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A Very American Coup

by Jim Smith Friday, Jan. 12, 2007 at 2:31 PM

The office of President was not on the ballot in November. Yet it was around that time that a sitting president began to feel the power oozing out of the White House.

A Very American Coup

By Jim Smith

The office of President was not on the ballot in November. Yet it was around that time that a sitting president began to feel the power oozing out of the White House.

Things began happening that George Bush said would never happen. Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of War, was fired. “Mad John” Bolton’s confirmation hearing by the Senate was quietly dropped. The rumblings and grumblings of Deadeye Dick Cheney (who can’t be fired) have become less and less frequent. And what-to-do-about-Iraq became a subject for civil discussion for the first time.

The “Adults” who really run the country have stepped in and taken a hand in its day-to-day operation. Bush has long been an embarrassment to them, and now he’s become a liability. The superrich in this country, which includes the Bush family, have decided that the current president has not been a good steward of their far flung interests. Georgie is on the verge of blowing their control of Middle East Oil, and with it, the U.S.’s ability to run a worldwide empire.

Young George (from the viewpoint of the Adults) has tried to run the country as if he was not responsible to its Board of Directors. Over the past couple of months, they have made it clear to him that he is not the Decider after all.

What a scene it must have been when the Adults, or “the men in the shadows,” as Jackson Browne calls them, met with Pappy Bush. There may have been arguments as a father defended his idiot child.

But in the end George H.W. Bush threw in with class, not his kid. The toll it took on him was visible for all to see - over and over - as he broke down on TV, Dec. 4 (two days before the Iraq Study Group report was made public). If you missed it, check for “Bush cries.” Some have speculated that Bush broke down with regret that George, not Jeb, had become president.

In any case, the elder Bush’s Consiglieri, James Baker, has become the spokesperson for the Adults. This is welcome news for those who think George W. Bush is some sort of aberration, and that if he was out of the picture everything would be fine. For the rest of us who see Bush, however ineptly, carrying out the orders of the most voracious and predatory ruling class in history, it’s time to worry.

The Iraq Study Group is not a peace effort. They admit to consulting with 136 experts and leaders, including our own Jane Harman. Yet, not one of the 136 is anyone associated with the peace movement. They did not talk with Ralph Nader, Cindy Sheehan, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, and certainly not to any Army Sergeants or Privates who have been in Iraq and know what's really going on better than the Generals.

The Adults are not about to lose their grip on the Middle East, no matter how many 9/11s are the result. While there may be differences in strategy and tactics between the Texas Oil Billionaires and old Wall Street money, they are in agreement that they must maintain their grip on the world’s population.

The unanimity on this point is reflected in the unusual step in shedding the facade of the two-party system for a one-party declaration of the Iraq Study Group. Five Democrats and five Republicans made up the ISG, which can also be considered the public Board of Directors for the Adults. And like most corporate boards, it even had a token woman and African-American on its board.

As Antonia Juhasz wrote in the Los Angeles Times, Dec. 8, “it’s all about oil in Iraq.” The ISG report urges the privatization of Iraq’s oil and its control by foreign (read American) firms.

The ISG report is about institutionalizing aggressive actions like “this decade’s war” as the ISG calls it, rather than flying by the seat of the pants as Bush has done. This is spelled out in Recommendation 75: “For the longer term, the United States government needs to improve how its constituent agencies— Defense, State, Agency for International Development, Treasury, Justice, the intelligence community, and others— respond to a complex stability operation like that represented by this decade’s Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the previous decade’s operations in the Balkans.”

So it’s just a “stability operation,” not an illegal invasion, not a war crime, not an impeachable offense, as we were so naive to believe. It wasn’t any of these violations of international law that has caused the Adults to intervene. It was bad management of crucial assets, even if they don’t belong to us.

The Adults seem to reject Bush’s resort to brute force when such time-tested methods as bribery, puppetry and covert action might have served better. A few hundred million dollars in Saddam’s hands might have ensured his loyalty better than the billions spent on the occupation. And besides, then it would have been Saddam’s headache to deal with the fundamentalists.

