Home > World Events > Worse than you can possibly imagine

Worse than you can possibly imagine

November 21st, 2007

As Brad DeLong says, the Bush Administration is worse than you can possibly imagine, even after taking account of the fact that the Bush Administration is worse than you can possibly imagine.

Apparently, soldiers wounded in Iraq, and therefore unable to serve out their enlistments, are getting letters demanding partial repayment of their enlistment bonuses.

Categories: World Events Tags:
  1. Perry
    November 22nd, 2007 at 00:10 | #1

    I saw a short video clip on the Jon Stewart show where a tv crew was interviewing an ex Marine who been to Iraq twice. This was a couple of months before the Walter Reed scandal. The soldier lost both legs below the knee from an IED, was broke, and living in his car on the side of the road. He showed a letter from the US Gov’t, demanding the return of the bonus money paid to him for the return to Iraq. Supporting the troops, indeed.

  2. November 22nd, 2007 at 04:54 | #2

    not worse than i can imagine.

    that’s why i speak for democracy. giving politicians power over a nation is worse than putting children into the care of pedophiles. pollies kill, on a large scale.

  3. wilful
    November 22nd, 2007 at 08:36 | #3

    al, I don’t think this example can be generalised to all politicians. Mind you, I don’t expect it can be pinned on George Bush and his cronies, more just some mid-level retard in the Pentagon. However, I can’t believe it requires legislation to stop the practice.

  4. November 22nd, 2007 at 10:06 | #4

    wil, is there any incidence of ‘murderous’ politician that would incline you to say that we dare not let any have this power?

    1 in 10? 1 in 100?

  5. brian
    November 22nd, 2007 at 11:18 | #5

    ‘saw a short video clip on the Jon Stewart show where a tv crew was interviewing an ex Marine who been to Iraq twice. This was a couple of months before the Walter Reed scandal. The soldier lost both legs below the knee from an IED, was broke, and living in his car on the side of the road. He showed a letter from the US Gov’t, demanding the return of the bonus money paid to him for the return to Iraq. Supporting the troops, indeed.’

    ================================
    New from Bush and neocon American Enterprise (Institute):
    Disposable soldiers: cheap to use and throw away…Come in packs of hundreds, all ethnicities….save money, buy now….

  6. November 22nd, 2007 at 13:15 | #6

    Further to my previous comments on “The Shock Doctrine” here and
    here:

    As shown in Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” a book which is almost impossible to praise too highly, the US under Bush is an object lesson in what happens when the practitioners of the vile and fraudulent Friedmanite doctrine of neoliberalism are allowed to determine the course of a society.

    Should anyone anyone think this judgement harsh, buy a copy at $32.95 yourself and read it, and decide for yourself whether John le Carre and Studs Terkel who lavished praise on the work are wrong. An excellent review by sociologist Sheila Newman can be found at: candobetter.org/node/263:

    But the robber-barons, land-sharks and bankers were only waiting for an opportunity to break down any political system which would stop them from having anything they wanted. Their method was tried and true: a religion embracing trickle-down economics, endless growth and total deregulation. I have wondered for some time how so many dim-witted, narrowly educated people going by the tag of ‘economist’ came to inhabit the corridors of power in our society. This has been somewhat explained to me by Klein, who identifies the genesis of a theoretical basis, defence and propaganda effort for corporatist free-market replacing real government. She places the rise of the shock doctrine of economic rationalism at Chicago University in the Chicago School of Economics, led by economist Milton Friedman, the author of Capitalism and Freedom.

    She describes how this school set about training people in its atrocious doctrine all over the world. Its practitioners sought to break down all examples of egalitarian, community oriented democratic states, speciously linking ‘democracy’ to the imposition of ‘free-market’ economics.

    Within 24 hours of the tsunami in Sri Lanka, where land had been 80% publicly owned, processes demanded by the World Bank, US AID, and the Asian Development Bank began to change the laws to transfer public land to private ownership, and to privatise public utilities and resources. Indeed those seem to be the signs that the shock doctrine is operating in a country – privatisation of public land, telephones, water, power and pharmaceutical distribution. Obviously I think that Australians should act quickly to familiarise themselves with Naomi Klein’s book and to begin to appreciate the danger to what remains of our democracy, public wealth and institutions. The possibility for land redistribution in South Africa by Mandela’s government had been similarly hamstrung.

    Familiar bland illogical assertions come up along with the names of familiar corporations. Klein quotes (p. 355), “Michael Fleisher, the founder of the Chicago School based Shock Doctrine, saying in 2003 of Iraq that ‘protected businesses never, never become competitive’, and she comments: “he appeared to be impervious to the irony that Halliburton, Bechtel, Parsons, KPMG, RTI, Blackwater and all the other US corporations that were in Iraq to take advantage of the reconstruction were part of a vast protectionist racket whereby the US government had created their markets with war, barred their competitors from even entering the race, then paid them to do the work, while guaranteeing them a profit to boot – all at taxpayer expense. The Chicago School crusade, which emerged with the core purpose of dismantling the welfare statism of the New Deal, had finally reached its zenith in this corporate New Deal. It was a simpler, more stripped down form of privatisation – the transfer of bulky assets wasn’t even necessary: just straight-up corporate gorging on state coffers. No investment, no accountability, astronomical profits. The double standard was explosive, as was the systematic exclusion of Iraqis from the plan.�

  7. Razor
    November 22nd, 2007 at 16:21 | #7

    This is not the Bush Administration deliberately targetting these veterans. This a bureacratic stuff up and to use it as a reflection of the Bush Adminstration policies is stupid.

