Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Bush Gives the Terrorists Ammo, Claims "History will judge me"

Oustanding blogger Shatnerian should be applauded for linking to an incredible G. Dubya interview conducted by Radio & TV Ireland on June 24th. The Irish journalist responsible for such potent questions must be a devotee of Zen Buddhism, or at least some form of yogic meditation. His approach reminds me of a fly fisherman who casts his line and lets the Atlantic salmon bite the hook on his own.

One particularly chilling exchange had to be when Bush was asked about whether God was a part of his plans to thwart Al-Qaeda:
"Do you believe that the hand of God is guiding you in this war on terror?

THE PRESIDENT: Listen, I think that God -- that my relationship with God is a very personal relationship. And I turn to the good Lord for strength. And I turn to the good Lord for guidance. I turn to the good Lord for forgiveness.

But the God I know is not one that -- the God I know is one that promotes peace and freedom. But I get great sustenance from my personal relationship. That doesn't make me think I'm a better person than you are, by the way. Because one of the great admonitions in the Good Book is, don't try to take a speck out of your eye if I've got a log in my own."
Does anyone have an idea which part of the Bible that "log in my eye" quote is from? I'm sure that this will play well with the Fundamentalist Muslims out there, a disenfranchised lot who already think that the War on Terror is really a War on Islam. The President's God believes in peace and freedom, unlike theirs? This is too fuct up to believe. (I try very hard to avoid swearing needlessly because I don't want to be censored by archaic filtering software!)

It would have been a lot better to say "We all worship the same God of love and peace" instead of trying to distinguish between the merits of Yahweh and Allah. By rambling incoherently without considering the impact of his words, Bush is putting his troops stationed in Iraq at unnecessary risk. The founding fathers wanted to keep the church and state separate for a reason. Bush should know better than to provide Al-Qaeda with notable quotes for their recruitment pamphlets.

I wonder if this was truly in the job description when George W. found the "Help Wanted" ad in the Washington Post:
"My job is to do my job and make the decisions that I think are important for our country and for the world."
Does this mean that Bush is in charge of deciding what's best for the planet? This is a scary thought but I'm sure he must have meant that the choices America makes will inevitably impact the rest of the world.

George W. Bush may not worry about his reptutation--in the same interview, he said " History will judge what I'm about..."--but he is facing a tough re-election battle versus Sen. John Kerry and I'm sure that the American public won't forget the pain they feel each time one of their sons or daughters gets killed in Najaf or Baghdad by an AK-47 round. Bush would be wise to remember that history gets written by the victors, and it looks like winning the War on Terror may be an impossible dream. Police have been trying to thwart crime for millenia but there are still crooks out there and there will always be.

Terrorism is also known as asymetrical warfare by military strategists, and due to America's immense military might, conventional attacks are ineffective. Anyone who seeks war with America has no choice but to strike covertly, and the efficiency of this mode of battle has already been established.

Instead of just trying to chop down the forest, we should try to prevent new seedlings from sprouting. By making amends for our past crimes against Islam (ie. supporting repressive regimes like the Al-Saud Wahhabbist "Royal" family, a major human rights violator), perhaps future generations won't decide to take up arms against us.

What do you think? Will the War on Terror ever end? Does Bush have the moral high ground? Please comment below.

Liberals Win Minority Gov't: NDP Will Hold Balance of Power

"Across Canada tonight in an extremely tight election, we hope Canadians vote to put Canada first and vote to support values that make Canada the envy of the world."
Scott Brison, winning MP of Kings-Hants riding (Nova Scotia), regarding the Liberal's minority government victory.(WP)
The Liberals have earned themselves another spin on the merry-go-round that is Canadian politics. With a reasonable showing of 135 seats, the Libs won't have the absolute majority to pass legislation effortlessly, but they'll be able to retain power if they can enlist the support of Jack Layton's NDP. They've already ruled out a coalition government but if they want the NDP to vote in step with their proposals, they'll have to give the New Democrats a reason to play along.

Contrary to the worried chatter of the financial markets, this is truly the best of all possible scenarios. Harper and his Conservative warriors have been bested; although they won roughly 99 seats, this won't be enough to remove the Liberals from office. Economists are afraid of minority governments because they associate them with higher spending.

Since the Conservatives will now be the official opposition, they will hold the responsibility of keeping Liberal spending within reasonable limits, but they won't be able to institute their heinous platform of military expansion and tax cuts at the expense of our social programs. Harper may also have a new cross to bear; his own party may question his ability to ever beat the Liberals, a party that was tainted with the stench of corruption arising from their role in the Sponsorship Scandal but who still won in the end.

The other major reason that I'm smiling from ear to ear is that minority governments in Canada have always proven themselves to be most fruitful. In the past, such governments have instituted valuable social programs like employment insurance and universal health care.

Expect the NDP to try to bring in proportional representation, similar to the electoral systems in Germany and New Zealand, which should bode well for smaller parties in the future. Proportional representation was very effective for Germany's Green Party in the past, allowing Joschka Fischer to become Foreign Minister in 1998, and giving Green party supporters worldwide a reason to be optimistic.

Jack Layton has vowed that he will hold Paul Martin to his election promises and that he won't lie down for a Liberal government if their proposals aren't up to snuff. Since his 20 or so seats will be the security blanket that Paul Martin's Liberals will be forced to clutch, there is a good chance that our country will improve and make life slightly better for everyone.

Canada has never had one voice; we are a chorus of varying tones and pitches, with nobody rising above the din to negate everyone else. This is something that we should be proud of. I commend anyone who bothered to vote and I hope that we can all take pride in our form of government, since we managed to hold an election that was over in 5 weeks and didn't require the intervention of our Supreme Court to conclude.

Also, when I look outside at the trickle of early morning traffic on Guy Street here in Montreal, I don't see any civil war developing. Peace and good government; that's all Canada ever wanted.

If the Liberals try to pull a fast one on us, I'll be waiting. Keep your eyes open, Canada.