Today marks the second anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in the history of the United States. The terrible nature of this crime will probably never be realized by all of us, but its consequences have affected the lives of every American citizen.
And I’m not speaking of the inconveniences to our everyday lives. Rather, how President Bush, responding to the fear inspired by the attacks, implemented misguided domestic and foreign policies that have made America a worse place than before that awful Tuesday.
The Patriot Act was passed just weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, pushed through Congress by a White House that declared anyone who opposed the dismantling of our civil liberties “unpatriotic.” Now Bush and Co. want to pass “Patriot Act II,” a plan to give John Ashcroft more power to look at what books we’ve checked out or to read e-mails with no probable cause.
Bush pushed through an increase of his fiscally irresponsible tax cuts under the ruse of helping those who lost their jobs due to the Sept. 11 attacks. What it amounted to was a tax cut for rich folks, while average Americans got back a couple hundred dollars.
This is taking place in a country where tens of millions of its citizens are without health care and cannot afford to get sick. Prescription drugs are out of reach for many because their affordable generic versions are not allowed to be imported. Schools are falling apart, and many Americans can’t afford to go to college, even if they deserve to.
Bush and Co. have turned the “War on Terror” into something that resembles a Salem witch-hunt more than an effort to capture the people responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks. While we bombed Afghanistan into submission and then left, we never did capture Osama bin Laden, the man whom all the bombing was about. Now al-Qaida is again gaining strength in Afghanistan, taking advantage of America’s unfinished business.
And then they decided to invade Iraq, a decision that had nothing to do with capturing those responsible for Sept. 11. Supposedly, Iraq supported terrorists; no such connection has been proven. Further, Iraq was supposed to have weapons of mass destruction; no such weapons have been found.
Since Saddam Hussein was deposed, the situation in Iraq has been bogged down by Bush and Co.’s inability to formulate a post-“victory” plan. Almost everyday, a U.S. soldier is killed. And now, Bush is asking us to give him an $87 billion blank check without telling us how he will use this money.
At this point, it’s too late to totally withdraw from Iraq. But Bush needs to reconcile with those countries he has alienated and remove some of the burden of this conflict from the American people, many of whom can barely afford to help themselves, let alone the Iraqi people.
Those who died in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. were the innocent victims of vicious and inhuman actions by a group whose only motive is to spread hate and fear. But our president should honor their memories by helping all Americans to live life to the fullest, not by continuing down his path of reckless and dangerous domestic and foreign policies.
Joe Roma is a senior majoring in political science.