Republican's Case Against George W. Bush
Republican’s Case Against George W. Bush
Wed Apr 7 15:39:31 2004
April 2004, pages 20-25

What They Said

Former Congressmen Assess U.S. Foreign Policy

A Republican’s Case Against George W. Bush

By Paul Findley

DURING MY LONG life, America has surmounted many severe challenges. As a teenager, I experienced the Great Depression. In World War II, I saw war close-up as a Navy Seabee. As a country newspaper editor, I watched the Korean War from afar. As a Member of Congress, I agonized through the Vietnam War from start to finish. During these challenges I never for a moment worried about America’s ultimate survival with its great principles and ideals still intact.

Today, for the first time, I worry deeply about America’s future. We are in a deep hole. I believe President George W. Bush’s decision to initiate war on Iraq will be the greatest and most costly blunder in American history. He has set America on the wrong course.

I must speak out. As best I can, I must bestir those who will listen to the grave damage already done to our nation, and warn of still greater harm if Bush continues his present course during a second term in the White House.

When terrorists assaulted America on 9/11, killing nearly 3,000 innocent civilians, President Bush responded, not by focusing on bringing to justice the criminals who were responsible, but by initiating a war against impoverished, defenseless Afghanistan, a broad attack that killed at least 3,000 innocent people. Even before the dust settled in Afghanistan, the president initiated another war, this one on Iraq—a war planned long before 9/11.

In the name of national security, the president has brought about fundamental, revolutionary changes that threaten our nation’s moorings.

At home and abroad, he has undercut time-honored principles of the rule of law.

Abroad, he has made war a ready instrument of presidential policy instead of reserving it as a last resort should peril confront our nation.

In public documents, he claims the personal authority to make war any time and any place he alone chooses, and the authority to use force to keep unfriendly nations from increasing their own military strength.

His power is unprecedented. He directs a military budget greater than all other nations’ combined. At his instant, personal command is more military power than any nation in all recorded history ever before possessed.

He proclaims America the global policeman, and for that role he has already expanded a worldwide system of U.S. military bases. Four new ones are in place in Iraq and four others near the Caspian Sea.

He orders the development and production of a new generation of nuclear arms for U.S. use only, meanwhile threatening other nations—Iran and North Korea, for example—against acquiring any of its own.

Unleashing America’s mighty sword, he brings about regime changes in Afghanistan and Iraq, but mires our forces in quagmires from which escape seems unlikely for many years.

He isolates America from common undertakings with time-tested allies. He trivializes the United Nations and violates its charter.

The president offers wars without end, and the Congress shouts its approval. But his use of America’s vast arsenal is so reckless that he is regarded widely as the most dangerous man in the world.

Here at home, in his frantic quest for terrorists, he stoops to bigoted measures based on race and national origin, tramples on civil liberties, and spreads fear and disbelief throughout the land. Those of Middle Eastern ancestry, and many others, buckle under government-inflicted humiliations and abuses with trepidation, sorrow and resentment.

Frustrated by Iraqi dissidents who protest the occupation of their country by killing U.S. troops almost daily, the president reverts to war measures. He orders heavy aerial bombing in wide areas of the countryside.

Even as body bags pile high, the president seems oblivious to war’s horror. The rockets and one-ton bombs may kill a few Iraqi guerrillas and cause others to pull back and pause, but they kill and maim innocent civilians, level homes, turn neighborhoods into rubble, and permanently blight many lives. They create deep-seated outrage, not cooperation.

The Iraqi carnage is piled alongside the simultaneous destruction and blighting of American lives. More than 500 U.S. military personnel have been killed and, according to one estimate, nearly 10,000 have been wounded. Ponder that fact. Ten thousand American families permanently blighted in a war the United States initiated. Mark Twain, writing of war, once asked, “Will we wring the hearts of the unoffending widows with unavailing grief?”

The president overreacts to 9/11 by leading America into a lengthy fiery trial that may last far into the future—years of U.S.-initiated wars designed to punish regimes believed to harbor terrorists.

This is not the America my generation fought to preserve in World War II.

Starting wars will not bring a just peace. The president should ponder deeply why many people in many nations engage in anti-American protests.

