June 30, 2008
Bush’s Legacy to America
The world is certainly no safer than when you took over, Mr. Bush.
By Tariq A. Al-Maeena
President George Bush should be out of office in a matter of months. “The sooner, the better”, mutter those Americans who view his two terms as president of the United States as one laced heavily with wars and aggression overseas, and poverty at home.
While many Americans still believe he only came into office as a result of vote manipulations in Ohio and Florida during the elections, it cannot be denied that his leadership has been bad for America, period!
While there are still a diminishing number of diehards who believe in Bush’s message body and soul, an increasing number of Americans have been turned off by what he has turned America into. This is the impression I gathered in the course of my conversations with Americans from all walks of life. America has become a land where dissenters are seized and imprisoned without due process of the law.
There is wiretapping and forced entries into homes on the faintest of suspicion. Thousands who were brave enough to speak out against their president’s policies are detained.
It has become a land where a “spook” is believed to be found behind every corner, not much unlike the McCarthy era. Anthrax and the poisoning of water reservoirs were tactics used to shepherd a gullible public along those lines.
It is a land where the investigations and the real truth behind the 9-11 disaster still remain shrouded in controversy. The findings of the 9-11 Commission leave a lot of unanswered questions, and the US media’s failure to investigate such claims has destroyed their credibility around the world and among their own people.
Bush can also perhaps be linked to the delay in sending relief and federal support to the victims of the Katrina disaster. The support given was inadequate. Money and resources that could have provided immediate relief to the disaster victims were spent on more glamorous adventures abroad.
And today, while America bleeds under the onslaught of rising prices and home foreclosures, his tenure was not a loss for all. Those connected to the presidency such as Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld have reportedly done remarkably well, and their personal portfolios have shown positives gains.
The trillions of dollars gone to support Bush’s foreign adventures could and should have been spent on the welfare of his people.
The money spent could have averted the current financial crisis many Americans are experiencing. Old age care, improved health coverage and funding for more schools would have been a far more palatable alternative to Americans than dead bodies littering the killing fields of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bush is using the little time left for him in the White House for more warmongering. Iran has become the buzzword of his administration, just as Saddam Hussein’s WMDs were then. He does want to shape the world to his distorted view of democracy and peace, and he does that by waging more wars and creating more mayhem.
Most Americans agree today that their quality of life has suffered. And why not? The cost of maintaining Bush’s overseas adventures has taken away critically needed federal funds from domestic use. And with the cost of his war on the rise, very little relief can be forecast, unless dramatic measures are taken as soon as Bush departs. But with his clone in the shape of John McCain waiting in the shadows, is there any hope for Americans?
“I made a decision to lead,” he once said, “One, it makes you unpopular; two, it makes people accuse you of unilateral arrogance, and that may be true. But the fundamental question is, is the world better off as a result of your leadership?”
The world is certainly no safer than when you took over, Mr. Bush. While he would like to be remembered for doing the right thing, I wonder how many of the homeless and destitutes today would agree with such a rosy picture.
– Tariq A. Al-Maeena is a Saudi socio/political commentator. He works out of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and can be reached at this address.