Wednesday, December 09, 2009

In Defense of (Burned) Bush

"I admire that journalist that threw his shoe at President Bush," an acquaintance of mine said.

I replied, with an eyebrow raised, "What's so admirable about throwing his shoe? It seems a show of immaturity and a lack of grace and self-control."

"Well... Bush is a bad president."

"What made you say that he's bad?"

"Mmm... He's mighty unpopular... People hate him... and..."

And nothing. He just laughed it all off when he got nothing more to say to back him. I did not smile. The moron.

That was a year ago. And it has been nearly a year since George W. Bush, 43rd president of the USA, stepped down. So, why am I writing this piece right now? Seems untimely. Well, one of the reasons I write is for therapy, and I write to blow some steam of a particular annoyance. Some recent event just reminded me of my great annoyance on people who pretend their smart or righteous without the facts or credibility to back it. These are the know-it-alls... those who take hearsays or gossips as truths without confirming them, and since these hearsays or gossips are popular ideas, jump into the bandwagon. (I even annoy myself when I sometimes succumb to this annoying flaw of human nature.) One of these popular ideas is the incompetence and lack of credibility of George W. Bush - which I do not agree.

I am not a Bush fan at all. But I recognize him as a strong leader, though not perfect, equipped with competence and character to lead the most powerful nation on earth. And I find this blind animosity to Bush by most Americans as almost baseless as a "know-it-all" mentality that I am particularly very annoyed at. Probably, this is because of the effective and harmful slanders, propagandas and machinations against Bush by the Democrats. The Democrats succeeded in establishing their slanderous comments as truths.

Bush's unpopularity started with one particular topic: the war against Iraq. Let me stick with that. This was the seed of it all, and this is what the Democrats used as ammunition and this is where they started from with their effective attacks at Bush that destroyed his credibility and made him mighty unpopular with the Americans.

The Democrats slandered Bush that he lied about Iraq having Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). They said that Bush falsified intelligence on Iraq WMD to justify attacking a sovereign nation - to drag the US to an unnecessary war. They accuse Bush that there was no concrete basis that Irag had WMD. But wait a minute, not only did all the intelligence gathering agencies of the US were convinced Iraq has WMDs, the international intelligence communties - UK, France,Germany, Russia, China, Israel and Jordan - thought so, too. How can Bush falsify such intelligence data of different independent sources? How can they say that Bush has no concrete basis? But wait, here's something even better, during the Clinton administration (when the Democrats were in power), the Democrat politicians were convinced that Iraq do have WMDs. The Democrats believed and claimed to have evidence that Iraq has WMDs. They still had this stand even when Bush administration was on its early years. But why the sudden change of tone later on? Simple, the Democrats wanted to destroy Bush's credibility - and they succeeded. It was dirty politics. From then on, Bush became very unpopular.

You might say, "But wait. They never found WMDs when Iraq was finally invaded by the US." True, that they never found any nuclear weapons but they found chemical and biological weapons, which are illegal, and considered as WMDS. Moreover, Mossad intelligence claimed that the nuclear weapons were probably moved to Syria before the Americans deployed for war.

Let us not forget who was the Iraqi leader: Saddam Hussein - a tyrant, a terrorist, a criminal, guilty of many UN violations and genocide. Besides, the attack of the US to Iraq is not only based on the existence of WMDs. In the 23 clauses to use force against Iraq, only two mentions WMDs. Saddam provoked the US to attack. Regardless of whether Saddam has nuclear weapons or not, he was acting as if he had them by showing arrogance and defiance. The US didn't have legal or moral burden of Saddam proving he had WMDs, it was Saddam's burden to prove that what the US accusses is false. But this he did not do so. Consider: following Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War, Saddam signed treaties promising to get rid of and not produce WMDs, allow UN inspectors and spy planes to fly over to verify that he was not in breach of promises. But he violated those treaties, denying the inspectors to do their jobs and continually shooting at US aircraft in the no-fly zones. But even of these clear violations, the UN lacked the moral courage to enforce its resolutions and punish Saddam. So, Bush showed balls and did the right thing by finally doing something about it, by leading the US against Iraq. The countries that supported the US in that war did the right thing and showed balls, too, and I am proud that the Philippines was one of those countries even if our troops were only there for show (it's a pity we have to withdraw them because of the hostaging of Filipinos by terrorists... but withdrawing was the right thing to do. The hostages' lives are paramount. But it's still a pity).

We should also consider America’s role as “world police.” Their country is a symbol of freedom and democracy. Saddam is a threat to what their country stands for. Thus, the US has this responsibility, being the world’s most powerful nation, of finally destroying the danger to the principles of freedom and democracy. US also did the right decision back then of going to Vietnam. The only problem was they were arrogant and unprepared that cause so many unnecessary and unjustified casualties in that war. But in Iraq, the Americans came prepared and efficient, thus, it cannot be criticized as it was with the Vietnam War.

Besides, America was on a “War on Terror” and it is clear that Iraq had dealings with Al Qaeda. Iraq was a training ground and haven for terrorists. Democrats only denied the fact, claiming that Bush is lying, and the people believed them. Striking Iraq was also a way of preventing another September 11. What would have happened if Saddam finally have a working nuclear weapons program? Attacking or pressuring Saddam by then would be difficult. The threat was too great for Bush to ignore it. Thus, invading Iraq at that time, when the nuclear program as still premature, was a good decision.

At the risk of being unpopular, Bush made the right decision. Amidst the constant attacks by his critics, and the people starting to hate him, he remained strong in his stand of what is right. Such courage and character. That was admirable.

I really don't get it why most Americans hate him. He did not cheat to win the election. He does not have any scandal about graft and corruption or stealing from government funds. Compare him to PGMA. Come on, why hate him?

With what the Democrats did to Bush, I think the current Democratic Party had lost the decency or "gentleman-ness" of being an effective intellectual and moral opposition to the Republicans. The purpose of the two-party system is to be able to have a conservative and liberal view in all issues, and to hold in check each view. Democrats should debate against the Republicans (and vice versa) with their country’s interest in mind, and the debates should lead to betterment and cooperation in the long-run. Now, by what the Democrats did to Bush, it seemed they now only want to protect or improve their political interests. I don't know if the Republicans, which are now currently the opposition, would act as the Democrats did. (By the way, as I had written in a previous essay, back at the elections, I wanted Obama to win, not because I know of and agree with his policies but because I want the dramatic: the first black president of the US. But I am not really sure if he is better off than the rest of the Democrats, or if he also thinks like them.)

As finale, the lesson I want convey here is we have to get rid of our nature of judging people, which is unfair, not only to big leaders like Bush, but to ordinary persons as well. Believing hearsay without us confirming it… jumping into bandwagons…. the arrogance of the "know-it-all" mentality… blindly criticizing and hating… biases…. we have to get rid of them all, since these are the bases of our tendency to crucify our true heroes.

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