Dubya's Family Struggles
George W. Bush, the rancher from Crawford, Texas, has finally done it. He has Daddy Bush mad at him. In a recent speech at Tufts University, the elder Bush warned his son against a unilateral war against Iraq. Bush 41 must also have been on the receiving end of some heated phone calls from world leaders tired of the pomposity and bellicosity of the Junior Bush. Bush Pere called for the United States to mend fences with allies such as France and Germany. Junior Bush's messianic call to arms has upset the world economy, rendered 40 year military and economic alliances practically meaningless, soured world public opinion against the United States, triggered political crises in the Britain and Spain, and caused serious rifts within the U.S. and British military and intelligence structures. The intelligence revolt is so serious, a Top Secret National Security Agency tasking memo was featured in Britain's The Observer newspaper thanks to high-level authorized leaks.
Although Daddy Bush was not the best presidential actor available from central casting, he did bring to the table a long history of involvement with both diplomacy and intelligence. He was a U.S. ambassador to both the UN and China and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Both the UN and the CIA are steaming mad at Junior Bush. Trying to stampede the UN into submission after bragging that there were more "Get the US out of the UN and the UN out of the US" signs in Midland than there were "God Bless America" signs has ruined his cause on the banks of the East River. Similarly, at Langley, Virginia, seasoned intelligence agents are under pressure to cook the books and come up with smoking guns in Iraq that just do not exist.
Nevertheless, the war hawks in the Pentagon, the National Security Council, State Department, and American Enterprise Institute continue to call for total war. They talk openly of going after Iran, North Korea, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Cuba after Iraq is conquered. Hearkening back to the Joe McCarthy days, they brand their opponents as terrorists, as did the repulsive and repugnant ursine creature Richard Perle to New Yorker journalist Sy Hersh on CNN.
The world has had enough of Junior Bush and his gang of xenophobes, racists, anti-Arabs, anti-Muslims, fundamentalist Bible-thumpers, crooked defense contractors and oil moguls, Moonies, right-wing ideologues, and quislings like Tony Blair. Junior Bush's "coalition of the willing" is more like a "coalition of the chilling."
But Daddy Bush's comments interestingly echo those of Brent Scowcroft, Norman Schwarzkopf, Anthony Zinni, and other former luminaries in past GOP administrations. Junior Bush's so-called press conference last week, in which he snottily decided to ignore the doyenne of the White House Press Corps, Helen Thomas, demonstrated that the Resident-in-Chief is under some sort of medication. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd suggested it was Xanax, others, aware of reports that Junior suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder, opined that he was on Ritalin. Some recovering alcoholics believe Junior fits the bill of a "dry drunk."
Whatever the case, the world is now coming to the conclusion that the real threat t world peace is not in Baghdad, Pyongyang, Teheran, Ramallah, or Tripoli, but right in Washington, DC. No nation or dictator can be expected top remain calm when the President of the United States lumps them into an "Axis of Evil" and calls the North Korean leader a "pygmy." Even that term is pejorative, the Twa people of Africa, once known as "pygmies," reject that term as racist. And speaking of that, this reporter was just a little concerned when it was discovered that "intelligence" documents previously cited by the Bush administration were frauds. The case involved Iraq's supposedly obtaining uranium from the West African nation of Niger. Now considering Junior's previous problems with pronouncing foreign names, I can understand why Ari Fleischer banned that question from last week's news conference.
Considering the fact that Daddy Bush is still on good terms with many European and other leaders, it is apparent that he must be verbally spanking his ill-tempered boy. It must be kind of sad for the elder Bush to see his son going down in history as a very negative footnote. After all, John Quincy Adams had a fairly successful administration. So what's wrong with Junior?
It could be that he is mentally incapable of carrying out his duties. In such case, the 25th Amendment is very clear on a course of action. But Junior's problems actually lie with his closest aids, those who manipulate him to carry out their sordid agendas. And for this, the regime in Washington has started a fire that is spreading rapidly through the corridors of power in Washington, state capitals, foreign capitals, intelligence headquarters, corporate board rooms, royal palaces, and even into the sanctified halls of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
The protests and resignations that started out with a trickle are developing into a deluge. Only the U.S. corporate controlled media, which is anchored on such Jingos as Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Wolf Blitzer, Evan Thomas, Charles Krauthammer, Sean Hannity, William Kristol, Fred Barnes, Don Imus, Michael Savage and their pathetic and much too numerous clones, is missing the point.
Here is how this reaction against Junior Bush began. On February 27, John Brady Kiesling, a 20-year career Foreign Service Officer and the Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Greece, tendered his resignation in protest over Bush's war plans. In his letter of resignation he stated, "we have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known." Brady was joined by career diplomat John H. Brown on March 10. In his letter of resignation, Brown, who represented the United States throughout Eastern Europe , stated, ""Throughout the globe the United States is becoming associated with the unjustified use of force. The president's disregard for views in other nations, borne out by his neglect of public diplomacy, is giving birth to an anti-American century." Bravo Mr. Brown! Brown and Kiesling represent the best of the State Department. Powell and his pro-Likud Party ciphers, John Bolton and David Wurmser, represent the worst.
