Bush cynical, unimaginative, reactive opportunist |
Posted: Saturday, August 31, 2002
By D. Haynes, YellowTimes.org
It is bad enough that George W. Bush has declared war on the Third World - most especially those parts of it that are predominantly Islamic and possess large petroleum reserves.
But his recent posturing as an environmentalist - as the man with the plan to save America's national forests in the wake of a summer of unusually severe western fires - taxes credulity beyond reasonable limits.
Bush's 10-year strategic plan for managing wild land fires, unveiled recently during a vote-seeking tour of the southwest, is nothing more than a thinly veiled ruse to open America's national forests to the logging companies that supported his candidacy. The plan is not in the best long term interest of Americans or of their national forests.
The president seized upon the tragic events of 9/11 to dismantle the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution with an unprecedented series of civil liberty curtailments in the name of his so-called "War on Terrorism."
And in the hysterical aftermath of 9/11 he ordered - or at the very least permitted - the indifferent extermination of an inordinate number of innocent Afghan civilians (well over 3,000 by most estimates) who had no connection whatsoever, directly or indirectly, with events of September 11. (1)
Anti-personnel cluster bombs, cruise missiles, B-52-sewn carpet bombs and 2000-pound blockbusters were rained indiscriminately onto the inhabitants of countless primitive Afghan mud hut villages in an orgiastic and vengeful American killing spree, the purpose of which was, ostensibly, to "git bin Laden." Bin Laden was apparently not gotten, but many simple Afghan peasants who never heard of bin Laden were killed.
The Bush administration has declared itself and its forces immune to any international inquiry into these messy matters of the Afghan slaughter and his popularity remains surprisingly high among mindless mainstream Americans who get all of their news from pro-administration American corporate media sources. Congressional opponents who could have made a difference at the outset and who could still make a difference lack the spine - the intestinal fortitude - to speak out, lest they be deemed "unpatriotic."
Sensing an apparently bottomless pit of public and congressional naiveté and cowardice in the face of recent excesses abroad and at home, Bush now seeks to capitalize in an equally ruthless and cynical fashion on a summer of unfortunate western forest fires. He wants to bring large-scale rapacious private logging back into a national forest system that had seen the practice discouraged by the Clinton administration in accordance with the wishes of the vast majority of Americans and the advice of forest ecologists. (2)
The forests of North America had achieved equilibrium eons before Europeans came to decimate them in their typically greedy, selfish and short-sighted approach to the natural world.
Lightning-induced fires were certainly a part of the natural order in pre-European North America, but the tree-consuming tornadic vortexes of flame observed recently in the West were likely unknown in that more balanced landscape.
The underbrush that burns so furiously in today's forest conflagrations is in most cases a product of man's destruction of the original canopy of virgin giants. Before man became involved, a largely unknown ecosystem of shade tolerant mosses, lichens, ferns and other small plants, as well as browsing herbivores, minimized anything resembling brush and lived in symbiotic peace.
Within the framework of 21st Century America, brush is, most typically, an intermediate or transitional phase in a "harvested" forest - one that would eventually be replaced by towering mature trees and a less cluttered forest floor if the ecosystem involved was left alone.
America's national forests don't need to be "trimmed" or "thinned" or "harvested" or delivered into salvation in any manner whatsoever by a Bush-directed forest service rife with greed and good ole' boy logging company connections.
Rather, our national forests should be left alone and declared off limits for a few generations of happy American campers, ATV jocks, and a variety of other human abusers that are destroying them. That would be the better solution.
Corporate timber giants coveted remaining stands of old growth trees in our national forests long before this summer's fires. Bill Clinton fought a pitched battle with them throughout his two administrations. He made a valiant eleventh hour stand in the last days of his second term by closing vast areas of the national forest system to logging.
Unfortunately, the Clinton logging ban, like most other positive contributions he made to the welfare of the nation and the world, is now likely to be reversed by Bush.
But for George Bush to pose as a savior of national forest lands with a unique plan to preserve and restore America's wild places is too absurd to warrant serious discussion or time-consuming refutation.
Let's keep the record straight.
Bush and members of his administration are destroyers. They are not healers and restorers.
They are quietly dismantling. relaxing, or delaying enforcement of environmental protection laws throughout the nation and have been doing so since the day he accepted office.
They have destroyed the infrastructure of one Islamic nation and are busy planning an onslaught on other countries with the goal in both cases of building a puppet government wholly favorable to the United States and to Western ideas and interests.
Their fiscal policies and the dishonest practices of their compatriots on Wall Street have eroded the worth of countless 401K plans of low and middle income working Americans, thereby destroying the retirement dreams of millions.
Now, the Bush administration wants to okay fast track destruction of tens of millions acres of trees in America's national forests for reasons no more complicated or noble than the simple fact that wealthy lumber interests wish to cut the trees for profit and there is no person or agency to prevent implementation of this nefarious blitzkrieg so long as George W. Bush is in the White House.
(1) "Over 3,767 civilians killed by U.S. in Afghanistan; Pentagon misleads," http://www.yellowtimes.org/article.php?sid=67 and "A dossier on civilian victims of United States' aerial bombing of Afghanistan," http://www.cursor.org/stories/civilian_deaths.htm
(2) "Bush Fire Plan Portends More Logging, More Fires," http://www.wildrockies.org/wildfire/Chad_oped.html
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