Bush beats war drum
President Bush's State of the Union address delivered to the US Congress last week was full of threats against other nations and peoples and, at the same time, nationalistic rhetoric to keep the American people in a jingoistic and fearful frame of mind. "Our nation is at war" were his first words. "Our war against terror is only beginning", he said, and went on to name Iran, Iraq and the People's Democratic Republic of Korea as an "axis of evil". "But some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: if they do not act, America will", he declared. "We spend more than a billion dollars a month, over $30 million a day ... to put our troops anywhere in the world quickly and safely ... My Budget includes the largest increase in defence spending in two decades..." "We are protected from attack only by vigorous action abroad ..." "Our navy is patrolling the coast of Africa to block the shipment of weapons and the establishment of terrorist camps in Somalia." "I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons." "Even 7,000 miles away, across oceans and continents, on moutaintops and in caves, you will not escape the justice of this nation." To keep up the climate of fear in the US and throughout the world the US President declared that "Thousands of dangerous killers, schooled in the methods of murder, often supported by outlaw regimes, are now spread through the world like ticking time bombs, set to go off without warning... Tens of thousand of terrorists are still at large. These enemies view the entire world as a battlefield..." Pulling the nationalist heartstrings Bush declared that "History has called America and our allies to action, and it is both our responsibility and our privilege to fight freedom's fight." Not to be outdone the leader of the Democrat Party, Richard Gephardt declared that the "men and women who are defending our freedom are not fighting for the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. They're fighting for the greatest country that's ever existed on earth, the United States of America." Bush admitted that "our economy is in recession" but had no real plan to overcome this situation and return the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are now unemployed or threatened by the bankruptcies of ENRON, K-Mart and other enterprises in auto and steel that are closing down. Under mounting pressure to extend unemployment benefits and healthcare, Bush called for an "economic stimulus" plan that includes extended jobless benefits, although he did not say for how long. He paid lip service to job creation but called for his tax concessions to the rich to be passed and "made permanent". There are millions of US citizens and immigrants who do not qualify for unemployment insurance. Nothing is being offered to them. While millions of American workers are out of work and tens of thousands have had their entitlements thieved as in Australia, corporate executives are corruptly cashing in their shares using insider knowledge and paying themselves huge salaries and other benefits. Bush is following the traditional way of overcoming the inevitable economic crises of the capitalist system which is to increase military expenditure and to launch wars which are highly profitable to the arms manufacturers. Rather than stimulating the economy by improving the wages of American workers, Bush called on "every American to commit at least two years, four thousand hours over the rest of your lifetime, to the service of your neighbours and your nation". This work in a "Freedom Corps" is to be voluntary. Once again the idea of war bringing peace is invoked — "we have a great opportunity during this time of war to lead the world toward the values that will bring lasting peace." The idea that God is on the side of America is inevitably pushed. "... many have discovered again that even in tragedy, especially in tragedy, God is near", said Bush. Bush's "State of the Union" address was notable, not only for its unprecedented aggressive tone and arrogance but also for its omissions. There is no longer any mention of Osama bin Laden who, only a few weeks ago was being plastered over the front pages of the media as enemy number one. We were told that the noose was tightening and that he was "on the run" and would soon to brought to justice. For weeks now his name has vanished. Why? Bin Laden has always been a CIA operative created and paid for by American money as was the Taliban regime. He has dropped out of sight now and could resurface at some time in the future to continue his role as provocateur to provide excuses for the US to act against another country. There was no specific mention of the collapsed corporate giant ENRON which was the largest donor to the presidential campaign funds of George Bush. Nothing was said about the Palestine/Israel conflict for the good reason that the US has been and remains the main supplier of arms and money to the Israeli regime and the continuation of the conflict in that regime suits the strategic aims of the US. Bush's talk of a few weeks ago about the creation of an independent Palestinian state was not mentioned. Issues such as disarmament are totally off the agenda as are critical environmental issues. Changed climate patterns are contributing to the storms, floods and droughts devastating a number of countries. There is no intention to rethink the US's decision not to ratify the Kyoto environmental protocols. There was no mention of the United Nations which is being pushed unceremoniously aside except when it is diplomatic to have the United Nations undertake subservient tasks allotted to it by the US. Not once did Bush allude to the Charter of the UN which declares that conflicts between nations be settled without recourse to war. He did not by any word indicate that the US has any intention of dealing with the question of terrorism except by war. The fate and treatment of the Taliban and al Qaida fighters imprisoned in cages at the American base at Guantanamo (Cuba) and which has caused an international storm, were not mentioned by Bush. While attacking North Korea, he failed to mention the fact that North Korea has imposed a moratorium on the testing of long-range missiles and that a dialogue between North and South Korea has been taking place Bush's vision for the world is one of endless war. His speech is intended to intimidate and hoodwink the American people and the people of all other countries without exception. The so-called "war against terrorism" is the excuse for military intervention in any country that the US leadership decides should be taught a lesson and brought under direct US control as has Afghanistan. Bush's economic program includes vastly increased military expenditure, more tax cuts for the rich and the privatisation of social security and Medicare. It will not provide jobs. Bush's political program includes the imposition of far-reaching restrictions on democratic rights. Legislation has already been passed. As a result several thousands alleged terrorist "suspects" have been arrested with no right to previously available legal processes. Bush's vision is the corporate agenda for America and the rest of the world and this vision is to be imposed by coercion, threats, intimidation and endless war. That is the substance of Bush's State of the Union address. But not all Americans are being intimidated or stampeded into mindless support. Bill Burga, President of the Ohio AFL-CIO called Bush's domestic program "hogwash". He told the People's Weekly World: "He'd better be careful. If he acts like a cowboy and starts shooting he could get us in lots of trouble." In the Philippines where US troops have already landed as part of their "infinite war", a leader of the New People's Army declared that "If this military intervention escalates, we will resist it because the Abu Sayyaf is not the real target. It is possible that they [the US soldiers] would not enter our territories" [on the island of Mindanao] but "if they entered these areas armed, they will be facing an armed force as well."