VLADRUSHKA by John Linton Roberson (c) 2022.
I Didn't Write That!
30 April 2004
  "This is the straw that broke the camel's back for America."

"It's been a fabulous year for Laura and me."
-- George W. Bush., three months after the World Trade Center towers went down.

You have not been paying attention.

--Radiohead, "2+2=5"

Lest we forget, the chimp said "bring 'em on." I refer you to Fallujah. Thanks, Mr. President, no doubt every US soldier now says. Thanks a lot.

No weapons of mass destruction, so now Bush says the purpose of the war was to liberate the Iraqi people. Except we keep killing them, men women and children, because for some reason they wish we would leave their country. And re-installing one of Hussein's former generals after swearing that none of Saddam's people would ever get back into power.

Gosh, then why don't we just skip several steps and reinstall Saddam? At least then they'd have their country back, because God knows, I can't imagine the Iraqis can otherwise tell any difference, the way we're treating them now. And have been.

And, oh, we've been torturing them just like Saddam did. In Abu Ghraib, the prison he and his sons used for that, which must have been handy to have around still. (One can only imagine what goes on at Guatanamo Bay) Under the leadership of one Brigadier General Janice Karpinski.

The Arab TV stations led news bulletins with the photos of hooded prisoners piled on top of each other in a human pyramid and simulating sex acts, with their genitals blurred. Two U.S. soldiers standing near the prisoners hammed it up for the camera.

Apparently our soldiers, our brave brave soldiers, male and female, like torturing prisoners and sexually abusing them too. I guess it's just something about the way they're helpless and tied up that turns our servicemen and women on.

The claim is that they were trying to soften them up before interrogation. I don't doubt that. The CIA has used such techniques for years. It's just that now the interrogators--not unlike the Nazis that amazingly left so much footage of their evil deeds against the Jews--took holiday snaps of what they did. My favorite, shown on ABC tonight, is one of a servicewoman giving a smiling thumbs-up in front of a bunch of naked, hooded male Iraqi prisoners. I can see she was just doing her job and wasn't enjoying this at all.

And this was a year ago these photos were taken. That's right, we don't even have the excuse that the soldiers were overly-stressed. They were just bullies having fun, enjoying their victory, degrading those they'd beaten. The way Saddam would have. Mission accomplished. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. How much like this have we not seen? How many other soldiers were never told the rules of the Geneva Convention?

Here's the most innocuous of the tortures:

One of the photos showed a hooded prisoner standing on a box with wires attached to his hands. CBS reported the prisoner was told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted, although the wires were not really connected to a power supply.

British troops are at it too.

A soldier who witnessed the man's arrest and beating told the Mirror how the prisoner had been held during a raid on suspected thieves at Basra docks in southern Iraq.

"We just caught the one guy that time. Straight away, he gets a beating - a couple of punches and kicks to put him down. Then he was dragged to the back of the vehicle." A sandbag was placed over the man's head and his hands tied.

The soldier said the man had been hit with batons. "You normally try to leave off the face until you are in camp," he told the Mirror. "If you pull up with black eyes and bleeding faces, you could be in a bit of shit. So it is body shots, just scaring him."

The prisoner was kept for around eight hours while the beatings were carried out. The photographs show him being bludgeoned with rifle butts in the head and groin.

A gunbarrel is placed in the prisoner's mouth through the bag on his head, while others kick and stamp on him. One soldier urinates on him.

In the final few photographs the man is barely conscious, his shirt torn, while vomit seeps through the sack on his head.

The soldier, who admits he took part in the attack, said the man was pleading with the others to stop.

"He could speak a few words, 'No mister, no mister.' What I did was less than others, but yes, I joined in." The soldier said he feared the man would die. "He was dying, basically, so he could not take any more, so basically they threw him out."

"One of the officers came down to get him and it was like, a bit of a mini-bollocking, but nothing really. Then it was, 'Get rid of him, I've not seen him. The paperwork gets ripped."

But support our troops! They give us so much to be proud of!

Congratulations, folks. You've managed to bring the image of the US soldier right back to where it was after Vietnam. The image that soldiers were sadistic brutes that just enjoyed killing and power over helpless victims. That will be coming back. And forget now entirely about winning Arab hearts and minds. Just forget it.

But it's revealed now. This is not Vietnam. This is far worse. This is South Africa. This is Rhodesia. Because the only reason we ever wanted it is because Haliburton wants to exploit it for its oil fields. The war now seems to have the sole purpose of depopulating Iraq. We only need the people of Iraq insofar as it makes it easier for us to be absentee landlords. I do not doubt that if Haliburton decided, the Iraqis would have been gassed to death a year ago. We took their industries before we thought of anything else. Oh, wait, we didn't think of anything else.

