Bush is “Evil”?

Last night my uncle said he thinks George W. Bush is “evil”. My father agreed with him. When I asked why, I was told it was because he wanted to “change the constitution so that the prisoners of war can be tried by a military tribunal”.

Now firstly, my understanding is that the US President can not modify the constitution. He can propose changes, and the states have to vote on them. Only when a certain number of states ratify the ammendments can they be enacted.

Therefore, why is it “evil” to propose a change to a constitution which needs to go to a popular vote? Many Gitmo prisoners, having been caught on a battlefield with no weapon uniform, have only the right to a humane execution. They are treated far better than any law or convention requires, given their status.

An appropriate definition of “evil” is “morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked”. I would argue Mr. Bush has a moral imperative to protect the United States and its people, and may do so within the existing structure of laws. Now compare him to what real evil people have done. Mao not only slaughtered millions in his quest for personal power, he did nothing when artificial famines killed millions more. Stalin had millions killed when they got in his way of personal power and a “perfect society”. Hitler killed millions of Jews because he simply didn’t like them, and millions more in a quest to personally rule over all of Europe. Kim Il Sung impoverished the North Koreans and caused the death of millions for his own personal power. These people all cared not how many people they killed, and in many cases revelled in it. Mr. Bush has repeatedly stated his reasons for taking the actions he has, and it requires a conspiracy theory to come up with bizarre selfish explanations for why he might have acted in an “evil” manner.

Mr. Bush is in a hard position. He’s a Christian and Christianity teaches tolerance and respect for others. He also has people violently trying to kill those he is sworn to protect. He must place their lives above those of foreign nationals who seek to undermine a soverign country illegitimately. While you may feel he does so in an incompetent manner, or in an overly aggressive way, I don’t see how you can twist what he does to call it evil. Sometimes you have to pick the best of some bad options in order to provide the right outcome. Nobody ever said morality is easy, and there must be some people making unpaletable decisions for the greater common good.

People who fight the USA as part of a foreign army are by and large treated well. People who cowardly hide behind civilians and plot suicide attacks against innocent people do not have the same rights the rest of us do. They can not, if we plan to eradicate their horrible practices. A different President might behave differently, but he or she would still have to balance protection of Americans and American interests against the human rights of people who seek to harm them. There are laws and practices dating back hundreds of years which involve harsh, summary punishments against such people (spies, pirates, etc.). Continuing those practices when one feels it is for the greater good can’t be evil. Misguided maybe. Dumb maybe. Not evil. How twisted must the grasp of one’s facts be to make such a poor assessment of a person in his position? I blame a serious lack of historical perspective, and a heavily biased and politicised media.

By the way, I never personally liked Mr. G. W. Bush or his father and would not have voted for him if I were an American citizen—at least not initially. I also do not believe Clinton was as bad as many conservatives make him out to be. But I will not stand by while otherwise educated people make crazy judgements about important issues. I will speak up and defend those whom I believe deserve defending.

—posted by Nicholas.

Comments

  1. Many Gitmo prisoners, having been caught on a battlefield with no weapon’ I assume you mean no uniform?

  2. My problem in general is that I dont know what to believe anymore. The media is crap. The bloggers, while being honest, arent really helping anymore. Alot of voters feel like I do. We believed in the Republicans… but are starting to get tired of making excuses for them. Tired of trying to convince people of things they shouldnt need to be convinced about. We look to democrats and see people who are even more incompetent. So what the hell do I do now? What is the point of voting when all your choices suck? The GOP is doing a horrible job managing their overall political strategy and image. These guys are as bad as Sony is, in terms of marketing themselves.

  3. I realized how politicaly incompetent the Republicans are when it took a ‘Freedom of Information’ request to publicize the Iraq WMD findings. Crazy.

  4. 1. They are not ‘prisoners of war’ under the Geneva conventions. Their status as unlawful combattant is not something Bush made up. 2. There is no change in the constitution (who told him that?) 3. Military tribunals are the norm in such cases. They are also very much like real courts; we are not talking about show trials here. This is the way I understand this issue. Now, I am not an expert nor even American. Correct me if I am wrong. But I know one thing: if you want to be informed about such technicalities, it takes some effort. You cannot rely on mainstream media. Most certainly not on foreign mainstream media. The fact of the matter is, your father and uncle did not really follow this issue.

  5. I think it needs to be more clear who is making this post, at the end there it makes it seem like murdoc is not US citizen. I know there is the little text that says nich, but hard to notice. As for post itself, I think think it is a good one.

