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(Pablo Picasso. Guernica. Source)
George W. Bush Jr. was president of the USA from 2001 to 2009. He might not be president anymore, but he continues to be relevant. Indeed, many journalists use politicians like Bush as an excuse to indulge in Christian-bashing. These journalists take (or shamelessly invent) Bush's sins, point out that Bush claims he is a Christian, and then conclude that Christianity must be bad, or that pro-lifers love to drop bombs on innocent civilians, or that citizens who attend Mass can't wait to take money away from the poor, so they can pay for their Earth-raping SUVs.
I was against Bush from day 1, but not for the same reasons as Christian-bashing journalists. These reasons are still relevant today, because they are a kind of antidote against the lies of corrupt journalists.
What is the correct method to judge Bush (or any other politician)? I think some principles are obviously necessary:
2.1) We depend on our sources of information. Getting reliable information on political matters is often difficult. Our political evaluations obviously depend on our information sources. If you notice any inaccuracies in our assertions, please notify us. We will be very grateful!
2.2) We reject the "Partial-Truth Deadlock". As explained in "The Warmaker's Bifocals", one of Satan's favorite tricks to screw up politics is to divide a country in two, with each side being partially right and partially wrong. That way, perpetual warfare is insured. We reject this. It's not because Bush is partially wrong that therefore Kerry, Kennedy, Clinton and all other Democrats are totally right. And vice-versa, of course!
2.3) Politics is not Religion. I sometimes get the impression that the people who confuse religion and politics the most are some Left-wing journalists. They often cannot clearly explain what beliefs are, how Catholics should vote, what is morality, where do rights come from, and what are the superstitions they themselves are mired in.
2.4) Our "Political Bible" is not the Bible. It's more like the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, and the Précis de philosophie (a good Philosophy textbook, unfortunately still only in French) by F.-J. Thonnard.
George W. Bush Jr.
The following list is currently work-in-progress. It is is based on some articles found on the Left-wing press review called Common Dreams. Ideally, each item in the list would be accompanied by hyperlinks to original sources backing up each claim. As is said in #2.1 here above, if you know of any better hyperlinks, please send them to us.
(By the way, I absolutely don't endorse everything that can be found on the Common Dreams website. Moreover, I would like to have time to make a list of all the good things George W. Bush Jr. did as a President, in order to give a more balanced position.)
3.1) Deficient personal character.
Apparently, George is one of the Presidents who has spent the largest
proportion of his presidency on holidays.
[Source: "President of Leisure", by John Nichols]
Instead of going to Vietnam to fight like a man, George chickened away
into the National Guard, where he was even AWOL for several weeks (a
crime punishable by the Death penalty in wartime). Of course, all records
of these events have been conveniently "lost".
[Sources: "Bush's Mostly Detached Service", by Tom Brazaitis.
"Bush's Guard Service: What the Record Shows", by Walter V. Robinson]
George was once caught drinking and driving.
[Source: "Gonzales: Did He Help Bush Keep His DUI Quiet?", by Michael Isikoff.]
3.1.4) Wealth combined with lack of concern for the poor. George seems quite rich, and we haven't heard of many altruistic gestures on his part.
Support for abortion.
George, contrary to what many people think, is not pro-life. He was outspokenly
pro-choice at the beginning of his political career, decided to pretend
to be pro-life to get the support of Christians, then once again became
outspokenly pro-choice at the end of his presidency.
[Source: "President Bush Supports Abortion in Cases of Rape and Incest", by John-Henry Westen,
"President Bush Approves Over the Counter Early Abortion Pill, Pro-Life Base Decries Move" By John-Henry Westen
Is the Partial Birth Abortion ban really a "victory"?]
Betrayal of Christians.
David Kuo, former second-in-command of President Bush's Office of Faith-Based
Initiatives, seems to agree with me that Bush has used Evangelical Christians
for his political purposes. "George W. Bush, the man, is a person of profound
faith and deep compassion for those who suffer. But President George W. Bush is
a politician and is ultimately no different from any other politician, content
to use religion for electoral gain more than for good works. Millions of
Evangelicals may share Bush's faith, but they would protect themselves - and
their interests - better if they looked at him through the same coldly
political lens with which he views them."
[Source: Adapted from Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, by David Kuo, Free Press, 2006, 304 pages.]
3.2) Mismanaged war in Iraq.
I'm not a pacifist by any stretch of the imagination, and sometimes war is necessary and justifiable (like against Hitler in WWII). Neither do I claim that Saddam Hussein is a choirboy, and that everything was fine in Iraq before the US invaded. On the contrary!
If I had to summarize the argument with a metaphor, I'd say Iraq was like a sick man who needed a heart-transplant (Saddam Hussein was a very bad leader). But Bush decided to operate on Iraq first, even though it could be argued that other patients on the waiting list were more urgent (like North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, etc.). Secondly, instead of using a scalpel, Bush used a chainsaw, so the patient is not necessarily better off after the operation! But please note by the way this metaphor doesn't stop: once you've made a mistake with a chainsaw, the solution is not to abandon the patient. I don't think pulling out of Iraq now would automatically solve all problems.
