Thursday, January 11, 2007

The U.S. System is Failing

I remember when Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal, that Americans of all stripes congratulated themselves and declared, "the system works." Well, now it's the twenty-first century and quite apparent to the whole world that the system does not work.

There is no mechanism to fire an incompetent head of state nor to pass a vote of non-confidence that results in the fall of an incompetent administration. In most of the countries with parliamentary or modified parliamentary systems, there would have been a regime change in Washington before now. In a perfect system it would have been before 2003.

The system has failed twice in placing George W Bush in an absolute position where his stupidity cannot be controlled. The first was in electing him at all.

Now to be fair to the US founding fathers, they could not foresee the deep seated and frighteningly effective brainwashing possible when almost all the media is controlled by one power hungry oligarchy. Most Americans accept having all of their news fed to them by commercial media – particularly TV – owned and controlled by the same corporate interests who buy the politicians with their campaign funding. If you doubt me, take a look at how short a time it took for everyone outside the US to recognise the extent of the disaster Bush's war in Iraq has been – and how long it took honest Americans to reach the same understanding.

I don't believe the thinking public outside the US is necessarily any smarter than those inside. The difference is in the quality of the information they have received. The ultra-right has long attributed propaganda only to government operated newspapers, radio, and TV. Now the extent of that lie is clear for anyone to see. The propaganda perpetrated today by the rightist media in the States is every bit as bad as Soviet propaganda during the Cold War or Joseph Goebbel's lies of the Second World War. In intent if not in rhetoric.

Bush's ‘new strategy' for Iraq would be hilariously funny, if it did not mean more tragedy for everyone involved. When you're in a hole, you have to be really really stupid to dig yourself deeper. But Bush's intent is clear, and has been pointed out by many commentators. He hopes to keep the lid on until the end of his presidency – in the hope that history will blame his successor for the defeat. I don't think history will be that stupid. No one blamed Gerald Ford for Viet Nam.

While the situation in Iraq is as hopeless as all the commentators I was reading – back before March 2003 – were predicting it would become, it surely isn't insoluble. The problem is, that nothing can be done as long as the cold hand of the present regime is on the tiller in Washington. Without the men in white coats coming to take Bush and Cheney away, the worst outcome is entirely possible. When the Saudis and Iranians move into the civil war instead of only their proxies, and the US Army is cut off in its strongholds with its supply routes cut by outright warfare, it will be too late to change the policy.


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