Republicans Against Bush

Welcome to my humble web site! In early December of 2002, I wrote an open letter to fellow Republicans giving my reasons why Republicans should speak out against President Bush. Since then, I have received a number of responses from fellow Republicans and others. I have updated this page several times - on separate pages you can find my original letter, my February 2003 piece, a grim bit of near-future fiction written in mid March 2003 called The Patriotic News for December 12, 2012, a piece that appeared on the site on April 4, 2003, a piece called Cracks in the Wall that appeared in June 2003, and a response to Bush's 2003-09-07 speech.

My most recent piece (2004-05-10) follows. It is...

Americans Against Stupidity!

Thinking over my many problems with this administration, I think I have come to the nub of my objections to Bush's policies. To put it plainly, they represent a consistent policy of blind stupidity. Bush and his associates appear to be quite politically savvy, but they make their policy at the top, and that policy is consistently stupid policy.

From my viewpoint, the past year has been like being a bystander to a car accident - everything appears to be in slow motion, you try to yell out a warning, but the car crash happens anyways. To me, it was obvious a year ago that George W. Bush was going to disgrace the Republican Party and, unless replaced as nominee, lose the next election. What I couldn't figure out was why the rest of the Republican Party hadn't realized that yet.

My error, perhaps, was believing that the inexplicable decision to go to war with Iraq would be the clincher. Iraq had little or no connection with anti-American terrorism; this can now be said pretty definitively, and it wasn't un-obvious before the invasion (despite lots of arm-twisting, we failed to convince the UN, even with evidence that turned out to be, in part, fake). But seemingly America was willing to go along as long as Bush and Cheney used "Iraq" and "9/11" in the same sentence often enough, and as long as the invasion was a success.

But now the invasion is looking less and less like a success. A Boston Globe article today (May 10th) entitled "US military divided on Iraq occupation" quotes a major general recently returned from Iraq as saying that the US is losing the war on a strategic basis (Major General Charles Swannack Jr., 82nd Airbourne.) An unnamed "senior general at the Pentagon" was quoted as saying the United States is on the road to defeat, and "I do not believe we had a clearly defined war strategy, end state, and exit strategy before we commenced our invasion. Had someone like Colin Powell been the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff], he would not have agreed to send troops without a clear exit strategy. The current [Office of the Secretary of Defence] refused to listen or adhere to military advice." (article by Thomas Ricks, Washington Post)

Stupidity. You don't invade a large country half-way around the world in an explosive, potentially-hostile area, without a really good idea of what you are doing and how to get out. And yet Bush went ahead and did it. How stupid can you get?

Well, how about trying your best to subvert the Laws of War as codified in the Geneva Conventions, by holding individuals incommunicado at Guantanamo for years at a time with no review or right of appeal, and then sending our troops off to war? And then putting the CIA and a bunch of civilians in charge of military intelligence and interrogation? And then Bush expresses outrage that he wasn't told about the photos and videos of torture by Americans (what about being outraged that the torture was allowed to occur - instead of about how the PR was mis-managed?) And how does Bush think the next American soldier to be captured in Iraq will be treated? Not as well as Pvt. Jessica Lynch, sadly...

STUPIDITY. I can't come up with any other word for it. Let's talk about the deficit briefly. Other presidents have bitten the bullet and put forward new taxes to pay for war. Bush has a theory: "Put it on the tab!" (Not an actual Bush quote, but that seems to be the general idea.) And when you want to pass a new Medicare prescription drug benefit, the way to do it is to suppress information on how much it might really cost, because too many Republicans might reject it if the truth got out.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Luckily, the Republican Party faithful seem to be finally in revolt. Writing about Iraq policy, George Will wrote (May 4th) "This administration cannot be trusted to govern if it cannot be counted on to think and, having thought, to have second thoughts." An April 30th Washington Times column by Republican economist Richard Rahn on Bush's international economic policies stated, "From the beginning of the Bush administration, sympathetic, experienced economists have warned its officials about the need to avoid some obvious mistakes. Unfortunately, these warnings have gone unheeded." The criticism from ex-Bush administration officials Paul O'Neill, John DiIulio, and Richard Clarke is well-known. And the rumbles in Congress have been getting louder, with Defence Secretary Rumsfeld facing harsh questioning and criticism from Republicans like Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and John McCain of Arizona on the Iraq torture scandal.

What can good Republicans do? It is probably too late to repudiate Bush as the Republican nominee and pick someone else - the delegates are mostly chosen. All we can do is put as much distance between ourselves and Bush as possible and get used to the idea of "President Kerry".

Someone has started a "Republicans Against Bush" Meet-up on www.meetup.com - see http://repagainstbush.meetup.com/. The next "Meet-up" is on May 20th - see you there?

- Brian Youmans, Arlington, Massachusetts

PS: A confession: when I moved in the fall, I registered as an Independent. I have felt for some time that the religious right have taken the party in a direction that I just can't stomach, and leaders within the party who I respect - former Gov. Bill Weld of Massachusetts, for instance - are treated like dirt. I might come back to the party someday, but for the moment I'm a disgruntled exile.

I would be happy to hear your comments on this piece; send them to republicansagainstbush@yahoo.com.