Besieged from within and without, battered from head to toe; the soul of a once great nation is on the line. A nation having lost its standing, humbled to the bare knuckles of its own knees. Heretofore held high, a head bowed in disgrace before an angry world demanding its well-earned “pound of flesh.” A troubled nation floundering…. gasping for breath; out of funds, politically adrift, and bankrupt to the core of its being. Nowhere to turn, down and out, and barring a miracle, dead on arrival as the chickens of its deadly past come home to roost.
Six months from now our nation will be called upon to make one of the most important decisions since that of having entered the Second World War; a decision to tell the world that we, as a people, are proud of our president, George Walker Bush, one who formulated a National Security Strategy based upon a policy of “preventive war,” a military doctrine having established our right to attack any and all foreign entities prior to their having developed the capacity to threaten our country, an arrangement in which we “strike first,” and then, if necessary, “ask questions later.” Or, on the contrary, a decision to inform the world that we, as a nation, made a huge mistake in having chosen to send to the White House, not once but twice, an arrogant administration, one that has brought immense shame upon the American people. It is important that we understand that there are many who have become angry at us in regards to our mistreatment of others. Given the belligerence of an administration on the verge of launching an attack upon Iran (a move that is likely to ignite an all out war in the Middle East), I wish to sound an alarm that there is little time to spare, a brief period in which to make amends, one last chance to tell the people of the world that we are sorry for what we have done, one last chance for us to avoid the coming wrath of an indignant world!
However, an apology means absolutely nothing unless a people are willing to come to terms with, that is, if they are essentially ready to take responsibility for their behavior. Therefore, a brief look at our rather strained relationship with those around the world. As explained in William Bloom’s book, Killing Hope, it is no wonder that our neighbors view us with such contempt: “From 1945 to 2003, the United States attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements fighting against intolerable systems. In the process, the U.S. bombed some 25 countries, caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair." Correspondingly, there has been a spate of studies and polls that have documented the fact that the United States has developed a reputation for having behaved badly; that we have become a rather rude, greedy, immoral, and violent bully of a nation; that, as a result of how the U.S. wields its power, it has become a greater danger to world peace than that of North Korea; that the U.S. [as a result of the war in Iraq] has caused the world to become a much more dangerous place; that more countries have a favorable view of China than that of the United States; and that few folks believe that the United States takes other country’s interests into account when making international policy decisions. Taken together, the general consensus is that the United States has lost the trust and respect of the world community.
Following that of 9/11, our president managed an amazingly high approval rating of near 90% along with that of a country which had acquired “a whole shit-load of chips” that could have (read: should have) been used to get the world back on our side, since, for the first time in years, the world had been led to feel sorry for us. All would have been fine if the Bush administration would have had a bit of perspective, the foresight, the clarity of reason to realize that this was, in fact, a world problem, a quandary much more suited for that of the global community to resolve. But as most of us now realize, Bush and company (much like that of an egocentrically spoiled child) decided, red in tooth and claw, to flex its muscles, all in order to destroy a world of supposed enemies. Consequently, a short time after having so arrogantly declared that he had earned political capital and that he was going to use it, the president’s approval, within a period of fifteen months, fell to 31%, one of the lowest ratings of any president. Indeed…… an extravagant fall from grace!
Among the sins of a president “on the outs” with that of his own nation, as well as most of those around the world, is the fact that George Walker Bush has: misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq; misused government funds; misstated and manipulated intelligence regarding the justification for the war in Iraq; violated federal laws and regulations regarding the leaking of as well as other misuse of government intelligence; engaged in illegal wire-tapping of the American people; approved a program of torture in violation of federal and international laws prohibiting cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners; lowered taxes enabling the rich to get richer; permitted retaliation against whistleblowers and other critics of his administration; avoided taking responsibility for the deaths and injuries of more than 20,000 American soldiers; facilitated the killing of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens; denied that depleted uranium has poisoned millions of citizens living in Iraq; fought efforts intended to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases: continued to veto United Nation’s resolutions supporting that of a “nuclear free” Middle East; violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by having engaged in the development of nuclear weapons; ratified a military doctrine of “preventive war,” sanctioning our right to attack enemies before they have the opportunity to attack us; violated The War Powers Act; proclaimed the right to launch a nuclear attack upon Iran; made false statements to Congress; and committed fraud against the United States of America.
Thus it seems that George Walker Bush has become a problem for that of the entire world. Not just for those who elected him (die-hard republicans and their rather stern-faced fundamentalist Christian Coalition counterparts), democrats proud of the fact that they chose not to vote for Bush, a man who has no doubt become a pariah, a true outcast, in that of his own land, but as well for many around the world frightened that they might become the president’s next target. Consequently, as a result of so many random acts of violence, it seems that our president has become the most hated man in the world. The only other competitors in the race for one so despised might have been Osama bin Ladin and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, considering the fact that bin Laden is so terribly revered by folks in the Middle East (the fact that so many Muslim parents have been choosing to name their children after him), and, as a result of China and Russia’s nascent commercial ties with Iran, along with that of President Bush’s terribly abrupt dismissal of Ahmadinejad’s letter of May 9, 2006, a seemingly venerable attempt to re-establish diplomatic ties with the United States, neither of these fellows can be considered to be valid contenders for the title of “Most Hated Man in the World.”
Consequently, given the fact that the United States has raised the ire of so many nations around the world, along with that of a president who has seemingly gone out of his way to alienate and offend so many, I feel there is but one thing that we, as a people, can do in order to convince the world that we are truly sorry for what we have done. Six months from now it is vital that we elect a Congress with the fearless courage to impeach the President. For I am certain that an unwillingness to impeach will send an unmistakable message to the rest of the world that we have all along supported the way our country has chosen to ravage the world during the five and one-half year reign of King George II, no doubt an open invitation for those of our enemies to attack where we have become most vulnerable; that of our own pride……. an arrogant insistence that we, as Americans, are a special people, that we, as a nation, are above reproach, a certain unwillingness to admit that we may have been wrong, the audacity of suggesting that we, as a people, believe, that we have faith, in God, while failing to recognize the prominence of our inability to care for the souls of those we have killed, the very children who day in and day out are slaughtered in that of our very own name!
Doug Soderstrom is a psychologist in Wharton, Texas. Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.