Republican President Donald Trump has become a polarizing figure in American politics and for good reason. Whether one agrees or disagrees him, his style and proposals are beyond accepted political norms.
It’s also triggered new lows on the left. From riots through Washington D.C. on Inauguration Day to repeated attempts to shut out supporters, liberals have resorted to a shocking level of disdain for those who disagree politically.
Now a Maine legislator is giving thanks for former President George W. Bush, among others. In a tweet, liked by Lewiston Democrats and retweeted by Sun Journal reporter Steve Collins, Senator Nate Libby made this statement:
While disagreeing politically with President Trump is understandable, being grateful for fBush is disturbing.
Bush is the President who led an Administration that sold us on a conflict with bad information. The war propaganda depicted the situation in Iraq as dire and the threat to the United States imminent. In other words, if we did not invade another country, the world would come crashing down.
The result of the lie has been enormous for the United States. In just the first decade years of the occupation, almost five thousand active service members have been lost.
Is this something to be grateful for?
Senator Libby’s tweet suggests that losing thousands of military lives is insignificant in comparison to some hurt feelings and bad executive orders.
Aside from the tragic loss of life, the cost of the occupation has hit $2 trillion. For a Democrat to be grateful of this is astounding. The amount of domestic programs at home that this money could be spent on is enormous.
How many children could be fed, clothed and better educated with that $2 trillion being spent instead on Senator Libby being grateful for a lie that cost us thousands of military lives?
The Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University estimates that at least 134,000 Iraqi civilian lives have been lost in the conflict. When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers are factored in, the death toll increases to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000.
Is this something to be grateful for?
The former neoconservative President has much more to his record that make him easily one of the worst Presidents in recent memory. The actions of any other President, whether it be his Democratic successor or the current Republican, do not change these facts.
In addition to the atrocious foreign policy record, Bush’s domestic record is hardly a cause for celebration either. The USA PATRIOT Act left the Bill of Rights in a weakened state. The use and expansion of roving wiretaps, collection of business records, and deep surveillance under the unchecked authority of the executive branch was enormous.
This is a power that President Trump has now. Is Senator Libby grateful for this?
The Bush legacy also resulted in the Military Commissions Act, which undermined habeas corpus rights for anyone declared an “enemy combatant.” This designation is one a President can make without due process of law to strip an individual of their legal rights.
A famous case involves Jose Padilla, an American citizen who was born in the United States. He was arrested because he was suspected of being involved in a dirty bomb plot. Based on this suspicion alone, Bush argued he should not receive a civilian trial and designated him an “enemy combatant.” He was held for three and a half years in a military prison without trial.
Padilla would eventually be transferred to a civilian jail and granted trial. Though his habeas corpus rights had been revoked by the President as he was held in a military jail, Padilla was never actually charged with the dirty bomb plot that Bush used as justification for the actions.
Is this what Senator Libby is grateful for?
Some can and will argue President Donald Trump’s actions are counterproductive. It is one thing to disagree politically with the President. But does this justify being grateful for a former President’s disastrous legacy?
Thousands of soldiers’ lives lost in an a $2 trillion occupation justified by lies is nothing to be grateful for. American citizens’ due process rights being revoked by a President is nothing to be grateful for.
If this is who Senate and Maine Democrats look to for a leader, the motives of the political party need to be reevaluated. Disagreements with President Trump should not make us grateful for the damage Bush did to America.