Behind the crisis in the Bush administration

There is a growing disillusionment—even anger—among sectors of the U.S. capitalist class with George W. Bush and his top aides and officials. High officials are being indicted for felonies. Others are resigning.

The coffers of Democratic Party politicians will start to fill up with contributions from the corporate and banking elite in preparation for the next election cycle.

But the ruling class anger and disillusionment with Bush is quite different from the rage and hatred that has been militantly demonstrated by millions of workers and young people for the criminals in the White House.

The African American community and millions of others in the United States and around the world are also enraged over Bush’s criminal negligence in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The racism and flagrant disregard for the lives of Black people have added to the growing crisis and isolation of the Bush administration. But the roots of the problems in Washington’s halls of power predate the natural disasters of late August and September.

Bush is becoming the subject of scorn by the capitalists and their media because his policies have become a lightning rod for global resistance. He has made the entire U.S. capitalist establishment more vulnerable and isolated at the very moment it is trying to maintain its global position.

Modern day capitalism cannot function without the intervention and oversight of a government managing its collective affairs. The president is expected to function as the CEO—not for one corporation or one bank but for the entire ruling class. The U.S. capitalist class has global interests. U.S. corporations and banks are involved in nearly every country in the world. That is why the Pentagon maintains 730 military bases in 130 countries. The president of the United States must concern himself with the global interests of the U.S. corporations and banks.

It is important for working people to understand why the establishment is starting to turn against Bush. It is not out of principle. When we hear the bashing of Bush by the rich and powerful who have until now supported his crimes, it is critical to have an appreciation of the actual political situation.

Politicians channel anger

Democracy in capitalist society is nothing but a form of class rule. It is an exercise in domination and concealment. If working people get fed up, indignant and angry, the capitalists are happy to have their outrage channeled into opposition to the politicians. The politicians can get indicted, impeached or voted out of office. Ready to take their place is another group of politicians who are equally beholden to the banks and corporations.

The caste of corrupt politicians who function as the mouthpiece for the capitalist class—including a very, very large majority of the 535 members of the U.S. Congress—supported or acquiesced to the war in Iraq and the rest of the hyper-aggressive and bullying foreign policy moves of Bush and the neo-conservatives.

For nearly five years, the capitalist media and the politicians uttered hardly a peep against legalized torture, the network of secret CIA torture prisons around the world and targeted assassinations and disappearances of people that the Bush administration identified as terrorists.

Now that the people of the world are rising up against Bush’s policies, the capitalist media and the politicians are blaming Bush and Cheney for the increasing political isolation that the U.S. ruling class is enduring.

The war in Iraq was based on transparent lies. It was obviously a war of aggression against a small, oil-rich country that posed no danger to the people of the United States. The capitalist class and the politicians and so-called intellectuals who supported the war all knew this from the start. They were not confused or misled by “faulty intelligence.”

After the experience of several centuries of colonial wars, no one in the U.S. or European capitalist class was even slightly confused about Bush’s rush to war in Iraq. Every last one of them understood that Bush’s explanations for war were purely an exercise in propaganda to deceive the U.S. people.

If the Bush regime had succeeded in smashing the resistance in Iraq and established a stable pro-U.S. regime in that oil-rich country, the same media and politicians who are now calling for his head would be showering the White House with praise and admiration. Instead of calling Bush and Cheney “manipulators of intelligence” or accusing them of “lying to Congress,” they would be praised as “tough” and even “visionary.”

The real problem: United States is losing the war

The Iraqi resistance is at the core of Bush administration’s crisis.

Photo: Atef Hassan

The real problem with Bush for the U.S. capitalist establishment is that the Iraq war and occupation have failed on a fundamental political as well as military level. Militarily, the U.S. government spent more than $300 billion and committed hundreds of thousands of troops. Yet it is further from dealing a “knockout blow” to the resistance than at any time in the last three years.

Throughout the former colonial and semi-colonial world, the people identify with the anti-colonial resistance of the Iraqis. Every day that the Iraqi people successfully tie up the much-vaunted U.S. military machine becomes a source of inspiration for all those who live under the heel of the U.S.-imposed regime of IMF austerity programs.

The real mistake that the Bush administration made was not its failure to understand how many weapons the Iraqi army possessed or about its fighting capability. They knew everything there was to know.

U.S.-led UN weapons inspectors had conducted 9,000 weapons checks during the past decade. The administration’s prediction of a quick destruction of Iraq’s military was fulfilled.

What the administration failed to grasp was that the deep roots of anti-colonial consciousness among Iraq’s people would translate, as a material factor, into the military equation. This was a colossal intelligence failure that stems from imperial arrogance.

Widespread anti-imperialism

Popular anti-colonial consciousness does not just exist in Iraq. It is alive throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia and the rest of the Middle East. Missiles, bombs, tanks and satellite imagery in the hands of the imperialists cannot by themselves alter the historical tendency toward national liberation. The “new colonialism” embraced by the neo-conservatives following the overthrow of the Soviet Bloc governments is revealed as nothing more than a racist fantasy. The European working classes, too, despise the openly imperialist stance of the White House.

Bush’s flagrantly imperial stance has created enmity for the U.S. government that is as pronounced now as it ever has been. It was obvious from the response that Bush received when he attended the summit of hemispheric leaders in Argentina that the people of Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and the Americas view Bush and the U.S. government with utter contempt. This has hurt the U.S. efforts to impose the Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement on the continent.

Latin America was supposed to “belong” to the U.S. capitalists. But the rising tide of sentiment in Latin America against Bush has helped open the door for European and Asian capital that seeks to challenge U.S. hegemony in its own “backyard.”

The capitalist class uses politicians and even follows their leadership for awhile—unless, that is, they become a liability. Then they can be dumped.

During the turbulent two decades of the 1960s and 1970s—marked by war, revolutionary activism and a global political crisis for U.S. imperialism—not one U.S. president finished a second term of office. Kennedy was murdered, Johnson was forced not to run again in 1968, Nixon resigned to avert being impeached, Gerald Ford was an unelected asterisk and Carter was thrashed by a Hollywood B-actor when he sought re-election.

It is actually convenient for the rule of the bankers, industrialists and transnational retail giants to have the people focus their anger on “evil politicians” rather than the evil social system that allows a tiny handful of billionaires to control the wealth of the world.

It has been a critical deception of contemporary liberalism and social democracy to focus the indignation of the people—the inevitable response to the myriad abuses of capitalism including the horror of modern imperialist war—against the most conservative politicians rather than the system of power itself.

The only way to end the widening U.S. war drive is to break the rule of capital, the grip of the corporate capitalists over society itself.

Articles may be reprinted with credit to Socialism and Liberation magazine.

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