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Justice News
Friday, 17 November 2006 11:00

Bush Makes Vietnam

JMC - Jack Random - ?I think it?s a struggle between radicals and extremists and those who believe in peace.? - G.W. Bush in Vietnam, November 17, 2006

www.jazzmanchronicles.blogspot.com

BUSH IN NAM:  LEARNING FROM PAST MISTAKES

Jack Random

November 17, 2006

THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES ? DISSEMINATE FREELY


IRAQ, VIETNAM AND GLOBAL FREE TRADE

?I think it?s a struggle between radicals and extremists and those who believe in peace.? - G.W. Bush in Vietnam, November 17, 2006

What did we learn from Vietnam?

According to our president, ?We?ll succeed unless we quit.?

Either the president is so profound that his reasoning is beyond the comprehension of ordinary thinkers or he is something akin to an elementary school boy who forgot to do his homework.

Make no mistake: We lost the war in Vietnam ? just as we have lost the war in Iraq. We lost because we deserved to lose. We were arrogant and in our arrogance, we overstepped our authority and over-estimated our power. We lost 58,000 of our warriors while inflicting genocidal destruction on an indigenous people in their own land. How else do we describe Operation Phoenix and indiscriminate carpet bombing, ultimately killing literally millions of the same people the president is lecturing today?

Imagine being Vietnamese and listening to this president invoking their country and its tragic history to defend his ongoing travesty in Iraq. Mendacity has no limit in the neocon mindset.

The president is in Vietnam to share the blessings of global ?free trade?.

What have we learned from the ?free trade? policies of NAFTA, CAFTA and the World Trade Organization?

According to our president: ?We hear voices calling for us to retreat from the world and close our doors to these opportunities.?

The president has graduated to middle school. He understands that isolationism is not an option in a globalized world but he has not yet connected the dots between open trade policies and American job loss, declining wages and an exploding national debt.

Perhaps the president understands more that his public pronouncements indicate. Perhaps he realizes that he has only two more years to deliver dividends to the international corporate conglomerates that put him in power.

The stock market is booming, reaching new highs on a daily basis, yet the chasm between Wall Street and Main Street has never been wider. The president seemed stunned, astonished, in the wake of the midterm elections, that the American people were not impressed with a ?strong? economy. It is not surprising. In the words of the late Texas Governor Anne Richards: ?Poor George. He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple.?

Despite the occasional photo-op on his Crawford ranch, the president has never worked a day of labor. He has never had to depend on wages to ?put food on [his] family? (sic). One wonders how he would fare.

It has become fashionable to describe the current state of wage decline as stagnant. Economists reach that designation by factoring in the bloated ?value? of health insurance. Ordinary Americans understand that they receive absolutely nothing from that ?value.? Working Americans know you cannot pay the bills with the value of your health plan. In any case, health and retirement benefits are becoming as rare as politicians with integrity. The kinds of jobs that are being created in this ?booming? economy offer no more benefits than directions to the nearest social services office.

Ordinary Americans understand that we have staked our financial security on floating debt, that we are one unexpected expenditure away from financial ruin, that our retirement is dependent on the value of our homes, and that our legacy will be a burden to our children.

Ordinary Americans are beginning to understand that record corporate profits do not trickle down but flow like a tsunami to cheap labor markets overseas, where slave wages are not bolstered by inflated health benefits.

How did we arrive at this awkward juncture?

It was a matter of product branding. ?Free trade? sounded like a good idea.

To be absolutely frank, we were sold out by both mainstream political parties. The Republican think tanks that envisioned global military dominance may have also designed global corporate dominance but they had a willing partner in the Democratic Party. No president did more for the cause of global ?free trade? than Bill Clinton did. Clinton?s economy thrived on the foundation of the technology boom and when the technology sector crashed (a crash triggered by the manipulated West Coast Energy Crisis), the bills began coming due.

The Bush administration followed through with unprecedented deregulation, gutting government controls on corporate greed, but the Democrats offered little resistance ? some would say ?token? opposition.

I wish that the global ?free trade? movement were a strictly Republican agenda for it would give us hope that a change in the balance of power would alter the course. Unfortunately for the American worker, we can have no assurances.

The current debate on immigration policies is nothing but a shill to distract us from the source of our predicament. It is a cynical and shameful attempt to exploit racial divisions and scapegoat Mexican-American, Hispanic and Latino communities.

The Mexican worker is not the problem but the victim ? just as the American worker is. Juan and Margarita have been effectively evicted from their homeland for lack of living wages. Juan and Margarita are trapped in a struggle for survival ? just as we are.

The border is not the problem; Wal-Mart is the problem.

Fortunately, there are signs of awakening in the national consciousness. There are signs of hope in the emergence of a populist backlash to global trade policies. It helped elect Democrat Sharrod Brown Senator in Ohio and doubtlessly others in the new Congress.

The midterm elections were a powerful reminder that we are a democracy (a profoundly flawed democracy but a democracy nevertheless). In a democracy, the voice of the people counts. We should remember it was not the Democrats who led the way in opposing the illegal and grossly immoral war in Iraq; it was the people. In many ways, we grabbed that donkey by the ears and dragged him into this fight.

The people will have to lead on global trade policies as well.

Our demands: Repeal NAFTA, CAFTA and reform the charter of the World Trade Organization. Establish new trade agreements founded on the inalienable right to a living wage, decent labor standards, and organization rights without environmental degradation.

Of course, we have not yet ended the war. We have not yet buried the neocon vision of global military dominance. Perhaps it is too soon to choose another battle and yet, we might be surprised at how intimately the two are related.

Jazz.

JACK RANDOM IS THE AUTHOR OF THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES (CROW DOG PRESS) AND GHOST DANCE INSURRECTION (DRY BONES PRESS). THE CHRONICLES HAVE APPEARED ON DISSIDENT VOICE, THE ALBION MONITOR, PEACE-EARTH-JUSTICE, THE NATIONAL FREE PRESS, LEFTWARD AND COUNTERPUNCH. SEE RANDOM JACK: WWW.JAZZMANCHRONICLES.BLOGSPOT.COM

Last Updated on Friday, 17 November 2006 11:00
 

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