Having the Gall To Speak One's Mind

I recently received the following email concerning my article "The Bush Doctrine: Selective Bullying," in which I said that the U.S. government is eager to attack weak, relatively defenseless countries like Iraq or Iran – but cozies up to countries like Russia that have the means to fight back effectively.

You may have had some of these arguments tossed at you if you’ve been the least bit critical of our government’s foreign policy.

Read your article with interest. It always amazes me that apparently intelligent people like you feel more qualified than the president to decide what course the United States should take.

I have no reason to believe that the President is smarter, more patriotic, more concerned for the safety of Americans, or more far-sighted than anyone else. I know only four things about him: (1) he knows how to win an election, (2) he is making government bigger and bigger, despite his campaign promises, (3) internationally, he has taken America down a road that leads to disaster, despite his campaign promises of 2000, and (4) he smirks a lot.

And don’t tell me that everything changed on 9/11. America’s foreign policy had provoked terrorist attacks before. 9/11 changed nothing.

Do you labor under the impression that President Bush should tell you and the world exactly what he plans so you (and the world) would best know how to respond (retaliate)?

A President with a realistic foreign policy that doesn’t meddle in the affairs of other countries wouldn’t have to plan anything. No one would be planning to retaliate because there would be nothing to retaliate for.

I’d much rather that he show the world that we will take action. Better to create a lesson with a small power before deciding whether to take on the big one. Also better to let the big one feel no animosity till you decide to do something.

Is this what you want – a government engaged in attacking, invading, intriguing? Is this what at one time made America unique in all the world? And are you suggesting that George Bush is cozying up to Vladimir Putin to lull him into complacency before the American military attacks Russia?

One point: Iraq was the world’s fourth largest army at the time of our attack. What do you mean by "the weak"?

Iraq was totally incapable of causing harm to America if the U.S. government had simply left it alone. Instead it invaded Iraq twice – and in between the two invasions it bombed Iraq regularly and mercilessly, and it imposed economic sanctions on Iraq that are estimated to have cost the lives of a half-million innocent Iraqi men, women, and children.

In years past I’d have heartily agreed to let the rest of the world kill each other (isolationism). The world has changed and now isolationism is not an option.

As far as we’re concerned, the world changed because American Presidents from Roosevelt to Bush have stuck their nose in the affairs of other countries. Isolationism is in fact the only way to stop the threats and dangers that have been created by those Presidents. Switzerland is a country that is as free, as prosperous, and as democratic as the United States, but is a military weakling – and yet it has suffered no terrorist attacks and is in no danger. Why? Because it doesn’t meddle in other countries’ business.

If you’re trying to aid and abet our enemies I congratulate you. You do an excellent job.

Thank you for letting me know that it is now considered treason to criticize a dangerous government policy.

So tell me: exactly what freedoms are we supposedly trying to defend by being in Iraq?

December 7, 2004