Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
GOD SAVE HRC, FROM REALITY — Jeffrey St. Clair on Hillary Clinton’s miraculous rags-to-riches method of financial success; LA CONFIDENTIAL: Lee Ballinger on race, violence and inequality in Los Angeles; PAPER DRAGON: Peter Lee on China’s military; THE BATTLE OVER PAT TILLMAN: David Hoelscher provides a 10 year retrospective on the changing legacy of Pat Tillman; MY BROTHER AND THE SPACE PROGRAM: Paul Krassner on the FBI and rocket science. PLUS: Mike Whitney on how the Central Bank feeds state capitalism; JoAnn Wypijewski on what’s crazier than Bowe Bergdahl?; Kristin Kolb on guns and the American psyche; Chris Floyd on the Terror War’s disastrous course.
The Lost Ur-Version Bush's Second Inaugural Address

Bush’s Second Inaugural Address

by WILLIAM A. COOK

[Note on the text:

While roaming the Internet, looking for a map that would guide me around Washington D.C. during the Inaugural festivities, I came upon a blog that had the following version of the PresidentÅfs Inaugural Address, a version prepared apparently for delivery to the Skull and Bones Society and invited guests who were major donors to the Bush campaign; delivery took place after the January 20th Inauguration where a shorter revised version was presented to the American people. A careful reading of this document, found apparently in the garbage cans outside the Skull and Bones edifice, will attest to its faithfulness to the version delivered before the cameras on Inaugural day, but reveals as well some disturbing variations. I thought your readers might find it of interest if not of curiosity.

Respectfully, WILLIAM A. COOK]

On this day, prescribed by law, as is true of the oath of office that I took the liberty to change, and marked by ceremony costing 40 million dollars provided by corporations that seek access to the President beyond that provided to ordinary citizens, we celebrate the durable wisdom of our Constitution, and recall the deep commitments that unite our country, providing we forget the 79 years of slavery and 181 years of segregation that seemed divisive at the time. I am grateful for the honor of this hour, mindful of the consequential times in which we live, and determined to fulfill the oath that I have sworn and you have witnessed, an oath that requires that I uphold the principles upon which this nation was founded, principles that unfortunately embraced a secular state providing only a tolerance of religions and not, as I espouse, a Christian theocracy, principles that respect the rights of individuals to determine their own beliefs and governments not ones imposed by this nation, a decided flaw in the thinking of our founders, and principles that provide for freedom of speech and assembly among others, all of which pose a threat to a government that must control these freedoms if we are to control those who think differently from us.

At this second gathering, our duties are defined not by the words I use, words that have been made fun of by my enemies thus casting aspersions on the Presidency itself, but by the history we have seen together which, as all of you now know, will mean more lies and deception, more illegal wars, more amoral destruction of innocent human life, and more corruption fostered in league with corporations that are profiting from our war efforts and computer companies that provide us with voting machines. For a half century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders, including the Mexican border in 1846 when we fabricated a Mexican attack on our nation in order to expand "freedom and democracy" to the land we stole from Mexico, or when we falsely accused Spain of blowing up the Maine giving us an excuse to create Guantanamo which, you’ve noticed, is still in use ensuring freedom and democracy, or when we lied about the attack in the Gulf of Tonkin to prevent our enemies from gaining control over the oil in that region while safeguarding freedom and democracy for those who supported our efforts there, or, for that matter, when I lied about Iraq having WMD and a connection to 9/11 as a means to bring freedom and democracy to the mid-east in the same fashion as Israel has brought freedom and democracy to the Palestinians. After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet when we had no visible enemy to keep the coffers of our military industrial complex humming, years of repose, years of sabbatical that required, obviously, the creation of an enemy to give purpose to our government and a false reason for our citizens to rally around the President – and then there came a day of fire which provided the excuse for the creation of an unending war, a war with no visible enemy, no specific state or nation, a ghost-like mirage, a war against an illusion that threatened America, a war against "Terror" without addressing causes for that terror, only filling our people with constant fear the better to ensure their freedom and democracy.

We have seen our vulnerability and we have done our best to hide it through our lies and deception by ignoring the causes for unrest against the United States – and we have seen its deepest source, which we will never admit, the extravagant abuse of natural resources and exploitation of peoples around the world by this nationÅfs corporations allowing our 5% of the world’s population to wantonly waste the limited resources that should be shared by all nations. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment because we use 40% to 60% of the world’s resources and do nothing to alter that reality, thus allowing the US to create cooperative dictators who tyrannize their people on our behalf – tyrants prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder like those we support in Saudi Arabia and Israel – violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat to our corporate interests that keep politicians like me in power. There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom asserted by the people as they move toward revolution against our corporate government and replace it with a people’s government, a threat we obviously cannot tolerate.

