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The Tyranny of the Bush Administration

October 27, 2010

Everyone is tired of hearing how abysmal George W. Bush was as president (for good reason), but is America still blind to the injustices of the ‘rule of Bush’ that, according to Locke’s definition in his Second Treatise of Government, is undoubtedly indicative of a tyrannical government.  His motives were impure and his dishonesty with the American people is appalling. Former president Bill Clinton was taken to court and put on trial for his actions of sexual deviancy in office, when Bush’s actions involving Iraq ended the lives of 4,693 US soldiers/ correspondents and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians and counting; Bush never saw the inside of a courtroom. We impeach and attempt to convict a president that engages in oral sex, but do nothing to one that is responsible for over 100,000 human lives lost? Interesting…

In this clip of a speech that was delivered by former President Bush on Veterans day, he expounds on the legitimacy of invading Iraq based on the assumption that Saddam Hussein had in his possession dangerous weapons of mass destruction, but according to an article by the Associated Press, “the CIA’s top weapons inspector in Iraq said that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction had ‘gone as far as feasible’ and found nothing, closing the investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion”. This justification was nothing but a scapegoat for the Bush administration to push their agenda to invade Iraq, which they portrayed as a response to 9/11, an event untied to Iraq or Saddam Hussein, but deeply rooted in terrorist camps located in Afghanistan instead. Regardless of the negative potency of Saddam Hussein’s rule, Bush had no legitimacy in invading Iraq, especially when the terrorist camps were primarily located in Afghanistan. Locke defines tyranny quite explicitly as the “making use of the power any one has in his hands, not for the good of those who are under it, but for his own private separate advantage….and his actions are not directed to the preservation of the properties of his people, but the satisfaction of his own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any other irregular passion” (Locke ch.18). With this definition in mind, let us examine the actions of the Bush administration in regard to motive (which obviously was not a reaction to 9/11, seeing that Iraq was not involved in the attacks on that day, nor was it the threat of weapons of mass destruction, which were never found). Former president George Bush Sr. was known for his negative relationship with Iraq and Saddam Hussein in relation to Iraq’s aggression toward Kuwait in the early 90’s. This may point to a motive of George W. Bush to seek “revenge”(Locke) for his father’s qualm (his father no doubt being the reason Bush jr. ever stepped foot off his ranch in Texas and into his house in Washington). This motive is absolutely improvable, but it is extremely conducive to speculation. One undeniable motive was the benefits reaped by members of the administration as a result of the war in Iraq. Dick Cheney for example was the CEO of Halliburton before becoming VP of the United States, Halliburton being one of the largest oil companies in the United States. Jennifer Wells reported in the Toronto Star in 2003, quoting Forbes magazine, “’The liberation of Iraq couldn’t have come at a better time for Halliburton’…which put a $100 billion price tag on the rebuilding effort”. The main benefactor of the war in Iraq? You guessed it, Halliburton. The author recognizes the explicit “connection between Halliburton and Dick Cheney, who ran the company before running the office of the vice-president. The Veep continued to draw $1 million annually from the company in ‘deferred compensation’ after cashing in $30 million in stock and options…” (Wells). There was a blatant conflict of interest here. This obviously ties back to Locke’s definition of tyranny, since this is a misuse of power to attain personal gains and it has unfortunately resulted in the lives of countless innocents. This should not be tolerated. Bush is a ‘rebel’ according to Locke, deviating from what is right and replacing it with “his own ambition” (Locke).

Bush ends his speech above assuring America that “we will settle for nothing less than victory”. I ask, victory for whom? Surely not the children of Iraq who were forced to witness this war behind their tears, not their parents who had no choice but to watch their children grow up in this environment, not the mothers of countless soldiers who lost their children, not the children of those soldiers, not their wives and not my relatives who are Iraqi citizens living in Baghdad. No, unfortunately, the victor here is clearly tyranny. And will there be justice for these misdeeds? No. The Bush administration’s golden parachute is as expansive as it is powerful, dripping with oil and blood, coming down slowly and without contention.

8 Comments
  1. Taylor Fields permalink
    October 28, 2010 2:48 PM

    I would absolutely agree on your claim that Bush was tyrant following his manipulation and abuse of the American people and the events of the Iraqi war. I would argue however that when initially elected, Bush exhibited Usurpation by Locke’s definition: rightful power by the wrong person. In the controversial 2000 election, after all the popular votes were counted in Florida, it was determined Florida had gone to Al Gore. The electoral votes therefor would have gone to Gore, and the presidency was technically Gore’s. However, the supreme court ruling ended the official count, making George W. Bush our president. Bush, because of the ruling had the right to the powers of the oval office, but technically speaking, was the wrong person. The wrong person was using power that was technically, rightfully his. Bush became a tyrant after he initiated a war based on contrived arguments to continue his father’s propaganda. Under Locke’s definition, Bush was a tyrant, because it was a wrongful use of power. Further, I would argue Bush was a rebel in Locke’s terms, he violate the peoples trust by lying. I believe it would be fair to argue under Locke’s terms, that Bush’s presidency was one of abuse, misconduct, and a violation of the American political system.

