- Recent polls show George Bush and John Kerry running
more or less neck and neck in their bids to be President of the most powerful
country in the world. Variations around this picture depend on who is
taking the polls and sampling what part of the electorate. But the biggest
poll of all is coming in early November, and we the people should be critically
examining what are the issues in this election. Kerry has a long enough
track record in the Senate to show that his constituents in Massachusetts
are satisfied, but to the rest of the country what Kerry would do as President
remains an unknown quantity. However, we now know a lot about Bush as President
of the United States. Here is what a majority of Americans will mean if
they reelect him.
- 1. Americans are not bothered by the fact that in aligning
himself with the neo-conservatives Bush has taken sides with political
extremists who have little or no interest in the common good of the people
of our country.
- 2. Americans are not disturbed by the fact that while
Bush sat quietly in a classroom in Florida, without expression even after
he was told what was happening, terrorists committed the most devastating
terrorist attack in history on the United States.
- 3. Americans are not puzzled by the fact that Bush team
emergency preparedness exercises on 9/11 had the perverse effect of leaving
the window open to destruction of the World Trade Centers.
- 4. Americans are not confused that Bush used the 9/11
attacks to start a War on Terrorism against Afghanistan, but he almost
immediately lost interest in that war in favor of attacking Iraq, a country
that had not threatened us in any way.
- 5. Americans are comfortable about being given a string
of reasons for attacking Iraq, every one of which was false.
- 6. Americans do not mind that Bush personally set aside
the Geneva Conventions, the international rules of war, and implicitly
or tacitly encouraged US interrogators to torture prisoners in Guantanamo,
Afghanistan and Iraq.
- 7. Americans can live with the idea that on Bush,s watch
our country is more roundly distrusted and actively hated in more places
than at any earlier time in our history.
- 8. Americans are delighted by Bush administration catering
to their urges to drive large, more powerful SUVs and trucks, and they
are happy that, on behalf of the United States--the largest single polluter,
Bush has rejected international treaties needed to reduce global warming.
- 9. Americans view favorably the Bush tax cuts that give
an enormous windfall to the rich while increasing burdens on the poor,
the middle class, and the elderly.
- 10. Americans think it is ok that they must pay for the
largest military budget on the planet at a time when the United States
has no enemy of national standing.
- 11. Americans see nothing wrong with full Bush support
for the willful actions of the Israelis to drive the Palestinian people
out of their ancestral homes.
- 12. Americans do not object to the United States under
Bush violating international law by using radiation weapons (so-called
"depleted uranium shells) against the Iraqis while seeking to build
a new generation of nuclear weapons that can only increase the efforts
of others to possess nuclear weapons.
- 13. Americans forgive Bush for sending more than 1,000
young Americans to their deaths in a war that the United States started
- 14. Americans are not offended by the fact that Bush
took over a government with one of the largest budget surpluses in memory
and immediately gave it all to his rich buddies.
- 15. Americans are not troubled by actual and contemplated
laws, including the Patriot Act, that diminish the freedoms of Americans
while doing little or nothing to fight terrorism.
- 16. Americans happily will put up with a President who
promises everything to everybody he meets and actually delivers on very
little that he promises anybody.
- It may be that only a slim majority of Americans have
to think this way to reelect him, but with this track record, if George
W. Bush wins in November, one can rightly ask: What would he have had to
do to lose the election?
- The writer is a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer
of the US Department of State and one of the signers of the former diplomat
letter to President Bush. He will welcome comments at firstname.lastname@example.org