[Mb-civic] Moscow on the Potomac
ean at sbcglobal.net
ean at sbcglobal.net
Thu Jan 19 08:58:47 PST 2006
The 'fin de regime'?
An out-of-touch George Bush now presides over a lost foreign war and a
morass of influence peddling
By Eric Margolis
01/08/06 "Toronto Sun" -- -- WASHINGTON -- China's Taoists philosophers
warned that you become what you hate. We see this paradox in Washington,
where the current administration increasingly reminds one of the old
The U.S.S.R. went bankrupt after spending 40% of national income on the
military. President George Bush's administration will spend a staggering
$419.3 billion US on the military this fiscal year. An additional $130
billion US has been budgeted in 2006 for the occupation of Iraq and
That's $10.8 billion a month -- 40% above previous estimates -- and
somewhat more than the monthly cost of the Vietnam War at its height. Add
to this huge sum an estimated $1.5 billion in monthly secret expenditures
in Iraq and Afghanistan by CIA and Pentagon intelligence.
Astoundingly, U.S. military spending in 2006 will equal the rest of the
world's total combined military expenditures. I just saw an ad for the
new, $115-million F-22 Raptor stealth fighter, trumpeting how its radar
can "intercept communications of insurgents." Using a $115-million
aircraft to listen to cellphone calls by a bunch of jihadis in Waziristan
staggers the imagination.
Meanwhile, Moscow on the Potomac is in an uproar over government spying
citizens, torture, and what appears to be the mother of all
influence-peddling scandals. Revelations that the super-secret National
Security Agency and FBI have been monitoring domestic as well as
international telecommunications have roused even the deadheads in
Congress and the lapdog media. FBI agents are reportely spying on such
nefarious "terrorists" as vegetarians and animal rights activists.
Bush (shades of Leonid Brezhnev) claims the right to override any laws
because the U.S. is at war. "Terrorists" ("enemies of the state" in Soviet
talk) threaten the U.S., so anything goes. What next -- cancelling next
fall's elections because of the threat of the phantom al-Qaida?
Meanwhile, a scandal bursts right out of the last days of the corrupt
Soviet Union. A sinister Republican apparatchik named Jack Abramoff has
admitted dishing out $4.4 million in bribes to senators, congressmen and
political aides. Bigwigs like Bush, House Speaker Dennis Hastert,
Republican grand poobah Tom DeLay, Bible-thumping crusader Ralph Reed,
Hillary Clinton and a bevy of venal legislators have been implicated in
this culture of corruption.
Abramoff got over $30 million from various Indian tribes promoting their
casino businesses. He and cronies scalped their Indian clients, pocketing
$11 million in kickbacks. Where, one wonders with awe, did those
persecuted native Americans find so much cash?
Republicans (and also some Democrats) are scared silly by the scandal.
Many legislators may be headed for the big house.
All parties that stay in power too long become deeply corrupt. Wise voters
need to kick out incumbents regularly. Longevity in office ensures bad
government. The Republicans, buoyed by faked-up war fever, became deeply
corrupted more quickly than usual.
The Achilles heel
Money is the Achilles heel of democracy. In America, winning and keeping
office demands spending huge sums on TV advertising. The Washington
lobbyists and bagmen who produce millions to fund politicians have become
more powerful than elected legislators. This is how parasites like
A smell of "fin du regime" hangs over Washington, just as it did over the
last days of decaying Soviet oligarchy. An out-of-touch leader presides
over a lost foreign war and a morass of influence peddling and bribery, as
the secret police struggle to keep a lid on growing dissent.
margolis at foreigncorrespondent.com
Copyright © 2005, Canoe Inc. All rights reserved.
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"A war of aggression is the supreme international crime." -- Robert Jackson,
former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice and Nuremberg prosecutor
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