To hear President Bush speak of late, you might think he was mounting a pulpit, not a podium. With war on the horizon, the Providence of God is especially on his mind. “Events aren’t moved by blind change and chance,” he said at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, echoing similar sentiments expressed in his State of the Union address.
The Bush administration’s grand design for foreign policy, spelled out last September in a document titled “The National Security Strategy,” declares that the U.S. will exercise the responsibilities of the dominant power in international politics in order to resist terrorism and rogue states and to shape a global ethos of human dignity and prosperity.
Many critics of the U.S. plans for going to war in Iraq point to oil as a motive. If that is true, it is worrisome indeed. But the policymakers who have long demanded this war are more concerned with ideological and strategic considerations than economic factors. The Bush administration is loaded with policymakers who have long maintained that the U.S.
White House senior political adviser Karl Rove says that Theodore Roosevelt would be “standing up and applauding” President George Bush’s environmental policies. Let’s check the record on that. Roosevelt created 150 national parks, founded the National Forest Service and set aside some 230 million acres of public land as parks and refuges.
"We will not live in fear.” President Bush’s statement to the American people attempts to convince us that the way to ensure that we will not live in fear is to attack Iraq. Surely, the president seems to be suggesting, we can live without fear if we exert our power and eliminate the threat of our enemies.
I am not immune to the seduction of being invited to a White House briefing, nor of being called a “religious leader,” so I flew to Washington in mid-October (at my own expense) and showed up as instructed at the Executive Office Building. There were more than a hundred of us. I recognized three Presbyterian peers, pastors of large churches.
Barring a miracle or the sudden discovery of a moral backbone in Congress, President Bush will get his mandate to attack Iraq. Although the U.S. didn’t attack either the Soviet Union or the People’s Republic of China when both were well stocked with nuclear arms, we now want to attack a small country because it has the potential to do us harm.
"Wars are not won on the defensive,” asserts Vice President Dick Cheney. “We must take the battle to the enemy and, where necessary, preempt grave threats to our country before they materialize.” For the Bush administration, this policy appears to include a preemptive strike against Iraq, which is viewed as another installment in its war against terrorism.
Last January President Bush announced that he was building on “a magnificent, courageous and compassionate response to terrorism” with the creation of the USA Freedom Corps, an initiative that combines the AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Peace Corps. Then he added a new organization, the Citizens Corps, which will focus on prevention of and emergency response to terrorism.
A popular Middle Eastern joke insists President Bush’s recent speech on a Palestinian state was delayed for a few days, waiting for a translation from the original Hebrew. The joke reflects Arabic anger that U.S. policy is driven by what the current Israeli leadership thinks is good for Israel.