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Bear Left!

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Volume III, Number 724 February 2003

The New Despot

Paul Corrigan

The radical conservatism that runs through much of George W. Bush's policy is not what the Bush campaign promised. The American voter was promised a compassionate conservative and a competent executive. Absent the compassion and competency, the administration and the media continuously tell the American public that we should trust the president based on his character and his faith in God. What have we received in return for our trust? The expansion of government intervention into the lives of ordinary people, justified in the name of "Homeland Security." The Reagan mantra adopted by Bush to "get the government off our backs," marketed as universal to all Americans but applied only to a privileged class. Greed, speculation, and enormous inequality, all praised as the outcome of a "free market." The widespread implementation of racist policies, dressed up in promises to "end quotas" and "reverse discrimination." A preemptive war fought halfway around the globe, initiated by a president who claims "war is my last choice." Bush has brought to America an ugly combination of domestic repression, militarism, racism, and imperial expansion.

History teaches us that imperial expansion has nothing to do with a burden to promote democracy and everything to do with access to raw materials and markets. Does any thinking human being really believe that our intervention in Iraq is motivated by concern for Iraqi civilians or the need to ratchet down the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction? Has the government-business link in an imperialist intervention ever been clearer than the Bush administration's link to the oil industry, an industry that stands to reap huge profit from our military intervention?

Self-censorship, imposed by Democrats in Congress and the American media, has given Bush the courage to wage a preemptive war. Despite the attempt to eliminate any serious opposition to war, the voice of opposition is being heard. Derided as the voice of "old Europe," the people of Europe have challenged Bush. Bush's critique and abrogation of treaties that his predecessors signed have exhibited his disdain for international cooperation and international law. The world should not be surprised that Bush announces that he will use the United Nations as a means to an end only if it is the end that his administration has preordained. A man that dictates to the world will dictate to his own countrymen. It is only a matter of time.

Never in my lifetime has an American president stolen more from so many to give to so few. To enlarge the power and privilege of the few, Bush is willing to have others suffer the consequences. For the United States, the consequences include inequality, recession, unemployment, environmental decay, inadequate healthcare, and subversion of the Constitution. For other nations, the consequences include military intervention, manipulation of their internal politics, and subversion of their cultures.

American foreign policy under Bush mirrors the Defense Planning Guidance draft leaked ten years ago. Marketing the policy as a response to September 11 and the "War on Terror" is a baldfaced lie. A president who told voters that he does not believe government can do much right has convinced himself that his administration can remake the world. The arrogance is astonishing. Like Osama bin Laden, Bush is on a mission from God. There is no reason for him to question the righteousness of his actions.