The President has sponsored or advocated initiatives that advance his agenda, including the Iraq war strategy, education, energy policy, faith-based initiatives, illegal wiretapping, federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, even an initiative to get astronauts back to the moon. How are these initiatives doing? Here’s a brief look at a few of them.
The War on Terrorism – $1 trillion and counting. 3900+ military dead, 28,400+ wounded, even more dead and wounded if you count civilian contractors and a whole bunch more if you count Iraqis. This has not gone well since the mission was declared accomplished back in 2003. Excepting the fact that no planes have been hijacked and flown into skyscrapers since 9/11, by any measure the war has been mishandled, misjudged and has become a big zit on the face of the President. The next President will have his/her hands full with this one. I think we could have done a lot more to protect Americans by focusing on border security, rather than trying to fund a war on some other country’s turf.
Secret tribunals – by Executive order on November 13th – to expand the use of military tribunals and to hold non-citizens indefinitely on sketchy, heresay or no evidence other than suspicion of terrorist activity. This Administration has used indefinite detention, rendition and alleged torture since 9/11, to the dismay of Europe, Central Asia and other parts of the world. I personally hope that the next Preisdent denounces and halts these actions before the moral authority of the U.S. erodes any further. I’m sure I’ll never know if their effectiveness justifies what they’ve done to our global standing, but they sure do smell funny.
Reduction of Greenhouse Gases – In May, President Bush sort of came to the conclusion that maybe global warming wasn’t just hype and announced a round of talks among all major contributors to greenhouse gases. The first of these were held in late September, so it’s way to soon to determine if anything will come of this. With only a year left in President Bush’s tenure, it is not likely that much more than a framework will get created, and even less likely that greenhouse reductions will be put into place.
Illegal Logging – President Bush came out strongly in 2002 with a plan to cut illegal logging throughout the world. Strangely enough, illegal logging within the U.S. was not addressed in this initiative, just all those other countries.
Faith-based Initiatives – Some atheist group took the Bush Administration to the Supreme Court in February, in challenge of his faith-based initiaitve. In June the Court decided that the atheist group did not have standing in the case, leaving the faith-based initiative – which was created by Executive order and never ratified by Congress – alive and well. I actually think this is a good thing, as the few faith-based programs that I am peripherally involved with take their cause to heart.
Illegal Wiretapping – The NSA Warrantless Wiretapping initiative, grounded (more or less) by the Supreme Court in 2006, received a reprieve through Congress, which passed the Protect America Act in August of this year to allow warrantless wiretapping. Many would argue that the law as written created too many loopholes for the Administration. The law is set to expire in January, 2008 although the Administration is pushing for it to be made permanent.
No Child Left Behind – Lots of kids are still being left behind. You need look no further than the City of Buffalo.
I understand that the space program to build the next rocket to the moon is going well.