We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion:The survival of our corporate liberty in this land increasingly depends on our success in planting more and more US affiliated dictators of our brand of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our corporate world is the expansion of Capitalistic freedom, meaning privatization of all state resources in all countries so that they can become the property of a few of us controlled through the IMF and the WBO, as we’ve done through the exertions of Paul Bremer in Iraq, and hope to achieve in Iran, North Korea, and Syria in the next four years.

America’s vital interests, the continued expansion of our corporate power and the continued belief by the people that outsourcing of their jobs is in their best interests, are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth, and we have successfully imposed that illusion on them with the unrelenting support of the myth makers on TV and those in the pulpits of all the Zionist evangelical churches who predict the coming of Armageddon.

Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government while denying it to women for 135 years, and we have declared that no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave as we proved by fighting each other in a savage civil war in a vain effort to keep that institution in place in Texas and throughout the red neck states, and they still believe they govern themselves. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation and allowed us to ethnically cleanse the Native Americans from their lands, steal northern Mexico from its rightful owners, and provide us with precedent for invading Iraq and occupying its land in the name of freedom and democracy. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers, an achievement I intend to expand upon in the coming years. Now it is the urgent requirement of our corporations’ security to have our people believe that the poverty stricken nation of Iraq was a threat to us even though they had nothing to do with 9/11, had no weapons of mass destruction, and posed no threat to the US thus providing an opportunity for America to safeguard Israel and control the energy sources in Iraq and its neighbors for our own purposes; it is the calling of our time.

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of global Capitalism and institutions sympathetic to our interests in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending true democracy to ensure that corporate beneficence and wisdom controls the world.

This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend our corporate investments and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Capitalistic freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens molded to the purpose, and sustained by the rule of law, which we write and legislate, pretending that all are protected including minorities, indeed, all peoples of color. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own, and this we must guard against lest the founding principles of this nation be reasserted and turn the people against us who rule. America will not impose its own style of government on the unwilling, but we in corporate America must impose our will on all nations. Our goal then is to mold the voices of the people to express our voice, to attain our understanding of freedom, and make them believe they have it their way.

The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations that creates an illusion that it is opposed to it when in fact it creates the means for tyranny to exist. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it. America’s influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America’s influence is considerable, and we will abuse it confidently in Capitalistic freedom’s cause.

My most solemn duty is to protect the corporations that control this nation and their people against further attacks and emerging threats. Some have unwisely chosen to test my resolve, and have found it firm in supporting those who support me and my administration.

We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, unless done by this administration, and freedom, which is eternally right, but hazardous to Capitalistic enterprise, and, therefore, must be suppressed. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, recognizing how difficult this is when we have unpatriotic Americans releasing photos of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, when Human Rights organizations show what our corporations allow in the sweat shops of Mexico, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and China, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies, knowing that we cannot keep the lid on our atrocities in places like Fallujah.

We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require absolute control of their people so that our investments can be stabilized and protected. America’s belief in human dignity will guide our policies on paper and through our talking heads on TV regardless of how we behave in reality, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators, they must be fabricated so that they are believable; they are secured by apparent dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom as we and our Israeli allies demonstrate in our extrajudicial killings, and there can be no belief in human rights without a controlled press to make it so.

Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty, especially the kind that we offer to the world – though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of Capitalistic freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt, at least if we overlook the exploitation of the poor, the failure of our privately owned health systems, and the infliction of the worst civilian death toll in the history of the planet. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals. Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it, and this, my friends, is our only true threat in the near future.

Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world: All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors, we will take their place or put those who cooperate with us in place as we have done in Iraq and Palestine. When you stand for our liberty, we will stand with you.

Capitalistic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country under the military protection of the US.

The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it." ItÅfs comforting to know that Abe was talking about slavery in America, not about the kind of economic slavery we impose around the world. And since we are on a mission from God, His justice allows us to impose this kind of slavery as part of His prophecy.

The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know as we do: To serve your people you must learn to mold them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.

And all the corporate allies of the United States can know: we honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help. Division among free Capitalistic nations is a primary goal of freedom’s enemies. The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our corporate defeat.

Today, I also speak anew to my fellow citizens: From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task of securing America, which you have granted in good measure. Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon and detrimental to our corporate goals. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom because we have said itÅfs so, as witness the free Afghans, Iraqis, and Palestinians. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well – a fire in the minds of men. It warms those of us who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this controlled fire of Capitalistic freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.

