Is Bush ready to cut and run in Iraq

DETROIT — We are living under a regime that has made war and torture highly profitable for a handful of scummy corporations and individuals. That’s the way the Busheviks like doing business, keeping their dirtiest deeds in the hands of for-profit surrogates.

Openness and accountability — hallmarks of a free society — have no place in the mad project to sell and impose “freedom” in Iraq.

Desperate to drum up support for his horrible mistakes and refusal to recognize his failed polices, President George Bush made a “major policy” speech last Wednesday, outlining his strategy for “victory” in Iraq.

The venue for his address was the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. For our rattled and insecure president, on not-so-secret double-probation from the American public, traveling to cozy military confines is like the “road trip” the Deltas in “Animal House” took to duck their troubles and hide from their adversaries.

The military provides Bush with support for his policies and the comfort and adulation he craves. Bush could look out at a sea of naval uniforms and guaranteed applause to feed his insatiable ego and reinforce his wounded machismo.

“Setting an artificial deadline would vindicate the terrorists’ tactics of beheadings and suicide bombings and mass murder and invite new attacks on America,” Bush told the midshipmen. Always the master of straw man arguments and false choices, Bush is declaring that anyone who advances an approach to the mess in Iraq that differs from his is encouraging mass murders and atrocities. Nice.

Then, puffing his chest out, the man who made “bring ’em on” a battle cry in Iraq, bellowed, “To all who wear the uniform, I make you this pledge: America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your commander in chief.” The sailors cheered wildly as their leader broke into that loathsome smirk.

Bush — a moral and physical coward — would never dare speak to a randomly chosen audience of college students — or, for that matter, before any public forum. He cannot tolerate a challenge or accept anything less than complete submission to his views.

In “Counterpunch,” the political newsletter, Mike Whitney wrote, “It’s pathetic to see the world’s most powerful man shunted into prearranged venues so he can pitch his snake-oil to college-aged boys.”

Whitney knows how our great leader covets these stilted events to boost his delusions. “Bush loves the applause. He luxuriates in the warm glow of human affection. In many ways, he is the consummate politician, feeding his fragile ego with the ephemeral praise of complete strangers. Too bad his only springboard to fame has been as bullhorn for right-wing fanatics and warmongers. Now, he finds himself toddling on a narrower and narrower ledge, peering down into the abyss of defeat and disgrace.”

Our “huckster in chief” successfully lied to get us into war. He’s now lying about “progress” in Iraq, success in quelling the insurrection, and the Iraqi army’s ability to take over security and pacify the nation. In order to preach this nonsense, Bush always surrounds himself with people who consider truth the same way the wicked witch viewed water.

Vice President Dick Cheney, the Lord of the Lies, has returned to his bunker after brief outside duty denouncing congressional war critics and doing some Republican fund-raisers. Cheney is hearing the footsteps of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who is onto his serial deceptions and the pivotal role he played in outing CIA officer Valerie Plame. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s deputy says Cheney was and remains the guiding force in fostering torture at U.S.-run detention camps in Cuba and elsewhere.

“There is no question in my mind that we did. There is no question in my mind that we may still be doing it,” retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson told CNN’s “Late Edition” regarding the use of torture.

Wilkerson — speaking the truths his former boss knows, but is keeping to himself for now — says Cheney provided the “philosophical guidance” and “flexibility” that led to the systematic torture of detainees at U.S.-operated facilities. Wilkerson says Cheney’s torture “implementer” is “Donald Rumsfeld and the Defense Department.”

Field Marshal Rumsfeld, who once told us he knew “exactly” where to find Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, now is the self-declared authority on the words of war.

Our secretary of defense thinks better semantics will change the course of the war. Stop calling those bad guys “insurgents,” Rummy warns us. “That gives them greater legitimacy than they seem to merit.” So what should we call these extremist enemies?

Rummy had a vision. Let’s call them, he beseeches us, “enemies of the legitimate Iraqi government.” The acronym ELIG might fly. In what’s left of Fallujah, I can just hear the locals yelling, “The ELIGs are coming! The ELIGs are coming!” In fact, what they most fear are the white phosphorus artillery attacks.

Rumsfeld tried this summer to rename the war on terror the “global struggle against violent extremists.” That semantic shuffle lasted about one week. The Busheviks are third-rate rip-off artists, pirating whatever they can from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” Years ago, Laura read it to George. He couldn’t stay awake for Orwell’s “1984,” but Karl Rove gave him a summary.

The field marshal got into a little tiff with one of his generals last week over the issue of what our troops should do when they encounter torture in Iraq. The Busheviks insist that “we don’t torture.” Alas, our allies in occupied Iraq find torture as irresistible as, well, Dick Cheney does.

