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by RIP RENSE

Riposte

WAVE THAT FLAG
(July 3, 2003)

"We're all confused
To watch the news
You can call this song
The United States blues. . .
Wave that flag, wave it wide and high. . ."

---Grateful Dead

        
Flags, flags, flags. Heavens to Betsy Ross! Waving from SUV's the size of the Statue of Liberty, hanging (usually incorrectly) from condo balconies, drooping from freshly implanted poles in front lawns, tacked vulgarly behind every huckster televangelist who advocates killing in the name of Jay-zuhs. . .
        After 9/11, the country broke out in a red-white-and-blue rash---my NUV (No Utility Vehicle) included. After the appropriate period of solidarity and mourning, the flapping flagged. But not for long. While selling citizens on the $90 billion (so far) Iraq attack, the Prez exploited Old Glory like a corporate logo, and many a well-intentioned customer bought the product.
        I haven't seen so many stars and stripes since I was accidentally whupped upside the head with a baseball bat in the 8th grade. What's red and white and blue all over? Damn near everything.
        And on this Fourth of July, citizens everywhere will stuff down slightly burned nitrite-laden tubular concotions of artificially colored and flavored pig body scraps, suck down millions of tons of corn syrup-sweetened carbonated artificially flavored liquid, swill millions of gallons of real lousy beer, whoop and holler to lots of real lousy music, unleash a colossal crepidatious assault on the ozone layer that will give cows a run for their money, and. . .
        Wave those flags. Boy, will they ever wave those flags.
       And there are so many reasons to wave them, aren't there? Here are a few, for those patriots who might need a little extra encouragement:
        Two-hundred U.S. soldiers have been murdered in Iraq since Bush declared the fighting ended. Some have been kidnapped and executed. Shiite leaders (the majority population in Iraq) have called for the U.S. to get out. Incredibly, Bush just issued a Rambo-like challenge to the assassins, and I quote: "bring them on." Yes, this will go a long way toward encouraging peace, deterring terrorism, and increasing safety of the troops.
        Wave that flag!
        What's the solution to all the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq? Why, hire mercenaries to get killed instead! Yes, the U.S. is paying $250 million in taxpayer dollars to Poland, Ukraine, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and the Dominican Republic (so far) to send their soldiers to Iraq.
        Wave that flag!
        Credible independent estimates put Iraqi bystander deaths at between 5,000 and 10,000---not to mention the maimed, blinded, and burned (including kiddies.) How many died in 9/11? Somewhere over 3,000?
        Wave that flag!
        Prior to the Iraq attack, The Prez Corps---Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice---crowed that the Iraqi people (and possibly the majority of the Iraqi military) would welcome U.S. troops with opened arms. What's more, the transformation of Iraq into a democracy would be accomplished efficiently, with power being transferred to free Iraqis in short order. Instead, the U.S. is now a widely resented occupying force, with a de facto viceroy (L. Paul Bremer III.)
        Wave that flag!
        There is no timetable for turning power over to the Iraqi people (who show no evidence of being able to handle democracy.) Even Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi expatriate who pushed the Bush administration to invade, claims the U.S. is alienating all Iraqis. Yet last week, Conddooleezzzza Rice noted, like a patronizing schoolmarm, "democracy is not a one-size-fits-all affair," and Bush now says the occupation is long-term.
        Wave that flag!
        Prior to the Iraq attack, The Prez Corps used a forged and famously discredited document, and a graduate student term paper to back up claims that Saddam Hussein was ready to deploy chemical and biological weapons in mass quantity. (This is all well documented, dear readers, hardly wild-eyed leftist ranting.)
        Wave that flag!
         The Prez  Corps claimed the Sad-Man was on the brink of a major nuclear---or nook-you-luhr, as Bush prefers--- weapons program. It is now apparent to every partially sentient being that this was all fiction. If the Prez Corps didn't realize it---then all should resign on the basis of sheer incompetence. If President Cheney and his cohorts deliberately lied, which is not really an "if," they should be impeached and removed from office.
        Wave that flag!
        First the Iraq attack was about weapons of mass destruction, then it was about liberating the Iraqi people from an "evil dictator." Yet no WMD have been found, and for that matter, neither has the evil dictator.
        Wave that flag!
        If the U.S. is in the business of removing evil dictators, and acting as the moral cop of Planet Earth (something traditionally rejected by Republicans), then why not invade Myanmar? North Korea (which has the added bonus of real nuclear weapons, and missiles!)? Half the countries in Africa?
        Wave that flag!
        In Liberia, a nation founded by freed slaves using U.S. aid, fine people have long been killing and eating thousands of men, women, and babies. Even the "evil one," Saddam, had better taste in horror than this. Of course, Liberia has no oil and offers no strategic advantage in the Middle East, so the Bush administration hasn't felt any urgency about sending troops in to "liberate the Liberian people."
        Wave that flag!
        Uncle Sam essentially put Saddam the Evildoer in power and did business with him for many years, knowing full well he had chemical weapons (whether he used them on the Kurds, or whether they were gassed by Iran, or accidentally during the Iran-Iraq war, remains unclear.) How did Uncle Sam know that Saddam had chemical weapons?, Because said material was obtained from. . .U.S. and British corporations.
        Wave that flag!
        After repeatedly denying the Iraq attack had anything to do with oil, deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz admitted that the Iraq attack. . .had a lot to do with oil. Why did we not instead attack the "pygmy" (as Bush called him) who has actual nuclear weapons---Kim Jong Il of North Korea? Herrrrrrrre's. . .Wolfowitz! "Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq," he said, "is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil."
        Wave that flag!
        When the cowering mainstream U.S. press finally followed the lead of the BBC and European news agencies in noting  that uh, gee whiz, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, Bush lashed out, saying "Now there are some who would like to rewrite history; revisionist historians is what I like to call them." I like to call them reporters.
        Wave that flag!
        One-third of U.S. citizens believe WMD have been found in Iraq, according to a recent poll. Twenty-two percent think Iraq actually used chemical or biological weapons. Before the Iraq attack, half of those polled in a survey said Iraqis were among the 9/11 hijackers. Of course, the 9/11 terrorists were almost all Saudis---a country left astoundingly alone in the Prez's "war on terrorism."
        Wave that flag!
        William Kristol, noted neo-con editor of the Weekly Standard and an architect of the Bush Administration "preventive" doctrine, says that the administration WMD lying was done "in good faith." Here's his quote: "We shouldn't deny, those of us who were hawks, that there could have been misstatements made, I think in good faith." Asked, by whom, the leading Iraq war backer explained, "By the president and the secretary of state, [statements] that will turn out to be erroneous."
        Wave that flag!
        Oh, you need more reasons?
        Osama bin-Laden and al-Qaeda are free to have their own weenie roast this July 4th.
        Wave that flag!
       
