Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Bush Presidency: End of a Long Dark Night

The end of the Bush presidency is in sight, and America and the rest of the world will be the better for it. The financial catastrophe that confronts the world and a duplicitous, unnecessary war in Iraq are only two of the sins of one of the worst administration’s in the history of this nation. There is another "horror" that this administration attempted to perpetrate on this country, and nearly succeeded. This consisted of the erosion of constitutional freedoms and rights through the so-called "Patriot Act," the torture haven in Guantánamo, and secret and illegal activities carried on by a president, a vice president and others who sought to subvert the rule of law. The administration lived in the darkness of the recesses of their own minds and sought to convince the people of this country that the world was a dark and dangerous place that required abandonment of principles and laws that we have long held sacred.

Before anyone accuses me of being ignorant of the terrorists and other forces around the world who seek our destruction, let me assure you that I am aware of what Al Qaeda and others would wish to do to us and to Israel. However, you can't fight darkness with darkness, or evil with evil. I am uncertain of how President Bush saw the world before he became president. Certainly, after 9/11, with the advice of the people around him, he became convinced that the world was dangerous place and this got translated into making Iraq a focal point for fighting terrorism. Al Qaeda was not present in Iraq before our invasion and Saddam Hussein had no ties with this organization that viewed him as an enemy.

Leadership involves helping this nation to adopt the appropriate mindset to the problems that beset us as well as to the opportunities that we have. The dark mindset of the Bush administration led this country ashtray, and isolated it from its natural allies in Europe and in other parts of the world. A "John Wayne" mentality may have seemed to work well in the movies the late 40s and early 50s, but it ill behooved this country in the 21st century. The integrated nature of the world we live in has been fully evidenced by the way the economic disaster has unfolded. The linkage of nations has never been more apparent. While it is appropriate for this nation to take the leadership in confronting tyranny and terror throughout the world, it is a terrible failure for us to be viewed by the world as a source of tyranny and terror.

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