  6. Bram: Yes, sorry, fixed. skrip: I agree with you. I am no expert, but I know I can not trust the media at all. I have no idea who I would vote for if I were in your position. The Democrats are weak, the Republicans keep dropping the ball, and others are not going to get into power. Bram: I don’t get that either. werner: Well, I suppose if you decide not to execute an unlawful combatant they become a prisoner of war of sorts. I see the distinction you are trying to make. I guess my point was traditionally prisoners taken during a war (lawful combatants or not) are held for the duration of the conflict. There are very few people who believe Afghanistan or Iraq are at peace right now. Steve: Sorry, I usually put a second ‘posted by Nicholas’ but somehow forgot. I’ve added it.

  7. werner, I had not heard of any constitutional amendment being proposed either, I have no idea if that is true or not. I assume he read it in a newspaper, and would not be surprised if they got it wrong/made it up.

  8. Nicholas: Your uncle and father believe Bush is evil because he wants to ‘change the constitution so that the prisoners of war can be tried by a military tribunal’? Tell them that the United States always has tried prisoners of war by military tribunal. Exactly how did they think POWs are processed? In earlier wars, North Vietnamese, North Korean, Japanese, Italian, German, Spanish, Confederate, Mexican and British POWs never had access to U.S. civilian courts. The only thing Bush wants to amend is the definition of prisoner abuse. Right now, the Geneva Conventions prohibit a long, but slightly vague list of tortures and offenses against POWs, including ‘humiliating and degrading treatment.’ Some say ‘humiliating and degrading treatment’ could be interpreted as almost anything, including imprisonment itself. Naturally, Bush wants that clarified, to let guards and prisoners know where the line is drawn. Bush also won’t agree to ban interrogations of terrorist POWs. Under the Geneva Conventions, captors can ask POWs any question, but the POWs are not required to provide anything more than their name, rank, birth date and serial number. If a terrorist attack is imminent, the question is, shouldn’t we have the right to apply some relatively mild pressure to get life-saving information? But back to military tribunals: They’re nothing new.

  9. My (likely faulty) understanding of the controversy is that anyone anywhere, including american citizens, can be declared an ‘Enemy Combatant’ by some unnamed and presumeably unaccountable person(s) and thus be indefinately denied the rights of the accused we in the U.S. have come to enjoy and expect; and have various unpleasant things done to them all in the name of fighting a Forever War against terrorism.

  10. you know old billy clinton might have lacked morals but nobody ever accused him of being evil… Something to think about that our current president has been accused as being that so many times, right or wrong.

  11. Chris, A google search on Clinton + Evil reveales a less simple picture, an example: A New York Post survey of readers sampling nearly 20,000 people ranks Bill Clinton second to Adolf Hitler as the most evil person of the millennium. http://tinyurl.com/2tabu This simply statistical figure, so I wouldn’t trust it as a fact, …but the accusation is there.

  12. addendum, on a second lark…google search of Clinton and Evil had 12,900,000 results and Bush and Evil had 29,000,000 results. Most of these results are just instances where the two words are on the same page. But it seems, prima facie, that Bush and probably his father and grandfather combined have been associated (rightly or wrongly) with ‘evil’ more often than the Clintons. Obviously qualifications are that both elder Bushs are from before the rise of the IntarTubeWeb thingy, This largely likely leaves the current Bush responsible for much of the association, but also with the largest chunk of IntarTubeWeb exposure. However, both the current Pres. Bush and the current Sen. Clinton have the same exposure. I will leave examination of the evilness of these two family names to smarter minds.

  13. Sam: I think the controversy can be more accurately stated as this: one can only be declared an Enemy Combatant under fairly specific circumstances, but since they are held incommunicado and tried by military tribunals, it’s very difficult to verify whether any people being held do not fit the definition. To assume that innocent people would be lost forever in the system that way, however, would require you to assume that the military tribunals are completely rigged, all the people overseeing the prisoners and the program are in some kind of conspiracy etc. While I think there needs to be some accountability, to prevent people who should not be imprisoned from this way from being so, I understand why it can’t be open fully to public scrutiny either. I don’t know that there’s a good solution to that problem. Lots of oversight from lawmakers and the military chain of command is necessary, but is that enough? If not, how can it be solved without aiding the purposes of those being legitimately held? I don’t know. But I don’t see how it’s evil to try to come up with some kind of a compromise. I really don’t see why people think Clinton is so bad either. I think he’s wrong about some things but that doesn’t make him malicious. A great many people make mistakes, myself included.

  14. not exactly on subject, but no matter what you think of Bush or this administration America is still great. I enjoyed this article and makes you take a step back from things and realize that We Americans do have it pretty damn good, also people do love us even if they will never admit it. I thought of an old saying to a heartbroken woman: ‘You must have loved him very very much, to be so very very angry with him.’ http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/10/23/cnna.bennett/

  15. Well, since we are throwing things such as logic and evidence over board: Google search for bush + evil: 26 million bush + god: 36 million bush + love: 68 million So there you have it: A love god, by popular acclaim!