russell on bush

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    If Blair is Bush's poodle what does that make Howard I wonder?

    July 8, 2003 -- I've lived long enough to be able to recognize different states of consciousness in the collective minds of Americans.

    I'm trying to think of how I would describe today's mind-set. "Out of it." Or "numb." Or "Uninterested." Or "uninvolved." Or maybe all of these.

    Example -- Here's the US incursion or let's call it "the takeover" of Iraq. Why did we do it? Why did President Bush push so hard for it? What was the thinking behind it? Every reason for the "war" has been shown to be nonsense. Sure Saddam was a monster, but that was never advanced as the reason the US lost lives and spent billions moving into Iraq.

    OK, forget that the intelligence that Bush used as a reason for the Iraq invasion has been shown to be bunk, the big question I ask is why has the US population been so accepting of the Iraq takeover? Why did the Vietnam war tear the nation apart, and the Iraq war drew nothing but produce flag waving and patriotic speeches.

    When I questioned the Iraq thing, even some of my brilliant subscribers told me to shut up, mins my own business, and stick with the stock market. Who the hell was I to question what our brave leaders were advocating back in Washington? How dare anyone question our leaders?

    Of course, one difference is that there is no draft today. OK, these guys who went to Iraq were all professionals, and professional know what they're getting into -- and if a bunch of professionals die in battle, well, that's life in the military, and why be surprised?

    I asked wife Faye what she thought was happening in America's psyche today. She said that "People are so involved with keeping their jobs or making a living or surviving in a highly-competitive atmosphere, that they're almost oblivious to what's happening "out there." The attitude is "Let Washington figure it out, I'm too busy just trying to keep my job and make a living."

    "Let Washington figure it out" may be the operative sentiment today. Well, we still have Washington and Alan Greenspan. Note the continuing worship of the Fed chief, despite that fact that he's the "double-bubble" man -- despite that fact that he sponsored the bubble of the late-1990, and despite the fact that he's blown up the bond and housing bubble in the early 2000s.

    And I continue to wonder about President Bush. I think he means well for the nation -- every President does. I just don't believe he's a deep thinker.

    I was most interested in Nicholas Kristof's column in today's NY Times. Tony Blair is catching hell in Britain, the column starts --

    "One of the saddest results of our war in Iraq is that it may finish off Tony Blair before it finishes off Saddam Hussein. Everywhere I go in Britain, people dismiss Mr. Blair as President Bush's poodle. Mr. Blair's Labor Party has fallen behind the Conservatives in the latest poll, for only the second time in 11 years (Russell comment -- the Brits aren't as enthusiastic about the Iraq incursion as the Americans are).

    About Bush, Kristof writes, "Mr. Bush is not the dummy his critics perceive. My take is that he's very bright in a street-smarts way; he's witty, and has a great memory for faces, and his old girl friends speak more highly of him than many women do of their husbands. But he's also less interested in ideas than perhaps anybody I've ever interviewed, and his intelligence is all practical and not a bit intellectual."

    I think that tells me a lot about Bush and Iraq. I think Bush was sold a bill of goods about Iraq from Perle, Rove, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld. These guys thought they could take over the Mideast starting with Iraq, make 'em democratic, and even turn them into little imitations of America. "America today," is their motto, "and tomorrow the world will look like America." After all, isn't democracy the best government concept in the world? So with our overwhelming power, we can turn the whole world free and democratic. And in doing so, that will end any danger to America from terrorists or revolutionists. After all, they'll all be democrats and on our side. It's all so simple. Yeah, right. And Bush bought the whole package. Hey, these guys know what they're talking about.

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