Thursday, June 23, 2005

47. Second verse same as first

Words cannot describe the redundant dreadfulness experienced in the recent terrorist attack suffered upon London, England several fortnights ago. As I write, there are more questions than answers- especially considering the timing of the attack.

The implications of the attack are several-fold and in the days to follow, and as people come to terms with the devastation, the event will prompt political, economical and social consideration. I have neither the foresight nor the intelligence to consider even a fraction of the possible complications and repercussions that will be born out of this event. And, of course, accountability will be spread across a gamut of individuals and organizations- that will in return be spun into a montage of accusations and investigations.

My first thought, as the "dust settles," is what happened to hunting and killing the terrorists- as our President promised? Bush won the 2004 election in part because Americans said they feel safer with him as Commander-in-Chief. Though they did not attack America, the alliance with England has proved that terrorists cannot be eradicated and that, on occasion, they will succeed. I also anticipate that the administration will use the event to further negotiate their effort in Iraq, to promote the Patriot Act and to re-instill fear into the American people.

The first six months of the President's second term, in my opinion, has been nothing less than a disaster. I am not, in any manner whatsoever, blaming the President for the terrorist attack. However, taken in total, and in consideration of his campaign pledges to make this world a safer place, it is just a part of what I view as a completely infective start to his second term. Terrorism was the only major issue that the President, according to ABC News/Washington Post polls, had been receiving approval ratings greater than 50 percent (War 41%, Economy 43%, Healthcare 44 % and Social Security 35-37%). His overall approval rating in June 2005 was 43 percent.

His stance on Social Security, a priority for this term, has thus far failed miserably- even among many Republicans. Only 35-37 percent of Americans support his Social Security plan. Much of the distaste comes from the elderly and the poor.

The Downing Street memorandums have implicated the President on, what many have said from the beginning, his intent to invade Iraq at the first opportunity. Dated July 23, 2002, it reads, in part, "There was a perceivable shift in (American) attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjecture of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy..." On August 10, 2002, however, Bush said while golfing, I think that that presumes there's some kind of imminent war plan." Then two days before the war started on March 19, 2003, Bush again said, "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

The war in Iraq is increasingly being scrutinized and has led, in part, to his highly unfavorable job approval ratings. So much so that- by a 49-44 percent margin- Americans now say that George W. Bush holds a greater responsibility for the war in Iraq than even Saddam Hussein. Finally, it seems, people have come to realize that this is Bush's war. In May 2005, insurgent attacks killed more than 80 U.S. troops and more that 700 Iraqis.

Even the President's political "genius," Karl Rove, has spent considerable time embarrassing himself with comments like, "...liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments, offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Statements like that will not exactly help pull this country together. Especially when, in fact, 84 percent of liberals supported "military action" against terrorists and 74 percent supported "going to war" with the country most responsible for harboring terrorists.

Finally, (though there is more, such as campaign contributions, John Bolton, and foreign relations) early this spring/summer, the President's judicial nominations were met with such distaste by the Democrats for their conservative activism, that Senate Republicans had to threaten to change the rules in order to gain approval (the nuclear option). Previously, Democrats had approved nearly all of the President's nominations.

Let us hope, for the country's sake, that this ship rights itself and that the next three and half years are much better that the last six months. The President's next dilemma will be Supreme Court Justice nominations- something that he has been eagerly awaiting for over four years to do. The question now becomes- will he appeal to the moderates on both sides to assure confirmation or will he choose to repay his conservative base and further divide the country? This is the first of many questions that remain to be worked over the next few years.

In the meantime, let us send our condolences to those families in London that lost loved ones over issues that, seemingly, none of us really understand.

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