The Real Record of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
(And the Real Agenda for Their War in Iraq)
George W. Bush may have actually believed he was "doing God's will," as he claimed. However, his labeling dissenters and critics as "unpatriotic" and "un-American" was a clear indicator of what he was. And while some Republicans condoned or dismissed that as just "politics," that is no excuse. There is no excuse for it, because it was extremely arrogant, pejorative, divisive, and dangerously damaging to freedom and democracy.
In fact, it revealed that what Bush believed himself to be, and what he claimed to be, was not what he really was as a partisan president.
In his self-serving farewell address, Bush tried to make it seem as if he was a great president and had served the best interests of all the people in the U.S. and in the world. But, he deluded himself and in effect deceived those who believed in him.
It is very important that we understand how and why, so we are not deceived again. That’s why this critique was written, and why the critique on Ronald Reagan’s Real Legacy was written.
Bush, like Reagan, served what the Christ Jesus called "Mammon." He sought and fought for worldly power, wealth and domain for himself and his wealthiest supporters and their huge corporations, whose interests he served above everything and everyone else.
Bush’s Vice President, Dick Cheney, unashamedly said of the Bush Administration: “We are all Reaganites!” And that’s true, despite the claims of Republicans who have since sought to deny that. In fact, in 1980 Dick Cheney endorsed Governor Ronald Reagan for president, becoming one of Reagan's earliest supporters in Washington. In 1983 Donald Rumsfeld (Bush’s Secretary of Defense) was appointed Special Envoy to the Middle East by President Reagan. In 1986 Reagan appointed Paul Wolfowitz (Bush’s Deputy Secretary of Defense) to be Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State. And Lewis Libby (a top Cheney adviser during the Bush Regime) worked with Paul Wolfowitz in the Reagan State Department's policy planning staff.
Bush not only perpetuated Reaganism, he expanded it and made it worse, and in doing so he was wrong in both his domestic and foreign policies. And, since he has not acknowledged the truth, and since he is still unrepentant and arrogantly stubborn and self-righteous even though he’s been proven to be misguided, deceptive and wrong, the truth must be told.
Bush’s policies and initiatives were mostly for the benefit of the wealthiest one percent of Americans who provided 80 percent of the funding for his political campaigns. They were well rewarded and have reason to be grateful to him. But, even though Bush did some good things out of politically expedient humanitarianism, there is good reason for 297 million Americans and most of the people in the world to be resentful.
But let's begin with the things that came first.
Bush's Promises, As Opposed to His Actions
Consider Bush's original campaign promises to be a "compassionate conservative" and "put an end to partisanship." Those proved to be very false promises since his policies, initiatives and executive orders were not compassionate toward all the people in America and in the world who have been harmed by them, and especially since he was proven to be an arrogant, hard-nosed right-wing ideologue and an extremely partisan and divisive president who created more polarized and more bitter partisanship.
Bush was extremely self-righteous and arrogant because he thought he ruled by "Divine Right," which is why he simply ignored so much good advice and intelligence. It’s why he made so many mistakes and came under so much criticism, not only in America, but in many other countries in the world, because his impact on the whole world was negative and even devastating.
For example, consider Bush's Reaganite domestic economic record. Following the example of Ronald Reagan, Bush immediately produced a terrible recession and tried very hard to blame it on his predecessor, President Clinton. However, the Clinton Administration balanced the budget and produced a booming economy. And, Bush's first recession didn't begin until Bush and Dick Cheney used gloom and doom language about the economy, and the more they claimed that the economy was or would be terrible, the worse it got, because the business community and the stock market reacted to their pessimistic and gloomy portrayal and predictions.
The result of Bush's recession was that unemployment increased 40 percent in 2001 alone, a year after he gained the power of the presidency, and 2.4 Million jobs were lost between 2001 and 2004 during Bush's first term. So, Bush managed to copy Reagan with the same results. He made workers fear losing their jobs, and settle for unsatisfactory wages and decreasing benefits.
Despite false Republican claims to the contrary, the fact is that the Reaganite and Bushite economic policies greatly benefitted the wealthiest few, at the expense of the vast majority, the environment, the infrastructure, and especially the working poor and the poor and elderly.
