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United for Peace of Pierce County - Candidate Bush and Crusader Bush
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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."

Candidate Bush and Crusader Bush

April 7, 2005

This week officers elected by the new Iraqi National Assembly selected Ibrahim al-Jaafari as Iraq's interim prime minister.

President George W. Bush expressed his satisfaction in a terse written statement: "The Iraqi people have shown their commitment to democracy and we, in turn, are committed to Iraq. We look forward to working with this new government and we congratulate all Iraqis on this historic day."

Only 1,647 days ago, George W. Bush, in the first presidential debate of the 2000 campaign, answered a question about "deciding when it was in the national interest to use U.S. force, generally," with these words: "Well, if it's in our vital national interest, and that means whether our territory is threatened or people could be harmed, whether or not the alliances are ― our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened. That would be a time to seriously consider the use of force. Secondly, whether or not the mission was clear. Whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be. Thirdly, whether or not we were prepared and trained to win. Whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped. And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy. I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president [i.e. Al Gore] and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place. So I would take my responsibility seriously. . . . If we don't have a clear vision of the military, if we don't stop extending our troops all around the world and nation building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road, and I'm going to prevent that."

Then came September 11, 2001.

Nine days after the September 11 attacks, President Bush told the nation: "On September the 11th . . . night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack."

The source of the attack, he told Americans, was "a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda." But the man who had once warned against "extending our troops all over the world" now said this: "Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated."

Less than a year earlier he had warned against foreign adventures, saying, "I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops." Now he declared: "We will direct every resource at our command ― every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war ― to the destruction and to the defeat of the global terror network. . . . Americans should . . . expect . . . a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen. . . . We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. . . . And tonight a few miles from the damaged Pentagon, I have a message for our military: Be ready. I have called the armed forces to alert, and there is a reason. The hour is coming when America will act, and you will make us proud."

How do crusader Bush's wars look when viewed in the light of candidate Bush's criteria for "deciding when it was in the national interest to use U.S. force, generally"?

First, candidate Bush said, of any use of U.S. force, that it should be "in our vital national interest, and that means whether our territory is threatened or people could be harmed, whether or not the alliances are ― our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened." But crusader Bush's war on Iraq failed this test ― except insofar as it was meant to secure the Middle Eastern oil supplies upon which the United States has become dependent, which is the one rationale that the administration has refused to give.

Second, "whether or not the mission was clear. Whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be." The Iraq war failed this test, too ― to the point of farce. Has any war in history gone through more mission shifts?

Third, "whether or not we were prepared and trained to win. Whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped." In Iraq, our troops were not trained for the mission, are notoriously ill-prepared for the kind of situations in which they find themselves, have often been poorly equipped, and their morale has suffered. Abu Ghraib has tarnished their "high standing."

Finally, "whether or not there was an exit strategy." Both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom have been marked by the absence of a credible exit strategy. On March 14, 2003, Condoleezza Rice defined the U.S. missions in Afghanistan and Iraq in these terms: "It is our intention to help the Iraqi people to liberate themselves, to be there, as the President said, as long as we're needed but not one minute longer. . . . Just as we did in Afghanistan, the United States and the coalition will stay as long as we're needed. But we have no desire to stay very long at all." This week the Financial Times of London reported that the U.S. would be basing troops permanently in Afghanistan.

Candidate Bush said, "I would take the use of force very seriously." Crusader Bush has acted cavalierly. The president and his administration are responsible for the death of tens of thousands of innocent civilians. They have stretched the strongest military the world has ever seen to the breaking point, to no clear end, while embracing policies so fiscally imprudent as to endanger the solvency of the nation.

Candidate Bush said, "I would be guarded in my approach." Crusader Bush has indeed been "guarded" ― in the sense of being "very reluctant to give out information."

Candidate Bush said, "I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops." Crusader Bush has launched a global crusade, saying: "This is the world's fight. This is civilization's fight. . . . We ask every nation to join us."

Candidate Bush said, "I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders." But when crusader Bush's "State [Department] had been working for almost a year on what was called the 'Future of Iraq' project, which had compiled thousands of pages of reports and recommendations from a range of experts on government, oil, criminal justice and agriculture in Iraq," his secretary of defense actually "kicked [Thomas] Warrick and [Meghan] O'Sullivan [the directors of the 'Future of Iraq' project] out of the Pentagon, ordering them to leave by sundown." Donald Rumsfeld said that "as they got into postwar planning, the work had to be done by those who were truly committed to this and supporters of the change and not those who have written or said things that were not supportive" (Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack [Simon and Schuster, 2004], pp. 282-83). Rumsfeld gave the job to his undersecretary for policy, Douglas Feith, whom Gen. Tommy Franks once called "the f***ing stupidest guy on the face of the earth" (ibid., p. 281). A doctor with this standard of care would be sued for malpractice.

Since mild-mannered candidate Bush stripped off his civilian garb to reveal his crusader's suit of armor, 1,544 men and women of the U.S. military have died in Iraq, more than 209 civilian contractors, most of them Americans playing essential roles in the U.S. war effort, have died there, and 175 men and women of the U.S. military have died in Afghanistan ― a total of 1,928 dead. Hecatombs of innocent men, women, and children bestrew the Middle East over an area spanning thousands of miles. Throughout the world the United States is viewed with hatred and suspicion. At home, a deeply divided America faces an era of perpetual war.

Who was wiser, candidate Bush or crusader Bush?

UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."