Commentary

King George II? Court action launched

Taking yet another page from the John Wayne book of international relations, President Bush attempted to once more bully other countries into sanctioning the war policy to which he has committed America. Taking yet another page from the John Wayne book of international relations, President Bush attempted to once more bully other countries into sanctioning the war policy to which he has committed America.

Substituting blunt rhetoric for reasoning he urged allies on February 13 to “show backbone and courage” and stand up to Saddam Hussein. “I believe when it's all said and done, free nations will not allow the United Nations to fade into history as an ineffective, irrelevant debating society,” Bush told U.S. forces at the Mayport Naval Station at Jacksonville, Fla.

This all apparently because after his having told everyone to jump, France and Germany didn't ask, "How high?" Further, they had the temerity to consider taking an approach to matters in Iraq more methodical than Bush is happy with. News sources indicate that it's not a matter of France and Germany being spineless, but a matter of them simply wanting to make UN ordered inspection of Iraq's armaments exhaustive as possible and, consequently, allow for said inspections to take more time. Secretary of State Colin Powell supported Bush with a statement uncharacteristically rash for Powell, saying he intends to ask France and Germany whether they are opposing war with Iraq in order to get Saddam “off the hook.”

This latest, overbearing posture the president is reminiscent of his threat, after the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on America, to freeze assets in American banks of all nations who didn't back his retaliatory assault on Afghanistan. No responsible, respected leader should have to resort to either name-calling or strong-arm tactics to enlist the aid of his country's allies. It's time to call into question just how much fundamental difference there is between Bush and the madmen against he is pitted. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden don't seem all that much less irrational in statements defending their actions.

It's difficult to categorically denounce France and Germany, especially with such base accusation. It occurs to the reasoning mind that maybe the leaders of those countries are quite sensible to not hurry up and have an American move-style, high-noon shoot it out with someone crazy enough to unleash chemical and germ warfare — at least unless and until it's absolutely unavoidable.

Now is a prudent time to look at just how much support Bush actually has on his own homeground. To wit, the same day he just recently slung mud to insult France and Germany, a group of U.S. soldiers, parents of soldiers and six U.S. House members sued in federal court, seeking to stop President Bush from attacking Iraq without a declaration of war from Congress. Rep. John Conyers, (D-Mich) and the other plaintiffs say a Congressional resolution passed in October did not specifically declare war and unlawfully ceded the decision to Bush. Conyers cited the Constitution, which states, "Congress shall have power . . . to declare war." Conyers told a news conference, "Get it? Only Congress."

Boston attorney John Bonifaz said, "The president is not a king. He does not have the power to wage war against another country absent a declaration of war from Congress." A similar suit was filed against Bush's father before the Gulf War by 54 members of Congress (it was denied by a federal judge in December 1990). Whether it's a case of like father like son or just one of rage run amok, Bush is not conducting himself like a principled leader interested in his nation's participation in world good. He's behaving more like a de facto dictator who doesn't give a damn what happens (or who he insults) as long as he gets his way. Frankly, I'm sure you and both know five year-olds capable of greater emotional restraint.

It's highly doubtful that Bush

February 17, 2003
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