As 2003 begins, greed and violence are being glorified, romanticized and marketed by the U. S. power structure in a manner unparalleled in recent history. Not since the out-of-control acquisitiveness and martial madness of ancient Rome destroyed its arrogant empire has such material and military excessiveness so dominated a culture. The Bush administration's intentions to control much of the world's energy resources with military might and become the top cop to an unruly world are evident beneath the guise of economic globalization and the continuing "war against terrorism" and an "axis of evil".
More credible reports from reliable scientific authorities reveal that carbon dioxide omissions from overuse of fossil fuels is causing global warming, but U.S. television is jammed with ads that glamorize gas-guzzling SUVs and giant pick-up trucks. The SUVs entice adventure-seeking Americans to go on fantasy power trips across the rugged terrain of mountains and canyons while blue-collar guys in hulking trucks reap the longing looks of sexy young women.
The world's consummate consumers slowed down their profligate spending during the critical holiday season in America's shopping malls and even administration apologists admitted that war jitters are causing a problem for the economy.
The lagging U.S. equity markets and the entire economy were also damaged by corporate corruption governance scandals in 2002. They involved top administration officials who passed through the revolving door between U.S. corporations and top public policy making positions. The scandals included President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. Bush benefited personally as an official of Harken Energy and Cheney made millions as CEO of Halliburton Corporation, a giant in the energy/military arena, from questionable business deals.
The war hype is the ultimate distraction for Bush, Inc. and a White House memo recently revealed that the war on terrorism is the number one issue for Bush's re-election campaign in 2004. The media savvy war makers have worked with Hollywood to produce war movies and have pressured their corporate media buddies to produce administration friendly news/war talk shows.
Cashing in on the war effort, the media/entertainment industry has risen to new heights as vendors of violence with new war productions and incessant reruns of most every war movie and special in U.S. and world history along with a lot of killing and gratuitous violence in the ever popular action/adventure extravaganzas. They peddle violence in a good v. evil milieu to appeal to every age group from 8 to 80.
Recently, the military enlisted reporters from news organizations to go through boot camp at Ft. Benning, Georgia so the reporters can better survive in combat in Iraq under the protection of the U.S. military. Maybe this is how the truth can become a casualty of war.
Preying upon the politics of fear since the 9/11 attacks against the United States, the corporate war planners of Bush, Inc. have manipulated such foreboding to awaken latent anxieties of Americans against old adversaries in an "axis of evil". You don't have to be a marketing genius to sell a few generations of Americans on the idea that we have scores to settle with such evil old foes as North Korea, Iran and Iraq.
Remember the bloody, "forgotten war" against North Korea that ended in 1953 with the deaths of over 54,000 Americans but without a U.S. victory? Remember the humiliating U.S. hostage standoff with Iran in 1979-1981 when over 50 Americans were held for 444 days? And, many red-blooded Americans are still smarting at the failure of Bush I to "finish the job" on Iraq and Saddam Hussein in the Persian Gulf War in1991.
The cunning corporate war planners didn't need a focus group to tell them that the mere mention of North Korea, Iran and Iraq conjures up images of ill-will and evil in the minds of good Americans. Since we have shed so much blood and spent so much money in previous altercations with these members of the "axis of evil", we might as well settle our differences with these scoundrels once-and-for-all, as our chief fear-monger, George W. Bush, would say.
High Sheriff Bush, with his flinty gaze fixed on the vast oil reserves of Iraq, allowed that diplomacy, not force, was needed in dealing with nuclear armed North Korea before swaggering on into the coffee shop in Crawford, Texas for a New Year's Eve cheeseburger with some of his down-home hombres. The immediate military option is reserved for Iraq, even though Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said that we could whup 'um both at same time. No matter that North Korea could already have at least two deliverable nuclear warheads and has just expelled its U.N. weapons inspectors, while Iraq has no nuclear weapons and is cooperating with the U.N. weapons inspectors.
When questioned on New Year's Eve about the inevitability of war with Iraq, Bush replied to a reporter, "I'm the person who decides that, not you." Reminds me of a Caesar of Imperial Rome who contemplates world conquest as hoards of barbarians gather at the gates.