Saturday, September 25, 2004

Why am I, a humble follower of Jesus, so troubled by the Bush administration (which claims to be Christian)?

Here are some reasons:

The administration is against allowing crime victims to sue irresponsible gun makers [NYT 3/3/04 A26]. I believe that the rule of law requires that victims should have access to legal means for redress.

The administration opposes continuing the ban on assault rifles. I believe that assault rifles have no place in a civilized society.

The administration opposes having background checks on weapons buyers at gun shows. I believe that in this nation, in which the number of persons shot per capita exceeds by many times that of any other country, there is a need to control the distribution of firearms. I believe our country should require everyone who buys a gun to register, just as everyone who drives a car should register, and I believe background checks should be required for anyone purchasing a device whose sole purpose is to kill.

The President misrepresented the truth in his state-of-the-union message to Congress when he said that uranium had been acquired from Niger by Saddam Hussein in order for Iraq to make nuclear bombs. Ambassador Joseph C Wilson IV had already investigated the rumor and reported that it was false.

The administration tried to punish Ambassador Joseph C Wilson IV for revealing that the President knew that he was misrepresenting the truth in his state-of-the-union message to Congress (when he stated that Iraq had obtained uranium from Niger in order to make nuclear bombs). In contravention of the law (which makes it a felony) someone [said to be in Chaney’s office] made many calls to journalists to reveal that the wife of Ambassador Wilson was a CIA operative. This endangered not only her but the contacts she had made in Africa.

The administration has refused to reveal who were consulted in the construction of the energy bill. Could there be any other reason than that a preponderance of big energy corporations were among the advisors? And could even some who were accused of illegal behavior (such as Kenneth Lay) been among them?

The administration has flouted the treaties made with other countries, such as the Kyoto Agreement (which was a framework laid down by 38 developed countries [including the US under previous administrations] to prevent global warming).

The administration has taken contradictory positions on the role of the CIA in the decision to invade Iraq. In 2002-3 they criticized the CIA for not recognizing the danger posed by Iraq. In 2004 they criticized the CIA for overstating the danger. This looks too much like scapegoating the CIA in order for the responsible persons to avoid criticism.

The administration has proposed huge expenditures to develop a missile shield that virtually no technical expert believes is feasible.

The administration has proposed huge expenditures for placing human being on Mars -- this at a time when the budget ahead looks dangerous and when the middle and lower class of this country are becoming less solvent.

The administration as its first act was to reduce the taxes of the super-rich for the next several years and it intends to make that reduction permanent. In the mean time the middle and lower classes are suffering. Its policy has shrunk the federal government revenues in a time of war.

The administration insisted on going to war in Iraq despite the advice of its own CIA and the warnings of other nations.

The administration claimed the attack on Iraq was an act of war against terror. In order to legitimate their action they claimed that Saddam Hussain was in league with Al Qaeda. Never once has it revealed that Saddam Hussain had a reputation for killing radical Muslim leaders and was in fact widely despised by the Islamic leaders in the Muslim world until the first Iraq War, at which time they supported Saddam against the Americans. Since then there has never been evidence that Osama or any of the leaders of Al Qaeda had a positive relationship with Saddam.

The effect of this attack by the administration on Iraq was to divert attention from the real War on Terror, which was in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in places where Osama ben Ladin and Mullah Muhammad Omar could hide because they were beyond the reach of government and where the local populations were generally supportive.

The administration withheld information on the actual costs of the drug bill so that Congress acted on faulty information. NYT 3/18/04

The week of 3/17/04 the administration dropped its commitment to the health and survival of millions of poor women abroad because of its opposition to family planning. At a diplomatic meeting of 38 nations in Santiago, the US delegation alone refused to join a routine statement of support for the international agreement on population and development approved at a United Nations summit in Cairo 10 years ago. At about the same time President Bush was marking International Women's Day by touting his military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, claiming they have liberated thousands of women from lives of tyranny and oppression. I believe that the needs of poor women abroad deserve substantial help, and I see no reason to oppose family planning in nations of the third world.

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