Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What Bush Didn't Say : If You Want Peace, Work for Justice (Part II)

As we make progress on the ground and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels. But those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C.

This is demonstrably untrue. It is the politicans in Washington, and NOT the military commanders, who have made of Iraq the political and social mess it is today. What we need now is a new set of politicans in Washington who have the wisdom to actually listen to their military commanders.

Retired General Anthony Zinni, the former commander in chief of the US Central Command in the middle east, has blamed Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, and NOT the US military for the quagmire we find ourselves in.
I think there was dereliction in insufficient forces being put on the ground and fully understanding the military dimensions of the plan. I think there was dereliction in lack of planning....The president is owed the finest strategic thinking. He is owed the finest operational planning. He is owed the finest tactical execution on the ground. … He got the latter. He didn’t get the first two.
General Erik Shinseki estimated that 300,000 troops would be needed to invade, occupy, and pacify Iraq. It was Paul Wolfowitz--Rumsfeld's right hand man and a fellow of the Project for a New American Century--who called Shinseki's estimate "wildly off the mark," and said a number closer to 100,000 was appropriate. Former General and National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, former Centcom Commander Norman Schwarzkopf, former NATO Commander Wesley Clark, and even former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair and Secretary of State Colin Powell agreed with Shinseki's estimate.

Our offensive against terror involves more than military action. Ultimately, the only way to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their dark vision of hatred and fear by offering the hopeful alternative of political freedom and peaceful change. So the United States of America supports democratic reform across the broader Middle East.

But apparently it does not support economic reform or social justice. There was certainly no mention of it. As Pope Paul VI said, If you want Peace, work for justice.

In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left $880 billion in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses and families.

The lowest 40% of taxpayers received only 4% of the tax cuts, averaging $115. About 20% of taxpayers exactly in the middle range of income levels received 20% of the benefits, averaging about $453 per houshold. The richest 1% of Americans received 43% of the total tax cuts, avaeraging about $46,000 each.

And they have used it to help produce more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth.

Job growth is sluggish, wages are falling, and poverty is increasing.

Yet the tax relief is set to expire in the next few years. If we do nothing, American families will face a massive tax increase they do not expect and will not welcome. Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief.

But don't increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans. If you want peace, work for justice.

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.

This is sheer hypocrisy. To my ears, this is a little like the pimp telling his harem that they are addicted to sex. A good question to ask is why America is addicted to oil. For a century we have shaped the American economy, the American society, and the American landscape to fit the automobile. Carmakers and oil companies have been king.

We have had it in our power for at least a generation to reshape this landscape, to subsidize mass transit (socialism!!!), to subsidize the construction of hyproelectric generating facilities, to give tax cuts to homeowners who install solar heating technology, to invest into research into electric cars. So why haven't we? And is any of this exactly what Mr. Bush has in mind?

To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy.

Uh-oh. Nuclear energy. Oh, lord help us but here we go again. Why do I get the feeling that the "revolutionary solar and wind technologies" was just thrown in there for the hell of it?

Tonight I announce the American Competitiveness Initiative to encourage innovation throughout our economy and to give our nation's children a firm grounding in math and science.

This from a man who has shown a profound contempt for science, from his advocacy of the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, his willful ignorance of environmental science, to his scorn of the evidence for global warming. God help us--and science--under this presidency.

Martin Luther King could have stopped at Birmingham or at Selma and achieved only half a victory over segregation...Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back or finish well?

As far as I am concerned, for the President to compare this administration, its goals, and its policies to the life work and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. is close to blasphemy. Were he alive today, the Rev. King would be in the forefront of those opposed to an illegal invasion and occupation of a sovereign state, opposed to the privatization of social security, opposed to tax cuts for the rich and economic policies that increase poverty. Were he alive today--make no mistake about it--the Rev. King would probably have gotten himself arrested in the House gallery last night, opposing this President.

I am ashamed of this President. And he should be ashamed of himself.

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