George Bush must pay for this American tragedy

Years ago, an American humorist encapsulated the extent of US influence around the world with a cartoon featuring a big-breasted, bejewelled, matronly-looking small-town suburban housewife, griping in front of a TV news bulletin: "How could they go to war without our help?"

Years ago, an American humorist encapsulated the extent of US influence around the world with a cartoon featuring a big-breasted, bejewelled, matronly-looking small-town suburban housewife, griping in front of a TV news bulletin: "How could they go to war without our help?"

This was the Cold War era, when almost no conflict occurred around the world without either the US or the Soviet Union being involved. This one had originated from an ordinary border dispute.

Today, every Tom, Dick and Harry - economic "nobodies" - are blaming only Uncle Sam for a financial crisis the likes of which they have not experienced since 1929.

Neither the Russian Federation, the wannabe USSR, nor China, are anywhere near the horizon of culpability. People have called for the US to remove In God We Trust from its currency. They say it's the height of blasphemy.

Every country with an economy - even, amazingly, Zimbabwe - has been buffeted by the shenanigans of the greedy monsters of Wall Street.

One appeared before a US congressional committee to answer accusations he and his friends caused the crisis through their avarice.

Down-and-out Americans and investors around the world said they were reminded of the culprits responsible for the Enron scandal in 2001.

Enron collapsed after reports of false profits, using dubious accounting methods, were revealed. Internal and external controls couldn't detect the losses disguised as profits for years.

The Wall Street man showed no contrition at his obscene payoff before the company went bust, as ordinary people lost jobs, savings, houses, cars and lives.

The price tag of $700 billion so frightened US lawmakers they almost didn't pass the law. All are hoping someone in the Republican Party will pay the price.

In South Africa, there were suggestions the economy should be fashioned on the Chinese, rather than the US one. There is massive state control in China, but enough room for free enterprise to create wealth for ordinary citizens: two cars, two fridges, a TV set and a computer for each family member - restricted by law to one child.

What still pervades Chinese life is the palpable presence of Big Brother. South Africans have complained of the pervasive intrusion into their lives by the state, but a China-like economy would multiply the intrusion a hundredfold.

Also, if a second mass political movement was launched to challenge the hegemony of the ANC, it might not enjoy the relatively unfettered freedom of today's opposition parties.

The Chinese may not face the ever-present threat of the country having its economic guts being ripped out by Wall Street-like demons but the citizens still do not enjoy the lifestyle of the world's third largest economy, after the US and Japan.

The decline of the US economy is tied to the Iraq war and the so-called war on terror. The greed of the military industrial complex is cited as a prime cause. George Bush must pay the price for this tragedy. A Republican defeat on November 4 might not be enough, but it would assuage the people's pain.

Even Uncle Sam might afford a grin.

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