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They Don't Make War Criminals Like They Used To!
Reflections on the charm and charisma of George W. Bush after seeing him throw out the first pitch of the World Series, and some comparisons of War Pigs Past and Present . . .
We Celebrate War Criminals When They’re Charming!
I watched a little bit of the first game of the recent World Series between the Texas Rangers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. They had the Rangers’ former owner, George W. Bush, throw out the opening pitch. Watching Bush walk to the pitcher’s mound, I remarked, to no one in particular, “Oh look, there’s a war criminal!”
My eight-year-old daughter, who was also watching the game, asked me whether Bush was a “bad guy.” Even though Bush was every bit the “war criminal” the Brandon regime now accuses Putin of being, I suddenly felt a strange reluctance to condemn him. Why? What stopped me? As bad as it sounds, Bush had turned on his jovial charm for the cameras, and on a visceral level, the spell was working. I felt a twinge of cognitive dissonance — could someone who projects such a warmhearted, likeable image really be bad?
It took the G.O.P. many years, and the iconoclastic candidacy of Trump, before Republicans could bring themselves to criticize the Bush Administration over its handling of the Iraq War, even though it was pretty clear by the end of Bush’s Presidency that the war had been a ruinously expensive mistake.
With America’s crumbling infrastructure increasingly subject to cascading, catastrophic failures, I sometimes wonder what might have been if we had invested in Operation Rebuild America instead of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I remember looking across the motor pool of vehicles when I was in Iraq — I had been told the price tag for a fully outfitted Caiman (one of the replacements for the Humvee) was $2.5 million, and there were lots of Caimans. And I would wonder, how many man-hours at the median American wage would it take to pay for that? The average weekly wage in 2008 was $873, so at that rate, it would take the average worker 55 years earn what the government was spending on a single Caiman. Multiply that by all the thousands of such vehicles that got shipped over to Iraq, and you get the idea. (Of course, we didn’t pay for it — we printed the money and put it on the tab for future generations to worry about.)
9/11 and the Bush Administration’s response to us cost America dearly, and we’re still paying for it — and we probably will be for decades to come. Thousands of Americans were killed, and thousands more were grievously wounded, and for what? More than a trillion dollars got dumped down the drain, by the time it was all said and done. Think about how much could have been built in America with a trillion dollars, and the virtuous cycle of economic growth that investment would have spurred! Instead, we got years of deficit spending, with nothing good to show for it. Our domestic infrastructure was neglected. (Apparently, this neglect includes the land-based portion of our nuclear triad: the Minuteman III missiles, deployed in the early 1970s, are decades past their originally intended shelf-life and appear to be dangerously unreliable, as evidenced by the high failure rate of recent tests.) America is worse off in every way that matters because of Bush’s foreign policy blunders.
The Middle-East is much more dangerous and far less stable today, as a direct result of our “regime changes” in that region, including our invasion of Iraq. Not only were hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed directly, but our ill-advised regime change unleashed a vicious cycle of tribal violence that has continued to reverberate across the region to this day. Saddam Hussein was a secular leader who actually protected Aramaic Christians and who kept a lid on the incendiary sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shia. (When I was in Iraq, one of our interpreters told me that under Saddam’s rule, the Christian neighborhoods were where you would go to have a good time, since they were the ones with the alcohol; Iraq’s Christians were the biggest losers after Saddam was removed from power, because our occupation regime did absolutely nothing to protect them.) However bad Saddam might have been, the Iraqi people were incomparably better off before the American-led invasion and regime-change (and yes, I know Israel’s dirty hands were pulling strings behind the scene to make all of that happen — and now the chickens are coming home to roost in a big way for them and for us in America — which is one more reason why America should be loath to insert itself in the middle of another Middle-Eastern tribal conflict on either Israel’s or Palestine’s behalf — especially not when our Treasury is broke, our Southern border is wide open, and our own military readiness is dangerously low).
We all know there were no “weapons of mass destruction,” and Iraq had zero connection to 9/11. So the Bush Administration lied and psyopped us into a completely unnecessary and catastrophic war, merely to enrich its friends in the Military-Industrial Complex and to promote the geopolitical agenda of the neo-con-artist cabal. If the epithet “war criminal” means anything at all, George W. Bush was certainly a war criminal.
