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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 07.26.04

JIM AUSTIN

Imperial Bush

Many people, like myself, have traveled and worked overseas. I spent most of the 80s working and roaming on the other side of the world.

While in the South Pacific I experienced some truly bizarre cultural differences. Bereaved people covered themselves in clay to attend funerals in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

The frightening part of living in a primitive country is reading the paper and finding out that the government is manifestly corrupt.

There was the time that Prime Minister Michael Somare was called out of a meeting and rushed to the airport where two men and their private plane were being held by customs agents. Somare interceded for them and they flew off.

One was a convicted drug smuggler.

Another time Sir Julius Chan, Deputy Prime Minister, forced a mining company to re-issue stock because "the common people didn't have a chance to buy". Millions of dollars worth of Placer Pacific stock was reissued and guess who bought sixty percent of it?

Right, Sir Julius Chan.

You just never knew what crazy or criminal event was just over the horizon in these countries. What made us feel secure was that we could always rely on our safety net, the good old USA.

Not any more.

Citizens in this country are now experiencing the uncertainty and the fear that taints the lives of those living in loony-bin dictatorships, only with far more ominous implications.

Instead of exclusively cheating and taking advantage of American citizens the Bush administration has the entire world holding its breath and waiting for the next atrocity.

The vile partisanship of the Republicans during the Clinton administration has blossomed and refined itself into a mindless doctrinaire hydra.

Remember the millions spent on alleged financial malfeasances during the Whitewater investigations? Did they really impeach the President over his affair with Monica Lewinsky?

Republican chauvinism just grew and grew until the year 2000 when a partisan Supreme Court decided who should be President. This was the clarion call to arms for the GOP.

The Bush administration, before 9/11, had already decided that Iraq and Hussein must fall. They concocted a policy of "preemptive war" and brought it down with a vengeance on Iraq.

The neocons in the Bush administration envisioned another democracy in the Middle East, a garden of enlightenment with liberty and petroleum for all. In the meantime the constitution went into the shredder as torture and mayhem became policy for our erstwhile nation of laws.

The Republicans and their leaders have stampeded over decency and values. They have been caught in lies that have cost thousands of lives. They endangered agents of America overseas by revealing the identity of a CIA operative in retaliation for her husband telling the truth about a Bush fabrication.

Have they once admitted an error? Not once. Blame has been flying as fast as no-bid contracts have been snapped up by Halliburton.

Blame for all the lies that got us into a shooting war fell on a hold-over from the Clinton administration and head of the CIA. George Tenet fell on his sword and resigned in disgrace.

Can you imagine the threats from Cheney if he didn't go quietly?

Concoct a lie and then brazen it out seems to be on page one of the GOP policy handbook.

Where is the outrage from the other side of the aisle?

Another election is on the horizon. What has Bush's opponent done to energize the voting public? Has Kerry flipped out over voting machines that leave no paper trail and manufactured by a Bush supporter? No.

Has he mentioned the 20,000 Iraqi deaths and the 800+ deaths of our soldiers? Barely.

What is this timid stick insect waiting for? Why is he padding along on little pussy feet talking about benign issues while Bush is being measured for the purple robes of imperial ruler of a new American empire?

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