A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Bill Burkett
I've been termed a "nutcase" by those wanting to discredit me without an ounce of substance. Rush Limbaugh has chosen to make me a standard by which he makes comparisons with the false belief that he has discredited me and defamed me substantially as to now make me a poster child for "radical behavior".
It's true. In 1998, while very ill, I continued to write as I had done for ten years previous and one of my pieces was a one page essay entitled, "The Man Who Wanted to Be King", and it was about my former boss, George W. Bush. That was fully two years prior to his run for the White House. In fact, it was eight months prior to his run for re-election as Governor of Texas.
Within that essay, I focused on penchants, methodology and logic of the man who wanted to be King.
History has falsely made me look like a psychic.
Again, in 2001 after the collapse of the World Trade Center, I warned Americans in another series of writings of the dangers of blindly following a constant drumbeat of "crying wolf" on terror. I warned of the erosion of faith, and the erosion of our structure to feed a fear-based policy.
Terror politics have since stripped away at the fabric of individual rights; and FEAR has become the political driving point of over five years of public debate. I contend that in fact, the media's collapse to propaganda and fear have more significantly changed America than any single event within the history of this country; including, by the way, the terrorist bombing of the trade center in 2001. This failing, in my opinion, has enabled a false war that has destabilized the Middle East and the World, and has begun a pattern of economic restamping that will last at least another ten years.
Prior to the invasion of Iraq, I warned not only against the War but used the Department of Defense's own military planning factors to forecast what the War in Iraq would look like. I didn't have a crystal ball. But my projections, even though completely through the skills I learned in a 28 year decorated military career and as a War Planner and the planning factors and tables used by the War Planners themselves have been almost 100% calibrated to what has transpired in this near 1300 day war that was initially categorized as "Mission Accomplished" after only 17 days.
I believed then, as I believe now that the senior Generals within the Army at the Pentagon called it right. To accomplish this mission would require 400,000 troops and we just didn't have them available to us. All they did was use planning factors, sound logic and an understanding (an accurate, unemotional one) that Iraq was a tribal society rather than a cohesive product of social melding.
I want to recognize that President Jimmy Carter is one of the most vigorous and ethical men I've ever met and I believe he is again correct within his latest book.
I give him credit for the candor and courage to step out and paint America, for he has far more experience within critical capacities than I.
And though I am the son of a Church of Christ lay preacher for nearly five decades and was raised within that church; I admit to having lived within a community then and now that fields a number of 'fundamentalists' that only differ from the Muslem fundamentalists or the Jewish fundamentalists by which side of the street they walk on. Each believes that they speak for God - directly - and they in fact, are superior to all others within the human race.
Of course, this also speaks to the wisdom of the Thomas Jeffersons, Ben Franklins and others who first insisted on separation of Church and State within the Declaration of Independence and later carried it through to the Constitution. Obviously they had a mess of religious piety to deal with in their day as well.
Somehow, President Carter points out, this nation has the inherent ability to heal herself and find course correction. The faith of Americans has been tested over these past five years as the great strengths of this nation have sat idly by and watched the dismantling of the institutions that built her greatness. We've watched the media become empowered only by the business bottom line and allowing that chase of profit overpower the professional basis of journalism's architectural role as established and envisioned by the Founders. We saw generations of professionals now replaced by news readers. We see the evidence of great producers replaced by no research, "Google journalism" and the media being used as a vehicle for propaganda not unlike the old Soviet politburo.
This was a great institution in America. Even there, we have slim hopes of a revival of professionalism. But today, most of that renewal is coming from outside, rather than from within. The souls of journalism as we knew it from the Walter Cronkite days, have been replaced with "entertainment journalism" and therefore credibility will be much easier regained with new faces rather than revive the old faces of the past.
No institution has been more diminished, however than the profession of diplomacy. It is within the George W. Bush administration that we have allowed the center of gravity to be moved so significantly to the fundamentalist positions that we have therefore replaced diplomacy and positive contact with those that disagree with us, and therefore could be deemed as logical threats with military threat and pomposity.
We've seen it at every front and within the very people selected to portray that image including Condileeza Rice and John Bolton. It is an underlying arrogance that only we can be right. It is a pomposity of grandiose nature that WE, the United States of America - no, President George W. Bush is the final judge and answer.
Unstated on most occasions is the underlying portrayal that the reason that George W. Bush is the final answer is that he "speaks for God"; that this administration is in fact (in their belief) the hand of God Almighty.
Not since the days of King George of England have we seen such pomposity and this was the basic tenet espoused within my 1998 essay. There was then, and is now, this inner belief that George W. Bush is the final answer. We saw it within the first ten days within the White House when Karen Hughes lectured news writers that George W. Bush was the "Commander in Chief"; elevating the military title versus the civilian leadership mantle of 'President'.
Such a focus on Commander in Chief should have signaled to all Americans of the self- centered, all powerful supreme ruler mentality that was being assembled.
Yes, I did write within an essay later and compare George W. Bush and his inner psyche alongside other historical leaders of the World. I wrote that the week after Karen Hughes tried to sell George Bush through a comparison to Winston Churchill, by the way. That should give slight context. But more important context, this was a serious essay, not a rant. It was a product of a Command and General Staff College (Army) style study of leadership.
