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.