Final Moves As Commander-in-Chief
With the election finally over, America must now wait 76 more days until Inauguration Day, while President George W. Bush continues to occupy his position in office. But these days, his scarce-mentioned name may cause a jolt to the memory. For quite a few months now, our "commander-in-chief" has actually stood on the sidelines of the election, smothered by the hype of this historical climax, even as he struggles to be heard.
He has most recently been sounding quite a bit like an economics professor as he explains and reiterates the reasons behind our national financial crisis, for which we need to "look back over a decade ago," of course, long before his administration came into office and could possibly receive any blame.
And suddenly, Europe has become the economic advisor to the Administration, convincing Bush to edit the original bailout plan and invest up to $250 billion directly into U.S. banks. And though the bailout will prove itself as a mere temporary fix to our credit-debt issues as a nation, this international consultation is definitely a positive move toward global cooperation, even if it emerges from the mere personal interest of leaders during a financially pressured time rather than from any romantic vision of unity.
But throughout all of the President's recent activities, hosting international meet ings here and there, and explaining the "systematic and aggressive measures" his government has taken to put the economy back on track, no one seems to be listening.
People, in fact, have seemed to forget that he is still President. All that Americans have been doing these days is buzzing excitedly about this year's presidential campaign, worrying about the declining value of the dollar and hoping that the economy isn't thrown into another deep drop once the infinite number of companies that receive their revenue from "Bush-ism" themed products, Bush Bobbleheads and "Buck Fush" T-shirts, are put out of business by their star's exit.
Undoubtedly, Bush's eight years in office has made its bloody mark on America's public face, unlikely to fade as quickly as we would wish under a new leadership. Throughout his terms, Bush has achieved the records for both highest and lowest national approval ratings in the history of America: indeed, as a country, we have both loved and hated him.
We saw a spike of patriotic loyalty toward Bush in this country around the same time that the new President stood atop the rubble at Ground Zero, announcing that "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."
But in 2008, after his stolen elections and his blundering, shifting reasoning for the evasive "War on Terror" in Iraq have been discovered and widely accepted, many of us are accustomed to reading claims that Bush is the worst President ever.
This year, in fact, the History News Network conducted a poll among 109 professional historians, 98% of whom called his presidency a complete failure. It seems that this country, as a whole, feels the same way, but has moved passed the days when taking jabs at him and his administration was fun, now looking instead toward And with Bush's nearly complete absence from television news stations and newspaper headlines, while the big-name news companies desperately seek new angles on the fresh reality-show called "The 2008 Presidential Campaign," we can't help but wonder what our hidden president has been up to during his last days.
Sea-Smurfs. Yes, you read correctly, and no, they aren't sky-blue creatures who live in the sea instead of in Smurf Village. "Sea-Smurf" is the correct pronunciation of "CCMRF," or Chemical Consequence Management Response Forces, an entity appearing less friendly than our lovable Belgian cartoons.
Until 2007, The Insurrection Act along with the Posse Comitatus Act both helped prohibit any military involvement in domestic law enforcement, but with Bush's signing of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act of 2007, the President gave himself the power to declare martial law and use the United States National Guard to suppress civil unrest.
And though this section of the Act was repealed this year, according to both political writer Frank Morales and journalist Amy Goodman, "President Bush attached a signing statement that he did not feel bound by the repeal."
This brings the subject back to Sea-Smurfs. Just last month, Bush deployed the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team, which has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq, to Fort Stewart, Georgia, for the supposed purpose of training and remaining on-call for national defense.
But with the otherwise silence from our President about an upcoming disaster that would deem this dramatic move necessary, in combination with the soldiers' unlimited access to "containerized" lethal and non-lethal weapons, wheeled vehicles and tanks, as confirmed by Air Force Lt. Col. Jamie Goodpaster, a public-affairs officer of the U.S. military, it's no wonder that several citizens feel unsafe. It's clear that the near-silent deporations and the sequence of bills which limit the Posse Comitatus Act, given an event big enough to instigate their employment and eventual crowd suppression may result in the direct violation of citizens' rights by martial law.
We've seen it before: Guantanamo Bay and Japanese Internment Camps. According to Gina Cavallaro, Army Times staff writer, the CCMRF "may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive...attack." Since the World Trade Center towers fell, America has been bombarded with continual fears of outside hate destroying our comfortable lives: a vague fear countered by the equally vague and meaningless "War on Terror."
But this aside, what of the civil unrest? Our country has come to a sensitive point with the divisive election, a shredded economy and fear of a natural disaster. What of the "National Defense Act - H.R. 5658," that Bush signed earlier last month, which excuses the administration from "video record[ing] all intelligence interrogations" with detainees? We know how easily the government avoided civilians' rights as it held thousands without evidence at the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp, and this Act seemingly would make the process cleaner for the governement in times of near-random arrests.
It's news like this that shouldmake us wonder what facts we've been missing amidst the Angelina Jolie scandals, American Idol and the concentrated coverage on Barack Obama's grandmother.
This all excludes the countless other bills that Bush has signed into law in the past two months, all of which are exceptionally scattered in subject: from the removal of Bolivia from Andean Trade, to the Mercury Export Bans, to a bill which authorizes the transfer of "naval vessels to certain foreign recipients," all of which can be viewed at www.whitehouse.gov.
In conclusion, it may be a comfort to many that the Bush Administration may fail to establish many of its less-popular bills, as Bush prepares to surrender his position.
Unfortunately, as of the Corsair deadline on Tuesday, I am ignorant of what you now have known for hours, or perhaps days: the identity of our new president.But I am certain that either man, once placed in office, would look ahead to an arduous path as leader, if only for the responsibility of mending a broken economy. For unlike Roosevelt during the Great Depression, Bush has lost the trust of most citizens, and is therefore in no position at the end of his presidency to give the Americans the reassurance that they need during these financially challenging times.
Yet the disaster of Bush's two terms and the damage of his administration will remain embedded in our government and world-relationships even after his exit, perhaps so deeply that, though we have a new physical leader, we may figuratively witness another four years of Bush.