Moscow Times

Global Eye -- Mud Pack
"Axis of evil" speech not a mistake - follow the money

Friday, Feb. 15, 2002. Page XXIV

By Chris Floyd

         U.S. President George W. Bush's teleprompter reading of his word-massagers' "axis of evil" speech last week certainly was a ring-tailed wonder. While those supine sentinels of truth, the American media, strained their tiny little brains to find apt comparisons for Bush's rhetorical greatness -- some likened him to Churchill, others to Teddy Roosevelt; one even thought Bush surpassed Julius Caesar -- the rest of the world sat slackjawed in amazement at the farrago of undiluted leavings issuing from the Oval orifice.

         Those with even the slightest acquaintance with history were scratching their heads at Bush's yoking of Iran, Iraq and North Korea in an unholy pact to destroy America. Surely there must be some mistake, they said. Surely there'd been a squiggle on the screen, and Bush had simply misread the lines that had been written for him. Perhaps he meant to say "taxis of evil," referring to the devilish problems of urban transport in America's cities. Or maybe even "Texas boll weevil," naming a threat to the American "heartland" much more real and immediate than the imaginary gizmos of his chosen dastards.

         Surely, those who use reason reasoned, Bush knows that Iran and Iraq are deadly

enemies, having engaged in the mutual slaughter of more than a million of their people in the last two decades, and that an "axis" containing those two countries is about as likely as a Bush-Gore ticket in 2004. Surely, said the reasoners, Bush knows that North Korea's bizarre and broken-down Stalinist hellhole poses no threat to the United States -- which can track Pyongyang's every military move and destroy any missile before it leaves the factory, much less reaches the launch pad. If North Korea had any missiles that could reach the United States, that is. Which it doesn't, of course.

         Finally, said the sane, surely Bush knows that comparing the threat posed by these three paltering pariah states to the awesome destructive power unleashed upon the world by the real Axis in World War II is a shameful, whore-like exploitation of the suffering and sacrifices borne by those who confronted those mighty forces.

         How then to account for Bush's insanely inflated rhetoric? He may be a moral idiot -- like his equally gaseous semblable, bin Laden -- but our George is no fool. When he tells outright lies like the "100,000 al-Qaida agents" out there in the shadows; a figure his own intelligence services say is off by, oh, 90,000 or more -- and revises history with the zeal of a David Irving, there is method in his madness. And as usual with the unelected one, the answer is brutally simple: follow the money. Particularly the money going into his own pocket.

         Bush used the speech to stoke the fears of the American public -- legitimate fears, based on the terror attacks that occurred on his watch, while he took his afternoon naps, played footsie with "Kenny Boy" Lay, and called off investigators probing connections between his rich Saudi pals and the bin Laden network. Capitalizing on the fruits of his own dereliction -- the automatic popularity accorded a leader in time of confusion and war -- he pushed the panic button last week to justify his record-breaking $379 billion military budget.

         No one begrudges more defense spending in the face of the very credible terrorist threat, of course. But most of the money that Bush wants has nothing to do with building the new kind of smaller, flexible military forces needed to combat criminal gangs like al-Qaida. Instead, Bush is shoveling billions into cumbersome heavy weapons designed to fight the Soviet Army on the plains of Central Europe. Take, for example, the aptly-named Crusader -- a 42-ton mobile cannon that might do well against a Red Army division marching on Bonn but is useless against, say, a dozen lightly-armed agents infiltrating a nuclear plant or a lone operator sabotaging an airliner. Even the military doesn't really want the thing. But the Crusader will get more than $4 billion in taxpayer money over the next five years.

         Why? Because it's being built by the Carlyle Group, the shadowy investment firm run by long-time Bush Family operators -- including, of course, Daddy Bush himself, who serves as roving shill for the company and takes a juicy cut of the profits. Thus some of that Crusader coin will add to the growing mountain of government moolah that is little Georgie's inheritance. The same goes for the saber-rattling at Korea. Bush needs a fresh war scare there to pressure the South Koreans into buying a new fleet of Boeing fighter jets. He's heading to Seoul next week to put the arm on President Kim Dae-jung, whose peace moves threaten to put a crimp in the country's defense spending. This would not only harm Bush's backers at Boeing, but also -- yes -- Daddy's piggy bank. Just two weeks before Bush's speech, Carlyle opened its first Korean office, with plans to pour millions into high-tech communications -- a rich field for military procurement.

Why mince words? Bush is a war profiteer on a vast, historic scale, a man with only one animating principle: the aggrandizement of his own pampered self and his elitist clique. This greed compromises every action taken by his regime -- because they all result in profits for his gang. Another example: Bush puts U.S. bases in Central Asia; Dick Cheney's Halliburton gets the construction contracts; Daddy's Carlyle Group supplies the weaponry; Dub's buds in the oil bidness get protection for their new pipelines.

Thus every strategic decision is turned to private profit, muddying the waters of America's moral purpose -- and risking more disaster for its people., Moscow Times, February 15, 2002: