Revolutionary Worker #1266, January 30, 2005, posted at rwor.org,
"America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof."
—George W. Bush, second inaugural speech
"You think you know...but you have no idea...just what Bush has in store for...you...us...the world...our future!"
—Opening lines of the RCP’s statement
"The Battle for the Future Will Be Fought from Here Forward!"
George W. Bush swaggered to the podium of his inauguration and said he would put before "every ruler and every nation" a choice over whether to embrace his vision of "freedom." (Kinda like how the Godfather makes you an "offer you can’t refuse.")
And he said he was proclaiming the "calling of our times"—which means (quite literally!) that Bush believes his god has spoken to him and has assigned the U.S. and its soldiers a divine mission. It was a vision of a global American crusade.
And we use this word "crusade" quite literally. The last time Christian fundamentalists ruled, it was called the Dark Ages. The theocratic leaders of those times announced "crusades"—wars under the sign of the cross to conquer the strategic crossroads of their world. The Crusaders invaded the Middle East in eight waves from 1095 until 1270.
In Bush’s call for this modern-day crusade, a Christian messianic madness has been fused with calculated geopolitics of U.S. capitalism.
On one hand, Bush’s speech was studded with well-known fundamentalist codewords about imposing absolutist Christian dictates upon a rebellious and sinful world. And at the same time, Bush laid out the classic "neo- conservative" vision of forcibly remaking the whole world under U.S. domination—all in the name of "ending tyranny."
This inauguration speech made almost no mention of specific policies, proposals, or legislation. This was not about governmental "business as usual."
The arrogance, wild ambition, and unrestrained aggression of this manifesto were chilling—especially because it was proclaimed from the very heights of U.S. power, with all the military force of this empire at its disposal.
Sham Mandate and Global License
"The U.S. has long committed monstrous crimes around the world...and NOW THEY PLAN TO GO FURTHER. The imperialists in power—all of them, with Bush at the core—want total global empire."
—from "The Battle for the Future…"
Before being sworn in, Bush said the recent presidential election had been an "accountability moment" for his conquest of Iraq. He said the people of the U.S. had given their approval.
This is, quite simply, untrue. There was no way, within that whole rigged election process, that millions and millions of people could express their dis-approval of that criminal war. At every point, people have fought to question, expose and oppose this criminal war and Bush’s whole agenda — including at the Republican National Convention, and now this last week in Washington, DC on Inauguration Day.
And then, on Inauguration Day, it stood out that Bush didn’t even mention Iraq once in his address. His ambitions on this day focused on the whole world , on every country. And the implication was clear: This U.S. government fully intends to use its unchallenged military power. Bush did not intend to be bogged down by opposition from the people of Iraq, or even acknowledge that it exists. He intends to roll over any obstacles in Iraq —and is already looking toward other countries to target and bully.
This speech gave a whole new rationale for the U.S. intervention. In fact, Bush did not even mention a "war on terrorism"!!
After 9/11, this White House ruthlessly exploited September 11. Huge military attacks and deployments were carried out in the name of punishing "terrorists and those who shelter terrorists." The U.S. government invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq, set up over a dozen new military bases, expanded a network of torture centers around the world, bullied smaller countries to bow before them, and mobilized the "homeland" for permanent war.
But, quickly, White House ambitions outgrew that "anti-terrorist" justification. After all, Iraq had no connection to 9/11 or al-Qaida. And so the White House announced their Bush Doctrine, which said the U.S. president could order invasions anywhere on the planet based simply on the belief that potential threats might emerge.
Now suddenly the justification has shifted, once again: Bush says he intends to level threats at any government or country that opposes his messianic vision of "freedom."
This is supposed to be inspiring. Bush specifically appealed to "our youngest citizens" and called on them to "serve in a cause larger than your wants." In a capitalist world that reeks of empty consumerism, he is promoting Christian messianic visions to recruit youth to kill for his filthy cause.
Perverse Vision of "Freedom"
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
—Banner on the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s novel 1984
"Don’t talk to me about freedom and democracy until you ask and answer the most basic question: freedom for whom to do what? Freedom for the exploited to rise up and get rid of exploitation—or—freedom for the exploiters to keep us down, dictate to us, keep us in our place, suck our blood, and literaly murder us? It’s one way or the other."
—Bob Avakian, Chairman of the RCP, USA
Bush said "free" or "freedom" 34 times and "liberty" 12 times in his recent speech. Let’s just take a moment to contemplate the world-class hypocrisy and cynicism of that!
This is a man, and a political movement, who rose to power in 2000 by stealing a presidential election—and fought to hold onto power last year by suppressing the Black vote. And he wants to dictate to the world about "freedom"?!
This president embraces an absolutist worldview where the rights of people are limited to whatever "god" supposedly wants. And (since there are no gods!) this means that we are supposed to submit to those repulsive values and norms that these Christian fascists want to impose on us. And then Bush wants to preach to the whole world about "freedom." Just think for a moment about what that word "freedom" means in his twisted world outlook!
This is a man who rushed the executions of Texas, who holds prisoners without charges or trial, who wants to write anti-gay bigotry into the Constitution, and who is about to press for the reversal of women’s reproductive choice—and he dares to preach to the world about "liberty"!
When this George W. Bush babbles to his faithful about "ending tyranny"—the minds of hundreds of millions of people fill with painful images from Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo, and the rubble of Fallujah.
In Afghanistan, the corporate toad Karzai was picked by the U.S., approved by feudal warlords, propped up by U.S. commandos, and rubber-stamped by a sham election. In Iraq, the U.S. policy has been "Invade, seize the country’s wealth, elevate some collaborators, kill the opposition, and stage a vote."
What kind of freedom or liberty is any of that?!
Bush’s vision of freedom does not include the right of oppressed peoples to self-determination or to break the vampire grip of international capitalism.
No, in this Orwellian shadow world, "freedom" means (above all) free enterprise —a global order where a capitalist U.S. imperialism would prosper, and the people of the world would sink deeper into desperation and misery.
Unveiling New Hit Lists
After Bush’s speech, there were groans from liberal Democratic circles and the foreign policy establishment. They raised questions about how this denunciation of "tyranny" will influence U.S. alliances with the theocracy of Saudi Arabia, or the pro-U.S. dictatorships in Egypt and Pakistan, or future relations with China. They complained that Bush had rejected global "realpolitik" in favor of high-flown "idealist" rhetoric. ( Realpolitik refers to an amoral and instrumentalist approach to policies, done in the name of realism.)
First of all, it is outrageous (and exposing) that anyone would portray Bush’s fanatical and aggressive hallucinations as "idealistic." And with such arguments, the liberal Democratic establishment revealed, once again, that their "opposition" to Bush is often little more than an appeal for more nuance, diplomacy, and caution in pursuing world domination.
On another level, such critiques miss that this global crusade is quite serious and is filled with its own strains of down-in-the-gutter imperialist realpolitik .
While Bush was talking about of imposing "choices" on governments, his new Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice openly fingered various countries as "Outposts of Tyranny." It was essentially a new hit list that expanded on Bush’s previous "Axis of Evil"—and which pointedly now includes Cuba as a target.
Meanwhile, Vice President Dick Cheney openly announced that Iran was the next target on the president’s list, and he suggested Israel might launch a pre-emptive strike against key Iranian installations. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has exposed a wide range of new U.S. covert operations and plans for attacking Iran and a whole list of other targeted countries. ( New Yorker , Jan. 24, 2005).
In other words, even before Bush’s speech had ended, millions of people around the world were getting the message that they are in the crosshairs of this U.S. crusade.
This speech barely touched on domestic matters. Everyone was told that these will be taken up in Bush’s February 2nd State of the Union speech.
But everyone knows that huge offensives are being readied in the "homeland" too. The Supreme Court is going to be recast, and new assaults will be launched on previous legal norms—including women’s right to choice and the right of people to privacy and protection from police. Social Security is on the chopping block. And beyond those highly visible issues, preparations are being made for extreme leaps in the very way the U.S. society and government function.
Over and over in the inauguration ceremonies, there were symbolic messages about how unapologetically reactionary the forces in power are.
Just two examples:
Mississippi Senator Trent Lott was disgraced some time ago for openly proclaiming his nostalgia for the raw white supremacy of Jim Crow segregation. This inauguration was used as a means to deliberately rehabilitate this racist dog—he was assigned to be the main organizer and public master of ceremonies.
Meanwhile the inauguration ceremonies included (for the first time at a public state function) the singing of a militant Christian fascist anthem written by Attorney General John Ashcroft, which includes the undisguised call for a Christian theocracy: "Let the eagle soar, Like she’s never soared before… As the land beneath her sings: Only god, no other kings!"
Inauguration Day put this government’s global vision and reactionary values on center stage—in many ways more shamelessly and stridently than ever before. There is no sign here of "the moderation of a second term." Groundwork is being laid for new crimes and new leaps in their extremism.
These monsters are serious. Their vision amounts to nothing less than a new high-tech, capitalist Dark Ages for the planet — where their backward-looking fundamentalist values, their Almighty Dollar and their bullying military power would literally define the future.
The outcome of coming conflicts can determine the future of humanity for decades and generations to come.
The recent RCP statement, "The Battle for the Future Will Be Fought from Here Forward!" ends with these words:
"Let us put it to YOU: if you’ve been agonizing about the future, if you nodded your head as you read this statement, then... what are YOU gonna do? Are YOU going to be one of thousands who come together now and help create the force that can lead millions against this madness, when millions are ready to be led? Will you help create and bring onto the stage a revolutionary people? Are you ready to check out this Party and this leader? Will you bring your ideas, your creativity, your questions and yes, your disagreements to us, and help figure out how we can rise to the occasion? Are YOU ready to make a real difference—to not only spread the word of resistance and revolution, but make that a real alternative in society?" (rwor.org/future)