The answer: People worldwide, especially in Iraq and Palestine, are livid over grievances against America. Almost all Iraqis are glad Saddam Hussain is out of power, but many of them—the total may be a substantial majority—see America as arrogant, biased, untrustworthy, and bent on world domination.

Here are some of the reasons:

In the l980s—the height of Saddam’s cruel treatment of Kurds and other Iraqi citizens—the U.S. government served as the dictator’s silent, uncomplaining partner, helping him battle Iran by providing intelligence and critical military supplies, even some components of weapons of mass destruction.

At the end of the 1991 Gulf war, Iraqis had a bitter experience with the president’s father. President George Bush, Sr. publicly urged the Iraqis to overthrow Saddam. His call prompted a strong uprising, but Bush refused U.S. support in any form. This bleak rejection prompted Saddam to use helicopter gunships to slaughter dissidents by the hundreds. He had retained use of these lethal aircraft in a provision of the U.S.-approved armistice.

Iraqis also remember bitterly that U.S. fighter planes enforced sanctions on the people of Iraq for a decade after the Gulf war. This embargo was so harsh it led to immense civilian suffering, including the death of at least a half-million Iraqi infants.

Today, Iraqis are wary of the president’s motives and dependability. Many doubt that his true objectives are, as he now states, establishing freedom and democracy in their country, or, as he earlier stated, destroying Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Aware that he ignored offers of conciliation from Saddam’s emissaries before the invasion, they believe he harbors dreams of an American empire and wanted the war in Iraq, come what may.

Their greatest and most deep-seated complaint is Bush’s failure to make even the slightest move to halt America’s anti-Arab bias. For example, the president has made no effort to distance America from Israel’s colonialism.
He pays lip-service to statehood as a goal for the Palestinians, but he has done nothing to stop Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s brutality of Palestinians—assassinations, military forays that leave vast death and destruction, high fences that confine Palestinians like cattle, and the steady usurpation of more Palestinian land.

Bush seems unconcerned by the worldwide outrage at America’s massive, unconditional, uncritical support of Israel, without which the Jewish state could never have carried out its humiliation and devastation of Palestinian society.

Bush is overwhelmed by the influence of religious zealots—both Zionist and fundamentalist Christian. He ignores America’s own heavy guilt for the plight of Palestinians. He fails to recognize that more than a billion Muslims worldwide, along with many millions of non-Muslims, are deeply aggrieved at this complicity.

Bush offers an exquisite example of close-in hypocrisy. On one side of a Middle East border, he tries to convince Iraqi Arabs that he offers them democracy and freedom, while at the same time, on the other side of the border, he supports Israel’s violent denial of these identical rights for Palestinian Arabs.

Iraqis worry that U.S. occupation will become a new colonialism—indefinite U.S. control of Iraqi oil reserves, Israeli-style brutality, and a U.S.-forced treaty that will keep Iraq from helping the Palestinians.

President Bush is so befuddled by the awful carnage of 9/11 and rumors of more assaults to come that he does not see what is vivid to most of the world—the real ground zero of terrorism is in Palestine, not Manhattan. He ignores the real ground zero at great peril to America.

This issue surmounts all others in the presidential political campaign. It impels me to speak out against what George W. Bush is doing. I am a Republican, and I will remain in the Party of Lincoln. I feel no joy in making this case against the president. He may be sincere in his stewardship, but he is wrong—dead wrong—in the direction he is taking our country.

What should be done? Must the president proceed with wars without end?

The president’s best war decision is a purely political one, and it is plain, peaceful, generous and just. He must make a clean break from Israel’s scofflaw behavior.

If Bush has the will, he can easily free himself and America. If he acts, he will transform the grim scene in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East into bright promise. Any day he chooses, the president can instantly—without firing a shot—quiet guerrilla warfare in Iraq and anti-American protests throughout the world.

All he needs to do is inform Sharon that all aid will be suspended until Israel vacates the Arab territory Israeli forces seized in June 1967. U.S. aid is literally Israel’s lifeline, so the ultimatum would be electrifying evidence that the United States, at long last, will do what is right for Arabs and Muslims, while still protecting Israel from attack. If Bush acts, the Iraqi people will have reason to believe, for the first time, that the U.S. government truly opposes colonialism.

