Ray Hanania’s Column
President George W. Bush has put new meaning behind the popular American term “Bush league,” a phrase that refers to incompetent leadership and lack of experience.
While the President enjoys his highest levels of American public support because of his leadership following the September 11 terrorist attacks, he is directly responsible for the deterioration of world peace. The truth is that any president in office would have benefited from the terror aftermath standing in front of the carnage and emotion.
Lacking confidence in his own son, who dodged military service, the former president had to intervene to select his son’s cabinet, selecting two right-wing conservative hawks, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. If this were Afghanistan and not Washington D.C., one might accurately describe Cheney and Rumsfeld as holding the views of “military warlords” who have placed their aggressive ideologies ahead of even the U.S. Constitution.
With this weak president in charge, influenced by these two hawks, is it any wonder that the world has gone from bad to really bad? As the truth comes out in the Enron scandal, we have yet to see the true roles of Cheney and Bush. Enron could bring this administration down, leaving us with the mess the Bush-league Bush has created.
Under Bushes’ reign, the world has become a more dangerous place. While one cannot blame the absence of leadership skills by Bush for the September 11 terrorist attack — it probably would have happened no matter who was president. How Bush responded is his charge. Bushes’ response has resulted in a series of events that have pushed the world to the brink of conflict that could have been avoided.
The most significant blunder is the President’s bungling of the Middle East conflict, bungling that is now blurred by the events themselves. Rather than seeing Middle East events occur as a result of leadership, events have taken charge and its President Bush who is struggling to keep up.
To understand the severity of the current scenario, you must look back at what could have been under other, more experienced leadership.
An experienced leader would have quickly wrestled the Middle East challenges and brought them under control.
A seasoned American president would have easily reigned in Sharon’s fanaticism through diplomacy, bringing down the tension in the Middle East where peace was almost within reach.
A peaceful Middle East would have made the United States more effective in the war on Terrorism which could have better focused on the extremism of religious fanatic Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist network.
Bushes’ so-called “War on Terrorism” would have become a real War on Terrorism under a more experienced leader, like former Vice President Al Gore who lost to Bush in November 2000 when Bushes’ brother’s Republican government in Florida stole the election by undercounting Gore’s votes.
Under this scenario of real leadership, American soldiers would have easily swept through Afghanistan and the war effort would have had stronger backing from Arab World countries, the Third World and even Europe.
Instead, Saudi Arabia, our strongest Middle East ally, is reconsidering its decades long support. Many countries are wavering in their support on the American war on Terrorism, which looks more hypocritical in the face of acts of Israeli terrorism which continue unpunished. The violence there has reached unprecedented heights and continues to claim victims on both sides without any hope of it ending anytime soon.
Sharon, a real terrorist, has for 20 years declared his opposition to peace with the Arab World and the Palestinians. During the failed but promising efforts of peace under the Clinton Administration, Sharon was a constant roadblock, threatening at every turn to derail peace and launch his wars.
But the Bush-league Bush is not versed in Middle East history or needs, and has stood by like an accomplice to a felony.
At his first opportunity, Sharon walked into the Middle East conflict like a man strolling into a movie theater who caused panic and hysteria by yelling “Fire.” That single Sharon act provoked violence and extremism on both sides, Palestinian and Israeli. Sharon sparked a chain reaction that, if it ends, will result in as much carnage as if a nuclear bomb had detonated.
For the world, the real Ground Zero, today, is the West Bank where the bush-league Bush legacy continues to lead the world down a road of certain world conflict and possibly Armageddon, a threat most of the world had hoped to forget.
The threat posed by the Middle East conflict is serious. Yet the incompetent Bush administration continues to treat it with the astonishment of a hapless, village idiot.
It is a tragedy that was unavoidable, but that threatens the security of Americans and the Free World. Like their absent-minded president, though, most Americans just don’t realize what’s really happening, yet.
(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American writer based in Chicago and a regular contributor to MMN. His columns are archived on the web at www.hanania.com)