You may have heard that speaking to the Times of London, George W. Bush regrets some of the things he's said. Because some of his statements like "Bring 'em on" and "Bin Laden dead or alive", some people think he likes war, when he is really a man of peace. As proof of his peaceful intentions, he meets often with wounded soldiers and the families of the dead to console them. He has said in the past that he sees himself as the consoler in chief, as well as his main job as The Decider.
Given my experience, Bush reminds me of a D student. He could be a C student if he gave it a real effort, but can't be bothered. The deeper problem with a D student is that a lot of ideas will be beyond his grasp even if he does apply himself.
He is supposed to be the commander in chief, and in the final analysis, it is his job to conduct the war, no matter how many levels of silly business school bureaucracy he adds, like a war czar and The Office of Special Plans. Wars are supposed to end, because wars are expensive, brutally expensive the way Americans conduct wars. I took this graphic from 2005 and updated it. Officially, the Bush wars now cost more than Vietnam, but if you listen to the Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, the real cost is on the scale of World War II. We "won" World War II not just because the Germans and the Japanese surrendered, but because even with the high price we paid, everyone else who was directly involved, including most of Europe and much of Eastern Asia, paid an even higher price in destroyed cities that would have to be rebuilt. In these wars today, we have decimated Iraq and deeply wounded Afghanistan, two small nations that have little standing on the world stage, but we have drained our own treasury at a phenomenal scale, while the rest of the major countries in the world are at peace.
We came out of 1945 as the world's only superpower, and when the Cold War ended, we saw ourselves as the world's only superpower again. If being a superpower means having the ability to invade a country halfway around the world, then the list begins and ends with the U.S. of A. In the real struggle of the present, the economic battle, we are one of four superpowers, along with Europe, China and the not as unified OPEC, and we are last place in that battle right now, given how deeply we are in debt and how addicted to debt we have let ourselves become. The burden of the war has helped ruin our economy, though according to the D student Bush, that connection is nearly impossible to see. In repeated statements, including one just yesterday, John Sidney McCain sees no need to leave Iraq and Afghanistan any time soon either.
The country has desperate problems, most pressing now is to figure out how to wean ourselves from petroleum. The only president who ever made that a priority was Jimmy Carter, and since him we have been heading down the wrong path for thirty years. This is a change in course we must make now, if not sooner. We should have been making this change in public policy for at least a decade. Working people who can afford it will make the change out of necessity, now that $4 a gallon gas is the best case scenario. The Republican proposals in Congress in response to the current situation show that they are stuck somewhere in the middle of the 20th Century.
The government does not always have to lead, but it can't keep working against us. My father the Goldwater Republican now calls himself a yellow dog Democrat. People of conscience have to follow his wise lead. There is no Republican at any level of government who deserves the vote of anyone who wants what's best for this country.
Here endeth the lesson.