Guest Column: A letter to President George W. Bush

Dear President Bush,

I wish the war were over. I wish you would stop it. You could, you know. Every time I see another photo of a dead child, dead by our bombs—every sad, twisted story of our Army—another army gone wrong—I think: Today, there will be even more people who hate us. I want all those people in Palestine, Iraq and everywhere to know that I don’t like what you are doing. It is nearly impossible to trust you and most of your associates. Your vision is not one of democracy, or even one of fairness or kindness. Our ancestors are dishonored. Our children’s lives will be burdened with repairing this mess.

We would be better off if you had sought treatment, had never run for office, had not seized power, nor assembled your greedy team and ordered all this killing. How will you take responsibility for all the hatred and sorrow you have brought? Other dictators are being brought to justice, who stole elections, who persecuted, who ordered massacres, who let children be murdered, who lined their friends’ pockets with the people’s gold, who lied and misused the terrible power of armies. You, too, will face judgment.

Your vision is rotten. The money wasted in warfare will never be spent on education, health care, and environmental reforms needed to sustain and improve human life on this planet. The victims of global weather catastrophes struggle, the meaning of 9/11 is ignored, children are bombed, the rest of the world begs us to stop. Meanwhile, your friends at Halliburton, Raytheon, KBR, Bechtel and Carlyle line up again and again to suck the marrow from our nation’s bones. We have become the real evildoers. We build the bombs, we blow it up, we rebuild it, we build more bombs, we blow it up again… AND at every turn of the wheel, the American people must pay.

So may your friends also stand and face judgment in this horror.

Rice: oil tycoon, co-owner of Exxon, wealthier with every gas increase

Cheney: greedy energy cost manipulator, war profiteer like no other in history

Rumsfeld: avoided military service, arms trader, Saddam’s old friend, lied to start war

Gonzales: author of the writs of torture, presiding over mass deportations

Wolfowitz: architect of the war, destroyer of world economics

et al…

Do not wave the Holy Bible in our face any more. Decent people are offended by your smug smile, your jokes, bumper stickers, media cheerleaders and apologists. We feel sorry for you. Watching you on live TV, it is painful to see your thoughts jam and hear your words falter… You search for the most appealing, yet insubstantial, words to say, to a soldier without legs, to the homeless of New Orleans, to elders, to America’s urban poor. In another part of your mind, you are busy dropping bombs, cutting taxes for the rich, denying benefits, slashing pensions and choking education. Your liar’s pathology will not let you be so glib about what you are up to. Your mind also sees the images of poverty, death and destruction. In those seconds of silence, decent people all over this planet see the distance between good and evil in your soul, as the leader of the free world unmasks a terrible insanity.

As the proportion of dispossessed, widowed and wounded grows in our land, you are your own undoing. Only 28 percent of our nation is still in denial and supporting you. The other 72 percent are people of different economic backgrounds, ages, colors and spiritualities. Yet we form a group of likeminded people who believe it is not human to turn away from other people’s suffering, not human to ruin the air and the water for corporate profits, not human to preside over the destruction of innocent people’s lives and livelihoods. We feel there is something wrong with the accumulation of private wealth that exceeds the GDP of some nations. We think the dream of America has been hijacked as surely as planes on 9/11. Daily we pray together as one—for our deliverance from vicious extremists like you.

I wish the war were over. I wish you would stop it. You could, you know. You could have an amazing epiphany, like John Newton, the slave trader, and you could turn this ship around! It would be the single most momentous event in the history of humankind.

Are you there? Hello…?

David Stocker is a writer and musician in Illinois, a co-sponsor of the International Day of Peace in Rockford, and an original member of the One Drum band.

From the Oct. 4-10, 2006, issue

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