Life Abroad

Dilemma of a Texan

Dilemma of a Texan By Jamin Ohwovoriole

The storm had long gathered in the city before I left London for Johannesburg last week. And the thick cloud of anger enveloping the land was just about to burst the heavens at the seams. Every idle space papered with screaming anti-Bush posters, the Bush-hating British public, engineered by the Stop the War Coalition, had pulled its long sword out of the scabbard waiting for November 18, judgement day. You wonder why they hate George Bush so? According to 63% of the English people in a recent poll, little George Bush is “a threat to world peace.” Another 37% believe that the American president is “stupid,” and 33% submit he is “incoherent.” This sentiment, however, is not the exclusive preserve of the English: while in Germany many months back, I witnessed a heavy outpouring of German dissatisfaction and unfettered orgy of loathing for the belligerent Texan when he came calling at the German Chancellor’s door. This cowboy seems to be in trouble with the world he believes he is trying to protect. And the British, just like their German and Australian counterparts, have made this fact pungent.

But I like Bush. I admire him because of his mien. I like the glint in his eyes. I adore the wry smile perpetually plastered on his countenance by nature. There is something about his gait that makes laughter swell in my stomach like hurricane gathering momentum from the eye. He soldiers like a rascal conscious of his mischief wearing face. Nonetheless, he tends to suggest that he is harmless. I like him because the first American citizen has swooped his timidity that was so apparent in the early days of his government for a growing confidence. Now, his presence is capable of springing beads of sweat from the inside of the spines of his detractors, who once regarded him as the most ignorant president America ever had. I like him because he is working so hard to purge the world of all the terrorists- perceived and real- and weapons of mass destruction. However, I have long lost faith in his ability to deliver the prized trophy. Bush, to me, looks like a failure every passing day. Bush has failed the world he cherishes so much because years after the war on the white mountains of Afghanistan, Usama bin Laden remains elusive, and six months after the end of hostilities in the hot desert of Iraq, Saddam Hussein remains in the realm of the spirits: like water splashed on the burning surface of the earth, he vanished into thin air and no eyes have seen him since April 18, 2003.

Osama, the world’s chief terrorist remains active from the hole he is hiding and Al Qaeda, which was founded by the Saudi moneybag in the late 1980s to bring together Arabs who fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, has become the 21st century plague God is using to torment humanity, courtesy of the Bush government. Before Bush, bin Laden existed in the dark bowels of the Taliban enclave largely unnoticed. With Bush, the bearded nomadic prince noisily proclaims his desire to “establish a pan-Islamic Caliphate throughout the world by working with allied Islamic extremist groups to overthrow regimes it deems “non-Islamic” and expelling Westerners and non-Muslims from Muslim countries.” If the February 1998 Al Qaeda statement which implored all Muslims to kill U.S. citizens – civilian or military- and their allies everywhere was the catalyst that triggered the events of September 11, then the unfinished war of attrition embarked upon by the Bush government is the tonic, laced with dynamite, that the world needed for Armageddon. In the same vein, the continuous invincibility of the Butcher of Iraq is the very antithesis of all that the Bush government had hoped for the embattled people of the ancient Babylon. Fear is their breakfast, and the number of corpses of dead American soldiers and their Iraqi counterparts toiling to restore the much-needed political and economic stability to a dishevelled society is the dinner that takes Iraqis to bed. The situation in Iraq, unfortunately, has given muscles to a thick skin network that includes many Sunni Islamic extremist groups, some members of al-Gama’a al Islamiyya, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Harakat ul-Majuhidin to make living unbearable. What has this done to mankind? Fear has been unleashed from the North Pole to the southern hemisphere and the world is not the safe place that Bush had conceived in his myopic mind. The two men have been deified.

What has the new global power structure done to America?

One, the American ego has been deflated despite the fact that the most powerful nation may still profit economically from Bush’s adventures in Iraq, especially. While the intellectual power house and faceless strategists of the terrorists are gaining in size and stature in the deluded mind of the American public, traditional American institutions like the CIA, FBI and the Pentagon are being disrobed, rendered impotent and unreliable by the doggedness of guerrilla resistance cultivated in the arid lands of underestimated terrains. Before their very eyes, Americans see all that they have revered in their supposedly infallible security and intelligent system desecrated. Shame faced, they see their brothers die in droves; they receive their fathers in body bags instead of a warm embrace. And the rest of the world is too terrified, too afraid of its shadow as the sun slides into oblivion daily. Yet, Bush could smile to the bank when the dust settles down in spite of the many deaths and the billions of dollars spent to oil the war machine of the coalition forces. Why this optimism? Isn’t it common knowledge that the 1991 Persian Gulf War set back America by $61 billion, but allies reimbursed Uncle Sam all but some $7 billion, and that some bookkeepers actually thought, through some accounting methods, the US actually made a profit?

Two, the Cowboy’s paranoia that has driven him to foreign lands in search of world peace has set the American nation at war with itself. The economy is in a battered state; consequently, the poor are set to open the floodgate of hell and pour venom and anger on the rich and on the Bush administration. Because the Americans are tired of funding Bush’s Father Christmas indulgences, they on October 16, 2003 asked the government, through the Senate, to convert 50% of the $20.3 billion requested by the Bush Administration for the reconstruction of Iraq to a loan. According to reports, this measure “reflects the growing concern among lawmakers and their constituencies about the growing cost of the war, how the money is being spent, and the effects at home.” The pains the American nation would be subjected to economically are painted in vivid colours when one considers the fact that the American budget deficits would remain “at or above $325 billion for each of the next 10 years.” Nonetheless, nearly two-thirds of the 2004 tax breaks, which is about $185 billion, recently approved by the Congress will exclusively benefit the rich in America. Unconsciously, but perhaps blinded by his larger quest, Bush is cutting through the middle the fabrics that hold his society together. A palpable class structure is being established as his domestic policies consistently favour his wealthy friends while “federal cuts leads to cuts in crucial domestic programmes that are felt most by single mothers and other low/moderate income families.”

What does the American reality portend for George W. Bush next year? I think the American society has had enough of his managerial skills, and just like his father, he would fail in his bid for a second term in the White House. Maybe he would change his destiny by catching Usama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. It is the only legacy the Bush Administration desperately needs to salvage what is left of God’s Own Country.

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