Sunday, September 04, 2005

End Impunity for BFEE

Ending the Impunity of the Bush White House

By Norman Solomon <>, AlterNet
<>. Posted September 2, 2005

The Bush Administration's policies continue to kill with impunity. Tools
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Also by Norman Solomon

Guard Belongs in New Orleans, Not Baghdad
Bring the National Guard home now, where they're needed.
Aug 31, 2005

Building Agendas for War <>
In a recent talk, author and media critic Norman Solomon laid out the
many ways in which the media helps the government push our country into war.
Aug 23, 2005

Bush's Option to Escalate the War in Iraq
George W. Bush and his top aides seem to believe in red-white-and-blue
violence with a fervor akin to religiosity.
Aug 24, 2005

More stories by Norman Solomon <>

The man in the Oval Office is fond of condemning "killers." But his
administration continues to kill with impunity.

"They can go into Iraq and do this and do that," Martha Madden, former
secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, said
Thursday, "but they can't drop some food on Canal Street in New Orleans,
Louisiana, right now? It's just mind-boggling."

The policies are matters of priorities. And the priorities of the Bush
White House are clear. For killing in Iraq, they spare no expense. For
protecting and sustaining life, the cupboards go bare.

The problem is not incompetence. It's inhumanity, cruelty and greed.

Media outlets have popularized some tactical critiques of U.S. military
operations in Iraq. But the administration is competent enough to keep
the military-industrial complex humming. It's good at generating huge
profits for "defense" contractors, oil companies and the like. First
things first, and first things last.

Why shore up levees when the precious money it would take can be better
used for war in Iraq? Why allow National Guard units to remain home when
they can be useful, killing and being killed, in a faraway war based on

And when catastrophe hits people close to home, why should the president
respond with urgency or adequacy if their lives don't figure as truly
important in his political calculus?

It's time to end the impunity of President George W. Bush.

Of course he doesn't pull the triggers, drop the bombs or oversee the
torture himself. And he avoids the dying that he has facilitated in the
wake of the hurricane. White-collar criminals -- in this case,
white-collar war criminals -- rarely get close to their dirtiest work.

Every minute has counted in the wake of the hurricane. While dawdling
and compounding the massive tragedy, Bush wants to shift responsibility.
We should stop and think about why he noisily rattled a big tin cup
midway through the week.

While the death toll rises in New Orleans and criticisms of his inaction
grow more outraged across the country, the man wants us to think about
making a charitable contribution, not taking political action. But
George Bush and Dick Cheney must not be let off the hook.

There is something egregiously obscene about the people in charge of the
U.S. government telling citizens to donate money for a hurricane relief
effort while the administration, from the president on down, has
viciously abdicated its most basic responsibilities.

For the activities it views as really important, like the war on Iraq,
the Bush White House hardly requires private contributions while
siphoning off vast quantities of taxpayer funds. But when the task is to
save lives instead of destroying them, kids are supposed to bust open
their piggy banks.

"True compassion," Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out, "is more than
flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which
produces beggars needs restructuring." He accused the federal government
of demonstrating "hostility to the poor" -- appropriating "military
funds with alacrity and generosity" but providing "poverty funds with
miserliness." Four decades later, de facto hostility to the poor remains
government policy, and its results include widespread deaths in New
Orleans that could have been prevented.

Respect must be paid, and justice must be created. The dead cannot be
brought back; the suffering of recent days can't be undone. But it's up
to us to create maximum pressure for a truly adequate rescue effort --
and to organize effectively while demanding political accountability.
That means depriving Bush, Cheney and their congressional allies of the
power they ruthlessly enjoy. And that means ending their impunity, so
that truth has consequences.

Norman Solomon is the author of the new book, "War Made Easy
<>: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning
Us to Death."


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