Yesterday I wrote that it was an obvious point of honor that a leader should resign if he takes a country to war for what turns out to have been a mistake – or a lie.
Bush went to war on a claim that Iraq was about to attack us with WMD. When it became clear there were no WMD the honorable thing to do would be to resign. War is serious business, and there is no room for mistakes – or lies. If you go to war over WMD and there aren’t WMD the right thing to do is step aside and let someome else take your place. Simple as that.
But what happened with Iraq is far worse than that.
Watching Bush’s speech yesterday I thought about something I wrote more than two years ago:
When the President of the United States tells you that there is a serious and imminent threat you don’t really have a choice. You just have to go along. Our LIVES depend on believing him. Even if you can’t see the threat it’s the President’s JOB to be looking out for it. … Maybe he knows something he can’t tell you. You don’t have a choice. And, most important, no president has ever betrayed that trust before and it is hard to imagine one so corrupt that he would.
But BEFORE, we had no choice, really, because we HAVE TO trust that when the President says there is a threat to our lives, he is telling the truth!
. . . Now that it’s over and we can look back and see what Bush did, it is absolutely essential for our own protection that we get Bush out of there. We can’t trust and believe him next time, and next time there might actually BE a threat!
Once a President abuses that essential trust, everything about our country and our “compact” with our government changes. It’s just like what happened with Katrina – these people really don’t care and really are not interested in protecting the public. That is not how they intend to use the power they have been given by us. I think that’s where we are today.
Look how Bush and the Right treat us. We are fellow Americans, but they view us as the enemy just as surely as the terrorists who attacked the country are the enemy. During his campaign Bush said “I am a uniter, not a divider.” But division is Bush’s trademark. It is his tool. Before the Iraq war Bush went to the Congress and asked them to stand with him against an imminent threat. And they supported him. Now, in his Veterans Day speech he used that support to further divide us. The speech was supposed to be a non-partisan American event, not a Republican Party rally. But the President used this setting to lash out at half the country, calling us traitors for questioning why we are “at war” in Iraq. Yes, his surrogates call us traitors – and now he does too. From the speech:
“The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. (Applause.) These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America’s will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. (Applause.) Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. (Applause.) And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory. (Applause.)”
We are only starting to understand the significance and consequences of Bush’s betrayal. We can not trust Bush again, and many here and around the world will never be able to trust the United States again. This is especially serious because there still are countries and people who might really be preparing to attack with these weapons. Because of what Bush has done America can no longer sound the alarm. Who would believe? Who could be sure it isn’t just another mistake – or trick? This is a dangerous situation.
Watch your backs.