    That said, it is the social democrats who hang out at sites like this who love bureacracy and big government. This is a fine example of why we need smaller government that is more receptive to the needs of the people.

  8. BilB
    November 22nd, 2007 at 16:25 | #8

    That is a nonsense position, Al L. A politician is simply a person at the centre of a management structure. No matter what system of situation management a society uses there will always be someone (or a small group of people) with a pivotal role, and if that person decides to be an idiot then everyone suffers. Take a look at Indonesia, (where from what I can see every person in every role is on the take and cannot be truste) to see how much worse it can be.

    This enlistment bonus clawback is an example of the twisted thinking that got America into its present mess in the first place. If any thing it is an example of a weakness of democracy.

  9. Ian Gould
    November 22nd, 2007 at 16:47 | #9

    “This is not the Bush Administration deliberately targetting these veterans. This a bureacratic stuff up and to use it as a reflection of the Bush Adminstration policies is stupid.

    That said, it is the social democrats who hang out at sites like this who love bureacracy and big government. This is a fine example of why we need smaller government that is more receptive to the needs of the people.”

    No this is what happens when the “wasteful” checks and balances in a properly functioning public service are abolished in the name of efficiency and smaller government and when you hand control of public administration to ignorant arrogant jerk-offs with no interest in actually running things.

  10. alan
    November 22nd, 2007 at 18:00 | #10

    Razor, the World Wide Web was invented by a scientist at a nuclear research institution in Europe, 100% funded by public money. And I hope you will vote Labor on Saturday – they have undertaken to cut back the expansion in bureacracy and big government that has ballooned under the Liberal Party.

  11. November 22nd, 2007 at 19:39 | #11

    Alan, I am thrilled to think of a government cutting spending. However on the face of it, a cut back in bureacracy would seem to be incompatible with Rudd’s promise to establish some dozen upon dozen inquiries & commissions etc etc etc.

  12. Ikonoclast
    November 22nd, 2007 at 20:01 | #12

    It’s strange. When Colin Powell was spruiking the line that Saddam’s Iraq was awash with WMD, I predicted quite confidently that it was all bullshit. Several of my mates at work agreed with me, some even making their prediction quite independently of me as I found later by talking to all.

    Now how is it a bunch of guys, ordinary workers in an Australian city half a world away from Iraq, were correct while Colin Powell, the CIA, George Dubya, Blair and Howard were so wrong?

    Well, point 1 is they were lying and fabricating.
    Point 2, the lying and fabrication was damned obvious. And point 3, anyone who knew even a smidgen of history from the First Gulf War to the campaign to start the second, knew that there was no way Saddam had enough industry and infrastructure in place to make any form of WMD and delivery systems that were going to be a threat to the West.

    We (my mates and I) also predicted the Iraq invasion would turn into a huge mess. Again, we did not have to be geniuses to predict this. Just ordinary blokes using basic reasoning.

    Again, why was this reasoning beyond the “Great Leaders” of the West? I must admit I am not sure why they acted so stupidly though I have my theories. They have in fact squandered (in the case of USA and Britain) huge quantities of their countries’ “blood and treasure” as one US Democrat put it.

    Now we know that neocons don’t care about blood, not even the blood of their own people as the lead post to this thread shows.

    But why don’t they care about their own nation’s treasure? Answer, because it’s public treasure. If vast quantaties of public treasure have to be blown (and the country indebted to foreign powers like China) that matters not at all if private treasuries are topped up. It’s all that counts apparently.

    My question is this? What happens when the US goes bankrupt as it surely must now? Any opinions? I reckon they will just default. Who could collect from them? They still have the most military power, convetional and nuclear. One would expect such a default to plunge the world into a massive economic crisis. How can this be avoided now?

  13. Ian Gould
    November 22nd, 2007 at 23:54 | #13

    “My question is this? What happens when the US goes bankrupt as it surely must now? Any opinions? I reckon they will just default.”

    No, at worst they’ll just run the printing presses overtime and repay the loans in inflated dollars worth a fraction of their original value.

    That’s essentially how the Nixon administration sunk the Bretton Woods system.

    The real problem with outright default isn’t so much someone attempting to collect on the debt, it’s obtaining further loans.

    I think the US is likely to be forced to run a substantial budget surplus for quite a few years.

  14. November 23rd, 2007 at 00:33 | #14

    Further to my comment above

    The Chapters in The Shock Doctrine (see also review) concerning the Iraq war and subsequent occupation have finally made it possible to make sense of the Iraq conflict.

    It’s a lie to assert that the Iraqis weren’t ready for democracy. What happened in the months after the occupation was the Paul Bremer director of the US occupation authority cancelled elections that were underway and nullifed elections that had occurred because he saw them as a threat to the neo-cons’ plan to turn Iraq into a massive laboratory for implementation of their extreme neoliberal agenda including privatiation of practically evrything but oil and the sacking of 500,000 govenment workers. Local Iraqi firms were systematicaly excluded from the lucrative contracts to rebuild Iraq. Consequently Iraqis were impoverished whilst the US contractors botched up the rebuilding of Iraq.

    Before this happened most Iraqis favoured a secular non-theocratic government.

    Is it any wonder that Iraq ignited?

  15. David
    November 25th, 2007 at 14:39 | #15

    Razor, how will smaller govt fix this sort of oversite; unless of course you mean sending less soldiers to Iraq in the first place?

Comments are closed.