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Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
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is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 09.08.03

JIM AUSTIN

The Survival of America

Over the past decade or so I have been writing bombast and brimstone about our various administrations. I began at the end of the Reagan years, through the confused impotence of George Bush Senior, followed by the galloping libido terms of Bill Clinton.

Even though I specialized in rancorous verbiage with a touch of ridiculous hyperbole I felt oddly dispassionate, like a birdwatcher. Birdwatchers don't take the actions of their feathered quarry personally, I presume.

It is difficult to stand outside the current Bush sphere of influence and write bloodless criticisms. Bush has made it personal.

Never before have I felt a sense of embarrassment over my American citizenship. Worse yet is the feeling of suspicion over every move the government makes.

Some of us are looking for ulterior motives in the most mundane of government actions. As slimy as Clinton was, I didn't ever feel that his immorality carried over into his official duties.

With Bush, I feel like immorality is the official party line.

Cheney, the creepy Puppet Master, stays behind the scenes directing the war within a war in Iraq.

Is it oil that drives his subjugation of Iraq? Is it the imposition of democracy? Is it all so his cronies can get a big slice of the billions earmarked for the rebuilding of a society?

Never once has it crossed my mind that we are in Iraq because of the reasons publicly stated.

Lately, spokesmen for the administration talk about the thirty nations comprising the coalition force -- more deception manufactured to convince the weak-minded that more than just the US and Britain are behind the invasion.

The lie that has been spoken time and again is the vilest of all. To say that we are in Iraq to protect the USA is an affront to all of us, and a sick insult to the families whose brave young men have fallen and to those who remain sweltering and terrified in the Iraqi desert.

It should be obvious to anyone who draws breath that this action in Iraq has placed us in far deeper peril than before. It has enraged a new generation of madmen with dreams of paving their way to Allah by slaughtering innocent Americans.

Does the Bush 'team' care that we are losing our grip on Afghanistan? Good men and women are still fighting and dying to prop up the made-in-America government in Kabul.

It seems as if we could have learned something about Afghanistan after watching the Mujahadin take on the second most powerful nation on the planet and bring them to their knees. Not only were the Russians defeated in Afghanistan, they lost their grip on their empire.

Sure, the CIA funneled billions in arms into the country but it was the Afghani faithful who faced the Russian helicopter gunships and suffered the carpet bombing of villages.

The CIA had great difficulty finding Russian prisoners to interrogate. The Mujahadin had them skinned alive and left for dead hours after being captured.

Now we are the enemy and those billions spent in arms are being trained on our soldiers. The Russians fell, and they were only fighting a war with one country. Bush has got us involved in two wars with North Korea staring with fanatical eyes at the outcome.

We live in a climate of fear both at home and abroad.

Our civil rights have been eroded, our color-coded terrorist alert system is a talk show joke, and in the midst of it all Bush cynically cuts taxes for the wealthy while the economy is tanking and the military is ringing up billions to battle an invisible enemy in Iraq.

This government has behaved like a neocon banzai charge. The fringe element of this conservative government has become mainstream, at least for those in charge.

The survival of our reputation as a fair-minded nation is at stake in the next election. Another Bush term would further damage our international relations.

We can't survive another four years of preemptive strikes instead of foreign policy.

We can't survive another four years of "Bring 'em on" in place of a measured response.

The vast majority of Americans are not on this administration's radar screen -- whether they know it or not.

It is not too early to try and figure out what you can do for America. We screwed up the works last time around by voting for Nader. No third party candidates this time. We must vote Democrat for the survival of America.

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