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Who'd Have Thought?

Evaluating Bush with the Bhutto Corruption Standard

by MISSY BEATTIE

Ms. Bhutto and her father and political mentor, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, were democratic, but imperfect political leaders – imperious, indifferent to human rights and, in her case, tainted by serious charges of corruption. (New York Times Editorial, December 28, 2007)

Imperious, indifferent to human rights, tainted by serious charges of corruption-this description of Ms. Bhutto is also a perfect portrayal of George W. Bush and his administration.

We’ve heard and seen Bush proclaim that he’s the "decider." We’ve watched as he ignores advice from world leaders, including the Pope, and those who know the culture of the Middle East. He doesn’t conceal his scorn. We’ve witnessed the stubbornness his dwindling supporters call resolve. His critics, who are legion, wince when he speaks, embarrassed that he holds the highest office in the land. He is the butt of jokes on the Internet, of syndicated cartoonists, of singers, comedians, columnists, late-night television hosts, playwrights, movie producers, and of authors who have made a bundle off his Bushisms. Many of us have called him stupid and inept.

But he is not.

Instead, Bush knows exactly what he’s doing. He knew less than two months after the invasion of Iraq when he landed on an aircraft carrier under a "Mission Accomplished" banner that he’d achieved his goal of endless war.

He uses words like "sacrifice" and "freedom" to inspire our young to join the military while talking "terror," "mushroom clouds," and "Islamofascism" to color code our fear. He is a master manipulater.

By loading the Supreme Court with ultraconservative Justices, he advances his political-Christian agenda.

Furthermore, Bush has without precedent used signing statements to disregard more than 750 laws, including a ban on torture. This systematic action allows Bush to ignore legislation passed by Congress. According to this president, the Constitution gives him the right to take power from the legislative branch. Back to the court-Justice Sam Alito is a huge fan of signing statements and unchecked executive power.

Perhaps Bush’s greatest coup has been as a "uniter, not a divider," one of his campaign promises. Certainly, he has united Congress so tightly that we no longer have a two-party system. George W. Bush has neutered the Democrats with surgical accuracy. No matter how loudly they bellow that they will challenge him, that he will receive no more blank checks for war, they capitulate. They pose no threat to his unquenchable thirst for unitary power regardless of the electorate’s demand for change and a certainty that this country is on a perilous path.

MISSY BEATTIE lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com