George W.'s war on terror will cost him re-election in 2004

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Posted Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 12:00am

It was with some disgust and great dismay that I painfully observed from a distance the patriotic spirit demonstrated two weeks ago at the candlelight vigil. The flames being passed around to honor the victims of Sept. 11, 2001, could have been put to a more appropriate use afterward by burning the flags posted around the pit.

I don't want to discount the legacy of the men and women who lost their lives on Sept. 11, and I will be one of the first to declare that the events at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were surely among the greatest tragedies of American history, but I have a hard time showing any flavor of patriotic spirit toward an administration that has chosen to counter the bloody events of that day with two years of constant war. I am not alone in my mistrust of the Bush administration, because apparently 58 percent of Americans are dissatisfied the direction the country is headed as well, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallop poll.

George W. Bush gloried in his 92-percent approval-rating (ABC News/Washington Post) in mid-October 2001, when he declared war on terrorism and sent troops into Afghanistan.

That war on terrorism has turned the Bush administration away from every real problem facing the United States, both domestic and foreign. Two years after the declaration of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), U.S. forces occupy two muslim countries, one of which, we discover may have never posed a threat to the United States.

As we went to war in Iraq, and reports came back of the horrific conditions facing the Iraqi public, I heard the all too common justification: "Well, maybe there are no weapons of mass destruction, but we can easily justify the war since it means we can improve the government and conditions for the Iraqi people."

Now, four months since Bush declared the war in Iraq a success, we haven't been able to install a government that the Iraqis will accept. Bush's "coalition of the willing," never appearing, has justifiably left the U.S. to deal with the mess in Iraq; after all, we got into it on our own. The rest of the world would like to see us fix a problem we begin instead of turning it over to the U.N. or the French. It's no small wonder no one wants to help us restore order.

Now Bush, with his steadily declining 58-percent approval-rating is now begging the U.N. to take some action. This, after we blatantly ignored urgings from U.N. Security Council members to stay out of Iraq. The so-called success in Iraq is turning into a gruesome mess, which is wearing our diminished forced ragged and costing more than Bush's administration can afford. It seems now we have discovered where the tax cuts and credits issued over the past two fiscal years could come to good use.

Many economists agree that the tax cuts of 2001 and 2002 had less to do with boosting the economy than the reduction of and legislation against the fraudulent practices of companies such as Enron, MCI, and Qwest. Bush's attempts to boost the nation's economy have done nothing more than empty the nation's treasury and the only dramatic economic credit Bush can take is going to war, which has done more to boost the nation's economy than any of his tax cuts. Unfortunately it has also further emptied the nations' treasury and left our troops too tired to accomplish the mission they were sent to perform. It is in these circumstances that Bush continues to play up the success in Iraq.

The French and others are sure to be saying "I told you so" whether or not we receive any help from them. It would be somewhat ironic for our once-strongest allies to tell us that we needed to go it alone.

Undoubtedly, he will not claim any negligence in the attack on Iraq. That would discount his 74-percent (ABC News/ Washington Post) approval-rating he had in early April when fighting in Iraq began.

Notably, an estimated 44 percent of Americans favor a Democratic candidate over George Bush, and only 49 percent would vote for Bush if the election were held today, according to recent ABC News/Washington Post polls. According to a Time/CNN poll 41 percent of Americans today plan to definitely vote against Bush in 2004, and only 29-percent plan to vote for him, and according to the same poll, 47 percent of Americans favor Hillary Clinton over Bush.

I miss the Clinton administration, when the president's immorality was a national crisis, and we were worried that unemployment wasn't declining rapidly enough. I know I won't be voting for Bush in 2004. And with U.S. forces already spread thin, I'll be moving to Mexico at the next sign of Bush trying to boost his approval rating by attacking some poor Muslim country. Of course he'll only end up occupying it with no U.N. backing and send its leaders into exile at some Taliban goat farm.

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