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History is Now

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Message Missy Beattie
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George Bush again has said he’ll be “judged by history.” How convenient. This means that he isn’t judging himself. In other words, he’s sleeping great. There’s no self examination. No making amends. But what exactly does it mean when someone who makes decisions of epic proportion leaves the onus of verdict to history? What is history and when does it begin? Is it there ready to evaluate soon after a decision is made, acted on, almost immediately after the results of that choice are known? Or does history wait to wield its hammer after a president is out of office? Richard Nixon received the blow before his presidency was supposed to expire. Certainly, George W. Bush should face a world jury for crimes that would have the signers of our Constitution spinning in their graves. How long do we have to wait for history to determine the failure of this man?

Here’s another Bush statement: “I’ll use all resources at my disposal to protect the American people.” Does anyone believe this when we’ve seen the Katrina fiasco? But there’s soooo much more evidence than a natural disaster to tell us we’re unprepared. Our borders have just been penetrated. Yes, it was just a little test to see if government agents could bring dirty bombs into the country. They could and did. We’ve seen example after example of just how exposed we are under the presidency of George. But he keeps telling us that his job is to secure our safety. We hear his words. Then, we see the lesions. The Dubai deal revealed the vulnerability of our ports. It seems each week we hear of another breach. And all George has to do is walk out, stand behind a podium in the Rose Garden or at some staged event, and say that his most important job is to keep us safe. It’s the laying on of hands, the ritual of Bush baptism and the masses are subdued into complacency.

Sometimes, history must critique a president with his first betrayal. That means history is already tardy in delivering justice to George Bush. History should begin its prudence with the first act. So many people gave Bush and A for his bullhorn moment at Ground Zero. But, tell me, what leader wouldn’t have done what he did? He captured and capitalized on a moment. History gave him a perfect score that week. America applauded. And he was intoxicated by the affirmation. He vowed to catch Osama. But he didn’t. Later, he said he just doesn’t think about bin Laden very much. Success in Afghanistan is an illusion. Progress in Iraq is propaganda.

Sadly, almost every single thing Bush has done has been dead wrong. Dead wrong for more than 2300 American troops. Dead wrong for more than 200 other coalition soldiers and dead wrong for countless Iraqis. Dead wrong for the families of the dead, wronged.

And all the mistakes and miscalculations present a definition of history easily understood. When a president is dead wrong about so much, history has to intervene and render a verdict which calls for more than the acceptance of Andrew Card’s resignation. This is simply more card shuffling by George. More playing games. More playing his card tricks—the pick a card, any card. It’s time for a real shakeup—something seismic—a shift that measures on the Richter Scale actions befitting the fault lines created by his administration.

 

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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
 
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