“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
One of the portraits George W. Bush has painted were recently displayed on TV and in the newspaper. We read that he has produced “more than two dozen portraits of political figures that he encountered while in office.”… “I spent a lot of time on personal diplomacy and I befriended leaders,” he has said. (That is his other “art” — putting on the “good old boy” facade to convince people what a swell guy he is). The paintings have been put on display at his presidential library in Dallas where alongside the portraits you can read, “The Art of Leadership. A President’s Personal Diplomacy.”
In the April 18 “The Week,” Jonathan Jones of “The Guardian” commented that “the show is at least a brilliant PR move ... Americans do tend to forgive their more controversial presidents.”
There, on another page of the newspaper, was an article that reported on the slaughter at Fort Hood, where the gunman killed three people and himself and injured many others. The shooter was a military man who had, among other problems, been suffering from PTSD because of his deployment in Afghanistan. My first thought — our military personnel and innocent people are still dying — more than 12 years since that war began. Add W’s hallucinations that he and his cohorts (Cheney and Rumsfeld) were looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and then were going to bring democracy to some middle eastern nations by force. As a result, he was ultimately responsible for the death and injury of thousands of our military personnel and tens of thousands of innocents in Iraq. Of course, in the name of political expedience, Congress went along with him — a political travesty and a twisted example of democracy, if there ever was one.
So W has been enjoying his retirement — taking painting lessons and displaying his products in his library. Does his conscience bother him as he enjoys his works of art and his Texas ranch while so many of our young military personnel continue to suffer from related trauma from a continuing senseless war? Does he register the least bit of remorse? It seems that what Richard Cohen wrote in his recent column about Rumsfeld also applies to W. “He appears to be a man so stuck on himself and his buoyant cleverness that he cannot accept fault or even entertain the notion.”
As I thought of W and his exploits, a poem that I wrote to vent my frustration in January 2009 shortly after his presidential term ended, came to mind. It’s titled, “Mission Accomplished.”
Dear George (and your buddies), I’ve written this rhyme
Cause all you’ve accomplished is truly a crime.
You have governed our country to a state of confusion —
With your bluff and bravado and your “God told me” delusion.
For almost eight years now, your brain’s been on hold
And your lack of astuteness leaves thinking folks cold.
You’ve crushed our great country under hubris and greed.
Who dreamt in 2000 how well you’d succeed.
Made your own rules — (Constitution’s just paper).
As you and your buddies carried on with your caper.
The Iraq war was preemptive. Many innocents died
Or were horribly disabled as you spun, fibbed and lied.
To hell with the truth! You wanted the war
To fulfill some weird notion of a legacy in store.
As you’ve kowtowed to business, plus your oil country lust,
Add the dereg compulsion till our country’s gone bust.
Screw the regular person. Privatize, and much more.
Tax cuts for the wealthy. Cut help for the poor.
Dear George (and your buddies), are you sad or contrite?
Do you have any conscience? Do you sleep well at night?
In dismantling our nation, you’ve been second to none.
Will we ever recover from what you have done?
“If we are truly a nation that cares about the cost of war, we need to include somewhere in the casualty count those who are killed when the war comes home.” — Stacy Bannerman, San Francisco Chronicle, April 6, 2014.
Since 1984, Dorothy Dimitre has written more than 700 columns for various local newspapers. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.