President Bush: The Politics of Quitting (Part Two)

Tue 15 Jan 2008

Article by Correspondent Dallas Darling.
"I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as president, I must put the interests of America first…" --President Richard M. Nixon August 9, 1974

Although Richard M. Nixon is known for the Watergate Scandal that brought an end to his presidency, like Lyndon B. Johnson, who initiated the Great Society Programs and continued expanding Civil Rights, (See my previous article: The Politics Of Quitting Part One.), Nixon achieved several key political victories and had tremendous potential. As a young man, he worked hard at the family-owned gas station and grocery store. Nixon eventually joined the US Navy and spent WW II on a Pacific Island with the Naval Air Transport Command. After serving as vice-president in Eisenhower’s administration, he lost to John F. Kennedy by a few thousand votes in the 1960 presidential election.

Nixon staged a remarkable comeback, though, and became president in 1968. On the domestic front, more schools were desegregated in the South than in any year since 1954. While promoting Black Capitalism, Nixon proposed the Family Assistance Plan designed to replace welfare by declaring a minimum income. He also established one of the first strong affirmative action programs, attempted to pass a comprehensive health insurance plan and helped create the Environmental Protection Agency. In foreign policy, Nixon was the first US president to visit Communist China and establish a trade pact. He also traveled to the Soviet Union. While signing the historic Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, Nixon sold American wheat greatly benefiting US farmers.

Yet, Nixon had flaws. As vice president, he helped lead the McCarthy Inquisitions. On the road to the White House he promised to quickly end the Vietnam Conflict. However, once in office he expanded the war and secretly bombed other countries. Nixon relied to heavily on himself and his inner circle, especially Henry Kissinger, in making important foreign policy decisions. Nixon was also paranoid, especially of the media, the Democrats and antiwar activists. He personally kept an enemies list and spied on US citizens. In order to gather intelligence for use against the Democrats, Nixon employed G. Gordon Liddy. When Liddy’s team of former CIA operatives were caught breaking into the offices of the Democratic National Committee Headquarters (Watergate Building), Nixon denied ordering such an action and attempted to cover it up with $300,000.

When it was found out that Nixon had a secret taping system, the Senate requested the tapes to be turned over. After months of defiance and obstruction of justice, Nixon grudgingly honored the subpoena and turned over the audio taping system. Conversations were obviously missing and experts determined that one tape had 18 minutes of deleted conversations. Other tapes showed he had ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to stop investigating the Watergate break-in and directing the cover-up. As Congress drew-up Articles of Impeachment against Nixon, he realized he was harming the Republican Party and perhaps the entire nation. Facing certain impeachment and possible removal, Nixon decided to quit and resigned. Only with President Gerald’s Ford pardon, did Nixon escape a criminal proceeding trial.

For anyone trying to understand why President George W. Bush does not have a sense of regret or remorse and is incapable of guilt and shame, and therefore does not resign and quit, it is important to first understand two destructive influences experienced by those whom were born in America after World War II. The first being the notion that products were more valuable than people, and individuals were to be treated and used as commodities. The second harmful force was the Me Generation. Many Americans pursued fulfillment by turning inwards. What mattered the most was one’s own personal feelings, inner reality and selfish ambitions. Popular books such as Looking Out For Number One, and famous sayings like “You can do anything you want too” and “Don’t worry be happy,” were read and commonly held beliefs. Self-obsessed gurus preached extreme individualism and only “my rules apply” when interacting with others and in the context of a broader world. There was very little thought or concern for others. Regrettably, these ideas were seldom analyzed. As a generation of Me Voters and Usury Citizens elected a generation of Me Politicians and Usury Officials, the harmful tendencies have been evident, far-reaching and deadly.

By keeping an enemies list of other nations he considered (considers-is Iran next?) evil, for years now Bush has injured his party, along with the nation he swore to protect and serve. Bush ordered the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, while “fixing the facts” and ignoring questionable sources. He has expanded these wars into Lebanon and Somalia. Hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths have occurred, along with the horrors at Abu Graib, Fallujah and Guantanamo. US troop deaths continue to increase, and the American military is sorely overstretched. There is also the negligence of responding to the New Orleans Disaster, the no-bid contracts for corporate friends, the increase in American poverty and joblessness, and America’s waning influence around the world. Bush also kept an enemies list of US citizens and anti-war activists. He has ordered the FBI and Army to spy on them, while using corporate information and electronic eavesdropping devices.

The scandals continue with false confessions, secret renditions, torture techniques, the CIA black sites, and President Bush’s knowledge (and ordering?) of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) destruction of the Torture Tapes. These tapes evidently show cruel, inhumane and murderous treatment against suspected al-Qaeda members that run contrary to the International Convention Against Torture, many whom have already been declared innocent and released . This act alone, destroying evidence, should force Congress to immediately impeach President Bush, as it did President Nixon. Also, years after 9-11 the Bush Administration still refuses to release the ‘smoking tape’ that allegedly links Osama bin Laden with the retaliatory attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The bi-partisan co-chairmen of the 9-11 Commission recently claimed that the revelation of the CIA destroyed torture tapes, along with the interrogations of Qaeda operatives, leads them to believe that the Whitehouse obstructed justice when it failed to respond to the requests about the 9-11 plot. This should be enough to motivate millions of Americans to pressure President Bush and his administration to resign.

In leaving the Whitehouse, Richard Nixon said, “That the way I tried to deal with Watergate was the wrong way is a burden I shall bear for every day of the life that is left to me.” Nixon came to realize he had broken social contracts, lawful rules and had injured America. For someone who started the Global War On Terrorism (GWOT) in order to find self-fulfillment, President George W. Bush may want to consider what Gwynn Nettler, a criminologist, wrote: All forms of terrorism share six characteristics, the first one being a rejection of rules and international laws and no moral limitations upon the type of degree of violence that is used. During the Me Decade many Americans adhered to a noteworthy saying, “A quitter never wins.” In this case, with Iraqgate, Afghanistangate, Katrinagate, September11gate, the missing tapes-Torturegate, and GWOTgate, if Bush and his administration did actually quit they would more than likely be winners, along with the American people.

Dallas Darling -

(Dallas Darling currently teaches U.S. and World History and writes for World News. He was a pastor in rural America for ten years and worked in a Guatemala Refugee Camp, the barrios of Panama, and in Mexico. Dallas was active in the Central American Peace Movement and currently works with Pastors For Peace in delivering humanitarian aid to foreign countries. He has a Masters in Pastoral Theology and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Religion.)