The ultimatum would prompt rejoicing worldwide, not just among Iraqis and Palestinians. Opinion polls show that a large majority of Israelis, weary of the long, bloody struggle to subjugate the Palestinians, would welcome coexistence with an independent, peaceful Palestine.

An impressive foundation for this presidential ultimatum already exists. All member states of the Arab League, plus Hamas and Hezbollah, unanimously offered peace-for-withdrawal four years ago. A similar plan called the Geneva Accord recently was announced jointly by former officials of Israel and Palestine. Almost simultaneously, four retired heads of Israeli intelligence even urged full, unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza.

By standing resolutely for justice for Palestinians, who are mostly Muslim, Bush would virtually end anti-American protests and strengthen moderate forces worldwide.

Will Bush liberate America from endless wars and chart a constructive, peaceful new future for our nation? If he does so promptly, he will be a shoo-in for re-election. If he does not, I will join other Republicans—there will be many of us—in urging his defeat.

Paul Findley, a Member of Congress for 22 years, is the author of They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby and chairman emeritus of the Council for the National Interest. He writes books and articles from his home in Jacksonville, IL and lectures widely on international affairs.

The Need to Refocus Our Policy Priorities in The War on Terror

By Paul N. “Pete” McCloskey

I WOULD LIKE to discuss several topics that relate to the administration’s current policies regarding the War on Terror. I believe that, in each case, these topics provide cogent arguments that the administration’s policies should change.

Since taking office in January 2001, the administration’s actions seem to have followed fairly closely the views of a group of American scholars, writers and government advisors who operate under the title, The Project for a New American Century. This group has generally adopted the views of Richard Perle, author of the recent book An End to Evil. I disagree with those views in several respects.

The Problems

I believe that the United States today confronts three major problems in the Middle East.

The first is the religious war (jihad) declared against us many years ago by the Islamic fundamentalist Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden’s aim has been to weaken the United States and to overthrow those governments in all Muslim countries—including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq—which do not follow that interpretation of the Qur’an held by Islamic fundamentalists. We have chosen to call this a War on Terror, believing that the Islamic fundamentalists constitute only a small segment of the world’s population of over 1 billion Muslims. We have studiously tried to avoid the characterization of this war as a religious war.

The second problem is the breakdown in negotiations for peace between an Israeli government led by Ariel Sharon and a Palestinian Authority whose leader has been denied negotiating credibility by both Sharon and President Bush.

The third problem may be defined as the challenge whether, after using overwhelming military force to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan and the tyrant Saddam Hussain in Iraq, we can occupy those countries with sufficient military force for long enough to leave in place a democratic government which gives freedom to its citizens, women as well as men.

In adopting the policies to address each of these problems, the decision-making power—since Sept. 11, 2001, at least—has been in the hands of one man, President George W. Bush. The president’s positions thus far have run almost directly opposite to those of his father, our 41st president. The elder Bush respected the United Nations, called the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories illegal under international law, and declined to invade Iraq, fearing that there could be no means of a successful exit from Iraq after we toppled Saddam Hussain.

The younger Bush has received advice from sound men of long public service—Colin Powell, Paul O’Neill and Norman Mineta, to name three of the best. Of the president’s advisers on the three problems mentioned above, however, the record to date would indicate that by far the most effective has been Richard Perle, the former chairman of the Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board, and influential member of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).

Perle and The Project for a New American Century

Mr. Perle’s advice has been public and consistent. Consider the following:

When Newt Gingrich was speaker of the House of Representatives a decade ago, Mr. Perle and others now holding positions of power in the current administration issued a paper directed to the government of Israel entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.”

The thrust of the paper was that for four years we [Israel] have pursued a policy of “land for peace.” Perle argued that this should be replaced by a policy of “Peace for Peace” and “Peace Through Strength,” including the striking of Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and, if necessary, “selected targets in Syria proper.”

This advice was tantamount to urging Israel to peremptorily go to war against Syria.

Perle wrote further: “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening and containing and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussain from power in Iraq—an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right—as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”

In view of the fact that the alleged weapons of mass destruction possessed by Iraq in 2003 would threaten Israel a great deal more than the United States, I believe that it is highly possible we invaded Iraq last spring as much to protect Israel as to prot

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