I have little doubt that George W. Bush likes to think of himself as a protector of the good and a promoter of life. As evidence, I offer his recent veto of HR 810, the stem cell research bill. His remarks indicated that he was concerned about destroying human life. So concerned, apparently, that it caused him to cast the first veto of his presidency, some five and a half years after taking office. A closer look, however, reveals that Mr. Bush is not so much a defender of life but a destroyer of it. I don’t mean to imply that he wanders around with a gun shooting people, after all, he has a vice president to do that, I am referring to the practical results of his policies, actions, and inactions. Just how compassionate is his conservatism?
Some of this might be obvious. All you have to do is play word association. “Iraq”. Over 2500 Americans killed so far, thousands more injured and tens of thousands of Iraqi’s killed or injured. An eventual price tag around $1012. A country that had no direct ties to the 9/11 hijackers, no WMDs, offered no real threat to the USA, and which is now in the process of imploding thanks to our president’s decision. Remember, this is the action of which Paul Wolfowitz testified “it would be hard to imagine” requiring more than a few months and a couple of billion dollars (which would be paid back through oil revenue). Nothing like being off by a factor of a few hundred.
Speaking of obvious, how about the response (or more accurately, lack of response) to hurricane Katrina? They say actions speak louder than words, but apparently, inaction can speak volumes as well. How much suffering and death grew out of the administration’s ineptitude?
Here’s a fun one. Suppose you had a relatively easy way to ensure that thousands of people did not die from a particular form of cancer. All it required was an immunization. Simple. No worse than getting a tetanus shot from your doc. Would you support it? I think any sane person would. But not our Georgie! Oh no! That would be too straight-forward and logical! Let’s see if we can follow his tortured, dogma-soaked logic on this one. The cancer in question is cervical cancer which kills hundreds of thousands of women worldwide each year and about 5000 in the US alone. The human papillomavirus (HPV) has been proven to cause cervical cancer. We can halt HPV with a simple immunization. Got it so far? HPV causes cancer, immunization stops HPV. Give people the shot and the cancer potential drops lower than the president’s poll numbers. A sixth-grader could figure that one out while waiting to catch a pop-fly on recess. So, why aren’t we giving young women this shot? You see, it’s all about sex, and sex is something with which the president and his pals have a bit of a “problem”. HPV can be transmitted sexually and sex before marriage is strictly taboo with these folks. Here, I’ll let Republican Senator from Oklahoma Tom Coburn explain: “Premarital sex is dangerous, even deadly. Let’s not encourage it by vaccinating ten-year-olds so they think they’re safe.” In other words, they’re worried that if you vaccinate a young woman against a disease that could eventually cause her death, she might “get ideas”. Hmmm, now what would those ideas be? Oh, I don’t know, maybe that some people consider her life and happiness to be more important than their own narrow-minded, ideologically-driven, bible-thumping view of morality? In contrast, what message is the president and his pals sending? Maybe only sluts get cancer and good riddance to them? (You can find further details here)
Speaking of sex, our boy in Washington is very keen on the whole abstinence-only approach. It helps to shape our foreign aid policy. Quiz time! What’s the most effective way to halt the spread of AIDS/HIV in developing countries? If your answer included passing out condoms as a part of safe-sex education you wouldn’t be a rising star in this administration! Check this out. I’ll give you a tidbit:
“The nomination of Ambassador Randall Tobias to head the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) deepens concern over the United States’ commitment to long-term international development strategies that serve the needs of the most vulnerable, particularly women and girls worldwide. The Ambassador currently is head of the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) at the Department of State.
“Under Ambassador Tobias’ watch at OGAC, the U.S. has carried out a controversial approach to HIV prevention that goes far beyond any congressional mandate, by, among other things, limiting access to condoms even in generalized epidemics and hampering effective outreach to sex workers,” stated Jodi L. Jacobson, Executive Director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE).”
But hey, when it comes to sex, why stop there? Why not put someone on the FDA who went against the recommendations of the scientific community and blocked the passage of a morning-after contraceptive? Yes, I’m talking about Dr. W. David Hagar who once suggested that women suffering from PMS should seek relief by reading the bible and praying. With an administration like that, I think that women had better start praying a lot.
What other sort of things has G. W. Bush done to deserve the title of an unregulated biohazard? How about support of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Alright, that’s not human life in jeopardy so maybe it doesn’t count to them, but how about the fact that the administration withdrew support for the Kyoto Protocol on climate change?
Ultimately though, I think the item that really nails it all down is the one we started with, namely the veto of HR 810. Besides going against the wishes of a clear majority of the members of the House and Senate, plus 3/4ths of the America people, Mr. Bush has stated in very clear terms that he believes that the rights of a frozen four day old blastocyst, a hollow ball of perhaps a few dozen cells about 1/200 of an inch across, and which is most likely destined to be thrown away as medical waste, supersedes the rights of perhaps millions of living, breathing human beings, adult and child alike, whose lives might be saved or eased with effective research. The only moment more sad in this thread was the failure of the House to override the veto given the ignorance and craven needs of certain House Republicans to stay on good terms with their extreme right-wing supporters.
It’s a simple equation: Bush = biohazard.