And the findings were very simple. The basic tenets and approaches of George W. Bush emulated Adolf Hitler far more than Winston Churchill. Mussolini and Chairman Mao were far more recluse and Mussolini was far more paranoid than Bush. But Churchill always had the people's short and long term interests at heart. You never saw evidence of a political slant, or the anxiousness to stamp a slanted agenda to any action. My attempt was to refute that Bush was at all Churchillian. He was far more pompous and filled with himself. He was far more a radical of social change and far less willing to listen to viewpoints other than his own. Like Hitler, he wasn't a student who learned and grew from his mistakes; he was petty and insulent and refused to admit shortcoming or failure probably because it indicated weakness within his own mind. And these were traits he had displayed not only within this administration but before within advice to his Father, and within his business dealings including his four failed businesses prior to the Texas Rangers "windfall" provided by the Rainwaters of Ft. Worth.
Warriors and Diplomats should always be taught to be the best and toughest student of the leaders of their own effort and all others within the arena.
It is knowing George W. Bush that makes us understand our policy or lack thereof, and our focus and direction.
I won't label him as a Christian fundamentalist, but must observe that a Christian fundamentalist tact has been prevalent throughout his administration.
As a Christian, I'm comfortable in making that remark. I married into a Methodist denominational approach, and the fact that I might change admittedly indicates that I am able to listen, be tolerant and to learn and possibly even grow. And since I contend that Jesus Christ was the only perfect man and he died on a Cross, then I don't instill 100% faith in the words of any rector, preacher, politician or neighbor. I do not follow the actions of any man blindly, for I believe that would indeed be allowing the Devil's work to interfere with that of my Savior.
The point is, this President stamps us all by his actions. And the actions of the radical or the fundamentalist is so clearly a path for perpetual war and discord throughout the World. And that is not our objective in America. I admittedly have become a student of American and World history over these past eight years since my onset of severe illness. America was never founded as a Fundamentalist Christian nation as some may claim. In fact, the Declaration of Independence most clearly sets out the vision and architecture of this new democratic republic.
Certainly God, played a role within the lives of each of the signors. But there was a clear line of separation drawn between the imposition of God and the nation's goals and objectives.
This nation was isolationist until the twentieth century.
Certainly we've grown beyond that isolation. But we have not grown beyond the struggles of a "church state" (I hate the big academic terms being applied to these common sense happenings).
And I believe it is this attempt to radicalize America, that is the biggest threat to her structure and her future; a far bigger threat than any threat from an Islamic Nation, A Jewish lobby, or a radical fundamentalist cell.
The World's day-to-day events should serve as a laboratory for us all. We can easily see in this world of instant news, what works and what fails.
Every nation that becomes separated from its' own people fails. Every nation that moves too far to the right or the left; too far or radical fails. The only temporary sustainment of that failed policy is one form of dictatorship or aristocracy or another.
This nation will eventually provide it's own course correction and come back to her own ideals and principles. History will look back upon this administration scornfully. And though it will take this nation decades and trillions of dollars to recover from the collapse of moral integrity; from the selflessness that should be leadership and government, she will prevail.
Finally, I look to the signs that this course correction is beginning.
Within Connecticut, we can clearly see the turmoil of the pendulum shift and the clamoring of those attempting to remain in control.
The spasmodic seeming reaction to cultural shifts on the surface seem so distorting.
But they are simply the symptoms of a nation and a politic within a pendulum shift.
It is strange that the shift is first signaled from the Democratic party as a White House proponent is turned out and then spasmodically refuses to accept the will of the People.
Certainly Joe Lieberman loses credibility as he refuses to accept the will of the people. He reveals that he has become a drunk of sorts on the power and trappings of Washington; the same reactionary response as a Duke Cunningham or others who have fallen from favor and grace. And while a handful of those clamoring to define a position and defile those who voted against them as traitors of America; of odd actions including a strange marriage between Vice President Cheney, the Republicans and confirmation of the attacks against Lieberman that he had foregone his responsibility as a Senator to remain objective on behalf of the PEOPLE rather than partisan either way, their machinations are the death throes of the change that is underway.
America is beginning to shift her balance again to the center of gravity of the People.
What has been learned and relearned throughout history is that PEACE is the only weapon and the only seed for growth, but also prosperity.
I am a nutcase. I believed in this nation sufficiently to put her first, even before my family while in her service for 28 years. Obviously those that have called me a nutcase didn't share that resolve.
I am a nutcase. I believe in Democracy.
I further affirm that I share the spirit and details of the June 11, 1776 draft of Thomas Jefferson of the Declaration of Independence when he specifically wrote:
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. -
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and happiness."
And for the cause of Declaration the primary finding of the undersigned and those whom they represented was the "absolute Tyranny" caused of the Colonies by the King of Great Britian through "a history of repeated injuries and usurptation" first identified as his refusal to "assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."
I Believe in America. I believe in Americans; all Americans whether born here or naturalized. I believed in them when I saluted them for 28 years and my salute has not eroded.
Americans are more resilient than failed policy or radical fundamentalist thought either from without or within.
America will move slowly back to its center of gravity. That center of Gravity is Peace.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
BuzzFlash Note: Bill Burkett was the source for the Killian documents in the CBS story on Bush's National Guard service (or, rather, the lack thereof).