  2. rachelmich permalink
    October 28, 2010 5:40 PM

    I would agree with you that the Bush administration could be considered tyrannical under Locke’s definition. However, I must bring up a seemingly obvious point that we live in a democracy. When governments act in such a way, Locke acknowledges we have permission to revolt (paragraphs 205-208). When the time came for re-election, Bush not only one by the electoral college, but also the popular majority. So, although we may consider Bush a tyrant, the minority has no real power to change the government. This may not be fair, but it is the way of our democracy. The power is in the hands of the people and remains there- whether or not they are aware precisely what their government is up to.

  3. adamarcher permalink
    October 28, 2010 6:19 PM

    Well written indeed, but you ignore two points:

    -Saddam violated multiple portions of the treaty that ended the Kuwait conflict. He was overstepping his bounds and appeasement and turnng a blind eye to such violations has never been a positive thing in world politics.

    -Saddam was a cruel totalitarian dictator, and it would be irresponsible to allow for the long term continuity of abuse and genocide to as opposed to the temporary and relativly short-term horrors of war.

  4. Madeline Smith permalink
    October 29, 2010 1:48 PM

    In response to adamarcher- your second point is a fair one, but what about the other countries in that situation that we seem to ignore? It’s hard to deny that ‘responsibility’ is not the real reason we went to war.

  5. adamarcher permalink
    October 29, 2010 2:48 PM

    Yah for sure, I would say that it alone cannot be a reason to take out an oppressive govenment. (though some would say it is, and that is why some view the US as a sort of world police) However, it applies to Iraq because our precious meddleing there has made us partially responsible for them, so the second reason fuctions as a sort of strong apendage to the first.

  6. Jameson McRae permalink
    November 3, 2010 4:47 PM

    I think that this piece is very biased and ignores so many fact on the other side of the fence. You make many good points at the beginning when you say that most terrorists camps are in Afghanistan, but you ignore the fact that there are still a sizable amount of terrorists camps in Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a cruel leader and did horrible things to his people, he was clearly the tyrant leader in this situation not George Bush.

    This is not a war on ‘weapons of mass destruction’ it is a war on terror, and that’s what it will go down as in all of the history books. Just because no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq does not mean they were not in possession of these weapons, it is extremely difficult to sweep and entire country for such weapons. Iraq has been declared a supporter of terrorism since 1979 when Carter did so, and this is were all of the problems began. There were a countless amount of terrorist altercations with the Iraqi government following this, including bombings in Mark & Spencer department store, incidents involving Boeing jets sold to Iraqis (the sale of jets to Iraq was later banned), and a cruise ship hijacking. These incidents took lives of innocent Americans leading to an rough relationship with the Iraqi government. The Gulf War led to much more animosity between the two countries. Saddam was raping, pillaging, and plundering a nation that he had no responsibility for, and the hate toward the man quickly rose among the American citizens.

    The events on September 11, 2001 was the main spark in the hatred toward Iraq. The terrorist attacks took out 2,000 American citizens, and we are supposed to be okay with this? We had no choice as a country to react, if we didn’t this shows the terrorists that they can get away with their acts of killing innocent Americans. The war had nothing to do with George Bush Sr., all other presidents back to Carter had a problem with the tyrannical Hussein not just Bush Sr. Although Dick Cheney may have known when the war was going to happen and helped him make smart financial moves accordingly, the war was not planned around his company. Bush never went to court because he never violated any of his policies in office, he is the Commander in Chief and has the power to declare war whereas Clinton lied under a oath a clear violation of his powers. There was never a serious call for the impeachment of Bush, and ABC recently released a poll saying there is a 43% approval rating for the war on terror. The war in Iraq was a non tyrannical act on Bush’s part he had no ‘personal advantage’ in the matter, and the war is for the ‘preservation’ of the country we live in. I think this piece would have been a lot better if you would have depicted Hussein the terrorist as a tyrant. Even if you don’t support the war on terror or George Bush as a president many others do, this was not a selfish move on Bush’s part. George Bush is the opposite of a tyrant he is an American hero.

  7. November 5, 2010 6:39 PM

    I find this post very controversial. You seem to be strictly attacking Bush in your opening paragraph. You say “we convicted Clinton for oral sex so why not convict Bush for the lives he lost.” We did not elect Clinton for him to be receiving oral sex is why he was convicted, however Bush was doing what we elected him to do and unfortunately it may have costed some people their lives. That is for sure terrible but we cannot convict Bush because he broke the trust we instilled in him when he was elected. That is not a crime. There is no relationship between Clintons actions and Bush’s actions regardless how unfortunate the outcome of Bush’s actions were.

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