In 1957 Senator John F. Kennedy gave a major address opposing European colonial policies and the French colonial dominance of Algeria. JFK warned that these policies and practices gave aid, comfort and strength to Soviet communists who prayed on misery, exploitation and corruption.
One can reread JFK's speeches between 1957 and Algerian independence after he became President, and substitute "terrorists" for "Soviet communists." It is eerie. It is true. It is a hard lesson for President Bush and the country he so wrongly and disastrously pushed to war, through the politics of fear, and the obsession of ideology.
In a just world, President Bush will take this sad Sunday and apologize to the people of America and the people of Iraq, accept his responsibility, discuss what lessons he has learned, and move to set things right.
That is what JFK did after the Bay of Pigs; he accepted responsibility, grew from his mistakes, and saved the world from nuclear war when he removed the Soviet missiles from Cuba. That is what the President should do.
He will not. George W. Bush is no JFK, nor is he Reagan, nor is he George Herbert Walker Bush, nor is he even Nixon.
I have written here and elsewhere recently of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Robert Kennedy and would simply state again that what America needs, what the world needs, is the kind of aspirational leadership that Jack and Bobby provided.
It is a time, on this sad Sunday, to revisit Jack Kennedy's criticism of European colonialism in the Third World during the 1950's. George W. Bush speaks of democracy but his war policy is the lineal descendant of the colonial practices that John Kennedy so wisely spoke against.
It was not democracy to seek to install Mr. Chalabi as leader of Iraq after an American invasion. Mr. Chalabi's relationship to freedom and democracy in Iraq was zero. He would have been a leader in Iraq with no support within Iraq, installed by Americans, with the result that would only help the Iranian mullahs.
It was not democracy to raise false fears to drive America to war and spy on Americans who opposed those policies.
It was not democracy to establish an Iraq Reconstruction Authority that was run by an American with the attitude of a Roman Proconsul.
It was not democracy to install political hacks in key reconstruction positions, then allow some of the greatest greed, corruption and incompetence in the history of capitalism.
It was not democracy to steal and waste money that was meant to build hospitals and schools, so some made fortunes, while troops gave their lives and Iraqis suffered unendurable misery.
It was not democracy to peddle lies to promote fear to push for war that corrupted even the front page of the New York Times. It was not democracy to promote propaganda to peddle war that corrupted the intolerant editorial pages of the Washington Post. Nor was it democracy to accuse newspapers of treason when they belatedly printed truth.
It was not democracy to have a Vice President almost universally seen as the free world's leading advocate for torture. It was not democracy to try to keep this torture secret.
It was not democracy force out the Chief of Staff of the Army for daring to speak the truth and it was not democracy to force out the Navy lawyer who won a historic case for justice before the United States Supreme Court.
It was not democracy to hold secret White House meetings with oil company lobbyists where insiders passed around maps of Iraqi oil fields.
This whole project of an invasion, to install an American-imposed shill who only helped Iranians,to install a Proconsul-like American over the people of Iraq, to surround him with corrupt henchmen and cronies who misused money intended for schools and hospitals to help the children and suffering of Iraq was not democracy.
It was rooted in the colonial abuses and executed with the same catastrophic results.
JFK warned about this in the 1950's; saying correctly such practices only helped communist enemies and George Bush was warned about his policies that would only help our enemies in Iraq, Iran.Al Qaeda and elsewhere.
It is time to bring back the American foreign and security policies of John and Robert Kennedy rooted in American purpose and aspirational ideals that offer the hope of a better life, not endless war.
It is time for the United States to once again offer comprehensive plans for peace in the Middle East, a subject I will return to soon, while we rebuil the military from the damage that these catastrophic policies caused.
It is time to recognize that the Project for the New American Century was deadly wrong, catastrophically wrong, historically wrong. The world does not want endless preemptive wars, occupations, proconsuls, and shills surrounded by crony corruption.
Now we know: at this sad time the war in Iraq is longer than the Second World War, so:
On the matter of George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, neoconservative fantasists and their partisans and profiteers we should throw out the baby, throw out the bathwater, and throw out whole damn thing.
We should say with finality: George W. Bush was wrong, and John F. Kennedy was right