Bush reign finally comes to end
It began with 9/11. The mismanagement of intelligence and armaments that had its heyday in the ’80s had finally culminated in the ultimate insult – use of American-trained terrorists in domestic aircraft coordinated by a man who reaped the benefits of American intervention in Afghanistan, into the most devastating single attack on U.S. civilians. The 9/11 attacks ultimately resulted in the deaths of more than 3,000 people, including the passengers and crews of the weaponized passenger planes.
Instead of using world sympathy and conducting a sound military and intelligence campaign to prevent the likelihood of attacks such as these from recurring and systematically disassembling the organizations that promoted them, we eroded domestic civil rights and put countless young people into a conflict with no defined parameters, no clear victory condition and no exit strategy, against an enemy who was not involved with the attacks. Then, by failing to properly provide training and oversight, we encumbered our people and sympathizers in Muslim countries with the shameful scandal of Abu Ghraib – this from a country where the Stanford prison experiment was conceived and studied.
The worst aspect of these scandals are the thousands of people in service of various kinds, who do their jobs with dedication, compassion and professionalism, who are now less than trusted, no longer above reproach but tainted by the specter of reprehensible conduct.
The basic concern of foreign policy aside, at least there was something to be said for the domestic side of things. There was a sharp downturn in job creation and a rise in unemployment, but apart from that, most people thought things were OK at home, despite alarming news from abroad.
Then, up came a devastating storm in August of 2005, which would turn out to be one of the most damaging Atlantic storms to hit the U.S. "Katrinagate’s" primary administrative downfall lay in response time to the crisis, as well as the competence of the response itself. How terrifying this was for the rest of the country was evidenced in Houston’s panicked reaction to the impending arrival of Hurricane Rita, a precipitous two weeks later.
Then there are issues such as the distinct lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the subsequent Valerie Plame affair, the ongoing and underscrutinized war in Afghanistan, the budget crisis and the increasingly shrill voices eroding civil rights.
There was voting fraud in Florida, illegal domestic spying, massive no-bid contracts in clear conflict of interest – our executive branch hasn’t sold out – it’s bought in. There is a massive load of controversial big-industry protectionist legislation – more than 90 pieces affecting more than $100 million dollars of U.S. revenue – wading its way through Congress, in a last-ditch attempt to railroad policy through the distracted legislative branch. The last time this happened, we ended up with the Patriot Act, a piece of legislation later repudiated by everyone who was held accountable for signing it.
Well, it’s finally over. The end is in sight; the grand exit is at hand. The next president and his team will have a massive job to do to simply hold steady, much less improve the economic, military and civil face of this nation.
There are hard days ahead, but at least we have the likelihood of not further compounding existing problems. We may finally be moving beyond the war on intangibles and into a time of accountability and remedy, no matter who is at the helm.
Mohammed, an anthropology freshman, can be reached via [email protected]