Sunday, August 24, 2003

Old business

Catching up on some old business, commenting on things that happened before I started keeping this blog, but which are still important.

No Presidential adminstration in the history of the United States has shown such utter contempt for democracy and the truth as that of George W. Bush, and his attorney general John Ashcroft.

There is no principled defense of our attack on Iraq. This is not to say no good has come of it. The world is a better place with Saddam Hussein out of power. But there are lots of people in power that the world would be better off without (including at least one who wants to build up stockpiles of nuclear weapons and has the means to do so).

George Bush led us to war on a false pretext. We now know that Iraq was not an imminent threat to the United States, and was not a haven for terrorists. (Ironically, Iraq seems to harbor more terrorists now than it did before Saddam was deposed.) Whether this was due to deliberate deception or mere incompetence we will probably never know, but it doesn't matter. In a civilized society the ends do not justify the means.

Ironically, it was apparent before the war, and it is even more apparent now, that the real source of terrorism is not Afghanistan nor Iraq, but rather Saudi Arabia. Why are we not attacking them? Not being privy to the deliberations of the Joint Chiefs I obviously don't know the answer to that, but here's a theory: the Saudis are doing a better job of providing themselves with plausible deniability than Iraq or Afghanistan did, and they are relatively pliable with respect to the Bush Administration's desires regarding oil and Israel. I can't prove this, of course, but I submit that this theory is consistent with all the observed data.

(As an interesting side-note, 60 minutes did a story a while back about the fact that the political basis for the United States's suport of Israel comes mainly not from Jews, which make up only a miniscule voting block, but rather from born-again Christians, who want to protect Israel not because it is a democracy, but because its existence as an independent nation is one of the Biblical prerequisites for the Second Coming. (Never mind that the Second Coming is already long overdue.))

In two and a half years George Bush as turned record surpluses into record deficits, alienated our allies, shredded our record of never having been a military aggressor, dismantled personal freedoms in the name of "security", and widened the gulf between rich and poor. In my book he is well on his way to being the worst president this country ever had.

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