July 7, 2005

President Bush Responds to London Terror Bombings

Bush: "On the one hand, you have people working to alleviate poverty and rid the world of the pandemic of AIDS and ways to have clean a environment, and on the other hand, you have people working to kill other people . . ."

The Facts: Before commenting on the president's remarks, we would like to make it perfectly clear that the London bombings were a premeditated and dispicable criminal act. Those responsible should be arrested, legally tried, and if convicted, should suffer the full weight of punishment allowed under British law.

Now, as far as the president's remarks, it's hard to disagree with the notion of the people of the world working together to address world poverty, prevent the spread of AIDS, and clean up the environment. Yet this very same President Bush has embarked on an unprovoked war and occupation of the sovereign nation of Iraq, leading to more than 100,000 civilian deaths and 15,000 U.S. casualties in less than two years, a war which has dramatically increased the suffering of the Iraqi people, and a conflict which turns more bloody every day and which has destablized the entire world.

Without rationalizing the criminal attacks in London, it's not hard to see the connection between this latest variety of terrorist violence and the massive destructive violence of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. In all good conscience, we cannot condemn the violence in London without condemning the U.S. sponsored violence in Iraq, a policy which the government of Tony Blair has whole-heartedly endorsed.

Bush: "We will find them, we will bring them to justice, and at the same time we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate."

The Truth: Hmmmm? Like he brought Osama bin Laden to justice? In reality, all but two of the individuals arrested in connection with 9/11 have been captured in Europe. The president also conveniently forgets that he owes his own re-election largely to the politics of fear, division and hatred -- and not hope and "compassion." With gay Americans number one on Bush's hit list of diversions for daring to demand equal treatment under the law concerning marriage rights.

Bush: "The contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill, those who've got such evil in their hearts that they will take the lives of innocent folks."

The Facts: In reality, the line between so-called good and evil has never been more blurred. We find it almost laughable that the president would present himself as a champion of human rights in the world given his track record both abroad and at home. Unfortunately, terror attacks like London's often give misleaders like President Bush and Tony Blair the opportunity to posture as saviors and avenging angels to the masses of people who are legitimately frightened and angered by such events. In point of fact, it was the attacks on 9/11 that gave Bush the opportunity to invade Iraq in the first place.

Chickens Coming Home to Roost?

In trying to write today's blog, I knew there would be those who would accuse me of insensitivity for criticizing the president's remarks in face of such a trajedy. So perhaps you will forgive this digression as I can't help but be reminded of Malcom X's famous, and to some notorious, remarks about "the chickens coming home to roost" after President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Malcom's speech became national news and got him into big trouble, eventually leading to a one month suspension from preaching by Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammed. Well, at the risk of repeating history, Tony Blair's chickens have finally come home to roost, and it unfortunately was the hard-working people of London who paid the terrible price.

For those of you too young or who were not even born in 1963, the reasoning behind Malcom's statements likely had to do with his belief that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK because he was a pro-Cuba Castro supporter and Kennedy had authorized the armed invasion of Cuba to overthrow Castro. It also came out years later that Kennedy had indeed authorized a number of assassination attempts on Castro. Whatever the true facts around the JFK assassination, Malcom's statements were closer to the truth than even he may have imagined at the time, even if they were politically incorrect and tremendously unpopular. An unfortunate case of political truth intruding on political myth.

So let us not succumb to the political myth that "while Bush may be both dumb and a bad president, he's strong on terrorism" and should be supported on such matters. Rather, history demonstrates that it has been Bush's pattern all through his life to act irresponsibly and cause tremendous harm and suffering to those around him, without ever facing up to the consequences himself. Bush and Blair have placed all of us in the way of harm, and we believe it's time to take a new direction to solve the problems of terrorism, whether it be government sponsored or of the Al-Qaeda and Taliban variety.

Source: London bombs kill at least 33.