This pointed opinion piece from the Times of London is worth reading, especially by those beknighted souls who think it is their primary mission in life to lecture Bush opponents about their tone and manners. The world, including tens of millions of American citizens, hates Bush and the Bush Administration because of what these criminal war-mongers have done; it is those whose tone and manners have been unaffected by this trail of infamy who stand indicted before the world of moral shallowness and parochialism of world-historic proportions.
On to the opinion piece:
"[I]f America were a healthy democracy, George Bush would not even be running in this election. He would have been ousted by his own party, in favour of another candidate with a better chance of keeping the Republicans in power.
"The primary function of democracy is not to elect good leaders, since nobody can predict in advance how a politician will perform. It is to eject leaders who have manifestly failed. The ability to remove leaders who turn out to be corrupt, dangerous, outrageously dishonest or manifestly incompetent is the primary privilege and duty of any democracy. And if any leader in our lifetime deserved to be ejected by voters, regardless of their ideology or political persuasion, it is surely President Bush.
"He inherited a prosperous, peaceful, law-abiding country which was universally admired [sic] around the world. He promised, if elected, to govern as a 'compassionate conservative', to end partisan confrontation in Washington and to run a 'humble' foreign policy which would respect other countries and show restraint in the use of America’s global power.
"Four years later, he presides over a struggling economy, the steepest four-year loss of jobs since the Great Depression, and now has the biggest budget deficits and trade imbalances on record. Far worse, he started an unnecessary war on false pretences and mismanaged it so disastrously that the instability of the Middle East is probably now a greater danger to world peace than the Soviet Union was during the Cold War. The President has failed in his primary military mission of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden and destroying al-Qaeda.
"Even the task of eliminating the Taleban and stopping the flow of fundamentalist teachings from Saudi Arabia has proved too much. Imagine the state of the world today if instead of invading Iraq, America had finished the job against Saudi Arabia, the Taleban and al-Qaeda....
"To make matters worse, Mr Bush has failed in all these tasks, while breaking every promise he made about his character and leadership style. Instead of running a bipartisan government of national unity, he has been the most ideological, divisive and extremist leader America has ever seen. Instead of showing humility in his international dealings, his punitive and aggressive foreign policies — not only against Iraq but also against North Korea, Venezuela, Iran and even Germany and France — have transformed America into the most hated country on earth. Instead of respecting the primacy of the US Constitution, he has imprisoned thousands of people without trial or charge — many no doubt dangerous terrorists, but some presumably just ordinary people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"If Americans cannot bring themselves to vote against the President after this record, we must ask whether American democracy is capable of performing its primary function. Can voters no longer remove a failed leader from power? The answer is even more troubling than the question: American voters are very reluctant to turn against their president at a time of war. This is a truly terrifying idea. It implies that a president can virtually guarantee his re-election by keeping his nation in a permanent state of war.
"This may sound like Orwellian paranoia but it is not far from the thinking of many Republican political analysts. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the neoconservatives have been consciously searching for a new enemy to unite America and restore its military alertness, social discipline and moral fibre. No wonder they seemed so well prepared psychologically when this enemy finally appeared on September 11.
"The President is not in the least embarrassed by a preference for warfare: his favourite campaign slogan is 'the best defence is offence'. If the American electorate now votes for Mr Bush, war could be restored to the political primacy it has enjoyed throughout most of human history — as the last refuge of politicians determined to keep power."