elections historically are predicated on the answers to questions
that can't be asked in public. Would Reagan have won in 1980 if
the Republicans hadn't cut a deal
with Iran to release US hostages only upon his assumption of the
Presidency? Why didn't Clinton, in 2001, simply refuse to abdicate
the Presidency rather than transfer office to George W. Bush?
There are questions polite people don't ask, yet they deserve
scrutiny, especially as the 2004 Election draws nearer. Here's
one, just for kicks: what did Karl Rove mean
when he referred to Florida as "Ground Zero" for the
President's re-election bid? Was he saying that the shenanigans
of 2000 would pale in comparison to what's to come next year?
one who can answer those questions with certainty can speak on
the record, of course. All that appears certain about the current
Road to the White House is that Bush's eventual Democratic opponent
probably hasn't even declared her intentions yet.
enough about what might happen in 2004, especially when what's
happening now is so poorly understood. Consider Bush's recent
for $87 billion from the US Congress for the Reconstruction of
Iraq. Many stateside have been sharply critical of this initiative,
asking this question: when we have so many needy in America who
could use the money, why are we sending it overseas?
would be a great question, if we weren't dealing with fiat currency,
manufactured by the Washington government, unreflective of the
Treasury's holdings or of anything deeper than the need to infuse
the economy with liquidity. Still, even our staunchest allies
in the War on Terror question this latest bold stroke from our
Engelhardt of Israel's Arutz Sheva criticizes the $87 billion
in a recent column. Englehardt claims that sum is intended to
Thomas Jefferson in that seventh century feud-crazed swamp that
is Iraq", a gambit he dismisses as ludicrous on its face.
Englehardt's position, even by the pro-Israel light of the American
press, is extreme. The columnist takes the ever-controversial
Pipes to task for differentiating between Fanatical Islam
and Moderate Islam, and for maintaining that Islam is anything
but a vehicle to undermine Western Values. Likewise, Englehardt
lays into Rush Limbaugh's advocacy of $87 billion for Iraq: Rush
is "wrong when he defends Bush's 87 billion for Iraq. He
says it's for democracy. You cannot buy democracy, Rush, and you
cannot sell democracy. You can impose tyranny. You cannot impose
from Englehardt: "That is not the Bill of Rights they pray
to five times a day in their mosques. Bush is pleased that the
schools are running again over there, but does he have a clue
as to what (besides hatred for the West) the imams are teaching
those kids? By the way, that 87 billion dollar figure is nearly
triple the amount the federal government spends on America's schools."
course, there is a certain amount of reductionism in Englehardt's
claims. $87 billion is not going to Iraqi schools, of course,
but to facilitate projects for Halliburton and similarly connected
concerns. Such disbursements pique many who see the Iraqi war
as a cynical power-grab masquerading as a war of liberation, but
they should hold on to their hats. More is to come that will anger
them, on the Iraqi front and others besides.
not accidental that well-placed Administration figures like Condi
Rice refer to the US "generational commitment" to remake
Iraq. Washington did not commit to this action capriciously; just
as in Afghanistan, business opportunities were discussed as part
of the lead-in to military action. Those opportunities must come
to fruition, or the American economy will be exposed as the catastrophe
probably isn't a coincidence that one of the hottest songs of
the summer was "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes.
The lyrics read as a vision of the End Times: "I'm bleeding,
and I'm bleeding, and I'm bleeding /Right before the lord/ All
the words are gonna bleed from me /And I will think no more/And
the stains comin' from my blood tell me "Go back home"."
stains may tell the singer to go home, but the harsh reality of
the global situation is that the US will not retreat from Iraq,
Afghanistan, or anywhere else failure is unthinkable. Why that
is exactly is the unspoken question of the 2004 Election, but
don't expect anyone to ask it near a live microphone.