For example, during fiscal years 2002-2004, Bush succeeded in getting his tax cuts enacted, and they delivered about $197.3 Billion in new tax breaks for the wealthiest one percent of Americans. But they certainly did not need "tax relief," as Bush called it. Even the least wealthy of that wealthiest one percent had incomes of at least $337,000 per year. Most of them had incomes in the multi-millions, and some even had incomes in the billions. Therefore, Bush's claim that they needed "tax relief" to relive their "tax burden" was blatant deception designed to mislead and deceive the vast majority of the American people.
According to The Economic Policy Institute, a distributional analysis of the 2001-08 Bush tax cuts shows that the 60 percent of the American population with incomes less than $67,715 received less than 20 percent of the total benefit of Bush’s tax policies.
It was claimed that the Bush tax cuts (that were mainly for the wealthy), would produce faster economic growth and the benefits would trickle down to the middle class. But it was just more misleading Reaganomics rationale, and the economic impact of cutting capital gains rates and lowering the top marginal tax rates was actually damaging, and inflation-adjusted median (average) incomes fell during 2002-07.
While Bush's tax cuts did give a few dollars to the majority of tax payers, they enabled the wealthiest few to pay even far less taxes, when in all fairness they should have been paying and certainly can afford to pay much more, which would only be fair and equitable. Instead, Reaganite/Bushite policies and laws produced increasing subsidies, tax loopholes, tax shelters and government giveaways, which amounted to "welfare for the rich." Consequently, many of the wealthiest few have been able to pay only about 7 percent of their income in taxes.
In Western Europe, by contrast, the wealthiest people pay about 50 percent of their income in taxes, which is only fair and it works well. Most Europeans get from four to six weeks of paid vacation per year, free universal health care, free prenatal care, long maternity leaves, longer parental leave, free child care, and much longer sick leave than in America. Furthermore, such benefits are guaranteed by the government. They are not something that had to be fought for by labor unions, and the workers there don't even have to collectively bargain for a lot of worker benefits.
By contrast, due to Reaganism and Bushism, American businesses and corporations have been enabled to rake in record high profits while they cut workers benefits, health insurance, and even pensions.
Reagan and Bush caused America to go way backwards, while many other countries in the world are going forward because they realize that the better workers are treated, the better off everyone is. And yet, in spite of that, George W. Bush berated the European models, and said that America "doesn't want to be like Europe."
Now Americans need to understand how divisive, harmful and unfair the absurdly huge income disparity and disproportionate distribution of wealth is, and how much worse Bush made it by serving the interests of the wealthiest people who invested in him. They certainly received their reward, but the rest of us were betrayed.
That fact has become very evident in a variety of ways. Even the Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed that the Bush Regime’s folly ultimately cost the American taxpayers 32 Trillion Dollars.
The Reaganomics unfairness, inequity and disproportionate distribution of wealth was continued and made even worse by the Bushites. It allowed, enabled and ensured the unfair and inequitable accumulation of excessive surplus wealth by the few, and enabled employers to pay average employees far less than they deserve, and to pay low income employees less than a living wage.
How Did Bush Gain Power?
George W. Bush ruled because money rules. However, he would not have been able to gain the power of the presidency with just the power of the money that he got in campaign contributions from the richest one percent of the population. Money was certainly part of the reason he was able to get people to vote for him, but money alone was not enough. The only way Bush was able to gain the power of the presidential throne was by hook and by crook.
Bush used the "hook" of his original campaign promises. But, it should be noted that using the misleading term ("compassionate conservative"), which is actually an oxymoron, was an unwitting acknowledgment that conservatives had proven themselves rather heartless and selfish in the 1980s and 1990s. That is why Bush's father did something similar when he campaigned for the presidency, saying that he wanted a "kinder and gentler nation," subtly acknowledging that his predecessor Ronald Reagan had not been very kind or gentle toward the working poor or the poor.
Bush also stole the 2000 presidential election. Democratic candidate Al Gore won the popular vote by at least 400,000 votes in 2000, and he would have won the electoral vote if all the ballots in Florida had been hand-counted as the law called for. All indications but one showed very clearly that Gore had won, and that one single indication to the contrary was due to the faulty machine count that rejected 179,914 Florida ballots, most of which were undoubtedly in Gore's favor because they were in heavily Democratic regions. Therefore, if Bush were an honest man he would have either conceded the election to Gore on the day after the election, or, if he really thought he had won, he too would have insisted on a hand-count of ballots to try to prove he was the winner.
