BY KENNY BELFORD
Approaching the New Year, and the end of the reign of error of George W. Bush, perhaps a brief reflection of the past eight years might be interesting. This list isn’t in a strict chronological sequence, just a few of the highlights we should never forget.
* Florida 2000 – What a great time that was, but it’s always nice to have friends in high places, even if they’re your Daddy’s.
* 9/11 – Bush fails to read the Presidential Daily Briefing warning of terrorist plans to fly airplanes into American buildings, instead choosing to go on another vacation. As we’re under attack, Bush reads My Pet Goat until an aide comes in to tell him he needs to do something. He does. He runs away from Florida and goes and hides in Nebraska.
* Iraq – No weapons of mass destruction, no yellow cake from Niger, no clear and present danger to the United States. As we destroyed their infrastructure and economy, a total lack of planning allowed a civil war to erupt. Over 4,000 Americans killed in a needless war born of false claims.
* Osama bin Laden – Bush turns into a macho cowboy and declares he’s wanted dead or alive and promises to go after him. Later Bush says he doesn’t know where he is and doesn’t care.
* Walter Reed – The treatment of our vets was revealed as a shameful scandal, and Bush responds by cutting funds for veterans while they fight.
* U.S. Attorney Firings – Their offense? They wouldn’t do political attacks on Democrats at the request of the White House.
* CIA Leak – George W. Bush and Dick Cheney blow the cover of a covert CIA agent. Her offense? She was married to the former ambassador who revealed the Bush Administration was lying about Iraq’s nuclear program.
* North Korea Got Nukes – Diplomacy? We don’t need no stinkin’ diplomacy.
* Bush Authorizes U.S. Torture Of Prisoners In Iraq – Maybe that helps explain the shoe tossing episode directed at Bush years later.
* Bush authorizes U.S. kidnapping of people to be held without charges, trials, or access to an attorney. They’re held indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay and other secret CIA prisons constructed around the world. Bush also authorizes the CIA to deliver detainees to other Third World nations so they can torture those we’ve kidnapped. America’s standing in the world plummets.
* Katrina, FEMA and “Heckuva Job Brownie” – Bush was on another of his frequent 30-day vacations as New Orleans drowned. Finally his aides convinced him he needed to consider doing something. As we learned, their rank incompetence prohibited them from actually doing anything constructive, but Bush did have Air Force One fly over New Orleans.
* NSA Warrantless Wiretaps Of U.S. Citizens – Bush and Cheney adopted a theory that placed themselves above the Constitution and law of the land.
* Mission Accomplished – On May 1, 2003 George W. Bush put on a G.I. Joe costume and pranced across the deck of an aircraft carrier to declare “Mission Accomplished.” Five years latter, after a civil war, our troops are still in Iraq and thousands were killed after Bush’s speech.
* U.S. Energy Policy – Dick Cheney held a secret invitation-only meeting with his oil buddies to formulate our national policy. Although he was an elected official setting our national strategy, Cheney refused to reveal what the policy was, even going to court to block having to reveal who attended.
* Bush Publicly Opposed The Forming Of The 9/11 Commission – He failed in his attempts to block it, then finally claimed he supported it.
* Debt, Debt, Debt – Although George W. Bush inherited a budget surplus, he quickly managed to create the largest debt any nation in recorded history had seen. That was before his house of cards economic policies collapsed. Now we can’t even comprehend the sheer depth of the debt he’s given us. It will take three, four, five, probably more, generations of Americans to pay our way out of Bush’s debt.
* Economy – During Bush’s watch, the Republican agenda of free markets, no regulations put events in motion to destroy our economy. Across the board, housing, financial, insurance, manufacturing, etc., were allowed by policy to spiral into a recession.
* Faking News Reports – The Bush Administration was repeatedly caught fabricating “news” they tried to sell as truth. At one point, Bush actually hired a gay porno star to attend his press conferences to ask him pre-scripted questions which he had rehearsed answers for.
* No Child Left Behind – Maybe we should have been more alert about an educational reform plan coming from a person that said, “Is our childrens learning?” Bush’s signature educational program was modeled after a program employed in Houston. Later we learned that the Houston Superintendent, who was now Bush’s Secretary of Education, had cooked the books on the results and it was a failure.
* Dick Cheney Shoots Lawyer – After a feeble cover-up attempt, the VP had to acknowledge the event. In true Republican form, he blamed the victim.
* Contractors – We learned that this label wasn’t construction people, it was mercenaries hired by George W. Bush. Bush’s private army was supposed to be immune from any and all laws, domestic and abroad. Late is his term, Bush threw them under the bus and decided to allow them to face charges for killing sprees.
* Harriet Miers – Bush attempted to appoint his personal attorney to the U.S. Supreme Court. It turned out her legal skills and knowledge were so shallow and anemic, even Republican Senators had to send her home to look up answers to their questions. We’ll always remember her “deer in the headlights” look at press conferences.
* No Bid Contracts – While Bush’s needless war, born of 100% false claims, did suck our treasury dry and kill 4,000-plus Americans, it did handsomely benefit Bush’s campaign contributors and Dick Cheney’s former company. Frequently they were caught in fraudulent billing schemes, bilking our nation, but the Bush Administration responded with the issuance of more no bid contracts to the same companies.
* Alberto Gonzales – Bush appoints a buddy to become our Attorney General. His incompetence, his politicizing of the Justice Department quickly surfaces and becomes problematic. Summoned before several Senate committees, under oath he can’t remember anything. A few weeks later he resigns in disgrace.
* Product And Safety De-Regulations – Continuing the Republican attack on all regulations, we found lead paint in children’s toys, anti-freeze in our toothpaste, even contaminated ingredients in pharmaceuticals. Just recently, the Associated Press released a story that Mexico has banned the import of meat from thirty of our largest American meat companies. Mexico!
* There’s one more colossal distortion yet to come. We can thank the Methodists for this one. SMU is building the George W. Bush Library on their campus. There’s zero possibility that it will be a Hall of Shame, instead it will represent a massive effort to spin and re-write history to cover for the incompetence and misdeeds of the worst president in our nation’s history.
– Kenny Belford is a frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer