9-1-03

The Misuse of Presidential Power

          The single most important power and responsibility given to the President of the United States is the ability to immediately call up the troops and send them to war, bypassing Congress or a popular vote, just in case we are threatened by imminent attack, like say, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  George Bush, Jr. misused the greatest of his powers by lying to the American public and saying we were under threat of imminent attack when we in fact were not.  That is the worst thing a president can do, and is in fact a crime -- misuse of public funds, and lots of 'em.
          What Bush has done makes Nixon's bugging of the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate Hotel look like a misdemeanor.  And since all of Bush's lies have come out in the open, it seems to me that everyone is incredibly apathetically about the whole thing, shrugging like it doesn't really matter.  When I complain I hear in response nonsense like "Oh, Saddam is a bad man," as though that matters in the slightest.  There are bad men running countries and killing their own citizens all over the world, and our foreign policy is not to go to war with all of them.  Nor was attacking Iraq a "blow against terrorism."  Iraq was not where the terrorists used to come from -- that mysterious land is called Saudi Arabia, our ally -- although Iraq may well now be the place where terrorism will come from in the future.
          And we're now stuck there.  Completely unprepared, under-supplied, with troops who were never trained for occupation duty, and who are being killed every single day.  And the whole world hates us for it.
          Goddamn it!  Why am I seemingly the only one totally outraged by this heinous criminal behavior by our president?  There was no threat of imminent attack!!!  That was a lie!!!
          For the president and the administration to now say that they got bogus intelligence is a lame lousy excuse after the fact.  Not to mention that I, and everybody else, was getting perfectly accurate intelligence of Iraq's armament situation by watching the nightly news and hearing what the U.N. inspectors kept saying over and over again -- there's nothing there.  That kept sounding to me like there was nothing there.  Since then we also haven't been able to find anything, either.  Guess what?  There was nothing there.  What was the problem with letting the U.N. inspectors just keep looking?  Why did we have to act at that very minute?
          Because the Bush administration told us, "The United States of America is under threat of imminent attack," and that was flatly not true.
          A president is not allowed to do that!
          We now have the largest deficit in U.S. history, we're blowing $4 billion a month keeping this war going, and we have no hope of extricating ourselves from Iraq for years to come.  This is a travesty of human life and the waste of our tax dollars.
          This is not hyperbole: I honestly believe that this was the worst misuse of presidential power in the entire history of the United States.  I have also come to believe that George Bush, Jr. is the single worst, most irresponsible president this country has ever had in 227 years.

          I've read a fair amount of history, particularly U.S. history (just in the last six months I've read three books on John Kennedy, one on Abraham Lincoln, and I'm halfway through "Theodore Rex" by Edmund Morris, which is the second part of a lengthy biography of Theodore Roosevelt).  As hard as I rack my brains I can't come up with any costlier misuse of presidential power than this one in Iraq by George Bush, Jr.
          Richard Nixon probably misused his presidential powers more often than any previous president, by illegally bombing Cambodia, supplying weapons for the genocide in East Timor, and screwing up Chilean politics for the next twenty years, but none of it cost the American taxpayer anywhere near what invading Iraq has cost us.
          George Bush, Sr.'s invasion of Panama probably comes second in the list of complete misuses of presidential power.  It was militarily useless, killed over 3,000 Panamanians for absolutely no reason other than to settle on old personal score between Bush and Noriega, and was based on the lie that Panama's president, Manuel Noriega, was a drug-dealer.  So we invaded a sovereign country and kidnapped their president.  That was pretty egregious, but once again it was a bargain compared to what we've been stuck with now.
          We the American public have been lied to, taken advantage of, and our presently having our hard-earned money stolen right out of our pockets by the ersatz President of the United States who didn't actually win the election.  What is it going to take to get this generation of apathetic, knuckle-headed, kid-obsessed, entertainment junkies to stand up and do something?  Does life mean so little to all of you that you're willing to piss it all away without seeing the world that you're living in and possibly doing something to affect it?
          What is occurring right now with Iraq and Bush, Jr. is far more important than the idiotic California recall, the fucking ten commandments in an Alabama courthouse, or any show on TV.
          This is not a dress rehearsal.  This is the one and only life you and I get.  And if you don't give a shit about who runs your country or what they're doing to you, then you deserve to have Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, or George Bush, Jr. as your fascist dictator.

-Josh Becker

 

 

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