Bush did not do that because he knew Gore had actually won. That is why, instead of doing the fair thing, Bush and the Republicans fought to stop the hand vote count in Florida, and they managed to steal that election by "legal" partisan maneuvers and a lot of skulduggery and misleading street theater, thereby dividing and polarizing the American people even more, along even harder and more bitter partisan lines.
In Bush's second term his attitude came not only from arrogance and self-righteousness, but also from defensiveness and denial of a lot of widely known facts that were increasingly pointed out by critics. Bush refused to face facts because they are contradictory to his staunch right-wing imperialistic view of the world. He tried very hard to create the impression that he was right and the facts are somehow not factual but wrong.
Bush even tried to mislead people with his contrived view of the world, which was based not on facts but on a hidden agenda to rule and control the world by military force in the name of Christian "divine right," just like many kings, popes and emperors have done during the last sixteen centuries.
According to the PNAC web site in 2002, it was the brain child of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, William Kristol, and Jeb Bush. Others who are associated with the PNAC and probably had a hand in developing the ideas expressed in the document were Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennet, Dan Quayle, Ellen Bork, and other lesser-known, like-minded right-wing conservative ideologues - and George W. Bush was likely a player even though his name was left off the list for some reason.
The "Rebuilding America's Defenses" document reveals their shameless and blatant plan for world domination and imperialism. It reveals that even before they gained the power of the presidency, the leaders of the Bush Administration apparently planned to invade and occupy Iraq regardless of whether Saddam Hussein was still in power, so they could gain a better and more permanent foothold in that oil-rich region. It discusses "American global leadership" that will "shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests," and it calls for a "dominant American role in the Mid-East." It describes American armed forces abroad as "the cavalry on the new American frontier." And, as incredible and amazing as this is, the imperialistic PNAC blueprint supports and expands an earlier document written by Wolfowitz and Libby that says the U.S. must "discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."
Bush actually believed he was "doing God's will" and fulfilling prophecies by waging war on Iraq. That’s because his "religious" advisors convinced him that his war in Iraq was "God's Will" and would fulfill the prophecy of the warring "sixth angel" who "poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates..." (Revelation 16:12)
That’s one of the reason’s Bush claimed he was "doing God’ will," and it was confirmed that in early 2003 in a secret phone call to the president of France, Bush asked for French troops to join American soldiers in attacking Iraq as a "mission from God." Bush stated that Iraq must be invaded to thwart "Gog and Magog," the symbolic evil forces also mentioned in the book of Revelation.
Ironically, Bush was not doing God's will (as will be explained in further discussion below about his Iraq war), but he WAS fulfilling the symbolic prophecies as the "beast-king of Babylon" who followed King Ronald living by the "sword" (gun and bomb) trying to rule the world in the name of God and Country.
Unfortunately, hypocritical, inappropriate and improper imposition of "religion" into official governmental affairs in violation of the intent of the Founding Fathers was not the only thing Bush did that was and is damaging to democracy. Bush's right-wing conservative political ideology requires a hidden agenda and a false front. That is why the reality and the actual purpose behind Bush's deceptive words and actions must be exposed, because Bush was wrong and deceptive in both his foreign policy and his domestic policy.
Bush's Domestic Policies
The "Clear Skies" initiative rejected the Kyoto Protocol (which deals with global warming by reducing greenhouse gasses), because Bush chose to serve the interests of corporate polluters. Bush's business-friendly plan did not regulate carbon emissions, and allowed far more sulfur and mercury emissions. It jeopardized the environment and the lives of many Americans. It ignored and denied the fact that global warming is an extremely serious problem that we must address immediately by sharply reducing and preventing the future production of "greenhouse" gases that produce global warming, because the polar ice caps are melting and shrinking, glaciers are melting and shrinking, oceans are warming, which makes hurricanes much worse, etc. And if we foolishly continue to ignore this problem, it will be to our peril.
