Dubya vs. Seung-Hui Cho: The Greater Menace?

Officials in West Virginia are taking heavy flak for their failure to act on early warnings that South Korean Seung-Hui Cho, who massacred 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech, was a seriously disturbed menace to his community


How then to judge the United States Congress which continues to ignore overwhelming evidence that George W. Bush is an infinitely greater threat to his countrymen; indeed to the entire globe.


Wait, you say, how can you compare the august President of the United States with a dangerously deranged 23 year old South Korean?


You can if you consider the relative menace that each of them poses. Acting by himself, and armed with only a couple of pistols, Seung-Hui Cho managed to kill 32 people. Dubya, on the other hand, commands the most fearful military apparatus the globe has ever known—not to mention a vast intelligence network with thousands of specialized agents ready to do his clandestine bidding in any corner of the globe, from Iran to Somalia to Malaysia.


Why are we so repelled by the video taped rantings of the young South Korean psychopath, yet not equally shocked by the day to day outpourings of the American President? Could it be we have grown so inured to Dubya’s bizarre view of the world that it no longer shocks.


Dubya and his clique have been responsible for the illegal invasion of Iraq and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of its people, most of whom—as the President said of Seung-Hui Cho’s victims—“just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”


This is not to ignore the continued blood-letting in Afghanistan and the current carnage in the secretive pocket “war against terrorism” being waged with U.S. backing in Somalia.


In America itself, the Bush regime has trashed and/or subverted what were once considered the most fundamental of U.S. liberties, while talking of the fight to defend Democracy.


For years there have been alarming but totally credible accounts from former insiders of the extent to which Dubya inhabits a psychic cocoon, cut off from reality, not just impervious to criticism but hostile to it.


All this would be of no concern to the nation—or the world–if Dubya was running a middling oil company in Texas, or retired to riding his mountain bike and clearing brush on the Crawford ranch, but it is a terrifying flaw in the man who commands America’s awesome power.


Take the last week for example.


After Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s disastrous appearance before a Congressional Subcommittee—where not even the most rock-ribbed Republicans were willing to rise to his defense—Bush’s White House spokesman praised the hapless Attorney General—now viewed by even Bush loyalists as a “dead man walking”—for his “fantastic” service at the Department of Justice. “He is our number one crime fighter. He has done so much to help keep this country safe from terrorists.”Then, as if to show both Republicans and Democrats alike what he thought of their views, Bush’s White House announced that Gonzales would join two other Cabinet members in helping colleges review questions raised by the massacre at Virginia Tech.


Addressing thousands of mourners following that tragedy, the President declared, “It’s impossible to make sense of such violence and suffering.” He blandly advised his listeners to seek solace in family and friends and religious faith.


Other leaders might have questioned the system that allowed a dangerous psychopath to walk into a shop and purchase a couple of pistols as if he was buying a couple of cases of beer. Other leaders might have pondered what it is about America that makes such horrifying incidents, if not daily, then almost weekly occurrences. (By Friday a hostage-taking suicide-murder had taken place at Nasa’s Houston headquarters). Yet Dubya seems totally insulated from such concerns.


Indeed, nothing defines his absolute isolation from the real world than Iraq. In a week when suicide bombers continued slaughtering hundreds of their fellow citizens; when even Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called the violence in Baghdad an “open battle” , nine weeks after the U.S. announced a massive surge to put the lid on violence in the capital; when the U.S. military has reportedly given up plans to dramatically increase the training of Iraqis to replace American soldiers, and instead is now building a huge concrete barrier to partition off a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad a la Israel’s West Bank wall; when Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev), said flatly that the war is lost; when Iraqis were now tattooing their names on their bodies so that—if they also fell victim to the raging carnage, relatives could still identify their mangled remains; when the U.S. Secretary of Defense warned feckless Iraqi leaders that the U.S. commitment was really not open ended—honest guys—and they really had to figure out a way to live with each other, really; when tens of thousands of Iraqis continued to flee the country—joining two million other countrymen—many of them middle class professionals—the very people Iraq most desperately needs; when the United Nations announced it could no longer provide monthly civilian death figures, because the Iraqi government will no longer make them available; on Friday of that week, George Bush equipped with photographs and maps, like the commander in chief briefing the nation, George Bush assured an audience in Western Michigan that “there are still horrific attacks in Iraq but the direction of the fight is beginning to shift. …The nature of a strategy aimed at securing the population is that the most important gains are often the least dramatic,” he said. “Day by day, block by block, Iraqi and American forces are making incremental gains in Baghdad. ”


It was of course, almost four years ago, that this same President declared victory in the war in Iraq.


Meanwhile, Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the only people known to cohabit Dubya’s cocoon, still insists, despite the U.S.’s own intelligence reporting, that Saddam Hussein was linked with Al Qaeda.


So, Congress, what do you do?

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About Barry Lando

Mr. Barry Lando is a Canadian native living in Paris, France. Lando spent 25 years an an award-winning investigative producer with 60 minutes and directed a documentary two years ago called, “The Trial of Saddam Hussein We’ll Never See.” It dealt with the hypocrisy of putting Saddam Hussein on trial without also dealing with the complicity of world leaders and businessmen in his crimes during his time in office in Iraq. Prior to that he was a correspondent for Time-Life in South America. He has also freelanced articles over the years for a large range of North American and European publications. He received a B.A. magna in history at Harvard University and an M.A. in political science from Columbia University. His new book is titled “Web of Deceit: The History of Foreign Complicity in Iraq from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush.” Web of Deceit draws on a wide range of journalism and scholarship to present a complete picture of what really happened in Iraq under Saddam, detailing – for the first time – the complicity of the West in its full and alarming extent. It is being published by Other Press in the U.S. and Doubleday in Canada. He maintains his own blog at http://www.barrylando.com.

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