Boy oh boy, do I wish the rest of the
world could live where Bush lives. A year ago to this day, I was
deeply absorbed into my own domino theories about the Iraq war and
what it would entail. I had fantastical visions that involved a
rainfall of nuclear and chemical weapons, global warfare,
Armageddon and me not making it to 25.

Hussain Rahim

I still haven’t made it to 25, but thankfully Bush was
wrong and Iraq turned out to be a paper tiger. Now bestowed with
the always favored 20-20 hindsight vision, a bit of reflection on
the past year in anticipation of the future year wouldn’t be
the worst idea. But let us start in the present. During a rally at
the Fort Campbell, Ky. military base yesterday, Bush ignored the
world’s realities as he issued a sequence of morale-boosting
non sequiturs to veterans returned from Iraq. While the soldiers
deserve all the credit imaginable for doing what I would never do,
they also deserve more than empty words and blind direction.

By telling the troops “their valor and sacrifice had made
the Middle East, and the world safer,” I wonder exactly what
Middle East and world Bush is talking about. Because if Iraq is
still part of the Middle East and Spain is still part of the world,
then things aren’t really safer. Ask any of the victims of
the recent hotel explosion, the dead missionaries, a murdered
reporter or the Spanish train passengers. In fact, with so many
resources diverted to the maintenance of Iraq it is impossible to
give full attention to global terrorism.

He also told the troops that they had “delivered justice
to many terrorists and you’re keeping the rest of them on the
run.” They’re running alright, but only after executing
their last attack.

Although tensions fluctuate here at home, I must say that in
America we are safer than a year ago for no other reason than the
fact that it’s easier to direct attacks elsewhere. By drawing
others into our singular mission, we opened the door for a March 11
as well as attacks on other foreign nations. These attacks will
quickly erode whatever international support we were able to bully
from the world and leave the United States in a more awkward
position than before.

Spain reacted to its personal tragedy with the prompt ousting of
the Bush-assuaging government. Other countries won’t even
need their own attacks to change course; the Spanish incident will
be enough for other European nations to realize that they want
their governments to be a more accurate reflection of their
beliefs.

Despite the black-and-white color spectrum of Bush
administration’s view, gray shades still exist in this world. The
ramifications of the Spanish reaction will be debated in political
discourse for generations to come. Was the ousting of pro-war Prime
Minister Aznar’s party a sign that terrorism works? Or did it
show that when a leader drags its populace into a war with 90
percent disapproval that re-election hopes are slim? Their urge to
withdraw from Iraq does create a bit of dilemma for the
mission’s stability.

By creating such a divisively polarizing issue, with spurious
evidence at its core, the United States has attracted only
fair-weather friends. I cannot fault them for electing a government
that represents their beliefs when the 2000 election showed that
Americans can’t even do that. However, Spain’s recent
election is being spun by many into an effort to skirt away from
the responsibility of global terror. No victim of terrorism can
have such naïve hopes. But the “either you’re with
us or against us mentality” transforms a difficult and
personal election for Spain into nothing more than an American
issue.

A year after the date of invasion and utter failure of
Bush’s championed cause to find any weapons, the president
has admitted no fault nor gained any grasp of reality. Only
recently, in reference to a statement by John Kerry, Bush was
unbelievably quoted as saying, “If you’re going to make an
accusation in the course of a presidential campaign, you’ve got to
back it up with facts.” But what was left out was, “If
you’re me, you can straight make shit up.”

Happy anniversary.

Rahim can be reached at
“mailto:hrahim@umich.edu”>hrahim@umich.edu.

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