bush and his supporters could pretend that this was their goal when they sent the troops in. Yet even this Pyhrric victory seemed increasingly unlikely as Iraq slid inexorably toward a multi-sided civil war.
In the midst of this great darkness, some dissidents spied a ray of hope. Surely, they thought, the magnitude of the American defeat in this pointless, illegal war -- a defeat compounded at every turn by the reckless incompetence of Bush and his colonial viceroys -- would at last rouse the American people to reject the Regime and restore some measure of sanity to the Republic.
But these good souls had made a fundamental mistake in their analysis -- as had most war critics throughout the ordeal. The United States may have lost the war -- but Bush had not. The invasion and occupation of Iraq was a resounding victory for the Bush Faction in the only area that really matters to them: enriching themselves and their cronies in the war-related industries. Even if the conquest were to blow up in the worst possible way, with full-scale civil war spilling over into neighboring countries, setting the whole region -- and perhaps the world -- in flames, the resulting chaos and global instability would mean even more money for the war profiteers. After all, the greater the insecurity, the bigger the budgets for "military servicing" and "security" firms.
Whatever the outcome, the war has already poured billions of public dollars into the coffers of Bush-connected corporations: a tsunami of graft that will alter the political landscape for years to come, ensuring unlimited funds for every radical rightwing candidate and program under the sun. The gigantic conservative infrastructure -- built so laboriously over the past 30 years, initiating generations of rabid cadres, many of them reared from birth to eschew reality for blind zeal -- will not simply wither away if Bush falters in the polls or Iraq goes down in flames. Glutted with the new infusion of blood money from the war -- and the domestic loot outlined earlier -- the mighty engines of militarism, repression, corruption and authoritarian rule will roll on, pressing toward the mark, the sacred goal that drives all of their endeavors:
The bottom line.