The "Healthy Forest" initiative actually allowed lumber companies greater access and freedom to further decimate our vanishing natural forests in order to gain greater corporate profits and avoid greater development of alternative building materials. According to the Sierra Club, Bush's initiative gave free rein to the timber industry to cut down trees in all National Forests under the phoney guise of "forest fire fuel reduction." But it does little or nothing to protect communities and homes from forest fires. Instead, it decreases public involvement, reduces environmental protection, and increases timber company access to our National Forests and other federal lands. In many ways, Bush's proposals increased harm to forests and forest habitat and wildlife, and turned scientific forest management back 40 years.
The so-called "No Child Left Behind" education "reform" initiative was modeled on a fraudulently touted Texas school program, and it was secretly designed to gradually undermine public education and make way for a privatized, profit-making education system. That is why the Christian Right pushes for "school choice" and the voucher program (which, by the way, takes money away from public schools). That is why Bush cut $8 Billion from the promised funds for public education, and then imposed an education law and unfunded mandate that has created more bureaucracy and more paper work for public schools. It wastes their precious time and money, and it endangers many public schools and sets them up for failure. It threatens loss of funding if they do not meet standardized testing requirements that most educators find unrealistic, counterproductive and detract from real teaching and learning. It ostensibly creates "greater accountability," but it actually forces attention on very narrowly defined academic achievement. Like "merit pay," it forces teachers to "teach to the test" and focus on test results, which is usually at the cost of wider and more comprehensive learning, and also at the cost of social and emotional character development. After all, we should be motivating and inspiring our students and instilling in them a desire for comprehensive liberal arts education, rather than coaching them to be able to regurgitate a narrow, given set of answers to predetermined questions.
The Bush initiative to repeal the federal estate tax, deceptively labeled as the "Death Tax," falsely claimed it had to be repealed to "save family businesses and small farms from being liquidated in order to pay estate taxes," and to "save you from paying half of your net worth in taxes when you die, so that your beneficiaries can receive all that you bequeath to them." But those claims were deliberately misleading, blatantly dishonest, and false! The Bush/Republican call for repeal of the so-called "death tax" was a deceptive ruse designed to create a huge windfall for the wealthiest few. It is very costly to the rest of us, because it reduces revenues even further for both the federal and state governments.
The fact is that only a small fraction of the estate tax has ever been paid on small family businesses and farms, and an estate of any size could be bequeathed to a surviving spouse free of estate tax. Almost all estate taxes come only from the very wealthiest people. Only about two percent of all Americans have estates that are subject to estate tax when they die, and 98 percent of Americans who die face no estate tax whatsoever! So we must save the estate tax because it is actually fair and just. It ensures that about half of the largest fortunes that were produced in the country are returned to the country and thereby to the people who actually generated the wealth. It's the only way we can ensure that at least some of the wealth generated by the people of this country is rightfully returned to the people.
Bush's so-called "Faith-based-Charitable Choice" initiative was not quite as deceptive, but it's just as wrong, and Barack Obama was wrong to endorse it. It disregards the clear intent of the Founding Fathers and the Jeffersonian ideal of separation of church and state. It provides taxpayer funds directly to religious institutions that provide social services, and it allows the churches of the Christian Right to use those public funds to proselytize and attempt to recruit and convert people to their brand of religion. It would even allow them to discriminate in certain ways on the basis of religious belief. The results actually harm both government and religion.
In the past religiously affiliated organizations were able to participate as grantees or contractors in federal charitable programs. That idea is not new. Catholic Family Services and Lutheran Family Services are traditional examples of that, and they have done a wonderful job. However, they have not been able to try to proselytize or "sell" their religious beliefs to those who come to them for help. They have acted more or less like secular organizations, even though they were mostly staffed by people with private religious conviction. Until Bush’s "Faith Based Initiative," government has been barred from providing direct assistance to religious organizations that are "pervasively sectarian" and that openly proselytize. Bush 's initiative changed that, specifically for the benefit of partisan sectarian churches like those on the Christian Right.
Bush’s initiative puts government in the position of choosing which religions and which of their denominations should receive grants. That makes it impossible to make any fair decisions, and it actually decreases funding for needed social service programs across the board. Additionally, because of Bush's huge tax cuts for the wealthy, it is very likely that federal social service spending will ultimately be cut even further, causing an even greater decrease in funding for needed social service programs.
