President Bush has failed as a leader on many accounts. His administration’s detrimental policies and outright deceit are terrible transgressions against our great nation. What follows is are brief summaries of the problems with this administration in some key issues. This is my indictment of the Bush Administration. Terrorism/National Security President Bush's policies are not making the world or even the USA safer; they are making them more dangerous. His reckless approach to foreign policy has alienated allies and enraged opinion against us, probably causing the ranks of terrorists to swell. The International Institute for Strategic Studies has found that “the Iraq invasion has in fact substantially strengthened bin Laden's network and increased the danger of attacks in the West.” While al-Qaeda did not operate in Iraq before the US-led invasion, over 1,000 are now present in Iraq.1 The State Department reports that the number of "significant attacks" reached a 21-year high in 2003.2 Bush is not doing anything to address the roots of terrorism—radical propaganda in the Islamic world, tensions over Israel/Palestine, and bad Western foreign policy, among other things. He has all-but-forgotten about Osama bin Laden, even after saying that “we will not rest until we find him” and that he is wanted “dead or alive”3: "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." - G.W. Bush, 3/13/022 2 Flip-Flopper Bush has reversed his positions on Social Security, patients rights, tobacco buyout, North Korea, Abortion, OPEC, trade, pollution control, investigating the government’s failures before the events of 9/11, gay marriage, and campaign finance reform, among other issues. Before he became president, Bush stated his opposition to intervention in the affairs of foreign nations: “I’m not so sure the role of the United States is go around the world and say, ‘This is the way it’s got to be.’ “ He also stated, “I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation-building.”5 However, he decided to invade Iraq and overthrow its government, changing the rational from Iraq’s supposed possession of WMDs to freedom for Iraqis. This is a flip-flop of the greatest and most striking degree. Environment The Bush Administration has consistently worked to weaken existing environmental regulations, allowing more pollution. For example, Bush’s “Clear Skies” initiative actually allows more pollution than enforcement of the existing Clean Air Act—this includes nitrogen oxide (a component of smog) and mercury, a powerful neurotoxin.6 EPA scientists estimate that enforcement of existing Clean Air Act standards would reduce mercury (a dangerous neurotoxin) emissions to 5 tons per year by 2008, as opposed to 15 tons per year by 2018 under a recent Bush administration proposal.7 The “Clear Skies” plan expands the harmful pollution credits trading system that allow heavier polluters to buy credits from lesser polluters, increasing overall pollution and creating hotspots of high pollution, in addition to delaying enforcement of public health standards for smog and soot.8 Water pollution safeguards have not fared well, either. In 2001, the Bush EPA decided to delay enforcing rules requiring states to create broad plans to protect 21,000 bodies of water classified as “impaired” until 2003, even though the rules (which were created by the Clinton administration) were intended to take effect in 2000.9 On January 15, 2001, the Bush EPA and Army Corps of Engineers tried to eliminate Clean Water Act protections for a substantial percentage of the nation’s rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands by reclassifying them as “isolated” waters (a term not appearing in the Clean Water Act).10 Luckily, this proposal was withdrawn in December, thanks to widespread outcry.11 Additionally, Bush’s proposed budget for 2005 cuts EPA funding by 7.2% from 2004, including $822 million in cuts for water quality programs.12 George W. Bush’s record as governor of Texas speaks loudly. More than half of Texas residents live in areas that do not meet federal standards for ozone. Houston has recently surpassed Los Angeles as the U.S. city with the highest ozone levels.13 Bush’s administration has aggressively pursued so-called “free trade” agreements that undermine environmental and labor standards. For example, Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows companies to sue governments over their environment/public health laws if they feel that they have adversely affected their profits.14 Civil Liberties The Secret Service has routinely restricted protestors to distant, low-visibility “free speech zones” at appearances by President Bush. While these blatant violations of the first Amendment have occurred before 2001, they have were rare, and the number has spiked under Bush. The American Civil Liberties Union brought the Secret Service to court in response.15 President Bush signed and ardently supports the so-called USA PATRIOT act which violates key elements of the Constitution (including the Bill of Rights), our greatest safeguard for freedom. This act violates the 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments, as well as the “Writ of Habeas Corpus” clause in the Constitution, as well as removing other American freedoms.16 Iraq War The Iraq War has already cost us $126 billion, and another $25 billion in funding for Iraq and Afghanistan will come this year. At least 11,000 Iraqi civilians (not counting insurgents) have died. An estimated 40,000 have been injured.17 Over one thousand Coalition forces have died, including over 900 Americans, with around 6,000 injured.18 The Bush administration lied and used unsubstantiated claims to make their case for the Iraq War. Many of the claims of the Bush administration regarding Iraq’s supposed WMDs came from a now discredited Iraqi defector codenamed “Curveball”. This includes claims made by Colin Powell at his UN presentation. Curveball is the brother of a top aide to Ahmad Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress. Other information presented by the INC was also false. German intelligence officials said they warned that the information was not credible well before the war.19 Mr. Chalabi has been convicted of embezzling bank funds and accused of spying for Iran.20 In his State of the Union address on Jan 28, 2003, President Bush claimed that “Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”21 However, this information was based on an obviously forged document. A senior IAEA official said that the errors were so glaring that “they could be spotted by someone using Google.”22 In fact, a claim that Iraq was trying to obtain Uranium from Africa was removed (at CIA Director George Tenet’s request) from a speech Bush gave in Cincinnati in October.23 In February 2002, former Ambassador Joe Wilson went to Niger, where he concluded that the alleged Uranium deal could not have taken place. He states that his analysis must have been reported to Vice President Cheney’s office before the war.24 In addition, Iraq did not have the capabilities reach the USA with WMDS via rockets, aircraft, or otherwise. Nor is there credible evidence that they intended to supply any to terrorist organization. Cheney and Bush used unverified evidence and unsubstantiated claims to lead us into believing in an Iraq-al Qaeda link.25 After the WMD argument disappeared, this administration pulled a bait-and-switch and claimed that the Iraq war was about liberating Iraqis and making the world more secure. That is disgraceful. In addition, there are many countries that have worse humanitarian situations than Iraq did. There are many brutal dictators. Yet, Iraq alone was selected. The current chaos in Iraq allows has turned formerly-stable Iraq into a terrorist den. This administration’s actions have enraged opinion against the US, which will undoubtedly cause the ranks of terrorists to swell. Education Record deficit spending is crippling vital domestic programs such as education. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has left states with unfunded mandates, causes teaches to teach to standardized tests rather than other important material, and punishes struggling schools. The president’s proposed 2005 budget under funds the popular program Head Start, adult and vocational education, and his own NCLB.26 Economy This president has not been fiscally responsible. The 2003 federal deficit was the largest in history, in terms of dollars, at $375 billion. The projected deficit for 2005 is $477 billion, which is 4.2% of the GDP.27 This will eventually have to be paid back with interest by taxpayers. Developing Nations The president supports “free trade” agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA, and the FTAA. These agreements undermine local economies in developing nations while causing US jobs to go overseas. These agreements accelerate the “race to the bottom” to move production to the areas with the lowest wages and environmental and labor standards. On one hand, highly-subsidized US agricultural products such as corn flood the markets of countries like Mexico, which cause farmers there who cannot compete to lose their farms. Additionally, powerful, multinational corporations have moved factories to these nations and bought industries and infrastructure in them, leaving the people there without any control of resources, while providing few good jobs in return.