The Bush Farewell Tour is well underway. The 43rd president of the United States will leave office in a few days considered as one of the worst presidents in history. George W. Bush’s approval ratings are pitiful, the economy is in shambles, the country is at war and even members of his own party rebelled against him, killing a deal to bailout the troubled auto industry.
How the mighty have fallen: A few years ago, the tough talking Texan was stepping heavily in the earth. With cronies Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and a gaggle of neo-conservatives, Bush II sought to remake the Middle East. He bullied the United Nations and charged into Iraq, falsely declaring Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. When France balked at his military misadventure, she was lambasted and Republican members of Congress declared that “Freedom fries,” not French fries would be served in the cafeteria. The mainstream media largely marched lockstep with the president and the Democrats, save a few voices, largely stood by and watched a travesty take place.
Now thousands of U.S. servicemen have died, billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent and a presidential visit to Iraq will be forever remembered for the shoe thrown ’round the world. The action of a single journalist, who threw his shoes at President Bush during a Dec. 14 press conference in Baghdad, captured the pain, the frustration, the anger and the anguish of the Iraqi and Arab people.
The shoe throwing, in Muslim culture, was symbolic of the level of disrespect and hatred engendered by the U.S. president. His foreign policies have been disastrous. Millions have died in Iraq, a country has been ruined and occupied and the future remains bleak. So much for American democracy and the heroes’ welcome that former Sec. Rumsfeld predicted and that mainstream media lap dogs swallowed whole, without a question or a care.
Did it have to be this way? No. “Since Adam, there has not been one person or nation with more power and dominion over the whole earth. This is the awesome position that America holds by Allah’s (God’s) permission. This indeed is a great trial for you and for America, because, when Allah (God) allows anyone of us to rule over His servants and a great part of His creation, He does so to see how we act. If we act well, He will not replace our rule; however, if we allow the power, wealth, and wisdom that we possess over Allah’s (God’s) servants and creation to blind us so that we act other than as Allah (God) would desire us to act, then, He acts through the forces of nature and through people to overturn our rule,” wrote the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in a December 1, 2001 letter to President Bush.
According to a Dec. 15 article on Al Jazeera.net, “Adil Shamoo, an Iraqi analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC, told Al Jazeera: ‘I think we should go beyond the shoe and think about the fact that the US should respect Iraq’s sovereignty in order to regain respect of the Iraqi people and the Arab world.
“ ‘I think Bush has increased terrorism against the United States and instability in the Middle East because of his policies.’ ”
Mr. Shamoo’s analysis bears witness to another warning issued by Min. Farrakhan: “I respectfully say to you that I believe if you continue in this effort in a way that you presently have in mind, it will not end terrorism, but unfortunately may increase it.” The Minister made this statement also in his December 1 letter.
Min. Farrakhan urged the president to rightly pursue those who bombed the World Trade Center, but warned against a war on Islam and invasion of Iraq, predicting the Iraq War coalition would crumble and moderate Muslim regimes would face unrest and possible overthrow.
Min. Farrakhan entreated Mr. Bush to seek a better way through dialogue, to break with past policies and to embark on a new course. “The whole world would like to have America as a true friend, but, America can never be a true friend of the people of the earth until and unless she rules with the Wisdom and Spirit of Allah (God) which reflects itself in our love for humanity, our love for truth, and our exercise of the principle of justice,” the Minister wrote.
That good advice went unheeded and President Bush continued to beat the war drums for a preemptive invasion of Iraq.
Then on Oct. 30, 2002, the Minister sent another letter to the president. The second letter listed the consequences of rejection of sound guidance and again offered a way out. “There is a rising chorus of anti-war demonstrations in the nation and throughout the world and it will intensify as you move toward war with the thought of occupying Iraq. The anti-war demonstrators will blame every death of an American service person and the death of every Iraqi citizen on you and this will produce a crisis for your administration within the United States, as well as in countries throughout the world,” Min. Farrakhan said.
“There are times in history when men of conviction go against the tide of world thought and opinion, bringing suffering upon themselves to establish a new truth or a new idea. However, this is not that time for you. In my judgment, this is a time when the President of the United States must not only listen to his advisors and study their agendas, but, he must listen to world opinion. If the President of the United States seems to show no respect for world opinion or for the thoughts of the members of the Security Council of the United Nations, then, your actions will turn the nations of the world against you and against America,” the Minister warned.
In all, the Minister warned that the Bush legacy would be one of warmongering and conflict as opposed to progress and peace, if he continued what he had in mind. Mr. Bush did not alter his course. The result has been the loss of American prestige in the world, the destruction of Iraq and the deaths of thousands of Iraqi citizens and American soldiers.
Has America learned a lesson about the cost of arrogance, the price of capitulation and the value of truth? The end of the Bush administration heralds the beginning of a new presidency and the possibility of change resulting from the suffering and losses of the past. We pray that the country and its leaders will study the recent past and avoid the pitfalls of politics and pride. Perhaps the country will heed the voice of Min. Farrakhan, a good man and a divinely-guided man, the next time major conflicts arise. His past performance shows he is truly a sincere warner and rightly guided man of God.