Bush Is at War with Americanism
By David Michael Green
The Albany Times Union (NY)

Saturday 28 January 2006

Forget the war on terrorism. President Bush is engaged in a full-blown war on Americanism.

Ridiculous? Unthinkable? The idea that an American president could epitomize anti-Americanism is certainly counterintuitive. But it's a lot less shocking if we consider just what defines this country's core values.

And if that list includes such essentials as freedom, responsibility, justice, humanity, respect and fairness - and doesn't it? - if that's what it means to be American, then George Bush is indeed at war with Americanism.

Each new revelation forces patriotic Americans to reconsider how much of ourselves - our liberties, our reputation, our dignity - have now been sacrificed on the altar of the Bush presidency. Each week brings fresh outrages.

Torture, wiretaps, planted news stories, secret prisons, one unmasked war justification after another. This country faces some very real threats, but must we give up everything that makes America, well, America in order to live safely within our borders?

As it turns out, that's a false choice anyhow, since even our security has been diminished by George Bush. The 9/11 commission has flunked him for his preparations against another attack. Meanwhile, he admits a breathtaking disinterest in Osama bin Laden, saying "I am truly not that concerned about him" and "I don't really think about him very much."

Bush he has been similarly unconcerned about North Korean nuclear proliferation on his watch, Hurricane Katrina, and the still unsolved anthrax case. Add these to his Iraq obsession, which has severely diminished our military, and American security has lessened.

For this, we've given up two centuries worth of proud honor and traditions?

For this, George Bush has traded away so much of what makes this country great that his presidency can only be described as a war on Americanism.


For all these reasons and others, world opinion of the United States has sunk precipitously - as well it should, for this is not the America our Founders had in mind.

And so we must ask, just what will be left of Americanism after George Bush is through with America? And, if the goal is not only preserving our lives, but also our way of life, just who is the true enemy of America and Americanism?

Surely al-Qaida is. Too bad, therefore, that the President doesn't think very much anymore about the folks who brutally attacked us on 9/11.

Surely Saddam Hussein - who never attacked the United States and never threatened to do so - was no such enemy, however brutal a dictator he certainly was.

But what of Mr. Bush himself? However counterintuitive, it is hard to reach but one conclusion about a President who has bankrupted America morally, fiscally, and militarily, who has alienated the world and deeply divided his own country, and who has trampled roughshod over our most sacred traditions and liberties, as if he were some sort of self-anointed king.


David Michael Green teaches at Hofstra University. His e-mail address is pscdmg@hofstra.edu.