The Coup

The Adults are getting better at separating presidents from the power. When John Kennedy decided to remove U.S. advisors from Vietnam, and talked rashly about breaking the CIA into a thousand pieces, the response was brutal and bloody. It caused a trauma from which the country still hasn’t recovered.

Trauma number two was the removal of Nixon. While not as bloody as the Kennedy Assassination, the proposed impeachment and subsequent resignation of the president caused a loss of belief - well deserved - in the American system that was nearly as devastating as that in the wake of the Kennedy shooting.

The Adults have learned that preserving appearances in the affairs of Empire is all important. In the late 80s, the Reagan administration was caught red-handed in an illegal arms-for-hostages trade, called the Iran-Contra Affair. Then, a committee of Adults, called the Tower Commission, convinced the public to accept Reagan’s excuse that he “just didn’t remember.” Vice President Bush’s role was covered up, even though Reagan said the VP knew about the scheme. A new team was sent into the White House to run the country.

The contradictions inherent in maintaining the facade of democracy in the reality of a worldwide Empire run by a small elite (the Adults) is getting harder to manage. In fact, every presidency since Eisenhower has finished badly, or has survived only one term. Kennedy was shot, Johnson had to decline to run again, Nixon resigned, Ford was appointed, Carter survived one term, Reagan ended in scandal, G.H.W. Bush was a one-termer, Clinton was impeached but not convicted, and G.W. Bush is fast becoming a figurehead.

While Bush may seek to strike back at the Adults, he seems to be without resources. The military top brass doesn’t like him, ditto for Intelligence, many in Congress were elected on an anti-Bush platform, and the executive office, itself, is divided. Josh Bolten, the White House Chief of Staff, who was formerly at Wall Street’s fat-cat firm, Goldman Sachs, seems to have become the Adults watchdog there.

Why and when did the Coup begin? The beginning dates back to, at least, last March when the Iraq Study Group was created, without the approval of the Bush administration. A short time later, Josh Bolten replaced Bush loyalist Andy Card in the White House.

Reasons for the Adults to begin the unseating of a president probably include the following, as well as reasons none of us peasants know about:

• The growing quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan. By 2006, it didn’t take a foreign policy expert to figure this one out.

• The lack of success of the Bush Administration on a whole variety of foreign and domestic policy initiatives, including those having to do with North Korea, Iran and Latin America.

• A seriously weakening economy with massive deficits in trade and the federal budget.

• Loss of control of the number one client state, Israel. The tail began wagging the dog, drawing the U.S. in even deeper in the Middle East quicksand.

• The agitation by Cheney and the neo-conservatives for some sort of military attack on Iran. Bad plan. Iran is equipped with state-of-the-art cruise missiles that could take out the U.S. fleet that is bottled up in the Persian Gulf. Further, it could seal off the Straits of Hormuz from whence comes the oil on which modern economies run. Another reason to get control of Israel before it does something rash to Iran.

• The mass peace sentiment expressed in the November election. While the Adults could care less which party controls Congress, or the White House, for that matter, they do worry about the growing disdain for imperial adventures by the populace.

What happens next? Probably more, not less, U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Efforts will increase to find more loyal puppets in Iraq and Afghanistan who will do the U.S.’s bidding. More money will be poured into the quagmire, although it will be better hidden from the public.

If there was ever any question that there would be more terrorist attacks on the U.S., the recent statements by the Adults have sealed our fate. Terrorists and liberationists alike now have no doubt - if there ever was any - that the Empire has no intention of peacefully withdrawing from Iraq, or other parts of the Middle East where it is not wanted. Once again, the U.S. is saying, “Bring Them On!”

If history is any judge, including Vietnam history, none of the various strategies and tactics being bandied about Washington is going to work. The foreign invaders - that’s us - will be tossed out on our ear after many more people die. Unfortunately, our ruling elite seems incapable of learning anything, and lurches from one debacle to the next. But what about the public? Are we also incapable of learning? Bush won’t be dethroned no matter what. He is too good a foil. But will we ever notice the bipartisan “men in the shadows” who are pulling his strings?

-reprinted from the January issue of the Free Venice Beachhead

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