A few Americans have accepted the hardest duties in this cause – in the secret work of intelligence and diplomacy …the amoral work of helping raise up free governments … the dangerous and necessary work of fighting our enemies. Some have shown their devotion to our country in deaths that honored their whole lives – and we will always honor their names and their sacrifice.

All Americans have witnessed this idealism, and some for the first time. I ask our youngest citizens to believe the evidence not of your eyes, that told you the Iraqis would welcome your efforts with flowers strewn in the streets when in fact they want you out of their land, but to believe in the words of your President that you are liberators making safe the path of Capitalism that will provide the bread of Heaven in this life. You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and evil, not courage, triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself – and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, certainly not to your own wealth as soldiers fighting on behalf of our corporations, but to its consumer based character.

America has need of idealism and courage, because we have need of unthinking robots to bear our weapons – the unfinished work of American free enterprise. In a world moving toward Capitalistic liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of selfishness and consumer pride.

In America’s ideal of freedom, citizens find dignity and security in economic credit dependence, instead of laboring on the edge of subsistence as a quarter of our population does this very day . This is not the broader definition of liberty that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and the G.I. Bill of Rights. It is new and now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time. To give every American a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will bring the highest standards to our schools forcing the poorest out, and build an ownership society for the few at the expense of the many. We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance – preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society where greedy financial planners can hold out the promise of great wealth while they steal the meager savings of the uninitiated. By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will make our fellow Americans victims of predators that will cheat them of economic freedom leaving them in want and fear, while making the "haves" more prosperous and just and equal.

In America’s ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character – on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self. That can be detrimental to our ends. That edifice of character is built in families (which we have effectively destroyed by forcing both parents to work in order to survive), supported by communities with standards (which we have effectively destroyed by creating divided communities), and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai (which we exploit in the products we produce that lure our people into sin), the Sermon on the Mount (which we have downgraded since it encourages socialistic programs), the words of the Koran (which we do not believe), and the varied faiths of our people (which we do not tolerate). Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before, blind to the reality that created a holocaust of Native Americans, the enslavement of 1/5th of our population, discrimination against women, acceptance of poverty, and, worse yet, acceptance of civilian death as a "product" of war – ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever as we continue to feast on these idealistic, yet totally illusion based beliefs.

In America’s ideal of freedom, the exercise of rights is ennobled by service, and mercy, and a heart for the weak. Liberty for all does not mean independence from one another. Our nation relies on men and women who look after a neighbor and surround the lost with love. Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another, and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth. And our country must abandon all the habits of racism, because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time. We must encourage these ideals so that it appears that we want to help, but discourage the belief that it is governmentÅfs responsibility to cure them. Belief in the individual, belief in an ownership society means "take care of yourself," donÅft be a burden on others. If we are to be strong, the weak must be weeded out.

From the perspective of a single day, including this day of dedication, the issues and questions before our country are many. From the viewpoint of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause? We need only look at our "democratically" imposed dictator in Afghanistan, our puppet in Iraq, our newly elected (with the help of Israeli controlled checkpoints and walls) obsequious servant to Sharon, the duly elected Palestinian replacement for Arafat, our cooperative leaders in Jordan and Egypt, to know that we have controlled the Åeadvance of freedom," our kind of freedom with the type of characters that will ensure the spread of free markets to better the condition of all peoples to answer that question positively.These questions that judge us also unite us, because Americans of every party and background, Americans by choice and by birth, are bound to one another in the cause of freedom as we let them define it. We have known divisions, which must be healed to move forward in great purposes – and I will strive in good faith to heal them which will require your support in money and control of the media. Yet those divisions do not define America. We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart. We, the chosen few, must determine how that heart beats, and we must determine what unity and pride means in America – what is good and what is evil – and who are the victims to be given hope, and who will encounter our extrajudicial justice, and who will be set free.

We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of Capitalistic freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation but because we are the chosen that moves and chooses. We have confidence because our freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner "Freedom Now" – they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled. We canÅft let that hope rise again or it will threaten our cause and all we have worked for. History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty, and that is fine as long as we determine what that liberty is and who that Author is..

When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, "It rang as if it meant something." In our time it means something still. We on behalf of America, in this young century, proclaim Capitalistic liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength – tested, but not weary – we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.

May God bless you, and may He watch over our United States of America.

William Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His new book, Psalms for the 21st Century, was published by Mellen Press. He can be reached at: cookb@ULV.EDU