Bush Win Would Mean Dark Times

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the Hearst Newspapers

Bush Win Would Mean Dark Times

World Would Perceive Support For Preemptive War

The presidential election on Tuesday is one of the most crucial in American history.

There are many reasons -- in foreign policy and on the domestic front -- why President George W. Bush should not be reelected.

Among them is the dominance of the radical right in his advisory councils, who are taking the United States down the wrong road at the start of the 21st century.

The road could lead to more mindless wars abroad and a widening gap between the rich and the poor in this country.

There will be only one way to read the election results if Bush wins: The world will see his victory as an affirmation by the American people of his disastrous preemptive war policy, which led the United States to invade Iraq without provocation.

The U.S. attack on Iraq is a clear violation of international law and has made us helpless to condemn others for similar acts.

If he wins reelection, Bush may see his victory as a signal to follow the neo-conservative dream of a political transformation of the Middle East through military force.

The president also would likely continue his new-style isolationism by giving short shrift to post-World War II treaties, such as those banning biological and chemical weapons. There is nothing to indicate Bush is willing to stop the gross violations of the Geneva Conventions on the humane treatment of prisoners of war.

Dark reports of the shameful treatment and secret transfers of detainees still emanate from Iraq and the U.S. brig at the Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba.

Despite his vehement denials, Bush may be compelled to call for another military draft if he persists in making war.

He is scraping by now with his all-volunteer military, along with reservists and National Guard members, keeping them on duty longer than planned with a so-called back-door draft. If he wins a second term, he wouldn't have to worry about running again and would have a free hand to undo his read-my-lips campaign promises.

On the homefront, the rich will be sitting pretty again with big tax cuts while the budget deficit and national debt zoom sky high.

Bush donors from the military-industrial complex are being well rewarded, especially Halliburton, formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, which already has reaped no-bid contracts to the tune of billions of dollars.

Organized labor will still be behind the eight ball under a new Bush administration. Workers will be pressured to accept "comp time" in place of overtime pay, and the lowered safety standards imposed by Bush's Labor Department will lead to more industrial accidents.

Don't expect Bush to lift a finger to stem the tide of outsourcing of the nation's biggest companies to China, India and other points East, where they can find cheaper labor.

The president is expected to keep trying to weaken public education with voucher programs to aid private schools, many of them religious. He is certain to follow through on his pet project to privatize part of the Social Security system with voluntary private investment accounts, driving a big hole in the program's trust fund. We should all hope that Congress won't go along with such a dangerous idea.

Social Security was the 1936 Depression-era program to support the elderly, the disabled and deprived dependent children.

Senior citizens, meantime, are staying away in droves from Bush's highly touted prescription drug program, which the administration publicly underpriced by $1 billion. Furthermore, the resident's compassionate conservative legislation banned importation of cheaper drugs from Canada. That is not expected to change in a new Bush term.

Bush also wants to cater to corporate interests by capping damages in medical malpractice suits at $250,000.

If reelected, Bush -- who has injected religion into public affairs more than any president has in modern times -- is expected to continue his messianic mission in the White House. He will blur even more the separation of church and state.

For women and minorities who support abortion rights and affirmative action, there is the scary prospect that the candidate who wins Tuesday may be able to appoint three, perhaps even four Supreme Court justices.

Bush undoubtedly will see his reelection as a mandate to push the country further to the right. And if he is elected, he will be answerable to no one.

Helen Thomas

Helen Thomas was an American author and former news service reporter, member of the White House Press Corps and columnist. She worked for the United Press International (UPI) for 57 years, first as a correspondent, and later as White House bureau chief. She was an opinion columnist for Hearst Newspapers from 2000 to 2010, writing on national affairs and the White House. Among other books she was the author of Front Row at The White House: My Life and Times. Helen passed away on July 20, 2013.

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