in the forbidden zone

WASHINGTON – As the Iraq war enters a fifth year, the conflict that President Bush’s aides once said would all but pay for itself with oil revenues is fueling the highest level of defense spending since World War II.

Even with past spending adjusted upward for inflation, the $630 billion provided for the military this year exceeds the highest annual amounts during the Reagan-era defense buildup, the Vietnam War and the Korean War.

Do you ever daydream about what we might have done with all those resources, all that dough? I do. I sit here quaffing a mug of Folgers and think Damn, maybe we could’ve found a meaningful treatment for Type 1 Diabetes or Multiple Sclerosis. I wonder if maybe all those billions – almost half a trillion dollars so far, in Iraq alone – could have been spent to enhance the education of American children. Maybe some could’ve been invested in business to build ourselves a place in the new global marketplace growing around us.

I have to admit I think it’s just too late. We elected a myopic miserable failure of a man, then we did it again. And he has done nothing short of digging the grave of the American Dream.

I remember as a kid going to the movies with my Dad and seeing Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and I’ll never forget the scenes near the end of the movie, with the mutants worshiping the ICBM beneath the ruins of a cathedral. Back in 1970, everyone thought that if the world ended it would be with a bang. Now, if you listen carefully, you can hear America whimpering. We are on the verge of losing our place as a Superpower, because other countries are using their resources to build while we pump our life blood into absurd war. We’re becoming a consumer nation, borrowing money to buy the things from others that we used to make here. That is not the basis of an economy.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

George W. Bush should be impeached, not just because he lied to drag us into war, got many of our people killed, is incompetent to finish the job, and has ruined our place and reputation in the world for nothing. He should go because – to appropriate Biblical allegory – he is the servant entrusted with a vineyard, and the vines are dead and have borne no fruit. And worse, he has done nothing for us but to perpetuate the worst that’s in us; he has done nothing to lift us up or make the world a better place. Here is the truth of the Bush legacy, as was written on the Apes’ sacred scrolls in the movie 37 years ago:

Beware the beast, man, for he is the Devil’s pawn. Alone among God’s primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother’s land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him! Send him to his jungle home. For he is the harbinger of death.