his 2005 inaugural address, George W. Bush informed
the world that he intends to spread "freedom"
across the globe. Mr. Bush loves the sound of words
like "freedom" and "democracy",
and who can really blame him? It would be lovely,
would it not, to live in a country where ordinary
people control what the government does with their
tax money. It would be truly exciting to live in
a nation in which politicians speak openly and honestly
to their constituents. And it would be grand altogether
to live in a country where the chief executive acts
like an elected official, rather than a Roman emperor
who believes he has the right, indeed the duty,
to spy upon, threaten, invade, and destroy other
nations in the name of freedom and democracy.
two years after the United States invaded Iraq,
the entire world knows that Mr. Bush and his friends
lied to the American people and to the world about
Saddam Hussein's stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
We know that Mr. Bush and friends lied about the
connection between Saddam's regime and the attacks
on September 11, 2001. We know that the Bush administration
was so anxious to invade Iraq that it sent American
soldiers into battle without the proper equipment;
indeed, sent men and women off to the war zone without
armored vests and in Humvees that lacked the proper
armor to protect soldiers from roadside bombs or
rocket propelled grenade attacks. When asked by
a member of the National Guard why U.S. soldiers
have to dig through dumps in order to find materials
to use to fortify their vehicles, Secretary of War
Donald Rumsfeld replied, with the arrogance of a
man who has never seen combat, "You go to war
with the army you have." We know that the U.S.
military, and most likely the Central Intelligence
Agency, has tortured and murdered Iraqi prisoners
of war, and that no high ranking American official
has been held, or ever will be held, accountable
for violations of the Geneva Conventions on warfare.
what, exactly, does Mr. Bush mean when he proclaims
that he intends to launch a crusade for freedom
and democracy, spreading justice throughout the
world, liberating people who are living under tyrannical
governments, freeing people who are suffering under
regimes that jail citizens without due process,
regimes that practice torture, assassinate their
enemies, invade their neighbors, and refuse to listen
to the pleas of the world community to behave in
a more just, less violent, manner? Is the United
States of America prepared to invade autocratic
nations like China, Pakistan, Russia, and Columbia,
in order to teach them the meaning of freedom? Does
Mr. Bush plan to send troops into the occupied territories,
in order to prevent Israel from building its Apartheid
Wall, and to stop the Israeli army from killing
Palestinian children? Are we going to see American
tanks rolling through the streets of nations that
do not practice American-style capitalism, and that
refuse to support preemptive strikes against poverty-stricken
and poorly armed countries like Iraq?
the attacks on 911, the United States has become
a nation increasingly gripped by fear. The media
simply repeats what it hears from government officials,
and Congress approves Mr. Bush's nominees for Secretary
of State and Attorney General, knowing that the
former lied to the American people about the necessity
for attacking Iraq, and the later approves of using
torture in America's so-called war on terror. Right
wing fanatics on Fox News and other programs insult
and threaten anyone who questions the government's
right to kill women and children in order to save
them. The Bush administration's evangelical supporters
rant about gay marriage, while applauding the destruction
of Iraq. The climate of fear spreads and deepens.
Journalists, the military, politicians, all appear
unwilling say openly that the commander in chief
of the armed forces is an emperor without any clothes,
a delusional ideologue who believes that he has
a God-given right to attack those whom he perceives
to be our nation's enemies.
does all this have to do with Ireland? A great deal,
really. Mr. Bush and friends will invite Irish Republicans
and their sworn enemies to the White House for a
St. Patrick Day's shindig. There will be lots of
good drink and food, perhaps a bit of song and dancing.
The resident in the White House will stand beside
his favorite fireplace and ramble on about peace,
freedom, justice, and other things about which he
knows absolutely nothing. He might even promise
to help bring an end to the standoff in Northern
Ireland. He will be speaking, as we say here in
the states, with a forked tongue.
he were able to do so, Mr. Bush would round up every
Irish Republican here and abroad and send all of
them off to some remote Gulag. Relying on G.W. Bush
to help heal the wounds of warfare and to promote
genuine democracy in N. Ireland is like believing
that the head of New York's mafia families should
be appointed to the Supreme Court.
who still thinks that Mr. Bush and friends believe
in freedom and democracy need only look at the terrifying
streets of Iraq. Those who still hope that America's
elected emperor will help the peace process in N.
Ireland fail to understand what this man and his
minions have done, and are doing, to the United
States of America. We are an increasingly divided,
angry, fearful nation. Our budget deficit continues
to balloon, the dollar declines in value, and our
nation is bankrupt. Meanwhile, we watch Iraqi being
destroyed, and our own sons and daughters come home
from an un-winnable war in flag-draped coffins.
We weep not just because these noble men and women
have lost their lives but also because we are afraid
of the future. No one really knows what the fanatics
who believe that democracy comes from the barrel
of a tank will do next. "Bring 'em' on,"
says Mr. Bush. And we, the people, await the next
attack on our country.