In that respect, Bush merely followed the lead of Reagan, ignoring the fact that most Americans really don't mind pooling their money so that the common wealth can be used for the common good. Most people like to help those who need help. Many of us give freely to food drives to help the food banks try to relieve some of the hunger in the land. Many of us give freely to the toy drives to give a Christmas present to some of the children of poor families. And many of us give freely to all the relief drives for victims of natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, etc. That willingness to help those who need help is built in us, innately, to ensure the survival of the species. We want to use the common wealth for the common good, but we should be doing that collectively, fairly and equitably through our taxes and public service agencies, so that needed assistance and relief is fair and steady and certain, not dependent on the whim of individuals and on temporary, sporadic and sometimes less than successful efforts to collect voluntary private charitable donations and contributions from individuals.
Another Bush initiative involved his plan for a nuclear weapons revival with new weapons development, and it was a part of his overall plan designed to "further ensure U.S. global nuclear dominance in the future." But he didn't talk about it much because he knew it would not be accepted by the American people. And rightly so. It's not only an insanely foolish idea, but it has been proven scientifically to be unreasonable and inadvisable. Despite that, Bush proceeded with it. A report by the Natural Resources Defense Council revealed that the DOE spent $6.5 Billion on nuclear weapons in 2004. Bush requested $6.8 Billion more for 2005 and a total of $30 Billion over the following four years, and those amounts don't even include his anti-missile program costs.
Bush's folly pushed us backwards into more danger, more conflict, more competition for global power, and more waste of taxpayer's money, putting us in greater jeopardy of another nuclear arms race. In fact, Bush's arrogance and folly spurred the Russians to start asserting their military power in the world again, which led us into another cold war with Russia. So, rather than follow the insane, backward, foolish path Bush was on, we must show leadership forward, in the opposite direction. The U.S. and all other nations must simply destroy all nuclear weapons, put an end to the nuclear weapons era, and an end to military imperialism.
Another example of misleading and deceptive tactics of the Bush Regime was their use and reliance on avoidance/diversion tactics with regard to the news media, and the tragic thing about it is that reporters did not even bother to press issues or follow up or investigate. Most of the time reporters simply allowed the Bush Administration to dictate the news and ignore or dismiss criticism, rather than be held accountable for mistakes, offenses, transgressions, and abuses of power.
This has become a very dangerous trend and it is very damaging to democracy. In fact, it has already damaged our democracy. It's one of the reasons George W. Bush and the spokespersons for his administration were able to ignore the international community and make false claims to mislead the American people so he could launch his preemptive and mostly unilateral war against Iraq. Journalists simply did not do their job as they should have, and that enabled and allowed the Bush Regime to get away with it. That has become clear to all those who have recognized it, and it was inevitable that the truth would come out eventually.
The Bush-Cheney War In Iraq
When you learn the facts about it you will see why, as many predicted, Bush's war has proven to be a waste of Trillions of American dollars and a waste of about 283,000 lives, not to mention all the people maimed and wounded by it. And it could easily have been prevented.
If American journalists had been doing their job correctly, the American people would have known about most of the intelligence, reports and evidence that the Bush Administration simply ignored because it didn't support their opinions and justify their war plan for Iraq. After all, they ignored all the reports and evidence that:
1) Saddam Hussein did not have a relationship with al Queda;
2) Iraq was not trying to buy materials from Niger for an Iraqi nuclear weapons program;
3) Saddam Hussein was not planning an attack on the U.S.; and
4) Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
The Bush Regime ignored all the intelligence, reports and evidence. Instead, they claimed otherwise, and the mainstream American news media failed to investigate or report the real truth about it.
For example, on October 1, 2002, Bush received a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) representing all federal intelligence sources, stating that there was no imminent danger to the United States from Iraq. In spite of that, on October 4, 2002, Bush released a concocted, distorted summary of the NIE to Congress referred to as a White Paper, and simply left out the NIE analysis, qualifying language and critical information. In fact, the Bush administration converted the NIE report and added false assertions to make it seem that the case for war was authorized and advised by the intelligence community.
The original NIE was withheld from Congress, which was left with only Bush’s White Paper to go on. Then, on October 7, 2002, Bush made a public speech claiming that Saddam Hussein was an imminent danger to the United states with his "unmanned aerial vehicles" with "Weapons of Mass Destruction" "for missions targeting the United States."
More importantly, if the news media had done their job, we all would have known the real reason why Bush insisted on invading Iraq.