Dear Bush Beat: Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

. . . and son of a bitch, bitch, bitch

barney-at-podium-sept04.jpg

Playing cute with us: Don't count on this White House son of a bitch to say anything. (White House photo)


CATCHING UP ON some letters while George W. Bush's handlers—obsessed with the unborn, dead, and brain-dead, at the expense of the living— wrap up their politicking on Pope John Paul II's carcass:

G.B. wrote:

    How could this happen? All this good news for Bush, all these Democrats sucking up about Iraq, and all the good news about new/free governments?

    What the f--- is goin' on here? This wasn't supposed to happen. WE WERE SUPPOSED TO FAIL.

    You promised, God, now we will be stronger than ever.

    Don't you hate that? As for icing on the cake, just knowing people like you go home at night and whine about it just makes me all warm inside.

Thanks for writing, G.B. Anything I can do to help.


Bob Sirois wrote after a reader suggested that I crack myself up (which I do):
    After noticing the criticizing replies to your columns, let me please ask that you continue to speak up. It is so discouraging to see so many people care so little about the harm we are doing to innocent Iraqi citizens. Thank you for all you do.

Thanks for writing, Bob. It's typical, isn't it, how the Bush regime just can't give us enough propaganda about "celebrations" of the second anniversary of the April 9, 2003, fall of Baghdad. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Iraqis heeded a call by Shiite and Sunni preachers to hit the streets yesterday in protest of the U.S. occupation.

Permanently embedded reporter Donna Miles of the Armed Forces Press Service retrieved this Rumsfeld quote from two years ago:

The kind of freedom in which homeless Iraqi families have been evicted from squatting in government buildings while U.S. officials and soldiers live and work in Saddam Hussein's former palaces.

And the freedom of Iraqis to bring their own drugs and equipment to their hospitals—the ones that are still standing.

Intrepid young journalists from the London-based Institute for War & Peace Reporting say hospitals aren't even up to "pre-Saddam standards." The IWPR's Yaseen al-Rubai summed it up last month:

    A health ministry spokesman told IWPR that all hospital buildings and almost 90 per cent of health centers require repair or total reconstruction, the total cost of which is estimated to be close to $4 billion—more than twice as much as the ministry has at its disposal this year.

Some money is being spent, you understand, but even that's not going for the right things, as al-Rubai noted in a subsequent story:

    Kareem al-Ubaidy, a senior official at the Medical City Hospital in Baghdad, said that corruption had left the medical sector in worse state than it was under the previous regime.

    "The cost of maintaining the gardens of Medical City was $68 million, the cost of painting the building was $150 million, and the cost of repairs was $18 million, but when you enter the hospital you don’t feel any changes from the time of Saddam’s regime. On the contrary, it’s getting worse. There’s theft and embezzlement."

Health care in the provinces is abysmal, amid widespread fraud, corruption, shortages, and inflated prices throughout the country. But even in Baghdad, the situation is sickening:

    One patient, student Noor Kamal, 22, was recently operated on after being shot in the head by an American patrol as she made her way to Mustansiriya University in Bab al-Muadham in Baghdad.

    Surgery was a success, much to the relief of her parents and relatives who were not hopeful given the state of the facilities in the hospital.

    "We bought the medicine outside the hospital because it is not available here. The lifts are out of order. There are no nurses to provide post-operative care," complained her father, Kamal Abdul-Qadir, from the al-Sadiyya area of Baghdad.

    Ammar Smaisim, a doctor at Shaheed Adnan hospital in Baghdad, said shortages meant that they regularly have to "tell people to buy medicine and equipment outside the hospital."

There are heroes in Iraq like Florence Nightingale (see Country Joe McDonald for more on her). But the ruthless Saddam Hussein clipped their wings during his reign:

    More than thirty years ago, Iraq was a pioneer in health care in the Middle East, but under the former regime and economic sanctions the country came bottom of the league table of health spending per head of population.

    Moreover, Saddam even limited medical training, fearing that qualified doctors would flee to the West. At the same time, Internet use was restricted, preventing information sharing and the updating of skills.

    Now, as the occupation and insurgency continue, the health-care system sinks into ever-deeper crisis.


G.S. wrote, after my item last month on Rachel Corrie and Caterpillar:

    Should the families of victims of Palestinian suicide bombers not be encouraged to sue the makers of the bomb materials and the governments in which these materials are made and find their way to into the hands of Hamas et al.? After all, they also know that Palestinians like to blow up Israelis on buses and in pizza parlors? And even after all these years, how about Cambodian peasants suing the U.S. gummiment and our bomb makers for slaughtering civilians along the border all those years ago. And the legal beat could go on. Any lines of anywhere?

    If Rachel was a "peace activist," then Hermann Goering was a freedom fighter.

Thanks for writing, G.S. Good logic there, comparing Corrie with Goering. I suppose you mean that they both hated Jews.

Nice backdoor way of painting all critics of Israel's right-wing government and of occupation of the West Bank as antisemitic. Jews who criticize Israel are singled out, of course, as "self-hating." Just remember what Larry David said about that: "I do hate myself, but it has nothing to with being Jewish."

Too bad that most Americans don't know that there's a more visible peace movement among Israeli Jews than there is among American Jews—although it's not my fault that most of the press ignores such groups as Jewish Voice for Peace.

I don't suppose it would help, G.S., if I referred you to writers like Israeli David Grossman, whom I quoted last January in an item about Martin Luther King Jr. Or the late Edward Said of that erstwhile bastion of academic freedom, Columbia University.


John Breneman at the Humor Gazette writes:

Thanks for writing, John. I like your site's copious links and your explanation for there being no WMDs in Iraq—that Bush merely punk'd us.


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