Oh wait. Not "we." Did you ask Bush to do this? Did I? Did Congress OK the millions and millions in funds that he diverted from Afghanistan(remember that?) to use in Iraq? Were we, indeed, ever asked if we wanted a war? Did anyone ever really believe the WMD story? And is our own house in any kind of order anyway?

Bush claims to be disgusted. What else can he say in an election year? It's so hard for him now with this being the first anniversary of the "Mission Accomplished" bullshit, which he stumbled through trying to explain away today. While Karl Rove has publicly stated it was a bad idea. So was stealing an election, hijacking our country for four years, completely ignoring domestic collapse and doing Dick Cheney's bidding. (Hey, Religious Right: Does it make Bush gay if he has Dick up his ass all the time? Just curious. As Betty Bowers likes to point out, he does say "fabulous" an awful lot...) And let's not forget that we are even less safe from terrorism now, as the 9/11 commission has been finding, than we were before him.

Defend any of this, please, right wing. Please tell me a single objective reason Bush deserves to keep his job. I need a good hard laugh. You hitched yourselves to the man who will be remembered as the worst president in US history. You're fools and your hubris always destroys you. This president deserves to be flushed like the turd he is.

Enough is enough. Does nothing shock us into sense any longer? Does nothing make us vomit? If we're still human, none of us should be able to keep our lunch down at this.

If we are still at all what we like to think of ourselves as, he will lose. If America is beyond redemption, he will win. Up to you. Maybe you can look at it as just another reality show. God knows we've gotten used to enjoying the sight of others humiliated over the past five years.

Proud of yourselves? Well, I have only four words for anyone who still defends Bush or this war, or for that matter the soldiers:

Fuck you. Shut up.

Ted Rall is right. And I'm ashamed of our country till you all recognize that morality isn't contained in such bullshit as making sure schoolchildren say their prayers. God doesn't love unrepentant hypocrites. He reserves the hottest fires of Hell for them. Remember that.


17 April 2004
  I Loved The Press Conference

Bush looked every inch what those who "hate" him have been calling him since he took office. We notice now why they usually release him to the public under such controlled circumstances. He hit the nail on the head when he said he doesn't think well on his feet, a bizarre thing to hear Bush publicly admit. Do we need a president who can't think on his feet?

He can't think of any mistakes? Here's more than a few. Bush is an even greater monstrosity than his father ever even threatened to be; maybe his purpose is to make the first Bush in the Oval Office look statesmanlike by comparison. He's already succeeded. The media already have begun the demolition job they should have years ago. One can suppose that they realize this president is not in their best interests either, considering the various media industries are already facing somewhat lean times and now the FCC is trying to limit their content. It appears a deal is off.

He tried to set the rules of the playing field at the start and failed. The twelve-minute statement that he made at the beginning acknowledging that it's been a pretty darn bad few weeks(read: year) in Iraq--who remembers any of it? All that was retained from it was that more troops will be poured into the grinder, and few people if anyone support this pointless endeavor any longer. Those that do can only cling to the notion that if we leave it'll be chaos. But what is it now?

We also don't remember his robotic, almost stoned mantra of "Hussein was a dangerous man in a dangerous place" even to questions not regarding Iraq. We've heard it to death. We're at the least bored and at the worst infuriated at hearing it.

What we remember is Bush's moment like the ones that have felled to many presidents and would-be presidents, the stupid awkward what-the-fuck-is-he-thinking moment which we can't get out of our heads. Like when Carter did his malaise speech. Like Dukakis in the tank or being asked about how he'd react if his wife were raped. Like Ford saying there was no Soviet domination of eastern Europe. Like Nixon so many times but most famously with "I am not a crook."

Now we have Bush saying:

"I'm sure something will pop into my head here." But in the end, he couldn't name a single mistake. Bush concluded: "I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't - you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one."

$170 million can't wipe that away.


10 April 2004
  Bush Knew And Let It Happen

Just get used to the idea. Unless you're going to tell me, as Condi Rice with her hateful twisted mouth did so defensively this week, that a memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the U.S" is not exact enough. That's if you believe he was just stupid. That's if you don't think, as I do, that Karl Rove or the like may have suggested that if they allowed one of the 600 terrorist threats big and small to this country that are thwarted every day and we don't hear about, that might assure his second term. Because the summer before, it had already become apparent he'd be a one-termer unless people were scared into not thinking too much.

Bush has kept us hungry, anxious, and scared for four years and done othing else, and his very presidency made us less safe.

I mean, how obvious did Bin laden have to get? Did he have to flash Bush on the White House lawn?

Chimp-lovers, wave goodbye as Bush rides slowly off into the sunset. You had your chance, now go away. I get to experience two Bushes destroyed in my lifetime. Glorious. If only that hadn't meant I had to experience two Bushes, period.


"Eternity in the company of Beelzebub, and all of his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me & this pencil."
--E. Blackadder, 1789

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