Bill Totten's Weblog

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Rock in His Boot

by Charley Reese

King Features Syndicate (September 25 2006)

Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, is certainly a sharp rock in the cowboy boot of President George W Bush and therefore a prime candidate for the Bush administration's main tool of foreign policy - regime change.

That's just a bureaucratic phrase that means overthrowing somebody else's government. Two attempts have already been tried, but both failed. Chavez is neither a dictator nor a stupid man.

As I've said before, I listened to two long speeches by Chavez, both to foreign audiences. Like most Latin politicians, he's a bit wordy for my taste, but I've never heard him say anything that a decent American could take issue with. However, as for Bush being the devil, as Chavez said at the United Nations last week, I'm not sure I agree with him on that point. I've always thought of the devil as a very smart chap.

Chavez is a socialist, as are several of our European allies, and since the president is not trying to overthrow those European governments, I assume the problem with Venezuela is not socialism. Chavez is, of course, trying hard to end poverty and illiteracy, and that might well strike a lot of rich people as "destabilizing".

"Destabilizing" is the sin of last resort when American politicians can't come up with any credible sin that some person they don't like has actually committed. Oh, he's destabilizing the region, Condi Rice, our esteemed secretary of state, says.

I don't know how supplying medical care and education to poor people and giving poorer countries loans and a break on the price of oil can be called destabilizing, but that's all Chavez is doing. He is opposed not to America and Americans, but to the American empire. I go along with that. The world and America were much better places before our politicians got jealous of the European empires and decided the US needed an empire, too.

The Spanish-American War was our grab for empire, and all the wars we've been in since have been imperial wars. World War I was a clash of European empires, and World War II in Europe was a continuation of that clash. World War II in the Pacific was a clash between Japan, which wanted an empire, and the British, French, Dutch and American empires already in the Pacific. The Cold War, with its little hot wars, was a struggle between the American empire and the Soviet empire. The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are also about empire, not democracy.

Lying, by the way, is a characteristic of empires and imperial wars. For Bush to refer to Afghanistan and Iraq as successful democracies is a lie. The first duty of any government is to provide security for its citizens. Neither the government in Kabul nor the one in Baghdad can do that. Any government that requires the continued presence of foreign soldiers to stay in power is illegitimate.

Well, if you are into praying, you might want to add a prayer for Chavez. The federal government has some really vicious war dogs on its payroll. I fear as soon as the CIA finally realizes that Chavez is a sure bet to win the December election, these dogs of war will be unleashed.

I have a feeling Chavez will prove to be a tragic figure. He's a good man and sincere about wanting to end illiteracy and improve the lives of the people of his region. He's a bit naive, though. I don't share his enthusiasm for Fidel Castro or Daniel Ortega, and I don't believe Chavez understands the immense power and malice of the people who would like to see him dead.

Maybe he'll be lucky. I hope so. In the meantime, by God, I'll be glad when Bush leaves office so I will hopefully have an administration I can support. I don't mind being a dissenter, but I truly wish that just once in a while, Bush would say or do something honest and decent that I could support. I'm beginning to feel like a foreigner in my own country.

Copyright (c) 2006 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Bill Totten


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