News & Politics

The War Party

In the Wonderland of BushWorld, modesty is no virtue, and hubris is to be celebrated—so party down, y'all!
Even from the convoluted depths of Lewis Carroll's fertile imagination—where down is up and wrong is right—the Alice in Wonderland author could not have conjured up a scene as bizarre as George W's $40 million inaugural extravaganza.

Lavish balls, sumptuous gourmet meals, copious champagne brunches, indulgent corporate-sponsored receptions in posh private clubs—a cornucopia of excess for the privileged and connected, dancing in a swirl of political self-congratulation (and in anticipation of political rewards-to-come for those elites who picked up the $40-million tab). All this unseemly splurging while— 7,000 miles away in Iraq—the loved ones of Americans who are neither privileged nor connected are mired in the deadly mayhem of George W's disastrous war.

One inaugural visual summed up the moral divide between those few so gaily dancing the war away in Washington and those many trapped so miserably in the brutal reality of Iraq. It was the recurring scene of stretch Hummer limousines ferrying the resplendent Gucci crowd from one gaudy gathering to the next—while soldiers driving real Humvees have been denied the protective armor that could save their lives. Indeed, $40 million could buy quite a bit of armor.

In 1945, when our troops were in another raging war, Franklin Roosevelt rightly insisted on modesty and austerity for his inaugural, even noting in his formal address that it was appropriate "that the form of this inauguration be simple and its words brief." But in the Wonderland of BushWorld, modesty is no virtue, and hubris is to be celebrated—so party down, y'all!

There were even special inaugural blowouts for the twentysomethings, including George's own war-age daughters, who loudly proclaim their support for daddy's war—but not so much that they would join it. In BushWorld, the elites declare war... other people do the fighting and dying.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of "Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush," from Viking Press. For more information, visit
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