Lost in the chaos of the recent anniversary of our misadventure in Iraq is the one man that George W. Bush can't seem to get a handle on, even to this day -- and that would be Osama bin Laden. Remember him? The administration surely doesn't, even though they can't seem to stop citing the 9/11 attacks as an ideological, uh, political pretext for their overmilitarized stance on just about everything, from NSA wiretaps to the newly renewed Patriot Act to Bill Frist's impending GOP run for the White House. God help us. Wait, forget it. Let's leave God out of this. This is still America, not some fundamentalist paradise on Earth.
Rather, let's talk about earthly things, like megalomaniacs and money. Lots of it. After all, this war is costing a battered American populace, as of last week, a staggering total of $400 billion dollars, money that could be well spent right here at home. Meanwhile, no less an economic theorist than Warren Buffett connected the dots and predicted that, due to the United States' disastrous trade deficit, the dollar would eventually weaken. (Ya think?) Buffett explained it this way: "We have no governmental policies to counteract that we are sending a couple billion dollars a day abroad. We are buying goods and selling capital.'' His answer to the dilemma? Buy "foreign currency-forward contracts" and buy them now. That leaves Average Joe and Jane holding the bag, and hoping that they're offspring won't end up as indentured servants to the countries (China, Japan, Canada, Mexico and Venezuela) who are shouldering our debt, which should hit $1 trillion sometime, oh, right about now.
So how does that tie into Osama? Good question. As much as the Bush administration has seized upon al Qaeda's desire to destroy us because they hate our freedom, bin Laden more or less argued that a continuing objective in his jihad against the U.S. was not a military but an economic one: "...bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy." And even he isn't enough of a megalomaniac to let al Qaeda take all the credit for that strategy's success: "The policy of the White House that demands the opening of war fronts to keep busy their various corporations - whether they be working in the field of arms or oil or reconstruction - has helped al-Qaida to achieve these enormous results."
So for all the laughs elicited by Bush administration missteps, from that Fox News-built "Mission Accomplished" banner to the president's blinkered protestation that Iraq is not locked in a civil war,
everything about the war in Iraq is indeed going just as planned. Plus, as investigative journo and all-around muckraker Greg Palast recently argued, according to his procurement of a 323-page pre-war plan for Iraq's oil industry during reconstruction "Bush went in for the oil -- not to get more of Iraq's oil, but to prevent Iraq producing too much of it." This effectively put a stranglehold on the Gulf's output, escalating prices into the stratosphere and giving Big Oil the type of stockholder payday they could only have wet dreams about. That's the kind of job performance that'll get you elected again and again, even when the popular vote is against you. After all, Big Oil is pretty much the only industry player in American economics that ended their fiscal years in so much red it could've been blood. Wait, maybe it was.
Here's the point: America is almost on its knees economically. The trade deficit could ruin us and our currency. Oil companies are making billions off of dumbfuck Hummer drivers and the people they cut off on freeways with a quickness. And the Bush administration's distracting war in Iraq is not only nailing the coffin shut on our economy, it's nailing the coffin shut on the country's military, who are coming apart at the seams. To stay the course in Iraq would be an utter disaster, but the moneychangers in the administration could care less as they sell off our ports and infrastructure to the rest of the world. It's an everything-must-go global village now, and all the talk about WMDs, exporting democracy, permanent bases and onward is just rhetoric designed to keep Americans from asking the real question: "Can we afford any of this?"
Not really. And we never could from jump street. But it's too late now. As Russ Feingold found out when he tried to do the American people a solid by holding the president accountable for his so-called
"incompetence," there's no business like war business. No wonder Hillary put the clamps on Bill: You've got to cover your assets. Before China owns them all.