President Bush may have good intentions, but he also has blinders on.
In his State of the Union address last week Bush said, "Abroad, our nation is committed to a historic, long-term goal – we seek the end of tyranny in our world." In his very next sentence, Bush admitted: "Some dismiss that goal as misguided idealism."
Really? Misguided idealism? Because I was thinking not only is it a great idea, but one that is very easy to accomplish! After all, if removing tyranny from the rest of the world is anything like removing tyranny from Iraq, it must be a cake walk!
Unfortunately, Bush was not being sarcastic. Apparently he really thinks the goal of the United States is to remove tyranny from the rest of the world. I guess I was naive to think the goal of the United States was to defend and protect its citizens, not wage "Pre-emptive Wars" whenever we want.
The irony is that Bush thinks he is protecting his citizens by "removing tyranny" from the rest of the world, but what he fails to see is that he actually pisses off the rest of the world in doing so. As a result, instead of peace, our citizens are endangered even more because we create and increase tension and hostility that was not there beforehand (i.e. Iraq and the growing dissatisfaction Iraqis have with America's control). Then we wonder why the rest of the world thinks we are arrogant and intrusive. And I haven't even mentioned the soldiers who give life, limb and death while at war.
Even if removing tyranny was an easy thing to do militarily (few deaths, few injuries, easy takeover, etc.), shouldn't we ask ourselves what will happen after the military takeover? Are countries such as Iran and North Korea going to love us with the drop of a hat once we "remove tyranny" from their country? Will they welcome us with open arms? If Iraq is any indication, the answer is a resounding NO!
So far in his six year tenure, President Bush has done many things wrong – most of which I have specifically pointed out. Unfortunately, there is something else I must point out. One of the president's jobs is to protect his citizens and make sure AMERICANS have liberty and freedom. However, Bush seems more preoccupied with removing our freedom (i.e. Domestic Surveillance Program) and bringing freedom and liberty to other countries around the world at the expense of our soldiers. And Republicans have the nerve to call liberals traitors.
Last week I quoted Benjamin Franklin and Patrick Henry, and this week I'll quote another early American pioneer, former President John Quincy Adams. As Adams puts it: "America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."
I think we can agree democracy is a great thing and tyranny is a bad thing, but democracy is only good when it is won by the native people (i.e. American Revolution). Removing tyranny and imposing a democracy on native people is not an easy thing to accomplish, and we are reminded of this each day of the Iraq war. You would think Bush would learn from his mistakes, but apparently he wants to continue this madness for the remainder of his presidency. Thankfully, Bush has no immediate plans for removing any of the countless tyrannies in our world (Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Iran, to name a few), although there is more and more talk about Iran.
Hopefully the President can learn from his mistake in Iraq that removing tyranny from the world is not only extremely difficult to accomplish, but foolish and problematic as well. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." If Bush fails to recognize his shortcomings in the Iraq war and believes we can successfully and swiftly remove tyranny from the world, I say shame on President Bush.
Tim Waddingham is a senior, double-majoring in political science and speech communication. His column runs every Wednesday in the Collegian.