Five years ago, I was in the strident minority that had no faith in the motives or principles of the Bush administration. It was a lonely time for progressives. We were ridiculed, discounted, and scorned. Today, as the consequences of Bush administration policies have begun to manifest themselves, the national zeitgeist is very different.
Alas, there is small satisfaction in being vindicated when the price is this high. Our nation is in grave peril. But this danger does not come from terrorists, but from corporatists and robber barons, and from the poorly-educated religious zealots that believe in them.
There is a certain type of business person that develops an expertise for extracting money from the federal government. It is how some careers are made. And, of course, as most of us can readily attest, whenever there is a big pot of money somewhere, there will be individuals who scheme to get it for themselves.
At the end of the Clinton presidency, there was a federal surplus: an enormous pot of money. If we look at a crude timeline of events since that time....well, I'll leave it to you....
- With Dick Cheney as its CEO, Halliburton was on the verge of bankruptcy.
- George W. Bush appointed Dick Cheney to head up an exploratory committee to find a running mate.
- The committee chose Dick Cheney.
- Upon assuming office, Dick Cheney convened an energy policy task force, the members of which remain hidden from public knowledge.
- Shortly thereafter, White House rhetoric was aimed at Saddam Hussein and Iraq.
- Our country was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001.
- Key members of the Bush administration (including Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, and Rice) began advocating an invasion of Iraq to "protect" the United States from terrorist attacks.
- George W. Bush ordered the United States military to invade Iraq in March, 2003.
- Halliburton was awarded multi-billion dollar federal contracts without being subjected to competitive bidding.
- Dick Cheney (who was still being awarded a deferred salary from Halliburton) and his cohorts got rich(er).