Snake Oil

October 21, 2006

I’m an old fashioned family doctor, not a psychiatrist. More often than not I use elementary logic to solve medical problems, far more often than esoteric medical research. While I don’t propose to be a gifted national leader, a few things related to our national policies, or rather lack of any policies, really puzzle me. After being attacked by Al Qaida, I can picture President Bush with his dunce cap, proudly telling Professor Cheney “I have an idea! Let’s attack the enemy of our enemy!” and Professor Cheney replying “Brilliant! Brilliant!” and swilling another Guiness (the President declining a glass himself).

Now, after attacking the greatest enemy of Al Qaida in the entire world (Saddam Hussein), we have no policy in Iraq. We have no policy and have made no attempt in 6 years to arrange for peace between Palestine and Israel- clearly the most important issue in the entire “War on Terror.” We have no energy policy and except for the incessant disagreements among the OPEC members, there would be no temporary easing of oil prices. We have no significant diplomatic relationship with Iran or Palestine or North Korea or even China and Mexico, for that matter. Our present administration has isolated us from virtually every government in the world. Even Canada can’t stand the White House right now.

We have set up a government in Iraq, which despite the hopefully honorable intention of Mr. Bush, is one of the most corrupt and ineffectual conglomerations of Iranian puppets in the entire “civilized” world. It cannot control or even suggest things to an Iraqi army, which is 3 times as large as our entire armed forces. The Iranian Clerics, our only hope for peace in Iraq, our only buffer against total civil war, have been labeled by our significantly right wing government as “Islamic fascists.” Clearly, our right wing government with Professor Cheney and Gonzalez presiding is just as “fascist” as these clerics.

Hopefully, neither group is really “fascist,” but both are just as clearly dominated by untenable religious philosophies. Both philosophies are archaic and cannot function in the modern world without compromise between them. Neither our “fascists” nor the Islamic “fascists” have any respect for each other and this lack of respect reverberates worldwide.

Meanwhile, an equally absurd presence confronts us in the opposition Democratic asylum. From John Kerry talking in “teenage foreign speak,” (At 60 years old, I have no idea what he is saying, at least Mr. Bush speaks “Texan”, close to English, him, however unfortunately, I can understand) to Howard Dean summarizing the Katrina fiasco by calling Mr. Bush racist, and to Ms. Pelosi inferring that we can cure everything by impeaching the President, the Democratic “cures” are nothing but “snake oil” in a different flavor than the Republican recipe.

What is needed is an honest, global view… “perspective,” a foreign word, I think- apparently not English. “Perspective” means asking the clerics in Iraq to help us extricate our soliders, however slowly, from their country, recognizing that their current government is nearly useless. It means proposing to re-deploy some of our troops to the Palestinean/ Israeli border and guaranteeing the Israeli security, having them return Palestinian land according to the UN boundaries and threatening the Palestinean government (Hamas) that if they violate the border, we will rout them out of their beds in the middle of the night if need be. Israel also needs to pay billions of dollars in reparations in the place of the Palestinian “Right of Return.”

It means, now that Mr. DeLay, chief architect of corruption, is gone, we need a legitimate energy policy much like President Carter’s which essentially “emasculated” OPEC for 25 years and which Mr. Reagan foolishly disbanded. Take the same $80 billion, including illicit tax breaks for the oil companies, and propose at least $50 billion a year for alternative energy research and development and $25-30 billion for oil exploration to placate the “bleeding hearts” of the “opposition”- (turnabout, fair play?). Put oil rigs on the White House steps, in the Gulf of Mexico, wherever you want for five years. The price of oil will tumble again as it did in the ‘80’s and the major, major source of income for terrorism will start drying up!! (I love windfall taxes, but they violate the 14th Amendment.)

Meanwhile, instead of attacking Mexico and China (Professor Cheney’s next target, oh, sorry, that’s probably New Jersey), why not try a little negotiation, like threats of tariffs against China if they don’t feel like helping us with North Korea? And what about the same thing or unilateral changes in NAFTA if Mexico doesn’t help us with our border problems instead of aggravating and instigating them? In a few years we will not have the economic power to “urge” anyone to do anything.

And, I haven’t even touched on our National Debt, Mr. Bush’s gift to our grandchildren. Mr. Bush has been the most extravagant spender of our money that the world has ever seen. I have no arguments with his tax cuts, only his excessive unforgivable expenditures (most thanks to Tom Delay and to the dire consternation of Bill Thomas), but, have no delusions, there is no Bill Clinton or George Bush Sr. on the horizon to cut spending in the near future. I have to admit- I have called President Bush an “Idiot Savant” on many occasions, quipping that “He can’t read, but he can count.” I think I was wrong- he can’t count either.

Allen Finkelstein D.O.