The Real George W. Bush and American Foreign Policy
September 24, 2004
It is no secret that I despise George W. Bush. There is nothing I particularly like about him in the least. Yes, I am a partisan Democrat, but to most of my more liberal friends I have been characterized as a moderate or middle of the road Democrat. Over the years I have always supported strong American foreign policy when it came to fighting Nazis and Fascists, containing Communism and dealing with brigands that threatened our right to freedom of the seas, i.e.: The Barbary Coast Pirates, The Undeclared Naval War with France 1797, the War of 1812, Woodrow Wilson's actions in arming our merchant vessels before WWI and FDR's Undeclared Naval War against German submarines in the years up to December 7, 1941, and even the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. All in all, when our national interest is in jeopardy we must take action to defend our interests and ourselves.
With regards to the Taliban and their Afghani nesting place, I supported our action to destroy their dominance over that unfortunate and beleaguered country. But from any military or historical perspective, our actions were slow, tentative and ultimately too little and too late. We allowed Al Queda, who was protected by the Taliban to escape, mostly intact, into the mountainous regions that divide Afghanistan and Pakistan. In other words, Commanding General Tommy Franks and the Joint Chiefs did not use our power to react quickly enough to really root out the problem of Taliban rule, win the war, eliminate Al Queda, and pacify the countryside. Even today, in the wake of the supposed removal of the Taliban, armed feudal warlords operating outside the province of our handpicked Prince of Kabul run most of Afghanistan. So what went wrong? We reacted slowly and then took our eye off the ball! We were deceived into thinking that Sadaam Hussein, a bad character left in power by GHW Bush foolishness, who's regime was more or less impotent from years of blockade, embargo, over-flight interdiction and the like, was the real enemy, the real focus, and his regime's removal was the solution to Islamic militancy and terrorism. So here we are in the swampland of two quagmires, not one!
John Kerry went to the Democratic convention, stated that he was ready for duty and went onto the campaign trail. Now of course we have been all entertained by the continuation of the theater of the absurd. All of us know that many people were disillusioned with the meat grinder that Vietnam began to be. Kerry volunteered, for whatever reason, good or bad. He was political by nature, he decided to get his “ticket” punched, and he served with distinction. A recent naval review certified that his medals were earned not manufactured or phonied like our Swft(ee) boat friends have asserted. He came back from Vietnam, and was conscience driven to tell his story, the stories he had heard from many others, and the truth from his perspective. (See the story below! I am not a usual reader of the Voice, but they have brought to the public's attention some of the seamier sides of our military history in Vietnam.) So Kerry's character was assailed and excoriated by the Bush minions who have also taken on Max Cleland and even John McCain. Of course GW Bush's own military record in the Guard, has been covered up and sealed away. Kerry's 20 years from 1972 to 1992 has been part of the public record, but where was GW Bush during that period and what was he doing?
Of course when it comes to the history of that era, I cannot really fault GW Bush for seeking sanctuary from Vietnam in the National Guard. All who lived through that era know that many of our peers sought similar refuge. Many were able to accomplish that end. Personally I was too stupid to make that effort. I was leery of the Reserves or the Guard and I was afraid that I would be called up years later for something else that would/could wind up interrupting my life. But, be that as it may, when I volunteered for Officer's Training School in the Air Force, I was rejected because of asthma. The fates have a funny way of playing themselves out!
Meanwhile my sense of this whole sordid electoral business comes down to a few basic facts:
a) The GOP and GW Bush keep on talking patriotism! In other words the Democrats aren't really patriots and can't really defend this country. That is a lie!
b) It wasn't so long ago when the GOP was accusing the Democrats of starting every war in the 20th Century. The Democrats were the war and intervention party. The GOP were the isolationists and proud of it! How times have changed!
c) It was GW Bush who landed on an aircraft carrier, stated “Mission Accomplished” and convinced the Congress and the press that his macho, go it alone strategy had killed the two-headed monster, Al Queda and Sadaam Hussein.
d) Kerry, according to the GOP, like all Democrats, is out to weaken our military, and to not support the troops! That is really farcical.
e) In truth, we sent most of our troops into combat unprepared, and most of our equipment was unsuited for this operation. We are supporting our regular army with an unprecedented draft of Reservists and Guardsman, who are basically unprepared for this type of duty and we are mounting up casualties for what real “end” in mind?
f) GW Bush did not level with the country about the supposed connection and threat that Sadaam Hussein posed, and he is not leveling with the country about what is really going on in Iraq.
g) Bush must come clean with the truth for a change and tell us what is really happening and what he really plans to do.
h) We must decide whether we want this type of miss-management; fraught with miscalculations, half-truths, and incompetence to continue.
The real issues aren't whether John Kerry earned his medals the “old-fashioned” way, or whether GW Bush went AWOL from Guard service, or was afraid of a flight physical and its results. The real issues are over competence, management and the direction of our country. My sense is our direction on both domestic and foreign policy is wrong and wrong-headed!
So when it comes down to it, the big issue is Iraq. Are we now fighting the wrong war against the wrong foe, and have created a situation where we cannot extricate ourselves out of it without making it worse? We need a change in management, the present one has failed miserably!