The current Bush Administration is the worst I have known in my 75 years upon this earth. The list of blunders and deceit is long, but a few clues can unlock the secret to the whole debacle.
In foreign policy the key is hubris compounded of exaggerated confidence in military power and the ability to remake the world in our own image. It is the old imperialism with a sugar coating of idealism. If we -- the innocent and virtuous nation-- conquer the bad guys while beckoning the liberated citizens to embrace freedom and democracy American style, a new world order will emerge. That is the neoconservative creed that the President has adopted. Iraq is failure exhibit number one, demonstrating both the limitations of power against a stubborn insurgency and the difficulties of imposing democratic principles on a land torn by deep religious and ethnic rivalries lacking the organic historical and cultural preconditions for either unity or democracy. Of course, if some semblance of democracy should arise inimical to our interests, we would have to find ways to undermine it. Uppermost in our strategy, of course, is maintaining access to Iraqi oil.
Bush got us into the Iraq war by a combination of ignorance, incompetence, and deceit, all under the guise of removing the imminent threat of weapons of mass destruction being used against us by Saddam Hussein, an evil man. When that pretense proved false, the rationale kept changing with the situation until it was reduced to the principle that the world would be better of without Saddam, I. e., he is not a nice person. Now we have a tiger by the tail. Victory and the promise of democracy in Iraq have proven to be elusive. Neither the "cut and run" nor the "stay the course" are promising. So there we are with the costs in American and Iraqi lives as well as money mounting daily with no good way out. A majority of Americans now believe the war was a mistake to begin with. Where were they last November, when we had a chance to get rid of the instigator of this disaster?
At home we are ruled by a combination of plutocracy and a retrogressive cultural agenda. Underlying all this is a religiously-flavored rhetorical compassion for the masses that gets combined with actual policies designed to put as much power and wealth in the hands of corporations and the already rich as possible. The means are slick political maneuvering, ruthless use of power, and subtle deceit. Middle and upper class economic conservatives either approve or grudgingly tolerate the agenda of the religious right wing, while lower income cultural and religious conservatives either approve or grudgingly tolerate economic policies contrary not only to justice but to their own self-interest. Bush has exploited the conflict between the economic interests and the cultural values of modestly well-off and poor Protestant evangelicals and Catholic conservatives so skillfully with a mantle of religion and traditional morality that they scarcely realize they are being robbed for the sake of giant corporations and the wealthy.
A look at the policies, appointment, legislative proposals, and executive actions of the President at home and abroad will illustrate a consistent motivation: the desire to promote the interests of the rich and powerful combined with retrograde cultural values. This holds whether we examine medical policy (favorable to the pharmaceutical industry), sex-education and the fight against AIDS (no condoms, abstinence only), environmental policy (favorable to polluters and big corporations), energy policy (more production to boost oil company profits, no legislation to require energy efficient cars), labor policy (against unions and for low wages), tax policy (immense rewards for the rich) -- just to begin a list.
Fortunately, with Katrina and Rita as the capstones, majorities of Americans are saying no to Bush. It is tragic that enough voters were deceived in 2000 and 2004 to let this menace to justice and peace seize the reigns of power and inaugurate the catastrophe that has unfolded before us.
For two recent examples of the Bush follies, see:
For my web site, see: