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Bush and the Canadians

Let’s hear it for the senior Canadian official who mustered the guts to call Dubya a moron. Unfortunately, the Canadian who said this decided to remain anonymous. Of course, these days, speaking the truth and then remaining incognito may be the right thing to do — that is if you value your political career and earning potential. Plenty of Canadians are pissed off because the bully to the south keeps giving them a hard time about their paltry military spending. Forbid, the Canadians only spend 1.1 percent of their GDP on weapons of mass and other kinds of destruction.

Bush wants Canada and countries of likewise stature to spend more money on military hardware — especially if the hardware is manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the Carlyle Group (where Dubya’s daddy works), and other US death merchants. Dubya says the US is tired of carrying Canada’s weight. Lately, Paul Cellucci, the US ambassador to Canada, has resembled a broken record as he repeats the same mantra over and over — spend more on defense, spend more on defense, less on everything else and more on defense. Mr. Cellucci, however, has not told us what it is the Canadians need to defend themselves against. Nuclear submarines and B-1 bombers are not a very effective deterrent against the likes of Osama bin Laden. Or folks like the Taliban who happened to get in the way of an oil pipeline or two.

Canada’s head honcho, Jean Chr?tien, would really like to spend more on bullets and bombs. But the Canadian people are not interested in this — and Chr?tien knows it. Regardless, he insists on saying stupid things, more than likely to placate bellicose and — as many Canadians understand — mentally deranged Americans, especially those who steal elections. “The Americans always compliment when we participate with them,” the suck-up Chr?tien has declared. “When we were in Kosovo, we were the third country with the greatest number of sorties and we were complimented by everyone there by the effectiveness of our troops. We did the same thing in Bosnia. In Afghanistan, our troops did very well.” Except those troops, of course, killed by the so-called friendly fire of American pilots geeked on amphetamines.

Chr?tien’s foolish comments are demonstrative of something — the moron disease infecting Bush and the delirious neocons is either air-borne or simply rubs off when these folks meet and shake hands, which they invariably do when corporate media cameras are around.

Kosovo? Bosnia? Afghanistan? Chr?tien is apparently proud to be an accessory to mass murder and wanton destruction. Even so, he has decided to pump money from the federal surplus into social programs and infrastructure improvements for cities. Meanwhile, Canada’s Liberal MPs on the Commons defense committee are squawking like indignant ducks, telling the prime minister not to sacrifice Canada’s military to fund a social agenda. So what if a few thousand more babies end up malnourished as a result?

Since 1994, Canada has reduced defense spending by 23 per cent. It cut military personnel from 87,600 to 57,000 in 1990. Not too shabby, even with Chr?tien’s chest beating brag about how Canada helped the Americans kill Afghan wedding party guests and bomb commuter bridges at high noon in Kosovo. Chr?tien, like any shrewd politician, is playing both sides of the street.

It’s not easy for Chr?tien, though. He has to fight off tenacious military analysts, especially those from the Council on Canadian Security in the 21st Century and the Atlantic Institute. Canada will be unable to defend itself, these north of the border neocons prophesize, unless it increases spending immediately. Again, no explanation provided on what specifically Canada needs to protect itself against. CIA blowback spawned terrorists attacked New York, not Halifax. Maybe Greenland will invade, or Quebec will succeed? More than anything, it would seem, Canada’s military is suffering from a form of martial penis envy — the Americans have spanking new high-tech death toys, and the Canadians don’t. Sniff. It’s going to be a dismal Christmas.

Chr?tien’s opponents in Parliament snatched the unattributed “moron” comment and sprinted toward political high ground with opportunistic abandon. Said Jason Kenney of the opposition Canadian Alliance, “Sadly this is part of a consistent pattern of knee-jerk anti-Americanism coming from this government… does one good friend treat another by calling its leader a moron?” Well, Jason, if the shoe fits Dubya should wear it.

Naturally, Bush is not a moron — at least not in the clinical sense — but obviously he’s none too smart, not that intelligence was ever a job requirement for the US presidency. Bush Senior wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, nor was Gerald Ford. You don’t have to be a card-carrying member of Mensa to take orders from the plutocracy and titans of transnational industry. Besides, Dick Cheney is president, not Bush. Obvious facts hide out in the open.

Actually, there needs to be a shade more anti-Americanism emanating from foreign capitals, especially when Americans begin clacking about going it alone, using long-standing international treaties to line the bottom of bird cages, and threatening to bomb impoverished third world nations because Bush and the neocons disapprove of their leaders or how they use their natural resources. Is it not essentially moronic to frame complex international issues with hackneyed and puerile clich?s — “We’re gonna hunt ’em down, smoke ’em out, and then git ’em”?

How does America expect the world to take it seriously when it elects — er, excuse, has appointed — a president who can do no better than blather inane and jingoistic cowboy slang — or ask stupid and embarrassing questions of foreign leaders? For instance, Dubya asking Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, “Do you have blacks, too?” Cardoso, obviously possessing more tact and nous than Bush will have in a century of Sundays, responded politely that Dubya was still in his “learning phase.”

Learning phase or no, Bush is the worst US president in modern history.

Remarkably, Canadian politicians seem to understand this better than spineless and tremulous American Democrats do.

KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He can be reached at: nimmo@zianet.com

 

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KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/ . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books. He can be reached at: nimmo@zianet.com

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