Monday, April 23, 2007

The Bush Legacy of Death

Written for the Iconoclast

Thanks to George W. Bush children and young people in Iraq never have a 'normal' day, a day when they can feel safe and go about their lives. Every day in Iraq children, young people, women and the elderly along with good, decent, men simply trying to survive are snuffed out horribly. Their homes are invaded, going to the grocery store is fraught with fear; they live with one hour of electricity a day. That is how it is. When their loved ones are shot there are no counselors and George Bush, the man who did this to them and to us, leads no memorial service.

Now, more than ever, we need to remember what is happening to a country Bush decided to invade to alleviate his feelings about his father and help out his friends who wanted to ensure that the flow of profits from the lives and blood of Americans would continue. Bush and his friends have made violence an ordinary part of our lives. Children are dying of Bush Greed in Iraq every day.

BAGHDAD, 29 Jan 2007 (IRIN) - The Iraqi government, the United Nations and NGOs have condemned an attack against a girls’ school in Baghdad that left five students dead and more than 20 injured on Sunday. Parents, students and teachers were left horror-struck after the incident.

“BAGHDAD, 29 Jan 2007 (IRIN) - "I’m 11 years old and an only son. I’m a pupil at Mansour Primary School in Baghdad. Lately, I have been feeling very lonely in my class. This week, I was the only student in class because all my classmates didn’t come to school for various reasons.

Since last September, three of my classmates have been kidnapped and two have been killed. One was murdered with his family at home and the other was a victim of a bomb explosion a month ago.”

Those are children younger that those who died at Virginia Tech. Bush's war killed them. They bleed red and Iraqis love their children, too. Before we invaded Iraqis viewed America as a place of hope. That was true of us, too. Many things have changed and many truths are now obvious there and in America if you open your eyes.

The housing bubble has popped. Foreclosures of homes are rising every single day. Last summer 130 old people died in Central Valley of heat, not because there was a loss of electricity but because they could not afford to run their air conditioners. Veterans are living on the street, denied medical care we owe them. America is bankrupt in all directions, drained by the Bush Administration. The oppressive presence of government, the rules followed by the police, the installations of Blackwater paramilitary being build near San Diego, supposedly for service in Iraq. Many fear their mission will be within the US.

The logic of Bush, his core constituency, and the National Church he has raised up against all the principles on which America was founded has created this world.

In America today we are inundated with hate talk from Bush and his NeoCon placements as they carry out a campaign that demonizes Muslims. The TV series, “24” injects ideas about Muslims that are absurd. Manipulating public opinion has become accepted in an American media that is entirely owned by corporations. 401Ks trump truth for most commentators and reporters. Americans watch Fox while in Europe such insightful films as, “The Power of Nightmares,” pose the questions and provide answers that make sense. The film is available at YouTube. All Americans should view it; few probably will. As our economy dissolved, drained by Bush and his friends, from the PR arm of the corporations, the mainstream media, we hear only hype and hate larded with the photo ops intended to still protest and divide us.

In the midst of this Bush appears looking 'presidential' to lead prayers at the memorial service for the 32 slain at Virginia Tech. The man who cannot remember the names of dead soldiers when he meets their grieving families gets dressed up and goes out for a photo op. You can almost imagine the discussion of timing in which Karl Rove doubtless weighed how this was to be played. “It will be a sympathetic audience; no one will make cat calls there – the President will love it.”

Of course, this still leaves 32 people dead and the media chasing their tails endlessly quoting each other and looking for causes that do not implicate those in power. They always manage, mostly by ignoring the logic of the policies that are steeped in violence and used to profit the Bush Core Constituency; a job is a job, after all.

Violence is evidently acceptable when carried out by those in power. Policy is assessed on the basis of how much money it generates for those in power, not on whether or not it provides the services Americans have a right to expect from the taxes they pay.

Do you remember the week after September 11, 2001? There was an outpouring of sympathy from people around the world. Offers of money, food, blood, woven with compassion came to us from people of all faiths and places. We came together. All across the country people dropped what they were doing and took action. There was a true power in the people then. It was a moment of time when nearly all of the world came together because we all understand the depths of loss when we lose people we love in ways we cannot explain.

In the White House there was jubilation because there was an excuse to invade Iraq. At a moment when a tragedy could have been converted into the peace we all yearn for those around Bush were busy planning out the Patriot Act and looking over invasion plans and doing the positioning for the hate campaign against Muslims that continues to this day.

Policies to lower the costs of providing promised benefits to the veterans who would be returning, injured and in need, were being formalized. “Wait them to death,” the policy now being followed, still present from Vietnam and the Gulf War was in place before a single soldier was deployed. The “No Child Left Behind,” program that converted schools into places where children are forced to regurgitate factoids instead of learning to think carried out yet another policy. Thinking Americans are a threat to Bush and his Theocratic National Church.

And in Blacksberg, Virginia families grieve for those they love, trying to make sense from horror. The coming days and months will be brutal as they continue to search for the inner peace that evades all of us. Each life lost diminished us.

Seung-Hui Cho referred to the Columbine gunmen, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as martyrs. Cho's life was evidently one of loneliness and emotional isolation. His family worried about him; the school he attended did not provide any aid for his speech problems. Such programs are less common now as funds are cut to pay for the War in Iraq. Unlike the Bush family Cho's parents could not pay for therapy. They came to America seeking a better life and by all reports were honest and hard working.

Seung-Hui Cho brought with him the problems that would marginalize him socially and drive him to violence against people he did not know and then against himself. The danger signs were present and ignored by those in the schools he attended.

Why would Cho see Harris and Klebold as figures to be emulated? Was Cho a monster? Is it more monstrous to strike out in rage or to use the institutions entrusted to you to kill and steal for yourself and your friends? Who is the greater monster, Seung-Hui Cho or George Bush? Ask those grieving and bleeding in Iraq; ask the families handed a flag in payment for a child, father, husband, wife. Ask the elderly woman who died, fried to death in the swelter of heat in Central Valley. Ask yourself and take action.

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