Guiding the Ship of State

From Jim Houle
Redwood Valley

Amongst all the euphoria about our entering the Obama Era, I find the sardonic words of Alexander Cockburn somehow appropriate:

Successfully Guiding The Ship Of State During Its Sunset Cruise

Alexander Cockburn writes in Counterpunch 1/17/09 that/: “I’ve always been a fan of George Bush, on the simple grounds that the American empire needs taking down several notches and George Jr has been the right man for the job. On Bush’s Jr’s fitful watch Latin America edged nervously out of Uncle Sam’s shadow. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia boldly assert their independence and thumb their noses at Uncle Sam. Twenty years earlier the ‘strong leadership’ craved by Americans of all political stripes would have seen Chavez and Morales briskly toppled by the CIA and their local right-wing allies.”

“Barely a month went by in Bush Jr’s second term but that some liberal or left pundit would predict a US attack on Iran. It turns out that the Israeli high command made numerous requests for clearance for its planes to overfly Iraq on their way to Iran, but were adamantly nixed by George Jr. “

“Jr’s greatest single triumph in reducing America’s standing was his insistence that the assembly elections in Iraq go forward as planned, in December of 2005. Many seasoned counselors advised Bush to suspend the elections he’d pledged because they would lead to a majority Shi’ite government. Nevertheless, the 43rd president obstinately rejected these counsels, and the elections resulted in a mortal blow to U.S. objectives in Iraq and in the entire region.”

“Somewhere in late 2003, blaming everything on Bush became a national pastime and alibi. He took the hit for fifty years of venal failure by the city fathers of New Orleans and the legislators of Louisiana to protect their city. He’s even had to shoulder the blame for the Wall Street meltdown and the sub-prime crisis, for which Congressional legislators and overseers can far more justly be held responsible.”

“Blessed blunder dogged his every step: He made so half hearted an effort to ‘reform’ Social Security – the last defense of older Americans – that Wall Street, the instigator of the ‘reform’, remembered with profound nostalgia that Bill Clinton was well on his way to destroying Social Security until the Lewinsky scandal forced him to abort the mission. Bush passed his final White House years in morose seclusion, despised by all, obeyed by none – a welcome rebuke to the concept of ‘unitary power’ and an omnipotent executive.”

“Now Obama proclaims his mission of renewing America, always a sinister prospect. We’re heading back into the high country of moral uplift, and dispiriting talk of America’s ‘mission’.”
This is an excerpt from Sixth Edition now available on the Internet:

Also see The Obameter


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