Under the proposed "PATRIOT" Act II, Attorney General John Ashcroft would have the power to arbitrarily strip any citizen of citizenship and jail him or her without trial, secretly, indefinitely. Not exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind!
        Wave that flag!
        The country has gone from a trillion dollar surplus to bankruptcy. Nothing has been done to stop the offshore tax dodge that enables corporations to pay almost zero taxes---and sometimes, as was the case with Enron, literally zero taxes! Kenny Boy Lay roams free.
        Wave that flag!
        Who in his or her heart of hearts wants to degrade and destroy the environment? Who favors destruction of wild animals and unspoiled nature simply for corporate profit? I really don't think anyone does. Yet the Bush Administration is destroying every environmental law that impedes corporate profit or human access.  So rev up those off-road vehicles and wreck an ecosystem for Uncle Sam today.
        Wave that flag!
        The big "tax cut" is a tax break for the rich, and anyone who disputes this is a true cynic, or dishonest. But give some good-hearted middle-class citizen a "rebate" of a couple hundred bucks, and by golly, he thinks The Prez is givin' him a great deal! Extra burgers on the grill!
        Wave that flag!
        Teachers are being laid off in California and Oregon during the term of "the education president."
        Wave that flag!
        Ann Coulter, a strange and angry blonde woman, has declared that all Democrats and "liberals" are "treasonous"---and in fact, has become fabulously wealthy by repeating such madness. Politics-based hatred and division in this country is inflamed and festering as never before.
        Wave that flag!
        Washington D.C. is owned and operated by corporate lobbyists, who periodically take time off to become senators and representatives, then go back to being corporate lobbyists. Welcome to the corporatocracy.
        Wave that flag!
        The best face you can put on the 2000 election is that it was decided by a flagrantly partisan Supreme Court, and awarded to the decisive loser in the popular vote.
        Wave that flag!
        The Bush Administration has turned the U.S. from a historically gracious, charitable team player seeking to engender cooperation among the civilized nations of the world. . .to a unilateral, petulant, treaty-busting 500-pound gorilla.
        Wave that flag!
        Next stop: Iran.
        Wave that flag!
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