The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

A Fable:
“The State of the Union,” according to Bush

Feb 4, 2002

Bush proclaimed: “My budget supports three great goals for America: We will win this war, we will protect our homeland and we will revive our economy.”

What does it mean – to “win this war” and to “protect our homeland”? According to the script from which Bush read, it means more money going into military spending. The figure floating around Washington last week was two-and-a-quarter trillion dollars to be spent over the next five years. Of course, this figure isn’t yet official. It’s only the figures put out this week by – guess who – the military goods industry. But they should know, since they are the main beneficiaries of military spending.

Bush tries to tell us that this vast increase in military spending is needed to win the war on terrorism. No, it’s designed to provide more profit to the big corporations. Period. We shouldn’t forget that almost all the top 500 corporations get an important part of their profits either directly or indirectly from the U.S. military budget.

More money going to the corporations can only mean less money for unemployment benefits, medicaid, workers compensation and other social programs; less spending on roads and other public services; less money for education. Bush doesn’t admit this. He doesn’t have to. The figures say it all.

“Reviving the economy,” in Bush’s contorted language, means to reduce “restrictions” on business – that is, all those OSHA regulations, which occasionally prevent companies from massacring their workers; all those financial regulations, which make it a tiny bit harder for big companies to hide financial frauds and dirty dealing; all those environmental restrictions, which prevent the big oil companies from polluting every last bit of wilderness left in the country.

Bush asks us to believe that his policies are defending our interests.

No, they are not.

The fiasco in Afghanistan – which Bush actually dared call the “liberation of Afghanistan” – shows exactly what his so-called war on terrorism means. It has only made the situation worse for the Afghan population, a desperately poor people who had already been devastated by decades of wars and by the Taliban regime. Those people now find themselves caught in the midst of new gang wars carried out by the warlords the U.S. helped arm and set loose, including many parts of the Taliban who came over to them.

Nor has this war on Afghanistan prevented the growth of terrorist networks – just the opposite. The spectacle of the mighty U.S. using “advanced weapons of mass destruction” on a devastated country can only create a larger reservoir of young people ready to carry out suicide attacks – eager to take revenge against a country that can only appear to others around the world as a vicious bully.

None of this is in our interest. Not this despicable war. Not the sacrifices he is trying to impose on the working population. And certainly not the flag-waving and patriotic sermons behind which Bush hides his face.