May 18, 2008

President Bush's Week-Long Adventure

... by Walter Brasch

President Bush is in Egypt today to meet with President Hosni Mubarak. It is Bush's last day of a week-long adventure into the Middle East, where he also met with the leaders of Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority, and Afghanistan. It is probably Bush's last formal chance to pretend that he's going to broker a peace between Israel and the rest of the Arab world and secure a legacy that leads to the Nobel Prize. He must be thinking that if Jimmy Carter could do it between Israel and Egypt, it must be time for a neo-con war-mongering Republican to get a few accolades.

So far, the trip of the "war president," as he often calls himself, has produced no significant results, and a huge embarrassment. In Israel, speaking to the Knesset and pandering to the sensitivity of the victims and descendants of the holocaust, he unsuccessfully tried to link his strong stand against terrorism to the weak stand of appeasement to the Nazis by Britain's prime minister Neville Chamberlain in the months leading up to World War II. The President's comments were a not-so-subtle veiled attack upon Barack Obama who had said that as president he would meet with leaders of countries that were hostile to the United States, or were even leaders of terrorist countries. Diplomacy before war is Obama's belief; they certainly aren't Bush's.

And speaking of terrorist leaders, after schmoozing with the Israelis, he met with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, a long-time family friend. President Bush could have talked with the king about many issues. He could have talked about Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, that are providing a refuge for terrorists. But he didn't. He could have talked about the tyranical, sexist, racist regime in Saudi Arabia, and suggested that the region's largest country could become more democratic, not unlike what the United States has proposed for Iraq. But he didn't. He could have talked about Saudi Arabia's oppreessive laws that restrict free association and free speech. He didn't do that, either.

What was on Bush's mind was oil and arms. Specifically, President Bush succeeded in getting Saudi Arabia to agree to treaties to protect its oil industry against terrorists. He didn't get the billionaire friend-king to increase oil production, which would lower the price of gas.

After a week of sightseeing and "talks," and yet-to-be-determined millions of taxpayer dollars, George and Laura Bush, and their White House posse, will again be on American soil. And so will be the recession, unemployment, poverty, the health care and housing crises, and innumerable domestic problems that haven't been solved because this fake-cowboy president has focused his administration upon combating terrorism—except among its terrorist friends—and has spent the last six years using fear as justification to restrict American freedoms.

[Walter Brasch is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University and president of the Pennsylvania Press Club. His latest book is Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush. Other recent books are America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of Constitutional and Civil Rights and 'Unacceptable': The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina. All are available through You may contact Brasch at or through his website at: ]

Posted by Walter Brasch at May 18, 2008 11:51 AM | Guest Writings | Technorati links |