Blinded: the Burning Bush
Here's the Bushwhacked administration in miniature: it's a very hot summer in most of the U.S., including Virginia near Washington, D.C. It's in the mid 80s in the morning and the high 90s in the afternoon, with constant high humidity. But it's summer, so the Boy Scouts go camping. They have a huge Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Bowling Green, Virginia., an hour south of the White House.
You'd expect Boy Scouts to raise their own tents, supervised by scoutmasters. But the modern Boy Scouts, like the modern Army, apparently also relies these days on outside contractors. On Monday, with the help of their professional mercenaries, several scout leaders tried to erect tents under power lines. Apparently they hadn't read the scout warning against doing that. Four were electrocuted. Two had sons attending the jamboree.
A memorial service was scheduled for Wednesday, and for some unexplained reason, President Bush decided to attend. Perhaps he was in dire need of a merit badge, or he just wanted an excuse to wear another uniform he hadn't earned.
So instead of quietly---and quickly---honoring the fallen leaders and comforting their fellow scouts, thousands of Boy Scouts from all over the country stood in the ferocious heat waiting for the President.
Perhaps the President didn't believe in the heat. After all, he doesn't believe in global heating, so he was probably waiting for further research on the heat an hour away from his air-conditioned office. Or maybe one of his aides deftly changed "upper 90s" to "lower 70s."
So the boys waited, and waited, and drank lots of water, and waited. And then they started dropping. Like flies. Or like Boy Scouts somebody should have told to get out of the heat.
The Associated Press estimates that 300 got sick. Some were taken away in stretchers. Some were actually airlifted to hospitals.
Then the Jamboree was hit with a violent thunderstorm and high winds. The helicopters couldn't airlift any more Scouts, and the base hospital apparently couldn't handle any more, so ambulances drove them to hospitals through the driving rain.
As for the President, he may not believe in global heating but he apparently believes in thunderstorms. His visit was cancelled because of the storm and wind.
This was on a day that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was in a heavily fortified U.S. base in Iraq, urging the Iraqis to get with the program, perhaps even write a constitution that (contrary to the draft published in their newspapers) doesn't create an Islamic state, limit women's rights more than Saddam did, and---worst of all---splits up the oil rights.
Through leaks and innuendo, the Bushwhackers seem to be trying to quell restive calls both there and here for an end to the occupation by suggesting the U.S. is engaging in a slow and unspoken withdrawal. Bob Herbert in the New York Times is having none of that.
"The Bush administration has no plans to bring the troops home from this misguided war, which has taken a fearful toll in lives and injuries while at the same time weakening the military, damaging the international reputation of the United States, serving as a world-class recruiting tool for terrorist groups and blowing a hole the size of Baghdad in Washington's budget," he writes.
American G.I.'s are dug into Iraq, and the bases have been built for a long stay. The war may be going badly, but the primary consideration is that there is still a tremendous amount of oil at stake, the second-largest reserves on the planet. And neocon fantasies aside, the global competition for the planet's finite oil reserves intensifies by the hour.
There is no real withdrawal plan," he concludes. "The fighting and the dying will continue indefinitely."
Let them stand out in the sun, because G.W. doesn't believe the Iraq war is a debacle and a quagmire. It, like the whole climate crisis thing, is all about the oil, and oil blinds. Besides, he is safe in his air-conditioned office, and his helicopter will not fly where the bullets do.
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