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

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 12.31.03


Even a blind squirrel can find the odd acorn

My yuppie brother-in-law called to gloat last week after Hussein had been dug out of his spider hole. The B-I-L is one of those not so rare dimbulbs who votes Republican just in case he ever gets rich.

What my limited friend forgets is that the capture of Hussein was not the reason we embarked on this invasion. It was to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and to sever the alleged ties that Hussein had with Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.

These reasons for war are still illegitimate. They were lies then and are lies now.

The mass graves and evidence of torture by Hussein were hastily conceived as backup reasons for the war. We Americans don't have a history of being squeamish over 'civil rights atrocities' by our friends. (See Shah of Iran and General Pinochet) It is only our enemies that make us reel in anguish at their brutish behavior.

While the GOP chest thumpers and 'dancing CEO's' fill the streets and celebrate the re-election of The Shrub, let us not forget one small detail as outlined by a recent editorial in the NY Times.

"The one thing on which everyone now agrees is that this man [Saddam Hussein] caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his own people and kept most of the rest in fear and misery. Ironically, that was a vision first painted nearly fifteen years ago by international human rights groups, during a period in which American presidents, as well as most of the rest of the world, treated him as a valuable ally and a bulwark against Iranian extremism."

Getting back to the B-I-L, I fear he is only one of many slack-jawed Bush cheerleaders. His lurid, in your face attitude makes me believe that no matter what international laws are broken, no matter what atrocities are committed or rights violated, there will always be a stagnant pool of Bush support that cannot be reasoned with.

Limbaugh dittoheads bob in this pool. Fox news and Fox commentators paddle shamelessly as well. They are practically masturbating on air at the effect that Sadaam's capture will have on the political future of Bush. I hope their ecstasy is premature, if you will pardon the pun.

How much political hay will our vapid President be able to make now that they have captured our former ally? Plenty, unless the Democrats start highlighting a separate agenda of their own.

The Dems cannot just sit back and wait for the Bush Administration to pull another series of national and international boners. They have been handed one after the other from Kyoto to the international courts, to tax cuts for the rich to Enron and on and on.

Still, Republicans have a solid core of zombies clinging like ticks to the Bush program. Unless they are burned off with a searing flame of new ideas, they will just keep voting for George no matter what price we all have to pay.

Our war in Iraq is not over. It will still be a painful and often fatal process for many. The reason for this is that we acted unilaterally on entry and have no earthly idea how to exit. We are flying by the seat of our pants in Iraq.

Iraq will not become a democracy because George says it should. It has just never worked that way. We only need look over at Afghanistan to see the truth in this.

Prime Minister Hamid Karzai has weathered one attack on his life and is a prisoner in Kabul where he can find relative safety. He has surrounded himself with a cadre of "American" bodyguards. In this new "democratic" nation of fire-breathing warriors Hamid could not find even a few he could trust with the old Karzai corpus. Doesn't sound very democratic does it?

We just couldn't be bothered to stay the course in Afghanistan. America has lost interest in him.

The Bush Administration has a toddler's attention span when it comes to the hard work of nation building. They are fine at knocking down the blocks but rebuilding them is a task that is far too boring and complex for them.

Good work on Saddam, however. Better execute him quick. Trials are really boring and sometimes embarrassing.