Time has apparently proved me wrong, and officially removed any benefit of the doubt I might, foolishly, still be tempted to give the Bush Administration. Like an idiot (and John Kerry), I thought I could believe the President about WMD, and for that reason actually supported the war (if not the unilateral rush to war).
But even after all that has happened, of all the charges about Iraq war profiteering, I was perhaps most skeptical of the idea tha Dick Cheney actually influenced the awarding of no-bid contracts to Halliburton (of which we was, disastrously, CEO before becoming VP). After all, Halliburton is one of a very few companies equipped for the huge and specialized task of restoring Iraq’s oil production. And I know first-hand that Halliburton has highly skilled and ethical managers, particularly in its core oil-services operations. (My uncle is a high-ranking Halliburton executive overseeing operations in the former Soviet Union.) But most of all, I assumed that Cheney was too smart to do something so stupid, knowing that every administration skeptic was on the lookout for oily hands in the post-war cookie jar.
Apparently, though, he was both that stupid and that arrogant. The email discussed in the Time story is as good a smoking gun as you get. Feith and Wolfowitz have been doing Cheney’s bidding on everything else, and it’s now clear that Halliburton’s no-bid contract was just another drop in the bucket.
So after the yellowcake distortion, the “45 minutes” lie, the Plame affair, the illegal diversion of $700 million from Afghanistan to Iraq, the Chalabi clusterfuck, Rumsfeld’s madness in denying the Joint Chiefs the number of soldiers they requested, the complete and total mismanagement of the post-“Mission Accomplished” mission in Iraq, the Abu Ghraib abuse and coverup, and now this… how could anyone trust this administration to do anything right, doubt any accustation of corruption, ineptness, madness or malice? It boggles the mind. But Bush is still polling at a dead heat with Kerry.
If this administration wins re-election (or, uh, election), we will know, officially, that the nation has ceased to function as a democratic republic. While no doubt some fault for the current dire state lies our institutions and the media, we really have no one to blame but ourselves. We are a population no longer competent (or perhaps no longer interested enough) to safeguard government by the people and for the people.
Thinking about Bush, Cheney, and their disgusting junta makes me think invariably about the Ben Franklin quote Gore Vidal cited when David and I heard him speak in January, saying that our form of government, however successful for a time, “can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”