With all that in mind, why would I hesitate to call Bush a “bad man?” I hate to say, but that moment of doubt — that moment of wanting to hedge and say, “Well, I think Bush basically meant well, but he got bamboozled by some bad people like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowicz, etc.” — was because Bush, for all his faults, is charming. Extremely charming. And yes, I know how terrible that sounds, but it’s true. Bush knew how to turn on the charm. And watching Bush, the charming old man, walking out to the pitcher’s mound and projecting that happy-go-lucky aura for which he was famous, I found it difficult to square my opinion of what Bush actually did and the harms he actually caused with the visceral effect his avuncular image had on me — still has on me.
Note: I still wonder what Bush actually knew and when he actually knew it. The video of him being interrupted, while reading to Florida schoolkids, and being told of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and just freezing with this shell-shocked, deer-in-headlights look on his face, seems to suggest he really was caught unawares. Something tells me Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld were not nearly as surprised by 9/11 as Bush was. At best, Bush was only the useful idiot of psychopathic cabal members unleashing the mother of all Psyops on the American people. Either way, whether through stupidity or through malice, Bush caused incalculable harm to America and to the Middle East.
Anyway, back to Bush and his telegenic charm . . .
Before throwing out the first pitch, Bush was all big smiles and hearty handshakes and friendly pats on the back with everyone he encountered on his way to and from the mound. He jovially and self-deprecatingly joked around. Seeing this, I remembered hearing, back in the early 2000s, people explain Bush’s popularity by saying, “People vote for the guy they’d most like to have a beer with.” People will give you a lot of grace if they like you. And when you’re a public figure whose image is carefully crafted and controlled by cunning P.R. men and millions of dollars in advertising money, if you can come across as likeable on television, you can get away with anything — even taking advantage of your people’s fear and anger and patriotism in the wake of a national tragedy and bamboozling them into a costly and completely pointless war.
Here’s a video of George W Bush from Game One of the World Series:
And here’s Bush yucking it up with fellow war criminal and charming psychopathic bamboozler, Bill “Lolita Express” Clinton:
And speaking of ol’ Slick Willy, that man could really project the image of a man who genuinely and deeply cares about you and feels your pain, as he did in this town-hall style debate during the 1992 campaign:
That look on the elder George Bush’s face (in the video above) was the look of a man who knew he’d just lost the election. How do you compete with that level of snake-oil-salesman charm?
They Don’t Make War Criminals Like They Used to!
Now, that got me thinking about the political leaders we have today. People like the current Pedophile-in-Chief, Joe “10% for the Big Guy” Brandon. You’d think overseeing the disastrous and brutally embarrassing withdrawal from Afghanistan would be bad enough for this guy, but no, he had to go and get us involved in another costly, pointless proxy-war with Russia in Ukraine — Ukraine, the country that just happens to be the corrupt banana republic where his family has been running all kinds of criminal schemes, selling out America for pennies on the dollar while neglecting our domestic security issues (like the wide-open southern border).
In many ways, Joe Brandon is a redux of George W. Bush — except for one thing: Bush came across as folksy and likeable; Joe Brandon tries to affect that public image, but it falls flat. Joe Brandon is not charming. At all.
Here’s Joe Brandon trying to sell America on two unaffordable wars at the same time, with all the charm of a venomous reptile:
Here’s Joe Brandon’s deputy war-criminal, Kamala “Wicked Witch of the West” Harris, pretending to have human emotions, like the sympathy she believes she’s supposed to display to get people to support Ukraine:
I don’t know how to feel about the gracelessness of our current regime leaders. On the one hand, I am glad they are not as charming as the bullshitters of bygone eras, since this makes it more likely that people will see through their lies. Indeed, the Brandon Administration is having much less success selling Americans on Ukraine than the Bush Administration did selling us on Iraq. On the other hand, I feel like the brazen buffoonery of the Brandon Administration is insulting. It’s like they hold us in such contempt, they cannot even be bothered to keep up appearances anymore — it’s like a husband who is so apathetic about his marriage that he cannot even pretend to like his wife when they’re at big family events — it’s the kind of open contempt and callous neglect that can only lead to a national divorce, with all that that will entail.
Regular Americans complain about a bad economy. Bill Clinton would have cried fake tears for them and told them how much he felt their pain. Joe Brandon essentially tells them, “Fuck you, chump! This is the best economy in 70 years! Matter of fact, you — and the people like you — are the biggest domestic threat right now!”
At least we know where we stand . . .
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