Looking at the prospect of taking sides this November, you can't help but to follow this general notion that elections with an incumbent on the ballot are often more about one's record rather than ideas and future plans presented by the other. After all, the contested position has one person who has shown how he/she handles the job vs. one that is looking for a similar opportunity.
So is the case in the battle of Bush vs. Kerry. It is impossible to rationally consider the choices present while ignoring Bush's record. That record is perhaps best demonstrated by reviewing the way former Governor of Texas has handled facts:
“The Iraq regime possesses biological and chemical weapons.” [Bush, September 2002]
– Fact: Not true! All the talk about mobile factories, active plants, hidden arsenal and remote controlled delivery planes was a tall tale to conceal other ambitions. If Cheney said “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” [August 26th of 2002] we must simply state now that such claims obviously weren't truthful! ” The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” [Bush, State of the Union, 1/28/03]
– Fact: Even as much as a year earlier both the CIA and State Department knew the Niger connection was nonexistent to the point that CIA Director Tenet personally intervened to have that text taken out of the speech to be denied by Condoleezza Rice.
” …the Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons. The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.” [Bush, October 7, 2002, Cincinnati]
– Fact: Saddam Hussein did not have the basic requirements to attempt developing nuclear weapons. International pressure along with sanctions in place and UN inspections had kept Iraq's military ambitions in check and would probably have continued to work without the need for further bloodshed.
“This is a man (Saddam Hussein) that we know has had connections with al-Qaida. This is a man who, in my judgment, would like to use al-Qaida as a forward army.” [Bush, October 14, 2002]
– Fact: Even the administration now admits that they knew all along there was never any connection between extremely secular Ba'ath party leader and extremely Wahabbi Al-Qaeda organization.On Economy:
“Our budget will run a deficit that will be small and short-term.” [Bush, State of the Union, 2002]
– Fact: Bush's budget has carried the largest deficit in history of U.S. and will exceed $400 billion every year through 2014 reaching a staggering $708 billion amount by then.
“But by far the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum” [Bush, Feb. 15, 2000]
– Fact: Only the top income earners saw any significant tax break coming from this administration. Those at the “bottom end of the spectrum” saw negligible changes while funding to social programs they often rely on was cut substantially. Eventually it will be the middle-class families that will carry the burden of having those at the top enjoy this windfall.
On political approach
“I am a uniter, not a divider.” [Bush, various points during 2000 campaign]
– Fact: This nation has never been more divided over the recent decades than it is today. This not by coincident or a result of anything but an approach by this administration that essentially dictates “you are either with us or with our enemies”.Aside from handling of facts, the rest of their record also speaks volumes about what kind of administration has occupied the Whitehouse over the past four years.
On all important issues such as economy, job creation, environmental protection, international co-operation and protection of citizen's rights under the constitution, George W. Bush has failed miserably. And all of this under the guise of a war time presidency and importance of focusing on one made-up obsession, in this case the supposed “war on terror”, at the cost of sacrificing all others.
In fact, on their approach and conduct, the religious fanatics occupying highest positions of this administration have much in common with their counterparts in Tehran. They are both intolerant towards rights of those who oppose their approach, are blinded by a fixated holy notion of right vs. wrong, do not hesitate to squash rights otherwise recognized by any accepted measure of global human rights and chase real and imaginary enemies in order to create the atmosphere of fear they so desperately require in order to govern.
In the same manner the Iranian regime has used its ever changing roster of internal and external enemies to suppress opposing opinions and conduct, this administration has also created monsters as well as cases of “immediate and severe danger” over the past four years to tighten its grip on the political landscape. So, isn't it interesting that some of those within the Iranian-American community who have suffered most amongst the victims of the regime in Tehran would consider supporting the Bush platform?
This of course mostly comes from this false hope of choosing an administration that would take a harder approach towards the Islamic Republic government and perhaps even commit to “liberating” the country once and for all to our benefit.
Without getting too deep in to the merits of whether such task is either feasible or even desired by this administration, a more important factor is ignored by those who may share a similar outlook. These intellectuals and activists are once again making a common error of our most recent history and still look for “liberators” and miracle solutions to solve our most important predicaments. In other words, they look outward for the answers, instead of looking within ourselves to find the most paramount solution.
The road to liberate Iran does not go through the man who fancied a future based solely on past honor or military muscle, the one who had his picture reflected in the moon, the cult-leader who has a mercenary army, the comedian who wanted to dance his way to a chartered-plane victory or for that matter the man who has retained or re-hired almost every single scandalous character of the Iran-Contra era as an aide or advisor.
So, what is the solution? In short, if there are no direct flights from California to Tehran, jump on the first plane to Europe and you are half-way there! I know we have a system that wouldn't allow a Kucinich to make it to that final ballot. Even Howard Dean is quickly disposed of before nearing a dream of sleeping at the Whitehouse. The usual choices are limited to Coke or Pepsi and even an orange soda is never served here. But this election is a bit different.
On November 2 of 2004, the choice is not between your usual Republican vs. another Republican with Democratic Party credentials. This time we are faced with an extremist fanatical administration that is a threat to global peace as well as personal freedoms domestically. Facing such grave outlook, even the old school Republicans would get my support not to mention the Senator often credited as one of the most liberal.
The Kerry-Edwards ticket deserves our full support whether you belong to the “Anyone But Bush” camp or believe a return to Clinton-like policies is a more tolerable approach to solving world's various crisis.
Pedram Moallemian is a community activist based in California. You can read more of his opinions at www.eyeranian.net