Chris Floyd: 'Inside joke: The wicked wit of the clown from Crawford'
Friday, June 17 @ 10:11:48 EDT
By Chris Floyd, Moscow Times
As we all know, President George W. Bush is the most morally upright individual ever to set foot in the White House: a sober, righteous man of God. Yet this very rectitude obscures the fact that he is also one of the great wits of our time, a subtle and sophisticated ironist who has turned the dull business of governance into a highly refined comedic art.
With Shavian brio, Bush sends up the bourgeois pretension that words have meanings and actions have consequences. His specialty is the ironic reversal, known by old-time vaudeville gagsters as the "Orwell Twist." For example, you take a man who concocts justifications for torture, kidnapping and the exaltation of presidential authority beyond the reach of law -- and you make him the chief law enforcement officer of the land! It might look easy, but try doing it with a straight face, the way Bush introduced his criminal accomplice Alberto Gonzales as the new Attorney General. It takes real talent to pull off that kind of deadpan.
Or how about this gem? You steal hundreds of millions of dollars from the public treasury to secretly prepare for a war you've been planning for many years; you tell your closest ally months in advance that the invasion is on, come hell or high water; you unleash a massive bombing campaign against the target months before the war; you deceitfully manufacture and massage evidence to build a bogus case for launching an unprovoked act of aggression against an opponent who has already met all your demands -- and then you tell the world that you only wanted peace! What yocks, eh? Not even Groucho Marx could match such comic subversion.
The list -- and the Twist -- goes on and on: fostering a "culture of life" through capital punishment, gulag murders and "extrajudicial killings" by presidential fiat; spreading "compassionate conservatism" by gutting aid for the poor, the sick, the weak and the old; naming corporate polluters as environmental guardians; promoting "democracy" by coddling despots; "fighting terrorism" by spawning more terrorists -- it's a comedy cornucopia!
But Bush's satiric masterpiece, equal to "Annie Hall," "The Philadelphia Story" or even "Herbie Goes Bananas," might well be his appointment of nuclear war advocates to oversee -- wait for it -- arms control! Ain't that a hoot? Looney-fringe types who oppose arms treaties, want to build more nukes and use them "pre-emptively," even in "non-nuclear combat scenarios," are put in charge of all the pacts and programs to control and eliminate nuclear weapons! Thus "arms control" becomes "Armageddon" in the wacky jargon of Bush-speak. We haven't seen this kind of witty wordplay since the old "Arbeit Macht Frei" gag that the Bush Family's business partners pulled at Auschwitz back in the day.
But we said Bush was subtle. Almost no one has noticed his June 1 appointment of Robert Joseph as the new undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs. Joseph takes the place of John Bolton, the warmongering blowhard and serial fabricator whom Bush has chosen to be the United States' walrus-moustachioed face to the world at the UN. (Yet another masterstroke of wit from the Maestro: Bolton is copiously on record as despising the UN.) Although Joseph is cut from grayer cloth -- while still sporting plenty of nasal foliage, which is obviously a requirement for this baggy-pants role -- he is probably even more dangerous than his tempestuous predecessor, as Tom Barry of the International Relations Center reports.
Joseph has been a key player in the "nuke 'em all and let God sort 'em out" school of international diplomacy since his early minioning days in the diseased bowels of the Reagan administration. He came into his own after the Crawford clown-master seized power in 2000, serving as a "special assistant" to the president, in charge of destroying the ABM treaty, that 30-year bulwark against nuclear conflict. He was also instrumental in fashioning Bush's maniacal "Nuclear Posture Review," which calls for the production of "low-yield, precision-guided nuclear weapons" that can actually be used in combat, or in "pre-emptive" strikes at, well, basically anybody the president decides might pose a vague threat against "American interests" somewhere down the line.
But increasing the risk of global nuclear annihilation isn't enough for jolly old Joseph; he also has a fondness for biological and chemical weapons. Along with nukes, they make up a Holy Trinity of WMD that "have substantial utility" in the "international environment," he writes. And he doesn't just want user-friendly WMD to be "a permanent feature" of life on earth; he's keen on militarizing the heavens as well -- pre-emptively and unilaterally, natch. And it goes without saying that he opposes any attempts to place limits on U.S. testing and deployment of mass-death weapons.
That's "arms control," Bush-style, for you: a perfect joke. Yet Joseph's merry pranks don't stop there; he was also responsible for pushing one of the many big lies -- sorry, funny stories -- in Bush's pre-invasion propaganda blitzkrieg: the pure hokum about Saddam's nonexistent search for African uranium to fuel his nonexistent nuclear program. As with so many others, Joseph's egregious intelligence "failure" has been rewarded with honors and promotion. Because of course it was no failure at all; it was a well-played pantomime, faithfully following the script of Bush's war-crimes comedy.
Lurking behind all this cynical katzenjammer is the grinning skull of the Bush death-cult: a mad but all-too-plausible dream of conquest, loot and unlimited dominion. For this dream, the cultists have already murdered countless thousands and are gambling with the very life of the world itself. With these comedians, the joke is always on us.
