Wednesday, December 29, 2004

George W. Bush, Man of (In)action!

Apparently, the deaths of over 60,000 people in perhaps the worst natural disaster in recorded history is not enough to warrant the full attention of America's Rancher-in-Chief.

From the Washington Post:

Skeptics said the initial aid sums -- as well as Bush's decision at first
to remain cloistered on his Texas ranch for the Christmas holiday rather than
speak in person about the tragedy -- showed scant appreciation for the magnitude
of suffering and for the rescue and rebuilding work facing such nations as Sri
Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia.
After a day of repeated inquiries from reporters about his public absence, Bush late yesterday afternoon announced plans to hold a National Security Council meeting by teleconference to discuss several issues, including the tsunami, followed by a short public statement.

Okay, let's think about this. Suppose you were watching an episode of The West Wing. What would you think if President Bartlett decided to go on vacation when the nation is in the midst of losing a war and trying desperately to pull of elections in a Middle Eastern nation, and then a massive tsunami killed 60,000 people from Indonesia to Somalia, with the death toll rising. Would you expect to see President Bartlett stay at his ranch, and only three days after the disaster to finally talk to the National Security Council by teleconference?

Or would you think Bartlett was negligent in his duties if he did so? I sure would.

The humanitarian disaster being faced by the world right now is unprecedented. The death toll is likely to rise well above 60,000 just from the initial wave, with 1/3 to 1/2 of those killed children. But, without immediate assistance, the death toll may well double due to disease, lack of clean drinking water, lack of medication, and lack of shelter, with at least half of those further deaths being children.

Not to mention that some of the worst-hit areas are on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where insurgent groups have been fighting for independence for years, and which the Indonesian government is letting aid in only at a trickle.

Why is that Bush's problem, you may ask? Because it openly displays the disdain the Bush regime has for the problems of other nations at a time when the regime is trying to claim de facto leadership of the community of nations and when the administration has been asking for and continues to need the cooperation and support of other governments to protect America from terrorism.

The Bush regime expects other nations to say, "How high?" when he yells, "Jump!" But then, when Bush could be taking a leadership role in the relief effort and using the political and economic might of the US to barrel over obstacles in the way of getting aid to the victims, thereby demonstrating to the world that the US is willing to use its power not only to invade Third World nations, but also to help them, Bush stays at his ranch, "clearing brush and bicycling," while other world leaders like Germany's Gerhard Schroeder cut their vacations short and demonstrate a true commitment to helping to meet the humanitarian needs of the victims.

Apparently, Bush finds dressing up in a flight suit and standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier to proclaim "Mission Accomplished" exciting, but taking the lead in coordinating and funding the largest humanitarian relief effort in history is just not enough to get his blood going.

Of course, it's a lot more fun to kill Muslims than to help them, eh?

Bush's excuse? Blaming Clinton, of course!

[A] White House official said: "The president wanted to be fully
briefed on our efforts. He didn't want to make a symbolic statement about 'We
feel your pain.' "
Many Bush aides believe Clinton was too quick to head for
the cameras to hold forth on tragedies with his trademark empathy. "Actions
speak louder than words," a top Bush aide said, describing the president's view
of his appropriate role.

Actions speak louder than words, eh? Then why do Karl Rove and the Bush regime's spin machine spend so much time telling the American people something totally different than what they have done, are doing, and intend to do? It's because they know that, through lies, misinformation, and deceit, it is possibly to use words to utterly mislead the public about the regime's actions, such as invading Iraq under false pretenses and utterly botching the response to the insurgency and the reconstruction, and thus avoid taking responsibility for those failed actions.

Also, if actions speak louder than words, what exactly did the what, seven or eight minutes Bush spent staring into space on 9/11 say? What does Bush's continuing policy of taking more vacations than any othe President in history say? What does it say that he can't even be bothered to pull himself away from his "clearing brush and bicycling" to address the worst humanitarian disaster in history? What does it say that Bush is using the ghost of Bill Clinton to avoid having to do his job?

After this, how could anyone doubt the disdain Bush has for the rest of the world? How can anyone doubt that the Bush regime's foreign policy is one of intimidation and bullying rather than cooperation and peace?

The conservatives think the US is powerful enough to implement its policy of "unilateral, preemptive strikes," to occupy at least two countries at once and fight insurgencies in both, pay for the reconstruction of at least to countries, and simultaneously bully and threaten the rest of the world into doing what the Bush regime wants them to do.

Well, guess what? We're not.

The Persians thought they were that powerful. The Macedonians and Greeks under Alexander thought they were that powerful. Rome thought it was that powerful. The great Muslim empires thought they were that powerful. Napoleon thought France was that powerful. Hitler thought Germany was that powerful.

They weren't. And neither is the US.

Oh, and by the way, George, saying you won't do something because that's what Clinton did isn't an excuse. Clinton also lived in the White House, signed bills, was Commander-in-Chief, and flew around in Air Force One, all of which you do. Using Clinton as an excuse to be lazy or not to do the right thing is reprehensible.

According to the Washington Post, there are 4,000 Americans in the affected area unaccounted for. Even if Bush can't muster up the enthusiasm to help Muslims and non-Americans, you'd think he would at least care about those 4,000. The American death toll in this tragedy could potentially be higher than 9/11. But, of course, it took Bush a while to get around to doing something about that, too.

Leslie Gelb, of the President emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, puts it like this:

"People do watch and see what we do," [Gelb] said. "Here's an opportunity
to remind people of the good we do, and he [Bush] can do it without changing his
policy on Iraq or terrorism."

And I will close with this:

[General Wesley Clark] urged Bush to take a higher profile. "Natural
disasters happen," Clark said. "One of the things people look for is a strong
response that illustrates America's humanitarian values."

When Bush ran on "values," I guess he meant the values of executing retarded people and making sure guys don't kiss each other, not the values of compassion, mercy, and helping one's fellow man.

I think Bush is the one making baby Jesus cry.


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