Bush apparently lied about the weapons of mass destruction.
None were found, despite the intensive search.
[Sources: "Lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction Comes Back to Haunt Bush", by Keay Davidson.
"British Documents Portray Determined US March to War", by Warren P. Strobel]
Bush apparently invented the link between Iraq and Al-Qaida.
No such like was found. On the contrary, many links to Saudi Arabia appeared
and were swept under the carpet.
[Sources: "9-11 Commission: No Link Between Al-Qaida and Saddam", by Hope Yen.
"U.N. Panel Finds No Iraq Link to Al Qaida", by Dafna Linzer.
"Doubts Cast on Efforts to Link Saddam, al-Qaida", by Warren P. Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott]
Bush apparently didn't listen to his generals who warned about the
difficult reconstruction of Iraq.
"Invading" is not the same thing as "Nation-building". The price, in human
lives, money, time, etc., was underestimated by Bush.
[Sources: "The General Who Got It Right on Iraq", by Frank Gibney.
"Army Strategist Criticizes Bush Administration Conduct of Iraq War", by David Wood.]
3.3) Civil liberties.
Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.
Bush showed contempt for International Law in his treatment of prisoners
[Sources: "Letter to President Bush: Inhumane Treatment of Prisoners Produces Blowbacks and Backlashes", by Ralph Nader.
"Soldier Serves as Scapegoat in Iraq Prison Scandal While Higher-Ups Duck Responsibility", by Peter Maguire.
"Bush, Cheney Attack Amnesty International", by Jim Lobe.
"Guantanamo Policy on Trial", by Tim Harper]
The Patriot Act.
Many clauses in the idiotically-named "Patriot Act" (why not have simply called
it the "Anti-Terrorism Act"?) have reduced and might very well continue to
reduce civil liberties in the USA.
[Sources: "Patriot Act Sequel Worse Than Original", by Rajeev Goyle.
"Patriot Act Author Has Concerns", by Richard B. Schmitt]
"Exporting" suspects to countries who use torture.
Several Canadian citizens were sent to contries where Human Rights are
blatantly disregarded, apparently under the orders or at least connivence
of the USA.
[Source: "Outsourcing Torture: The Secret History of America's «Extraordinary Rendition» Program", by Jane Mayer.]
Media convergence and manipulation.
I doubt media convergence and manipulation started with Bush, and I sadly
have few hopes that it will stop with him. That being said, Bush and his staff
probably will not win the "Journalistic Integrity Olympics".
[Source: "Why Media Ownership Matters", by Amy Goodman and David Goodman.]
3.4) The Environment.
The Kyoto Accord.
Against the advice of the vast majority of scientists, Bush refuses to
acknowledge the seriousness of climate change, and its man-made exacerbating
[Sources: "Bush Administration Accused of Suppressing, Distorting Science", by Seth Borenstein.
"Bush is Accused of Hot Air as Kyoto Comes Into Force", by Andrew Buncombe.]
No serious effort to reduce wasted energy in the USA.
The USA is apparently one of the countries which wastes the most energy
in the world.
[Sources: "Bush-Cheney Energy Strategy: Procuring the Rest of the World's Oil", by Michael T. Klare.
"More Blood, Less Oil; The Failed U.S. Mission to Capture Iraqi Petroleum", by Michael T. Klare.
"What We Would Like to See in the State of the Union Address to be Given by President Bush Feb. 2", by the Sustainable Energy Coalition]
Legislation that encourages fuel-wasting vehicles.
Loopholes in some laws encourage people to buy gas-guzzling SUVs, and
Bush refuses to close them.
[Source: "Closing Fuel Economy Loopholes Can Save Consumers Billions" by the Union of Concerned Scientists.]
3.5) The Economy.
The poor are often made to subsidize the rich.
The middle-class is losing ground, the rich are getting richer, unionized
labor is attacked, etc.
[Sources: "The Real Threat of Fascism", by Paul Bigioni.
"New Survey Report Reveals Truth Behind Credit Card Debt Explosion in the United States" by www.responsiblelending.org]
Hurricain Katarina seems to have profited the rich.
Halliburton got many tender-less contracts, some propose to cut social
programs to pay for reconstruction, etc.
[Source: "Greens Warn of Growing 'Iraqification' of New Orleans", by Scott McLarty and Starlene Rankin.]
I don't want to replace one extreme with the next, and replace Christian-Bashing with Bush-Bashing or journalist-Bashing! But even though you could label me as a "right-wing Christian", I've never adored Bush's sins. I adore Jesus, and try to see as clearly as I can what is good and what is bad in the politicians who govern me.
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