Because of a series of flaws in judgment, itâ€™s clear that George W. Bush is on course to be remembered as one of this countryâ€™s worst presidents. It would be a tag of infamy that he worked overtime to earn.
Years from now, historians will tell the next generation what we already know: that after a precipitous invasion of Iraq, Bush ignored the core principles upon which this country was founded and that his boulder-sized blunders severely weakened our military, our economy and our reputation as a strong, Christian-based nation. Consider the blunders.
(1) Condoning torture: We now know that U.S. military forces detained suspected enemy combatants for years without charges and we know, too, that with White House approval, torture techniques – including water-boarding – were used. Bushâ€™s policies led to inhumane treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and other U.S. controlled prison facilities, and thus ignored Geneva Convention rules, which were signed by the U.S. in 1949. Even during World Wars I and II, nation signers of the Geneva Convention considered the fair and humane treatment of prisoners a duty.
(2) Unlawful surveillance: The right to privacy is another casualty of the Iraq war. Bush has determined that surveillance without a court order is necessary, even if it is unlawful. No president should behind closed doors determine that the laws of this land should be ignored or considered impractical because they donâ€™t allow him to have his way. No one, including the president, should be above the law.
(3) Absence of ethical leadership â€“ For a man who professes to have a strong Christian faith, Bush seems unconcerned about the lasting impact and ungodliness of some of his decisions. He seems willing to accept the deaths and torture of innocent people as an acceptable casualty of his war against terrorism, oblivious to the possibility that what he considers acceptable might lead to a greater loss of American lives and a catalyst for others from Arab nations to oppose what they might consider to be U.S. aggression.
Since the Iraq war began, the concepts of freedom and justice that weâ€™ve learned to cherish and treasure have become the warâ€™s most disturbing casualties. Our leaders, in the White House and Congress, still appear to be driven by a level of fear that surely will undermine the foundations upon which this country was built. The arrogance of power prevails where the absence of intelligence, diplomacy and moral courage are so desperately needed. Letâ€™s hope that in November, U.S. voters will resist the urge to continue to follow a path of fear and duplicity and, instead, choose a more judicious route.