According to the White House, we’re not going to invade Iraq because of the oil. We’re not going to invade because Saddam Hussein has been less than forthcoming about destroying his weapons. We’re not going to invade to save the Middle East from tyranny. We’re going to invade because our President knows in his infallible “gut” that Saddam has to be taken out for the safety of the world.
That’s the message from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Damn our European “allies.” Damn the UN. Damn NATO–trust George Bush’s gut.
Damn tens of millions of protestors–trust George Bush’s gut.
Damn US Military Advisers and Republicans like Brent Scowcroft and Weapons Inspectors like Hans Blix–trust George Bush’s gut.
If we’re going to trust his gut, shouldn’t we perform some quick due diligence on just how accurate his gut has been in the past?
After bumbling through Yale, dodging service in Vietnam and getting Poppy to deep-six a drunk driving arrest, Dubya decided to try the oil business–a classic launching pad for wildcatters to make millions trusting their gut instincts.
Bush trusted his gut at four different companies–Arbusto, Bush Exploration, Spectrum 7 and Harken. Guess what? His gut failed him every single time. He failed to make a dime for his investors, drilled dry hole after dry hole, bumbled from collapse to catastrophe…and got rich in the process. How? Bush was always bailed out by his daddy’s pals, who obviously figured that, with his family connections, he might become useful.
As Governor, Bush’s gut told him that rapacious corporations would “self-regulate” themselves into responsible civic institutions. That’s how Houston became America’s smoggiest city in the calamity that became known as “Smokestack Texas.” His gut told him he didn’t need to apply for Federal funds to feed hungry schoolchildren, so Texas slid from 29th to 48th place in the list of “Best Places In America To Raise Kids.” His gut told him he had too many living citizens, so George barbecued 131 death row inmates (publicly chuckling about their deaths), despite documented tales of underpaid, incompetent defense attorneys sleeping through trials. His gut told him to cut taxes without cutting spending, and now Texas is as good as bankrupt.
As President, Bush’s fabled gut told him to ignore the warnings of the outgoing Clinton Administration to pay attention to this dangerous dude named Osama bin Laden. Nope, the Golden Gut of G.W. Bush told him that his Administration would ignore the rest of the world. Blow off the Kyoto Accords? Why not? They were ginned up by a lot of strange-talkin’ furriners. Let the Middle East Peace Process take care of itself. No foreign “adventures,” no “nation-building,” no pokin’ our nose where it doesn’t belong.
Then came September 11. Let history record that George Bush’s gut told him he wasn’t needed back at the White House on that day, looking straight into the camera eye, acting Churchillian, reassuring his terrified countrymen and telling Osama bin Laden that he couldn’t be intimidated. No, his gut told him to fly all over the country in Air Force One, and then put out a clumsy, self-serving lie that the presidential flying fortress had been “targeted by the terrorists.”
Bush’s gut told him the way to stimulate the economy was a colossal tax cut/giveaway to our wealthiest citizens. This threw a prosperous economy into recession, spooked the financial markets and turned a colossal surplus into a crushing deficit. What does Bush’s now-legendary gut tell him needs to be done? More tax cuts for his wealthy compatriots, of course, without any restraints on Republican (and Democratic) pork barrel spending. Doesn’t make any sense, does it? But that’s the thing about ignoring logic and “trusting your gut.” Logic doesn’t matter.
Quite a record. As far as I can tell, George’s gut has served him well in one way only–his choice of cynical advisers (Karen Hughes, Karl Rove, etc.) who always find a way to divert public attention from his failures by any means necessary, including blatant lies about Democrats and hysterical bi-weekly security alerts.
Now we’re preparing to invade a country in the middle of the most volatile “powder-keg” region on earth. We’re going to toss out our history of using military force only when provoked. We’re going to launch a “pre-emptive” invasion that violates two hundred-plus years of American history and culture. We’re on the verge of becoming a fundamentally different kind of nation–an aggressive, “go-it-alone” rogue state–based on Bush’s gut.
Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.