At a news conference last week, reporters asked Rumsfeld about U.S. troops finding evidence that security police used an Iraqi Interior Ministry jail as a torture chamber.

“Inhumane behavior is obviously worrisome,” Rumsfeld said. Worrisome? I’ll say. When Saddam committed similar crimes, they were the abominations of a “murderous dictator.” They’re just “worrisome” under our watch.

Rummy fretted that the “allegations” were naughty, that better training was needed, and that we must work more closely with “sovereign officials” so Iraq doesn’t do things that are “inconsistent with the values of the international community.” These words of wisdom from the man who brought us Abu Ghraib and the detention camp at Guantanamo.

When American troops do encounter evidence of torture in Iraq, Rummy’s guidance is essentially, “Don’t stop. Just tell.” Gen. Peter Pace, the newly appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was at the same news conference and dared to offer radically different advice to his troops. “It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene and stop it.”

Rumsfeld went into his super-squint mode and said to the general, “But I don’t think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it’s to report it.”

Without hesitation, Pace responded, “If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to stop it.”

With that single sentence spoken with honesty and professionalism, Pace ended his military career. He is on his way out. He spoke the truth and did so in public. The Busheviks never tolerate such disloyalty.

Bush’s ever-loyal nanny, “Concealeezza” Rice, recently hinted that, while publicly denouncing an “artificial deadline” for withdrawing forces from Iraq, the administration is planning to dramatically slash troop levels.

Rice told the Fox News Channel that the present 155,000 combat troops will not be maintained “for very much longer” because the Iraqis are getting so well trained and capable of countering the insurgency. Troop levels will be whittled down based, not on the advice of commanders in the field, but on the political commandment of the 2006 congressional election. Secretary of State Rice is off to Europe this week, including a visit to Romania, one of the reported sites for secret CIA-operated prisons where private contractors torture suspected terrorists. Rice will deny everything as she always does, and her skill at rambling obfuscation will hypnotize her media cheerleaders.

Back at the White House, Press Secretary Scott McClellan will babble and repeat Karl Rove’s talking points. Iraq is the forefront in the war on terror. We are partners in a great coalition to fight terror. We are peace-loving, just, honest, forthright.

If you believe anything McClellan says, you are, by certain empirical evidence, insane, irrational or both. I wouldn’t trust McClellan to tell us what day of the week it is. This hapless hack, because of his constant public exposure, is the most thoroughly discredited of the legion of liars who serve George W. Bush.

But with all those seasoned professional prevaricators on the payroll, why are we contracting out for the services of private propaganda outfits? The Busheviks have pumped tens of millions of taxpayer dollars into shady public relations firms to help spread the big lies. Why? The in-house liars are more than up for the task. The Pentagon is paying the Lincoln Group $5 million to bribe Iraqi newspapers to print Bush administration propaganda and pretend it’s independently gathered news. Lincoln is composed of politically connected, retired military types.

Lincoln took articles written by U.S. military “information operations” troops, translated them into Arabic, and bought off Iraqi media people to print the stories as “real news.” The stories praised the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops and trumpeted efforts to rebuild the war-torn nation.

A military spokesman in Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, defended the dissemination of Pentagon propaganda and its reliability. “We don’t lie. We don’t need to lie,” Lynch said, adding two more lies to the story.

At the White House, McClellan feigned surprise, telling reporters, “We are concerned about the reports. We have asked the Pentagon for more information.” You know damned well Rummy knew about this and approved the bribe payments. “A free and independent press is critical to the functioning of a democracy,” Sen. John Warner, the Virginia Republican and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said when he learned about the dirty deals.

The Busheviks long ago dismissed Warner’s old-fashioned notion of a free press being important to democracy. They co-opted the mainstream American media to sell the phony reasons for invading Iraq. Then they kicked it up a notch and just bought off the Iraqi media to sell the joys of the U.S. occupation.

The influence and information-peddling of the secretive Rendon Group was exposed in a recent report in “Rolling Stone” magazine. The Washington PR firm specializes in “perception management.” The article by James Bamford details how John Rendon single-handedly created the Iraqi National Congress and its leader, convicted bank swindler Ahmed Chalabi, who became a darling of Bush and the neocon warmongers.

Rendon rehabilitated the failed credibility of Iraqi defector Adan Ihsan Saeed Al Haideri after he flunked a CIA polygraph exam. Al Haideri claimed he knew about mobile biological weapons labs Saddam set up all over Iraq.

His story was full of holes and the CIA declared him a useless liar. But Rendon found the lies useful and profitable.

Harry Truman once said, “I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell.” These are well-deserved hellish days for the Busheviks.