I am not surprised anymore by the things that come out of George W. Bush’s mouth. In my opinion, he says some very dumb things and, like most presidents, has told some outright lies.
But I must admit that I was shocked when Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that Bush said that the war in Iraq isn’t the cause of rising terrorism. Does he really believe that? I understand he might want us to buy it, but to voice it as a personal truth amazes me.
In the speech given to wives of military officers at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, Bush said, “Some have argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq…I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on Sept. 11.”
I would remind the president that we were in Iraq in 1990, and have been there enforcing the no-fly zone since then.
We were also there in the 1980s, during the Iran-Iraq War, where we supplied Saddam with intelligence and military support. This was because we didn’t have good relations with Iran anymore. Iran didn’t like us because we had always used them as a pawn in the global chess match with the Soviet Union, instead of treating them like a sovereign nation.
And let’s not forget the fact that we supplied Osama Bin Laden with weapons and a training ground in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation.
Throughout history, our involvement with other countries has often been to avert some injustice, remove dictators or strengthen our position in the world. These are all reasonable causes, but are we truly achieving these goals? Does the victory of today create the challenge of tomorrow?
I think that in the history of our relations with the Middle East, the answer is yes. Our legacy there is a vicious cycle of action that we continue.
As long as we have a military presence in the Middle East, we will be seen as occupants. And as long as we bomb civilians’ homes and orphan Iraqi children, we will continue validate terrorism as a cause, not a crime.
Mackenzie Turberville is a senior journalism student from Lake City, Florida. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org