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Is This An Election Year Or Something?

January 15th, 2004

Well, the election year strategy of the Bush administration is beginning to take shape. According to plans, the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq and elections in Afghanistan are to take place in the summer of 2004, conveniently timed to take place just a few months before the presidential election. Never mind the fact that the three-step schedule designed to end the occupation in name (if not substance) by the end of June is considered too aggressive considering the mess the country is still in. This is an election year, and just like in 2002 (“from a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August” –Bush Chief of Staff Andrew Card), the potential political gain outweighs other factors like national security and people’s lives. Kudos to Kennedy, by the way, for keeping up the effort to raise awareness of the truth in this area. And truth be told, Bush will not allow the occupation to flow into November, no matter what the cost.

Similarly, Bush has sought to pretty up his administration with the lofty goal of a new space program that will take us to Mars. After having spent hundreds of billions on the Iraq war and trillions of tax cuts for the rich, how much is he giving NASA to accomplish the goal? One billion dollars for the first year. One billion. At a time when Bush is proposing one and a half billion for a program that would train poor people to get married more. I am not joking, follow the link and see for yourself. The money would be spent on “advertising campaigns to publicize the value of marriage, instruction in marriage skills and mentoring programs that use married couples as role models.”

Note, by the way, that the NASA program will cost very little during a possible second Bush administration, but in later years, long after Bush would be gone, costs would soar into the tens of billions per year. This sounds very much (as one visitor to this site put it) like vaporware; something that costs little, sounds majestic, soaring and daring, and can be easily dropped for expediency when its political usefulness has passed. I have already heard commentators driveling about how this is a big risk for Bush, that he is showing courage in stating this goal. What claptrap. It is little more than cheap theatrics.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for a program to send us to Mars. For less than the cost of the wholly unnecessary Iraq war, we could have paid for the complete mission to the moon and Mars, and in so doing generated not only an amazing source of pride and wonder, but also massive amounts of new technology that could drive our economy into a new boom. What steams me as much as this is the fact that the space program is now being used as a political weapon by Bush with no real commitment to follow through. this could very well wind up hurting our space program far more than helping it.

Over the coming months, expect to see more along these lines as Bush & Co. prepare to put on the Greatest Show On Earth to razzle and dazzle the crowds into ignoring harsh reality and accepting a pleasing fantasy–perhaps the only ability that this administration truly has talent for.

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  1. January 17th, 2004 at 04:48 | #1

    What do you think about Japan sending troops to Iraq? It seems to me that Bush’s “war on terrorism” (a perpetual war) has encouraged the government of Japan to begin dismantling the “No-War” doctrine of its Constitution.

    It is a really admirable idea, to “renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.” The US needs such a clause in its Constitution. From reading about what’s going on right now, it seems that most people in Japan aren’t too happy about what’s going on.

    Apparently the Prime Minister is saying that “Japan will never earn what he calls an “honoured place” in the world if it refuses to risk the lives of its servicemen abroad.” What a shame that this monumental achievement of Japan could be torn down by power politics and militarism.


  2. Luis
    January 17th, 2004 at 05:36 | #2

    Actually, I don’t think the Koizumi administration needs encouragement, they’ve wanted to all along, and are just being opportunistic with the Iraq situation. Trying to establish a precedent and get the camel’s nose under the tent.

    I agree with you fully about the shame in tearing down Japan’s pacifist stance. Welcome to Bush’s world….

  3. politics
    February 19th, 2004 at 16:52 | #3


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