Benlog

crypto and public policy

The Binary Mind and Why I Have So Many Issues with Bush

Filed under: General April 9, 2004 @ 6:35 pm

Over the past few weeks, my blog has morphed into a Bush-bashing fiesta, and I feel I need to explain this a bit. I am undeniably a regular Democrat voter, and my voice is easily lost in the noise on all of these issues. However, there is one important point I feel has not been made enough recently: a number of us anti-Bush bloggers didn’t start out hating all of Bush’s policies. It’s happened over time. I supported Bush after 9/11, in Afghanistan, before Iraq, and during the “official” portion of the War in Iraq. In these few months that followed 9/11, I had issues with his economic, social, and environmental policies, but I mostly supported his fight against terrorism.

So what changed? Bush’s credibility plunge and revealed short-sightedness.

Let’s start at the beginning: I believe terrorism should be fought on many fronts. Current terrorists should be pursued to the fullest extent of international law, which makes room for unilateral self-defense (though not preemptive). I am no pacifist. War is ugly but sometimes necessary. Military action is necessary sometimes even
just to show that we mean business and we will not stand for attacks of any kind (Cole, African embassies, etc…). Future terrorism should be minimized by understanding and working peacefully against its causes: poverty, unjust and unfree societies.

After 9/11, the rapid ultimatum and action against Afghanistan were completely justified. By and large, Bush and his team did the “right thing,” even if certain political nuances should have been considered more thoroughly.

And then things started making no sense. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were ignored, even though most terrorism experts warned that they foster significant terrorist activities. Iraq was suddenly put on the table. They’re the ones, Bush said. Why? Because Saddam has been against us in the past, and he must still be against us now. And he tried to kill Daddy. And Osama is against us. Thus, Osama = Saddam. And Saddam is going to strike imminently. Any minute now. We must act.

I hesitated. I chose to trust. I listened to Powell’s speech to the UN, and I hesitated some more. I chose to trust again. I trusted too much. As my friend Greg states more eloquently than I, it is the duty of every citizen to constantly challenge leaders, to constantly require proof, especially when the issue at hand is Going to War, possibly the gravest of all possible decisions a country ever takes.

So it is eventually revealed that Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction, not even close. The supposed Al Qaeda links, tenuous to begin with, are completely discredited. An intelligence mistake maybe? No, a president and a White House staff who want reality to fit their nice neocon theories. How many more whistleblowers do you need?

And now, proof that more of the same ideological thinking led to negligence prior to 9/11. Proof that, had Bush been on the ball, 9/11 might have been stopped. Now, until recently, I *never* suspected this, *never* accused Bush of failing the nation on 9/11. I had no such pre-disposed opinion. I figured, terrorist attack, we can’t prevent them all. But it turns out that maybe, just maybe, we could have prevented this one if our administration hadn’t been so blind to reality.

Bush and his team lied to us. Like millions of others, I chose to trust him, and he failed me.

I am no pacifist. I am no appeaser. I want terrorists who act against us chased down to their cave, tried according to international law, and sentenced for their horrendous acts. I have incredible respect for the men and women in uniform who physically accomplish what I so simply described. But I will not stand for a leader who considers facts secondary to ideology and justifies any and all action as part of the War on Terror. The War on Terror will only work if every action associated with it is justified to the fullest extent, free of all biased ideology and bogus, simplistic conspiracy theories. The world is not partitioned in a binary us vs. them (you’d think Bush is a computer scientist or something). There’s a lot of different “them,” and even if a lot of “them” don’t like us, they’re not all terrorists working together.

The thing about facts: they tend to catch up to you no matter how hard you try to ignore them. They caught up to me, and hopefully they’ll soon catch up to this President.

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