People are beginning to feel sorry for President George W. Bush. And with good reason.
A new poll by Harris Interactive published in the Financial Times reveals that our traditional European allies regard the United States as a much greater threat to world stability than Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.
In European opinion, the axis-of-evil is Bush’s America.
Almost twice as many British, whose Prime Minister Tony Blair is complicit in Bush’s war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, see the US as the greatest threat to world stability than see Iran as the danger. In Spain three times more people regard the US as the threat than see Iran as the threat. Only in Italy does Iran edge out the US as the greatest perceived threat, a result no doubt due to the propaganda that spews from the media empire of Silvio Berlusconi, the Rupert Murdoch of Italy.
Another reason to feel sorry for Bush is that he is regarded by his own political party and his own Attorney General as a war criminal. Republicans recognize that Bush has committed felonies by violating the US War Crimes Act of 1996 (legislation aimed at the likes of Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic). Bush’s Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, and the Republican Congress have produced draft legislation that aims to protect Bush retroactively by gutting the 1996 War Crimes Act. Republicans hope to quietly pass this unconstitutional legislation before they are defeated in the November elections.
The fact that retroactive law is prohibited by the US Constitution adds to Bush’s shame.
Bush is also pitied because a large majority of Americans no longer believe in the single over-riding cause of Bush’s presidency — the "war on terror." A recent Ipsos-Public Affairs poll released by the Associated Press shows that 60 percent of Americans believe that Bush’s invasion of Iraq has created more terrorism and that Americans are less safe as a result of invading Iraq.
Talking heads on television now discuss whether Bush is an idiot. The frequency of such discussions is likely to increase as Bush makes such declarations as "the battle for Iraq is now central to the ideological struggle of the 21st century."
Bush evokes more pity, because he has lost the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In Iraq, the Kurds in the north have replaced the Iraqi flag with the Kurdish flag. The rest of Iraq is governed by Sunni insurgents or Shiite militias. The US puppet government is powerless and dares not leave its US-protected, fortified bunker.
On September 5, the dominant Shiite political alliance prepared legislation that would divide Iraq into Kurd, Sunni, and Shiite autonomous regions.
So much for "democracy in Iraq."
Apparently, no one has told Bush that he is spending American lives and money on a cause that the Iraqis themselves have abandoned.
Bush still crows about his defeat of the Taliban. Those of us who have served in the government at high levels wonder every day about Bush’s daily briefing. Does he get one? Who gives it to him? I think Bush’s briefing must come from Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, and William Kristol. Where else could he get such bogus information?
Perhaps Bush’s wife or one of his daughters could smuggle him a copy of the recent report on Afghanistan by the Senlis Council, a security and development policy group that closely monitors the situation in Afghanistan.
According to this report, "Afghanistan is spiraling into uncontrollable violence." The Taliban have regained control over half of the country:
"Despite the international community’s concerted five-year focus on military operations, the security situation in Afghanistan is worse than in 2001. The Taliban now have a strong grip on the southern half of the country. Afghans perceive that the US and NATO troops in southern and eastern Afghanistan are being defeated by the Taliban. The legitimacy of the international community’s presence in Afghanistan is undermined by its incapacity to protect the Afghan population.u201D
Bush was betrayed by the neoconservatives he appointed, protected, and promoted. Public opinion polls in the Arab and Muslim world show that Bush’s invasions, aggressive stance toward Syria and Iran, and unconditional support for Israeli aggression have created a powerful Islamic political movement that experts say will sweep away the corrupt governments allied with the United States.
The ignorant actions of Bush the Pitiful have marginalized moderate Arabs and destroyed America’s standing both in Muslim lands and the wider world.
Bush has defeated no one, but he has destroyed America’s reputation and his own.
Dr. Roberts [send him mail] is Chairman of the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.