Bush, Iraq and American Democracy
by Brian Risman, Publisher and Founder, The Law Journal UK
George W. Bush seized the Presidency in 2000 by undemocratic means. He has created fear of dissent, and plunged the U.S. into an endless war for corporate gain. Americans must restore their democracy and end the fear and loathing that prevents free speech.
In the 2000 American Presidential Election, Democratic Candidate Al Gore won the popular vote over George W. Bush. As well, a large number of questionable votes in Florida exceeded the spread between the counts for Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush -- a situation that required a judicial recount or a special election to obtain a real result. The Florida Supreme Court approved such a recount -- but then the conservative, Republican U.S. Supreme Court overrode the Florida Court, and effectively awarded the Presidency to the loser, George W. Bush. Note that Florida was -- and is --- ruled by the Bush family through his brother, Governor Jeb Bush.
Therefore the United States, the defender of democracy in the world, and the country most likely to criticise other countries, has an un-elected President who seized power through a bogus Court decision. This unelected President -- a President by coup d'etat -- then plunged his country into a quagmire in Iraq.
What is even scarier is that no mainstream American media outlet dared touch the stolen election.
Moreover, no mainstream American media outlet dared touch Bush's motives in Iraq.
Anyone who dared to ask the hard questions was deemed anti-American.
Any country that questioned Bush's motives -- and legitimacy -- was deemed anti-American.
Allies and friends are bullied over foreign policy, and over trade disputes. If a U.S. corporate interest does not get what they want from a foreign country, they simply get the U.S. Government to sanction and threaten that country, even if that country is a good friend. Does this foreign policy build alliances?
Worse, American ambassadors act not as ambassadors, but rather as governors of the American empire to their subject provinces -- criticising and mixing into domestic affairs that have nothing to do with the United States. Do these ambassadors build friends?
The attitude of George W. Bush towards foreigners became apparent with his comments on the death of that great comedian and American patriot, Bob Hope. Note that George W. Bush was the only U.S. President not to meet with the man who gave up his Christmas year in, year out to entertain U.S. troops around the world and in battle zones. Yet George W. Bush could only focus on the fact that the late Mr. Hope, a world icon, was "not born in America". Mr. Hope was in fact born in London, England but came to the U.S. as a child. Mr. Bush's remarks were a disservice to a great American and world citizen.
Have you also noticed that George Bush is the first President in a long time that no comedian dares to make jokes about, or do imitations? Even Richard Nixon enjoyed the imitations -- but not the humourless George W. Bush. When no humour or satire is allowed, the canary in the mine is dying -- and so is free speech and democracy.
A stolen election, a questionable war, alienated allies and friends, insulting the memory of American patriots born outside the U.S. -- and no one is allowed to question anything. Not Americans. Not the world.
Is this democracy? Is this freedom of speech? Is this America?
The worst part of the problem in the U.S. is that Americans simply don't know what is going on in their own country and the world. Not that Americans are stupid -- far from it. The problem is that they do not get the information that the rest of the world receives. Their view of their President and country is radically different from that of the rest of the world. Contrary to what most Americans think, most of the world is not inherently anti-American. The world looks to the American Democracy, and see a dictatorship. They look towards the U.S. for democratic values, human rights and liberty, and find corporate interests.
The United States must return to being a democracy. The United States needs to return to championing -- and to living -- free speech and liberty. Once the United States returns to these values, their place in the world will be one of honour rather than derision.
I am not an American. I do not intend to tell Americans how to vote. I favour neither the Democrats or the Republicans, the left-wing or the right-wing.
But I believe in democracy. I believe in freedom of speech.
I have the fervent hope, as a friend of the Americans, that they have a just, free, and fair election.
I have the fervent hope that they return to democratic values, free speech, and human rights both in their country and around the world.
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