Part III: George W. Bush’s Lasting Legacy to America: Understanding Worldwide Animosity against the United States
Oh how the incompetent fail when granted the keys to the world.
It was just after 9/11 that all corners of the globe came together in support of America. From Europeans to Latin Americans, Africans to Asians, and Arabs from throughout the Middle East, the world proudly displayed the red, white and blue in solidarity with the American people. The monstrosity that developed on 9/11 outraged the vast majority of the world’s population, and, in a show of universal fraternity, billions exhibited the warmth and compassion we humans are capable of releasing onto our fellow beings.
During those eerie days when the world had gone mad and the planet turned on an ominous axis, we were all American, from every corner of our vast blue planet, comprising every diverse color, ethnicity and religion. Our common language became humanity, our common belief was empathy. People from over 60 nations died on 9/11, their lives made to disappear among apocalyptic ruins and the gushing ash and debris chasing thousands of New Yorkers through the streets of Manhattan.
At that very moment the government of the United States had been forgiven, at least temporarily, for a devastating foreign policy that had made human suffering a national mandate through the corrosive exploitation of developing nation lands and peoples. Yet no sooner had the Twin Towers fallen that the Bush administration began planning for the most comprehensive and self-destructive foreign policy strategy in its history.
The invasion of Afghanistan soon began, followed by an immoral invasion of Iraq, a sovereign nation pussing out untold suffering and indigence at the hands of American sponsored and supported economic sanctions that had left the people of ancient Mesopotamia living among the ruins of times past and the rotting erosions of the present. Iraq was a threat only to the camels grazing on the banks of the Tigris. Only its carcass remained after war and economic genocide, struggling to feed, educate and provide medicine to the hundreds of thousands who by American crimes against humanity no longer grace the dimensions of this great Earth.
An outraged world soon saw the Bush administration discard international laws and organizations in an arrogant display of bravado, ignoring world opinion and momentum to achieve its own purposes. The energy of the world’s people quickly saw through the haze of propaganda, realizing the moral cavity devoid of justice and honor. America the beautiful had become America the warmonger. The red, white and blue was now the flag of the profiteer, the greedy and the imperialist.
The American Empire had become the bully that in childhood was denied discipline, attention and rearing by its selfishly obsessed parents. This abandonment gave birth to a future beast, unknowing of society’s rules, modes and behaviors, whose adult life would be marked by psychological demons and societal scars. Lacking the ingredients by which humans behave and interact, the superpower, like a young mammal whose parents have been taken before being able to impart knowledge to their progeny, never grasped the correct behaviors of worldwide human society, thus becoming a self-destructive entity failing to learn the lessons of history.
The spoiled-brat had grown up, like so many born into wealth, demanding that what it sought be granted, ignorant and uninterested to the opinions and wisdom of those it saw as lesser than itself, regardless of the ramifications and never aware of the sacrifices. Failing to ever understand suffering or forgetting it altogether, the Empire that had always been given what it wanted now pouted that it be allowed to invade a nation rich in oil and geopolitical location. Without understanding it demanded, without knowing it sought, arrogantly bullying the fraternity of nations it either threatened or bought. The insatiable appetite for exploitation that marked its history needed to be fed once more, for the belly inside the beast was rumbling, hungry for blood, destruction and gore. A rich child was now a rich adult, apathetic to the plight of the people’s of the world, unaware of indigence and suffering, failing to realize how much its continued exploitation damaged both its own existence and that of millions more.
America, ignorant, uneducated, unwise and not reared, suffering from attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, left off its meds and brain-altering pills, suffering the aftereffects of its many addictions and vices, decided that only it mattered on the world stage, bullying less powerful nations, buying off others, using its mighty power to get what it wanted. With arrogance it swept away those not with it, insulting and belittling, discarding as inconsequential those nations preaching wisdom and tolerance. It ignored much older civilizations trumpeting advice learned from a history littered with the same mistakes America would soon make. Alone it would go, invading and marauding, conquering and pilfering, for it was the Only Superpower, it was the Pax Americana.
Voices of hundreds of millions of world citizens were sequestered, their mass protests made to disappear. When worldwide momentum dictated peace and dialogue, America decried only war and violence. When the collective thought of humankind saw injustice, immorality and wrongness with Bush’s actions, America only saw blind patriotism, freedom and democracy, and vengeance.
An absorbing energy became apparent, ingrained in every country and every society, that saw the invasion of Iraq as anathema to human civilization, nothing but a black stain devoid of any semblance of righteousness. A universal belief in the wrongness of the war in Iraq is not easy to reject, for it supercedes imaginary boundaries, national flags and human division. When billions stand up together to shout in one loud voice that invasion and occupation are wrong, there emerges a strong possibility that the action by America is indeed unjust and contrary to universal principles of humankind. Billions of people worldwide cannot all be wrong, for their collective energy against Bush’s war comes not from ideology or politics, but rather from deep inside the soul, mind and heart common to every man and woman alive today.
If one wishes to understand why the world did not agree with America’s invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, the principles of humanity, of right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral, justice and injustice must be understood. Human morality, when compressed in such a wide amalgam of diverse peoples, should open our eyes to the wrongness of Bush’s war against innocent human beings that has left the people of the world resentful and angered by the crimes against humanity committed by America, without so much as a whisper of protest from those residing inside the belly of the beast.
What has happened in the last two and a half years is hard to comprehend. What was once steadfast empathy for our national tragedy mutated into outright animosity for a foreign policy that was seen more and more as a tool for imperialism, exploitation and the eventual subjugation of an entire region. In defiance of world opinion, momentum and institutions, Bush and his cronies, with an arrogance hardly ever seen on the world stage, usurped the will of the nations and peoples of the world, unleashing hell and fury through devastating missile strikes and machine gun assaults. In a war with no cause, of choice and not necessity, profit not principle, the people of the world saw through a haze that does not seem to lift from the lands of the United States. They saw the inherent wrongness of a war based on lies, deceit and charades. They saw the way the American government handled itself and how it walked over the world as it blitzkrieged its way to a new era of warfare, colonization, violence and worldwide threats.
Billions of individual energies have seen the devastation of war, the severed limbs, heads and faceless bodies, the blood, entrails and burned out torsos. They have seen the evil unleashed by American military might, the destroyed homes, the wrecked infrastructure, the evisceration of families and devastation of one of the oldest civilizations in humanity. Tens of thousands will never again breathe the dust- filled air of the Fertile Crescent, where the rivers Tigris and Euphrates helped spawn all mankind. Tens of thousands more lie forever maimed in body and mind, having lost limbs, friends and families. Entire houses once filled with love, emotion, happiness and personality have been extinguished; livelihoods that provided sustenance and comfort erased from the books of history.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, from cradle to grave Eden is now lost.
Why, we ask, has the world turned against a nation billions once admired? Why did so few countries support the war? Why did billions protest America’s actions? Why are we no longer seen as the beacon of hope and the inspiration of humanity?
George W. Bush, that is why. Presidents are easily replaced, yet the reputation they erode, the hatred they birth, the anger they foster, the foreign policy they unleash and the damage they give rise to are hardest to repair and undo, taking years if not decades to rectify. Bush’s legacy is a nation rotting at the bottom of the pit of world opinion that will survive long after he ceases to strangulate our last remaining vestiges of humanity.