If you're looking for explanations, I suppose you could blame the blackout. The northeastern power grid had failed, and I was outside waiting in a long line for a hotel room at the Courtyard Marriott in Jamaica, New York. That's in Queens County, Long Island, just north of JFK Airport on the outskirts of New York City.
It was hot, sure. I was desperate for a glass of water, sure. But under the harsh focus of that afternoon's powerlessness, the little articles from that morning's New York Times didn't seem so much like unconnected little dots anymore, but something more like a pointillist portrait of a nation knocked off balance, stumbling into a barbed wire security fence.
Page one: In one of our recently acquired colonies: Afghanistan, 50 people were killed just yesterday in attacks by Al Quaida and Taliban fighters. This comes in spite of George W. Bush's declarations that the war in Afghanistan is long-over, the Taliban has been destroyed, and Al Quaida is on the run. It seems more that Al Quaida has run straight into the American government led by Hamid Karzai, and tipped it over. As for the hunt for Al Quaida leader Osama Bin Laden, American officials in Afghanistan admit that their resources have been diverted to the war in Iraq. Besides, they say, American forces have run out of places to look for Bin Laden.
In another new American colony, just on the other side of Iran, new dictator George W. Bush says that he's not going to bother getting United Nations help in establishing basic security and fundamental services such as running water and electricity, even though residents are rioting against American soldiers there because the crime rate is at an historic high and the lack of utilities has reduced residents to a medieval lifestyle. That's right, you guessed it, it's Iraq!
What's particularly galling to the people of this oil-rich nation is that they are suffering from gasoline shortages even as the American-led occupation government is pumping oil out of the country as fast as it can. The Americans, in compliance with an order from George W. Bush himself, are taking the profits from the exports of Iraqi oil, and using them to make huge payments to Halliburton, the giant corporation Dick Cheney led before he joined the Bush Administration.
Anger at the American occupation of Iraq results in many attacks against Americans, and usually at least one or two American fatalities every day. In spite of the chaos, George W. Bush has announced that the occupation of Iraq is "going well". We wonder what it would take for Dubya to admit to serious problems in Iraq.
Bush has generally refused to comment on the daily killings of American soldiers, and one official from the Bush Administration says that conditions in Iraq are "not dire". It is not known if the families of Richard Eaton, and Army Staff Seargent from Guilford, Connecticut; and Daniel Parker, a Private First Class from Lake Elsinore, California, agree with this assessment. The two American soldiers were killed in Iraq just yesterday.
The power may have gone off here in New York, but there's plenty of power flowing into George W. Bush's White House. As these soldiers die, Bush is holding multi-million dollar fundraising dinners where it costs thousands of dollars just to attend. President Bush, who dodged combat duty during the Vietnam War and ensured that his own children wouldn't go to fight in Iraq, is asking you to "support the troops" even as he sacrifices them in order to pump up the bottom line of his own re-election campaign.
As he struggles wildly to retain control over his new imperial territories, George W. Bush is reminding us more and more of the last man of his name to reign as a megalomaniacal ruler of America. Oh, the madness of King George!
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