Last week, a group of disgruntled British intelligence officials leaked a Top Secret/COMINT National Security Agency memorandum calling on Britain's intelligence services to help America listen in on the private communications of UN Security Council members and other UN members not on the council. It was the most dramatic release of classified information due to an internal policy dispute since the Pentagon Papers were released by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971. Although one 28-year old employee of Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was arrested, police were looking to arrest others. It would seem that the dissention within the British government reached far higher than the spy agency nestled in the Cotswolds.
International Development Secretary Clare Short threatened to resign over Britain's support for Bush. She called Blair's policy "reckless." There were rumors that former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook was going to quit Blair's Cabinet. A Labor Party Member of Parliament quit as permanent private secretary for Blair's Environment Minister. Former Labor Defense Minister Peter Kilfoyle joined in the attack on Blair. The longest-serving MP, Tony Dalyell, a Laborite, called on Blair to resign. (Something can be said for longest-serving parliamentarians, our own venerable and longest-serving Senator Robert Byrd has accused Junior Bush of acting like a Roman Emperor). The British revolt even spread to the Conservative Party where John Randall quit as his party's whip over British support for Bush's Iraq adventure. A wave of other resignations are expected. Labor Party activists are vowing to "de-select" Members of Parliament who voted for Blair's war. The effort may ultimately sink the war hawk administration of Blair, his Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, and Blair brain trust Peter Mandelson.
But it is not just Blair who faces an internal revolt. After Kiesling's resignation from the State Department came a blast from within the ranks of the GOP. Jack Walters, the GOP Chairman in Boone County, Missouri, resigned over Bush's war plans. Walters' letter made some cogent points and posed some agonizing questions: "The consequences of our planned attack on Iraq (and also probably Iran, given the size of our forces and their location in proximity to Iran), should cause us all to pause. The Pentagon has announced that we will hit Baghdad with a force almost equal to the bombing of Hiroshima. Obviously many thousands of civilians will perish, with untold thousands maimed. And for what? To liberate them? To bring them freedom? Or democracy? Or is it to really secure the world's second largest oil reserve and establish a base from which to subjugate other Middle Eastern nations? Is it also the plan for Israel to use the cover of war to forcibly relocate the Palestinian population (as has been publicly stated by some members of Israel's current government)?"
The worst news for Bush is that Walters is a pro-life Republican from an important swing state. He is not the type of anti-war individual portrayed by Bush's lockstep supporters. Walters states "I only sought the position of Chairman originally in the hope that I could recruit God-fearing, thinking, pro-life believers in our Constitution to stand for office." Not the rantings of a liberal by any stretch.
Grass roots movements have succeeded in passing anti-war resolutions in over 120 state legislatures and city councils around America. College student governments are joining in. From Syracuse, New York to Dayton, Ohio, to Baltimore to Olympia, Washington, grass roots organizations have worked with local politicians to enact the resolutions. Junior, or at least his Svengali, Karl Rove, must realize that politics is local as are presidential election polling places.
So Junior Bush has a dilemma. Daddy's irritated at him. France and Russia are preparing to veto his resolution. His pals Tony Blair and Spain's Jose Maria Aznar are facing domestic political revolts. Junior snubs Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, accusing him of complicity with terrorists in Colombia, this after his immigration storm troopers roughly detained former MP Bernadette Devlin and deported her back to Ireland after accusing her of being a terrorist. Count the Ireland peace initiative in big trouble. Ditto the Palestinian-Israeli accords. Bush is linked by the navel to Ariel Sharon. Yassir Arafat is also on the terrorist list once again. Nelson Mandela, after saying Bush "cannot think properly," is on Junior's baddie list. And the Pope, well Bush got "frank" with his special envoy, which probably means he threw some sort of delusional fit.
America's closest neighbors, Canada and Mexico, feel the U.S. is a hostile nation. For the first time in history, the United States is the source of refugees -- immigrants seeking refuge and safety from the Homeland Security storm troopers of the Bush regime.
Junior, let's face it, you have done more damage to the world and your country in two years than most tyrants have accomplished in decades. Your dad now even believes you are way off base. Your predecessors Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton think you are an embarrassment. Your dad's best friends and colleagues think your Iraq adventure is ill-timed and ill-conceived.
You need to either dump that aforementioned band of lunatics you stuck into your administration and who are steering you into political oblivion or you should let Laura and Daddy sign the papers and let the 25th Amendment take its course.
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. He wrote the introduction to "Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for Bin Laden ."