As I See It
After losing his re-election bid in 1992, President George Bush Senior (Bush I) confessed that part of the reason for his defeat was that he lacked “the vision thing.”
Son George W. Bush (Bush II) has vowed not to repeat that mistake, and has gotten heavily into the vision thing. But when one hears what Bush II’s visions are, one surmises that he must be on peyote or possibly something stronger.
The most recent and most obvious manifestation of these visions is his proposal to build a permanently manned station on the Moon and to send a manned expedition to Mars.
With the huge federal deficits that the Bush administration has created with its combination of tax favors for the wealthy, and his adventure in Iraq, any such gargantuan program could bankrupt the country.
Even if it didn’t, it would require such a massive diversion of money from just about every other government program that little would be left to fund the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Veteran’s Affairs, Transportation, Social Security, Medicare, the national parks and forests, or any other federal programs that benefit the people of this country.
Almost as far fetched as the Moon and Mars missions, is the vision of converting the Muslim countries of the Middle East into democratic republics.
This goes against a history of centuries of tradition and theocracy. Such a cosmic change can not be accomplished without separation of Church and State in a world in which Islam has dominated Government since the 7th century.
It is unrealistic to expect that any such transformation can be accomplished within our lifetime, if at all.
Bush II’s vision on Iraq was so exclusively focused on starting a war against Saddam Hussein that all he could see was a series of mirages ” stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, a fast developing nuclear program, and links between Saddam and al-Qaida and the 9-11 attacks.
We now know that none of these presumed threats really existed, but reports that they did suited his vision of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Reports to the contrary did not support his vision, and consequently were largely ignored.
For several months before his invasion of Iraq, the United Nations inspection team in Iraq reported that they had found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction.
But Bush II ignored the U.N. reports and ridiculed the inspectors as incompetent because they had not found any of what he wanted them to find, instead of thinking “wait a minute ” they might be right; maybe we should let them continue their work before rushing into war.”
Bush II’s vision of post-war Iraq is equally flawed. Instead of a smooth and easy transformation into a free and democratic country, Iraq has erupted into a chaos of anarchy, looting, sabotage, and preying on American troops.
It isn’t as though he hadn’t been warned by people in the know.
A year before the start of the war, the State Department initiated the Future of Iraq Project to develop a plan for post-war Iraq, utilizing the expertise of a broad spectrum of Iraqi exile groups.
The working groups reported “the removal of Saddam’s regime will provide a power vacuum …” which “… might offer criminals the opportunity to engage in acts of killing, plunder and looting.
“These conditions and circumstances do not provide a strong foundation on which to build new institutions and a modern state.”
They all agreed that what came after the fall of Baghdad would be harder for the United States than what came before.
General Anthony Zinni, former U.S. commander in the Middle East and Persian Gulf area, has warned, “I believe there will be civil war in Iraq come July.”
If so, the result will be a level of atrocities far exceeding the actions of Saddam, which Bush II has used as his latest reason for getting us into war.
It is a dangerous thing when you get so caught up in your visions that they cloud your judgement and you ignore reality. It is particularly dangerous when it happens to the president of the United States.
Glenwood Springs resident Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent
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Sticks in the mud. Overly cautious. Obstacles to progress.