Bush fails at home, around the world

David Harnish and David Harnish

On both domestic and international fronts, the Bush administration has been a failure.

In overseas polls 83 percent of Europeans prefer John Kerry over George W. Bush, and Kerry is preferred in all countries polled except two — Israel and Russia, where Bush has a slight lead.

Other stats confirm that a large majority around the globe believe that the world has become more dangerous and that America is not winning the war on terrorism.

Many Americans sharply disagree with these claims and think that the world is getting safer, that we thwarted a grave menace in upending Saddam, that we are fighting the “center of terrorism” in Iraq, and that all the expenses and losses have been worth it.

These Americans hold that the current approach to terrorism and Iraq is the right one. The administration is stoking this story, trying to convince enough of us to win on Nov. 2 that the Bush policy is working and that Kerry’s approach would in fact encourage further terrorism thus jeopardizing more American lives. Clearly, most everyone else in the world entirely disagrees with the Bush assessment.

Whether he admits it or not, Bush has been the best recruiting tool for terrorists. With his stubbornness and arrogance and his misplaced words (e.g. “crusade” — if you don’t understand this, read your world history books!), his ungrounded and un-apologized invasion of Iraq, and his silence on the many thousands of innocent Iraqis we’ve killed and the prison scandals, he has become a hated figure around the world.

Kerry doesn’t carry such baggage, and a Kerry administration would change this situation by bringing in other countries and the U.N., further empowering Iraqis, and beginning to withdraw, then turning attention to those guilty of the September 11 attacks: Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

This would immediately demonstrate that we are not anti-Muslim, that we don’t want to force our style of government upon Iraq and that we are not there to steal the oil reserves.

Bush is hated because most believe that America wants the oil, wants to dominate and shape the world, and will turn to violence and imperialism to accomplish foreign policy goals.

I challenge any American to go abroad right now and try to convince people of the rightness of the Bush policy: it can’t be done. Most people around the world are astounded and deeply disappointed that Bush might win another term in office.

A vote for Bush is a vote for further terrorism and violence and sharply decreased American popularity around the globe. Terrorists need people like Bush to convince poor Muslims that America is the enemy, that suicide strikes against any American is justified.

A vote for Kerry would disrupt that message and signal a change in direction, and this is the change that the rest of the world is yearning for. Other countries look to us for leadership. If all we can offer is George W. Bush, they will look elsewhere.

On domestic issues, the Bush record is even more dreadful, and the emperor truly has no clothes. The major criterion for all Americans to consider for their vote is this: Is the country better off than four years ago?

In virtually every category, the country is doing worse.

The economy, jobs, environment, health care, benefits, trade deficit, budget deficit, gap between rich and poor, bankruptcies, number of people in poverty, crime, standard of living and education have all worsen under Mr. Bush’s watch. And, there are certainly far more terrorists today than four years ago.

This is why we see so many anti-Kerry ads. Bush has nothing positive to say about himself, because there isn’t anything positive to say.

All he can do is attack.

This is probably the most important election in a generation, and many of you are voting for the first time. Please consider these issues before voting. You will inherit the policies that emerge over the next four years. These can be progressive policies that benefit all Americans and reduce the risk of terrorism (i.e. Kerry), or regressive ones that benefit the wealthy and large corporations while reducing your right to expression and dissent and fomenting further terrorist violence against America and Americans (i.e. Bush).

Choose wisely.