Does Bush have any real friends?
by Sarah McCafferty
This past February 15, millions upon millions of people around the world gathered in urban centres in order to protest the possibility of an attack on Iraq. United States. President George Bush urged the nations of the world to join his “coalition of the willing” in an attack to “free” the Iraqi people from dictatorship. The United Nations did not support this; France and Germany even vetoed the motion when the movement was introduced to the Security Council.
It has been over six months since February 15 and Bush was back at United Nations headquarters last week. This time, however, he was proposing his “war bill” and asking them for financial help – 87 billion dollars to be exact. Despite this demand, he still refuses the notion of letting the people of Iraq vote in their own government. I think that he authentically has good intentions with this (I hope), but the violence won’t stop until the people feel like they have power of their own country.
The peculiar part of this bill is that it devotes so little to the actual physical restructuring of Iraq and Afghanistan, such as only $800 million for civilian programs in Afghanistan and $15 billion to restructure the oil, water, and electrical networks of Iraq.
The month-long war waged in Iraq and the ongoing presence of coalition troops has already tallied up a nice, shiny 76 billion dollars and climbing. Put that on top of the still ongoing project in Afghanistan and you’ve got yourself one whopper of a bill, one that has sent the American economy into a downward spiral. President Bush has been since trying to broaden his repertoire of international buddies, and trying to smooth out the others. Last Wednesday he met up with UN Secretary of State Kofi Annan, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and other dignitaries, trying to convince them of “transferring power back to Iraq.”
Bush’s actions recently hardly make up for his lack of better judgment in the whole Iraq conflict, and his entire administration in general. Not only has he spent 79 billion dollars on the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, he is also begging the U.N. for another 87 billion more – the largest plea for emergency spending since World War II. (And I hardly see how these two events can even be compared.)
Much of this money is being spent on restructuring their societies–but who is the United States to say that their vision is best for these people? The United States needs to back off with their claim of moral authority. The people of Iraq clearly do not see them as liberators, but as occupiers. French President Jacques Chirac reportedly said: “In an open world, no one can live in isolation; no one can act in the name of all”
What I see as is the best route is for the United States to give a commanding role to the United Nations. That way the entire international community can look after the best interests of Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States should still play an important role in this, but not the leading role. President Bush needs to step back and start paying more attention to the problems in his country instead of leading a one-nation army.