When Bush was asked in a Rose Garden news conference this month whether his administration was to blame for North Korea get nuclear weapons while he bogged our troops down in Iraq, "North Korea," Bush pointed out, "had been trying to acquire bombs and weapons for a long period of time, long before I came into office," he explained.
"Accountability," Bush argued then, "lies with North Korea, not in Washington."
That's the same tack Bush took in his radio address this week as he defensively spelled out his objections to North Korea's apparent test of their nukes; telling Americans and the world how he now intended to respond, and conveniently dodging blame for his five years of inaction while North Korea built bombs.
From the time Bush ascended to office in 2001, to the end of 2006, Bush sat on his hands as North Korea built up its nuclear arsenal. Bush expected everyone else in the world except his administration to talk to North Korea because he wasn't interested, despite the fact that he has based his entire missile-defense posture around the possibility of a nuclear attack from rogue states like North Korea. Bush invaded and occupied Afghanistan, invaded and occupied Iraq, fostered and facilitated Israel's invasion of Lebanon, yet, failed to directly confront the one nation which is actively threatening the U.S. and the world, and which appears to be in possession of the nuclear means to carry out the threat; unlike the other hapless victims of his Mideast coups.
Bush was asked in 2002 why he was going after Saddam who had no WMDs, and not doing anything to North Korea for walking away from their 1994 agreement. Why, Bush was asked, should we be more worried about Saddam Hussein, who has no nuclear weapons, than Kim Jong-il, who is unstable and does have nuclear weapons?
"First of all," Bush told reporters, "I think it's important to remember that Saddam Hussein was close to having a nuclear weapon. We don't know whether or not he has a nuclear weapon."
"Secondly," Bush said, "the international community has been trying to resolve the situation in Iraq through diplomacy for 11 years . . ." Eleven years?! Is that how long North Korea thought they had in 2002 before Bush would get serious? No wonder Kim Jong-il assumed he was free to continue building his arsenal. Bush has been so hot on using our military to defend against these other imagined threats to our security that it would seem a 'slam-dunk' that North Korea would get the military works from the invader-in chief. But, all Bush can manage to do and say as Kim Jong-il plays chicken this time, is to hide behind his "partners in the region" and threaten the regime, again, with "serious repercussions."
Where does Bush see his responsibility in delivering those repercussions he has promised; the repercussions that were due North Korea from the moment he "came to office" and discovered they were in violation? What did he do when he discovered they were in violation of the 1994 bilateral agreement? By his own explanation, Bush waited a year, until 2002, to "confront North Korea with the evidence." He then, simply, allowed North Korea to walk away from the treaty.
Bush's response to the rogue regime was to step back even further from directly confronting Kim Jong-il, and leave that job to China and others as he hid behind his carefully constructed wall of the 'six-party talks' and ducked accountability for allowing the certain violations to continue unabated. Bush is still committed to outsourcing responsibility to the rest of the world for following through on his many ultimatums to North Korea, his swaggering declarations that NK wouldn't be allowed to build their weapons with impunity.
The "serious repercussions" he says North Korea are due will apparently not come in the form of the 'shock and awe' that he insisted Iraq deserved for Saddam's intransigence in making the details of his arsenal available to U.N. inspectors. In the case of North Korea, for Bush, repercussions are to be "negotiated with those in the region." Bush is vowing to "pursue a diplomatic solution" to Kim Jong-il's intransigence. It's in sharp contrast with the fervor and zeal in which encouraged the nation and the world to join him in as he rushed to invade and occupy Iraq.
It shouldn't be seen as so far fetched to suggest that Bush doesn't give a wit at all about North Korea's apparent massing and testing of their nuclear arsenal. Bush waited and watched as Kim Jong-il built up his nuclear arsenal, all the while insisting that we direct the bulk of our defenses to Iraq, where there was no threat at all to our nation. Afghanistan gets only a miserly fraction of the forces Bush put in Iraq as bin-Laden and his accomplices find refuge in the mountains which border Pakistan. How can anyone look at the way Bush has committed our forces and conclude that he's at all serious about actually confronting the most pernicious threats we actually face?
Bush's explanation for his own failure to directly confront North Korea is that Kim Jong-il "failed to act," rather than the more obvious impression he's sending North Korea, and by extension, Iran, of his own unwillingness to act against the defiant regime. The example Bush provided the world in his invasion, occupations, and military muckraking in Iraq and Afghanistan is that our great military power's leader is more content with coveting his conquered prizes, than he is in directly confronting any of the antagonists he's presented as the primary provocateurs of our apocalypse.
Japan has already invited Lockheed's military-industrial warriors to install more of their 'missile defense' boondoggle as a counter to the North Korean aggression. Poland and other Central European nations have, so far, resisted the Bush cabal's hard-sell of similar U.S. 'missile defense' technology on their soil to counter the administration's hyped threat from Iran. Where is the incentive for Bush to actually stop North Korea? He and the industry cronies that he's packed into his Executive offices recognize the political value of maintaining the public perception of a potential threat from North Korea to keeps pressure on Congress at appropriation time.
Why would a "nuclear-free Korean peninsula" need an extensive, costly missile-defense system? Instead of direct diplomacy with North Korea, Iran, and others, Bush is resigning us to these 'cold war' confrontations that allow the antagonists to inflate whatever threat they pose as he zealously inflates our own nation's potential for unleashing devastating, destructive reprisals and pads the bank accounts of his military-industry benefactors. Bush is unconcerned about his own ineptness in confronting the forces massing against our nation, because he's measuring his own importance against the threats that he intends to bequeath to future generations rather than solve.
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