Arms Control and Proliferation
Profile of Robert G. Joseph
International Relations Center, June 2005
The Nuclear Posture Review: Reading Between the Lines
Common Dreams, Jan. 17, 2002
Bolton's Broken World
Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2005
The U.S. Removes the Nuclear Brakes
Haaretz, May 26, 2005
Gonzales and Torture
Gonzales: A Record of Injustice
American Progress, November 2004
A Secret Re-Writing of Military Law
New York Times, Oct. 24, 2004
Apologia Pro Tormento
Discourse.net, June 9, 2004
Loyal to a Fault?
Slate.com, Nov. 11, 2004
Memo Offered Justification for Torture
Washington Post, June 8, 2004
Justice Memos Explained How to Skip Prisoner Rights
New York Times, May 21, 2004
2001 Memo Reveals Push for Broader Presidential Powers
Newsweek, Dec. 18, 2004
Gonzales Excludes CIA from Rules on Prisoners
New York Times, Jan. 20, 2005
The Most Dangerous Lawyer in America
The Village Voice, Jan. 26, 2005
Two Amigos And Their Gulag Archipelago
TomPaine.com, May 12, 2005
Some Held at Guantanamo Are Minors, Lawyers Say
New York Times, June 13, 2005
War and Lies
The Downing Street Memo and Related Documents
Illegally Financing the WMD Hoax
Media Monitors, May 27, 2005
The Secret's Out – Now What?
Antiwar.com, June 15, 2004
Ministers Were Told of Need for Gulf War 'Excuse'
The Sunday Times (London), June 12, 1005
The Smoking Bullet in the Smoking Gun
Common Dreams, June 2, 2005
[US-UK] Bombing Raids Tried to Goad Saddam Into War
The Sunday Times, May 29, 2005
The Lies That Led to War
Salon.com, May 19, 2005
Bush Wanted to Invade Iraq if Elected in 2000, Says Family Biographer
Guerilla News, Oct. 27, 2004
British Military Chief Reveals New Legal Fears Over Iraq War
The Observer, May 1, 2005
MI6 Chief Told PM: Americans 'Fixed' Case for War
The Sunday Times, March 20, 2005
Ground Zero: The Anatomy of an Honest Mistake
Empire Burlesque, Jan. 30, 2004
The Culture of Life
CIA Kills in Pakistani Shadows
International Herald Tribune, May 16, 2005
CIA Takes on Major Military Role: 'We're Killing People!
Boston Globe, Jan. 20, 2002
Bush's Death Squads
Ratical.org, Jan. 31, 2002
Bush Has Widened Authority of CIA to Kill Terrorists
New York Times, Dec. 15, 2002
Special Ops Get OK to Initiate Its Own Missions
Washington Times, Jan. 8, 2003
Our Designated Killers
Village Voice, Feb. 14, 2003
A U.S. License to Kill
Village Voice, Feb. 21, 2003
U.S. General From Abu Ghraib Scandal Promoted
Stars and Stripes, March 15, 2005
Former Bush Official Questions Government 9/11 Story
The Washington Times, June 13, 2005
Cry Havoc: Bush's Own Personal Janjaweed
Empire Burlesque, Aug. 27, 2004
US Wants to Build Network of Friendly Militias to Fight Terrorism
AFP, August 15, 2004
Pentagon Plan for Global Anti-Terror Army
Sydney Morning Herald, Aug. 11, 2004
Into the Dark: The Pentagon Plan to Foment Terrorism
Empire Burlesque, Nov. 1, 2002
Darkness Visible: The Pentagon Plan to Foment Terrorism is Now in Operation
Empire Burlesque, Jan. 25, 2005
Retirement's Unravelling Safety Net
Washington Post, June 14, 2005
Millions Are Dying Because of American Policies
Los Angeles Times, June 12, 2005
The G8 Rescue Plan: A Truckload of Nonsense
The Guardian, June 14, 2005
Body Blow: Bush's Worldwide War Against Women
Empire Burlesque, Oct. 3, 2003
Tax Breaks for Rich Murderers
London Review of Books, June 2, 2005
Virginity or Death!
CBSnews.com, May 19, 2005
The Richest Are Leaving Even the Rich Far Behind
New York Times, June 5, 2005
US Opposed Calls at Nato to Probe Uzbek Killings
Washington Post, June 13, 2005
Catering to Kazakhstan's Kleptocracy
Antiwar.com, June 8, 2005
U.S. Helps Pakistan Torture U.S. Citizens
Human Rights Watch, May 24, 2005
Police in Azerbaijan Beat Protestors Demanding Liberty Before Pipeline Opening
Washington Post, May 22, 2005
Reports Cite US and Egypt on Torture
Reuters, May 10, 2005
Bush Family History
Heir to the Holocaust: Prescott Bush, $1.5 Million and Auschwitz
Clamor Magazine, May/June 2002
Bush and the Nazis
Newsweek Poland, May 29, 2003
Bush-Nazi Dealings Continued Until 1951: Federal Documents
New Hampshire Gazette, Nov. 7, 2003
Copyright © 2005 The Moscow Times.
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