Bush's Biggest Con
For several weeks now, nearly every day I get home to find a message that’s been left on my machine by a some cheesy loan company trying to do me a favor by loaning me money at some rediculous rate of interest. I don’t know how they got my number, or why they still think that there would be any chance whatsoever that I might be interested in what they have to say, but they do. It’s another example of what’s called the “hard sell”. For me it’s always an extreme turn-off, because I take it as the sure sign of a con artist attempting by sheer force of will to sell me some defective product or service, or at the very least something I don’t need or want. Though I have to think it must work on some people or they wouldn’t bother to try it out on me.
George Bush is the hard-sell president. Think of him as the salesman that’s been sent out by large corporations to shake down average Americans. Because that’s exactly what he is. What he’s selling is always some version of a con job, and never anything that most America would actually want or need. Whether it’s selling a “Clear Skies Initiative” designed to gut pollution laws and make our air dirtier, or a “No Child Left Behind” initiative that ends up leaving more and more students behind, or a "Healthy Forests Initiative" designed to allow loggers to decimate our forests - or whether it’s selling a scheme to destroy Social Security Reform as if it was a reform measure to save Social Security. Whatever hard-selling Bush is selling, the thing to keep in mind and always remember is that what he’s selling is never what he’s really selling.
As with every con artist, Bush’s goal is to get your money into his pocket (and into the pockets of all his corrupt corporate pals), any way that he can, and before you realize what it is you’ve actually bought into. He doesn’t care about terrorism or Bin Laden or American lives - all he wants is your money. To that end, he’ll use any slick and dishonest words, try out any technique, and just keep hammering away until you either slam the door in his face or give in. Though even after you slam the door – as the public did with his Social Security privatization scheme – he’s still libel to keep ringing the doorbell in an attempt to wear you down. His crooked persistance is the measure of how little respect this particular corporate con artist has for his mark, ie the American people. It was never about what most Americans want or need, and it never will be.
The thing to remember with Bush is that it’s only and always about getting our money into his pocket, into Cheney’s pocket, and into the pockets of all his corporate bosses. Why did you think the deficit had exploded? He isn’t your pal or your drinking buddy - he’s a rich man from a rich family, and what they care about is money. He doesn’t give a damn about you or how many of your kids die in Iraq. I know that’s hard to accept, but it’s also hard to believe that there are people who rob little old ladies of their life savings. Yet there are. Plenty of them.
On that note, consider war in Iraq as a good example of a con job very similar to rope-a-dope schemes perpetrated against elderly retirees in Florida. What happens is that the mark is contacted by a crooked telemarketer, and told that she has just won some sort of drawing, cash award or prize. They tell her that all they need from her is say $25 – to cover the cost of shipping, handling, taxes – whatever. Then the money or prize will be hers. So the little old lady writes the check and sends in the money.
But that’s just the beginning of the con. Now that the mark has taken the bait, it’s time to start reeling her in. Other expenses and complications arise at an escalating rate, and soon the mark is sending in thousands of dollars. Q: Why doesn’t she stop? Why doesn’t she see it’s all a con? A: Because the con artist has developed a relationship of trust with his mark, and he keeps telling her that since she’s already invested so much money, it would be a crime and a waste to let it go now, when she is on the verge of getting her prize.
In the same way Bush baited the hook with lies about weapons of mass destruction. Rather than using greed as most telemarketers do, he used another powerful emotional hook - fear - and then proceeded to lie to the American people about the connection between Iraq and terrorists, suggesting that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat to our national security. This was only to get Congress and America to take the bait and set the hook by going along with the invasion of Iraq.
Afterwards, when it was discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction, Bush needed to change his rational for war, just like the dishonest telemarketer keeps on changing his story of why the old lady has to keep sending in money. So Bush changed his story and told the American people that freedom and democratization were now the reasons why the American people had to keep sending their children off to Iraq to die.
But now, with religious extremism and the escalating violence in Iraq verging on civil war, any real democracy seems less likely than ever. So just like the crooked telemarketer keeps reminding the old lady that she’s invested too much to give up, Bush is now telling Americans that they’ve invested too many lives in Iraq to pull out now. Stay the course – because to do any less would dishonor those who have already fallen. Same con – but on a vastly different scale.
Whether it’s throwing good money after bad or wasting more lives and money on Iraq’s bloody streets - the real reason is never what the con artist says it is. The real reason we are in Iraq is to put more money in the pockets of his crooked political and corporate allies. Your money.
Follow the money. Look at who’s benefiting from all the government contracts in Iraq. Look at how Dick Cheney’s Halliburton stock options rose 3,281% last year . Then look at how a Pentagon whistleblower was demoted for pointing out the impropriety of Halliburton’s no bid contracts. Look at the Republican congressmen who just resigned his seat for taking $2.4 million in bribes from a defense contractor. (If you think he’s the only one on the take, you’re living in a dream world.) Look at an audit that found that $9 billion dollars that was to be spent on reconstructing Iraq is simply missing, and Congress doesn’t even want to investigate. Finally, look at the greedy oil executives who recently stood before Congress and lied through their teeth by saying that they had never met with Dick Cheney’s secret energy task force in 2001. Because that's where this whole con started.
Bush may have used fear to set the hook, and he may be using pride and patriotism to keep us hooked in, but the Iraq occupation con is, was and will always be all about greed and oil and money. Until we realize that, we are no wiser than the little old lady. This con is all about putting your tax dollars and their oil in the pockets of a lot of corporate and political crooks. The real reason Bush will not set a date for withdrawal is that he intends to keep us in Iraq just as long as they keep making money over there, and not a day before then - and you can take that to the bank.
The only way out for the little old lady was to hang up the phone and call the police. The only way out of Iraq is to cut off the funding, pull out the troops, and start sending all the crooks to prison. Though we may eventually need to build several more federal prisons to hold them all. : )
The thing to remember the next time Bush calls is that however persistent he is at selling and re-packaging his biggest con ever, and however good he is at manipulating our fears or evoking our patriotism, the bottom line is that America’s invasion and occupation of Iraq will never really be about anything more than how to make an oily and blood-soaked buck. That will be just as true if 20,000 Americans are killed in Iraq, as it is today with 2,110 killed.
We can’t get their lives back, anymore than the old lady will get her life savings back, or we can get back our dead grandmothers. But we can stop the bleeding and begin the healing by sending these crooks to jail. Beyond that, we can try to make sure that this won’t happen in America again. If we do that much, and only then their lives will not have been spent in vain.