9/20/2006 – Editorials



By Richard Peterson

BUSH BASHING

President Bush’s incredibly poor judgment was on full display last week. He wants to have a US version of the Geneva Conventions written into law so it is legal to torture prisoners of the US. He also said flat out that the US does not torture detainees. If you believe that hasn’t occurred, your eyes, ears and senses are dull, indeed. And you’re brain dead on top of it. I’ve learned well that George W.

Bush does not always tell the truth. In fact, he could be labeled The Great Misleader.

There are two types of Republicans: 1) Those who will support George W. Bush in anything and everything he does; and 2) those who can think.

Among the thinkers are several courageous Republican senators who have consciences and cannot go along with the Bush plan which will place US citizens at risk of being legally tortured by foreign governments.

"Weakening the Geneva protections is not only unnecessary, but would set an example to other countries, with less respect for basic human rights, that they could issue their own legislative ‘reinterpretations,’ " Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in a written statement. "This puts our military personnel and others directly at risk in this and future wars."

McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five years, is backed up by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who served six years on active duty and is a colonel in the US Air Force Reserves.

Another who finds the president’s zeal to torture prisoners unacceptable is Sen. John Warner of Virginia. Warner served in WWII and Korea and was a captain in the Marine Corps Reserve. He is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

That’s a lot of military expertise up against the president’s less than illustrious military service.

Y’want some more? Joining McCain and the other Republicans last week was former Army four-star general and secretary of state Colin L.

Powell, who wrote in a letter that reinterpreting the Geneva Conventions would encourage other countries to "doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism."

George W. Bush is not alone in short-sightedly advocating the torture of detainees. He argues that innocent lives can be saved by gaining information through methods of torture.

Incidently, The Great Misleader never refers to these methods as torture. But that is exactly what they are. Isn’t it ironic that this man who professes to be a follower of Jesus wants to torture detainees?

Does the end really justify the means?

NO! We lose all moral authority when we stoop to the level of totalitarian regimes. The US government absolutely should not be torturing people.

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The Bush Administration continues resisting drought relief for farmers and ranchers. We aren’t suffering much in this area, but south of Bismarck, it’s a wasteland. No crop, no pasture, nothing.

That’s the thanks farmers and ranchers get for voting Republican.

Bush ignores Republican Gov. John Hoeven who understands the necessity of drought relief and has lobbied hard for it.

Republicans who can think are distancing themselves in droves from any connection to the president. The defection of Republicans is just another indication of George W. Bush’s incredibly bad judgment and almost unbelievable denial of reality at home and abroad.

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The reality of the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is that we are bogged down in an unwinnable war. For 2,000 years all outside forces which have invaded those countries have ended up leaving, licking their wounds.

If I thought there was a chance of success, I would echo Bush’s "Stay the course" mantra. There is, however, no chance of success. We could be there 20 years and the situation would be the same as today.

We should pull out immediately because there is nothing to gain by staying.

There will be a bloody civil war whether we stay or go. It’s just going to have to be settled by the Iraqis and Afghanistanis. We aren’t going to be able to impose peace without putting another 100,000 troops on the ground. Can you see that happening?

The US might have been able to pacify Afghanistan, but chances of that ended when many of the troops were pulled out to invade Iraq.

The Bush Administration lost sight of the ball. Instead of going after Osama bin Laden, as he should have, Bush shifted emphasis on toppling Saddam Hussein.

Saddam Hussein did not attack the US. Osama bin Laden did.

The Bush Administration’s incompetence went so far as to disband the special unit which had been formed to go after Osama. When Sen. Kent Conrad and Sen. Byron Dorgan learned of this about two weeks ago, they co-sponsored a bill to reinstate the organization and allocated $200 million to fund it. The bill passed the senate 96-0.

Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, "Where’s Osama bin Laden?"

"I don’t know," Bush replied. "I don’t really think about him very much. I’m not that concerned."


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