Buencamino does foreign and political affairs analysis for Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the newspaper Today, 11 August 2004, page 9.
I’m the commander—see, I don’t need to explain— I do not need to
explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being
president. – George Bush
In a recent speech, Bush said, “Our enemies are innovative and
resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to
harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
Americans could not believe what they heard so they claimed Bush has
problems with the English language and many of the things he says need
to be “clarified.”
I think Americans “contextualize” and reinterpret Bush’s words because they are afraid to face the truth about him.
For example, immediately after the Democratic Party convention, the US
Department of Homeland Security raised the color-coded US terror alert
level to its highest color ever, orange. Homeland Security cited
intelligence information about planned al-Qaeda attacks against
specific targets in the US but conveniently forgot to tell Americans
that their “new” intelligence was stale, dating back at least three
years to pre-911 days.
The eerie correlation between Bush’s poll ratings and the occasions
when he pulls “terrorists” out of his ass led Americans to ask, did
Homeland Security make an honest mistake or was it intentionally
terrorizing the people?
The question would not even arise if one simply took Bush at his word:
“They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our
people, and NEITHER DO WE.”
Here is another example. In an interview with Al Arabiya TV, Bush said,
“Iraqis are sick of foreign people coming in their country and trying
to destabilize their country, and we will help them rid Iraq of these
And Americans wonder why so many of them are dying in Iraq? Bush meant
it when he said, “we will help them get rid of these killers.”
Then there is the talk in Washington about how a group of pro-Israel
neo-conservatives hijacked foreign policy. That kind of talk implies
that Bush surrendered US foreign policy to Israel without knowing it.
Is there a basis for thinking that Bush was snookered? None.
On the contrary, as early as September 2000, Bush announced his foreign
policy as follows, “I will have a foreign-handed foreign policy.”
And, just in case we didn’t get it the first time, Bush spelled it out
on another occasion two years later. He said, “There’s nothing more
deep than recognizing Israel’s right to exist. That’s the most deep
thought of all… I can’t think of anything more deep than that right. ”
Then there’s the “lying.” The US Senate Intelligence Committee spent a
vast amount of money and time to prove that Bush did not lie; he was
lied to by his own intelligence agencies.
Wouldn’t it have been much easier and cheaper if the senators had
simply said, “Bush wasn’t lying. He had his dates wrong. He was looking
at receipts for gas and biological weapons which we delivered to Saddam
during the Iran-Iraq war.”
In order to understand Bush, one must take his words for what they
mean, while keeping in mind the wise words of Woody Allen, “His lack of
education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral