Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Brothers in Arms: The Osamic Vision of George W. Bush

The original version of this was published September 27, 2002, in the Moscow Times.

Last week, we explored the extremist texts underlying the Bush Regime's maniacal foreign policy: the PNAC plans for global dominance. On the very day that column was published, George W. Bush made these dreams the official "National Security Strategy" of the United States.

In many ways, this bellicose document represents the final twinning of Bush and his shadow, Osama bin Laden. There has always been a remarkable symmetry between these two sons of privilege: pampered, high-living wastrels in their youths, each coasting on his father's name and money, then turning to a grim fundamentalism with simplistic creeds that overpowered their humanity.

Both believe you must strike your perceived enemies, without provocation, before they strike you. Both accept that innocent people will die in these "pre-emptive attacks," but consider it an acceptable price to pay for combating "evil." Both utterly reject the way of peace – unless it's the peace of the conqueror, the bold warrior who serves God with the sword: "The only path to safety is the path of action." (Which man said that? Hint: he doesn't live in a cave.) Finally, both believe there is only one acceptable vision of reality, and both are willing – no, eager – to impose that vision by force.

Now, this dark fraternity finds "legitimate" expression in the new security strategy. Bush begins with a grandiose flourish, proclaiming that, in all of Creation, there is but "a single sustainable model for national success." That model, needless to say, turns out to be the rarefied world of the American elite at the turn of the 21st century, where the wealthy must never be encumbered in any way by restrictions of law, regulation, popular will, morality or common sense. Air, earth, water and sky must be laid bare to exploitation by the powerful, whose investments are guaranteed by the military might of the state.

Bush not only recommends this model to others, he insists they follow it, or else they'll be ranged with those who "reject basic human values and hate the United States" – an act of apostasy that makes them targets for "the path of action." In any case, no country, friend or foe, will be allowed to pursue even the "hope of surpassing or equaling the power of the United States," says Bush. How will they be dissuaded from such a foolish course? Simple – by "the unparalleled strength of the United States armed forces and their forward presence" throughout the globe.

Naturally, this bristling military occupation of the earth will not be carried out for "unilateral advantage," but only to advance "human freedom." What is freedom? Here is Bush's definition, with some slight exegesis.

Freedom, Bush says, means people can "say what they think" – unless of course they criticize the Regime and its allies too harshly or demonstrate against the president or speak with a strange accent in a Georgia restaurant, in which case they will be denounced as terrorists, fired from their jobs, arrested for stepping out of officially circumscribed "free speech zones," or chased down the Florida highways by Jeb Bush's stormtroopers, all of which happened recently in the heartland of the "single sustainable model."

Freedom, Bush says, means people can "choose who will govern them" – unless of course they choose the wrong person, as the American people did in 2000, in which case a better leader will be appointed for them.

Freedom, Bush says, means people can "worship as they please" – unless of course, they worship a god who calls for the wrong kind of holy war, or a god who enjoys the sacrament of ganja, or a god who denounces the rich, demanding that we give everything to the poor and live in common, or a god who promotes polygamy or blesses homosexual marriage or does anything that offends the sensibilities or threatens the privileges of the Single Sustainables.

Freedom, Bush says, means people can "educate their children, male and female" – unless, of course, you want to educate them about sex or evolution or the history of all the crimes that governments have committed in their name.

Freedom, Bush says, means people can "own property" – if they can afford it, that is, or unless some rich wastrel wants to, say, build a baseball stadium on it, or drill for oil under it, or put a military base on it, in which case it will be taken away.

Freedom, Bush says, means people can "enjoy the benefits of their labor" – unless, of course, they have unionized in order to procure these benefits, in which case they can be fired or beaten or killed, as happens every day in countries employing the "single sustainable model."

"These values of freedom," Bush says, "are right and true for every person, in every society" – except, of course, when they are not, and always exempting those countries (such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, China, Colombia, etc. etc.) that repress and/or murder their own people but don't interfere unduly with the profits of the Bush family and the other Sustainables.

Tellingly, Bush's list of basic freedoms contains no right of privacy, no inviolability of person, no right to information about government actions, no right of redress for wrongs inflicted by the powerful, nor a host of other freedoms once considered essential to the liberty of an independent citizen.

No, what we have here is simply a candy-coated model for a militarized world, a fanatical ideology enforced by the ever-looming threat of punishment and death.

What we have here is bin Laden writ large.

Chris Floyd