525 Reasons Revisited

Let's make one last check in on 525 Reasons to Dump Bush.

First up, probably my favorite of the insidious posts was this one about the alleged global test":

Kerry "said something revealing when he laid out the Kerry Doctrine," Bush said at a convention of home builders here. "He said that America has to pass a global test before we can use American troops to defend ourselves. . . . Senator Kerry's approach to foreign policy would give foreign governments veto power over our national security decisions." (AP)

And Bush says something revealing when he wrongly assumes "global test" means deferring to foreign governments: it's a scientific term that refers to the validity of a statistical model (a Google search on "global test" statistics -Bush -Kerry yields more than 3,000 articles, most of which are, like this one, related to science and technology).

When Kerry says we need a "global test" to prove the legitimacy of U.S. military action, he's not talking about getting permission from the U.N., as the Bush campaign has either ignorantly or disingenuously suggested. He's using an established term to describe methodically testing assumptions against reality.

I just wish people would pay attention and figure this stuff out. Kerry is afraid to mention it, I think, because people would think him too cerebral and possibly vote against him because he's "too smart." I don't blame him, there's a lot of idiots out there.

Reason #2 happens to be The War on Terror:

September 2004: President Bush falsely claims nearly 100,000 fully trained and equipped Iraqi soldiers, police officers and other security personnel in Iraq, and this number would rise to 125,000 by the end of this year.

But documents prepared by Defense Department officials and given to lawmakers show that fewer than 100,000 will be trained by the end of this year.

The Pentagon also said on Monday that only about 53,000 of the 100,000 Iraqis on duty now have undergone training.

The documents, obtained by Reuters, show that of the nearly 90,000 currently in the police force, only 8,169 have had the full eight-week academy training. And it will be July 2006 before the administration's new goal of 135,000 fully trained police is met.

October 2004: In the face of a report that confirms there were no weapons of mass destruction, and with over 1,000 American casualties, costs at $160 billion, and the creation of an environment that actually fosters terrorism and anti-American sentiment, George Bush says he'd do it all again:

"Based on all the information we have today, I believe we were right to take action, and America is safer today with Saddam Hussein in prison," the president said.

And a new study puts the civilian death toll in Iraq over 100,000.

Same old info, but the 525 guys just put it so damn well. Reason #1 might be my new favorite, Accountability:

President Bush likes to talk about accountability, often in regard to educational standards, but it has been a frequent refrain in other areas.

He claims to have signed the most sweeping corporate accountability reforms since Franklin Roosevelt.

After the Enron scandal, he assured us "company executives with power over 401(k)s will be held accountable for treating their workers' assets as carefully as they treat their own."

And when Worldcom played $3.4 billion worth of accounting tricks, President Bush told us people would be held accountable for misleading shareholders and employees.

He applauded the transfer of indicted war criminal Slobodan Milosevic to the War Crimes Tribunal as "an unequivocal message to those persons who brought such tragedy and brutality to the Balkans that they will be held accountable for their crimes," and he strongly supported Prime Minister Tony Blair in holding paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland accountable for their their use of violence.

He declared that those responsible for the attacks on 9/11 would be held accountable, and although this is not yet the case for Osama bin Laden, it and the above calls for accountability are right and just. We agree with them all, and - particularly in the case of corporate responsibility - would like to see the assurances of accountability manifested as real consequences for those who do wrong.

There are other areas, however, where President Bush's calls for accountability ring considerably more hollow.

He argued that an invasion of Iraq was necessary in order to hold Saddam Hussein accountable to U.N. resolutions regarding weapons of mass destruction. When it turned out there were no WMDs, he failed to accept responsibility for the rush to war, and instead found other reasons to justify the invasion.

After the abhorrent acts of torture at Abu Ghraib were revealed, he told the people of Iraq, "In a democracy, everything is not perfect and mistakes are made. But also in a democracy, those mistakes will be investigated and people will be brought to justice." To date, only low-ranking personnel have been prosecuted, despite the fact that a Pentagon-appointed panel has found responsibility at senior levels of the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the White House. No one at that level has been held accountable. Donald Rumsfeld, who declared the abuses, "occurred on my watch, and as secretary of defense I am accountable for them, and I take full responsibility", is still Secretary of Defense.

President Bush is quick to talk about accountability, but unconscionably slow to provide it within his administration.

We don't claim he's accountable for economic cycles, but he is responsible for the tax cuts that have made the deficit a sorry legacy for the next generation, and for a costly war in Iraq that has carried us all further into debt.

He chose to take the focus of the war on terror off of al Qaeda and instead shift resources to Iraq. He surrounded himself with advisors who relied on poor intelligence and provided short-sighted assessments of what it would take to rebuild the country following the invasion.

Giving him a second term will not make him accountable for his decisions and their consequences.

We believe giving John Kerry an opportunity to lead is a better choice than allowing George W. Bush to continue as he has.

We believe in Kerry's record of public service. We believe his combat experience gives him a better understanding of the quagmire that Iraq has become. He spent twenty years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, giving him experience and credibility with the international community. He can repair the alliances Bush has damaged, and that will leave us better able to fight the global war on terror.

We believe Kerry will take a responsible approach to the deficit, restoring fiscal discipline and asking the wealthiest members of society to bear more of the tax burden, not less.

He is a leader who believes in nuance, who will be able to deal with mistakes and change course when the situation requires it. He is more likely to surround himself with thoughtful, experienced people, not ideologues.

We believe he will nominate Supreme Court Justices who will uphold modern constitutional law, including important decisions like Roe v. Wade.

We can't say the same about George W. Bush.

As citizens in a republic, we Americans elect people to represent us - members of Congress to represent our local interests in the federal government, a President to unite us, and represent us to the world. A president who will make decisions that will affect us, our children, and other nations.

We must hold our leaders accountable for their actions, because ultimately the accountability resides with us.

Well said, fellows.
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