New Page -- 9 September 2003
Updated -- 20 June 2005
A "Bush War" has traditionally been defined as any undeclared, allegedly minor skirmish involving more than one nation and in which there is a tendency for one side to greatly overmatch the other. Historically, such a war has typically been fought in the "bush" -- the outlands of savannas, forests, deserts (e.g. the "Australian Bush") and sparsely populated and/or relatively uncivilized areas (i.e. with no major cities).
In the derogatory sense, it is the bush league of wars. It is also any place a war is being conducted in which your side is obviously the superior military force and supposedly your side is the civilized populace. It might even be thought of as an act deemed by the arrogant as one of overt generosity whereby greatly superior beings actually bother themselves with showing the slightest attention to the residents of such "bush" areas -- which are by definition, uncivilized, uncouth, and unfamiliar with the advantages of digital watches. Bush wars are thus the civilized warmongers against the heathern victims -- the latter whose only real claim to fame is a hoard of natural resources.
In the last couple of decades, the term "Bush Wars" has come to signify preemptive warfare against any nation who so much as looks cross-eyed at a Bush President of the United States, and if that same Bush decides in his infinitely minimal wisdom, unilaterally and without congressional approval, to go in and "kick butt". The President will, of course, not do any of the kicking, but will send in others to do his dirty work -- dirty work which has become virtually synonymous with Oil Wars. The President will, of course remain at his desk in Washington, or ranch in Texas, looking presidential -- admittedly in an Alfred E. Neuman "What We Worry?" sort of way.
Parenthetically, one might note that there is very little "bush" in say, Afghanistan, Iraq, and even potential candidate, Iran. On the other hand, "bush" really defines portions of the Western Sudan, where the ethnic cleansing (un-civil war) in 2004 was creating a humanitarian crisis that threatened a half million lives . But then again, Afghanistan is the gateway to Caspian Sea oil, Iraq and Iran have tons of oil reserves, and... alas... the Western Sudan has mostly poverty and drought.
The key to the above re-defining of "bush wars" is the phrase: "without congressional approval." According to the Constitution for the United States, Article 1, Section 8, Congress has the power to declare war. There is no constitutional allowance for Congress to delegate this authority, a no-no which includes giving the President of the United States a blank check which he can cash by using his best judgment to decide who's next on his list of whom he imagines to be evil doers.
The result is a virtual dictatorship where the Congress ignores its constitutional mandate to provide a system of checks and balances over an out-of-control President. Such is the State of the Union.
It is certainly true that in times of war, leadership is of the essence. This implies a chain of command where at the top of each level there is a single responsible individual. When a few years back an American nuclear submarine surfaced under a Japanese boat resulting in the deaths of many of the occupants, it was the Commanding Officer of the nuclear submarine who took the heat and lost his command. By the same token, the Commanding Officer of any military unit is -- within the confines of his command -- the ultimate and sole authority. It's a matter of simultaneous authority and responsibility. Wartime in all respects requires a single Commander-in-Chief. It also requires said Commander-in-Chief to be responsible.
The single leader concept, however, is limited to times of war. But prior to a war being commenced, declared, or initiated, Congress must make a collective decision as to whether or not to go to war. Leaving it up to a president, who will then use his best judgment once the evidence becomes available, is essentially treasonable on the part of Congress (and probably for the President who requests such authority).
The reasoning behind this is nicely encapsulated by Abraham Lincoln in a letter to his young law partner, William Herndon, at a time when Lincoln was a U.S. Congressman and when his President was starting a war against Mexico without the consent of the Congress. It is particularly noteworthy that in the letter, dated February 15, 1848, Lincoln opposed the President's argument that a "preemptive strike" was needed, and that only the President need be the judge of the need for such a preemptive strike by supposedly using principles from the founding fathers.
"Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever HE shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, WHENEVER HE MAY CHOOSE TO SAY he deems it necessary for such a purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix ANY LIMIT to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, "I see no probability of the British invading us" but he will say to you "be silent; I see it, if you don't."
"The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons. Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that NO ONE MAN should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood."
By anointing President Bush as "King Bush", the Congress has acted in direct opposition to the Constitution for the United States. Some dare call it treason.
Aiding and abetting King Bush is the Federal Reserve which provides a blank check for a bush-war-mongering President. It does this by allowing the federal government to pay for the war with ever-increasing debt. The peaceful alternative is to require that any government have real assets with which to pay for a war, in effect the imposition of what might be called a Gold Peace. By providing tax cuts for the rich and simultaneously waging a pre-emptive war, the President is using a massive and nation-debilitating debt to finance everything. It's the old "Buy One, Get One Free", two wars for the price of one mentality. If monetary policy was based on a gold standard (or its equivalent), most wars would be over as soon as the troops realized they weren't getting paid and that there was little likelihood of recouping their losses in the future. (There might also be less enthusiasm on the part of the troops if they were a bit better informed of the dismal state of affairs for returning veterans.)
[Guess who took us off the gold standard in the early part of the twentieth century?]
Meanwhile, King George -- interesting similarity -- prefers debt and the unilateral thinking of neo-conservatism with which to propagate his Oil Wars. As a consequence, the world is in deep do-do, as his Congress-authorized reign of Corporate Rule inflicts its greed upon everyone. But it's not just corruption, it's the very essence of war itself.
War can generally be considered -- at least by anyone in the trenches (as opposed to the modern day version of leading from afar) -- a dangerous proposition. One can be killed, maimed, sickened, and psychologically unnerved. It often leaves veterans of such wars little or no justification for their sacrifices -- particularly in recent days (thus far in the 21st Century) when American veterans are seeing their rights and benefits disappear by the carload. It's sort of a "shock and awe" in reverse, especially when one returns from the war front to find medical assistance in all of its forms in such dismal condition. This, of course, assumes that one is not "retained for the benefit of the service," and thus afforded additional opportunities to be wounded or killed.
But in terms of Bush Wars -- including both the senior and the junior, i.e. Gulf War I and II (not to mention President Clinton's excursions in Bosnia) -- there is an even more horrific foreboding at work. The issue is Depleted Uranium, which according to some possess what might be the greatest threat to humankind since the Great Flood. The general consensus is that when the vast majority of the earth's population is threatened, there just might be a degree of urgency to do something about it.
Depleted Uranium in a nut shell -- we will leave it to your imagination as to which "nut" we're imagining -- is the use of highly radioactive uranium (and its equally dangerous and radioactive byproducts) in bombs and shells -- those items we keep throwing at residents of Iraq, Afghanistan, and other unfortunates. This clever innovation in military weaponry provides for an enormously efficient killing of military targets, any and all civilians in the general area, and ultimately for the whole region where the radioactive dust ends up. The emphasis on "the whole region" is to make a point. For in addition to the radioactive damage inflicted upon the soldiers and sailors on the delivery end of the equation (as well as the receiving end), the radioactive dust tends to travel around the world to the point of causing a massive increase in the number of new-born deformities. This means that the whole region of concern is the planet Earth!
Bob Nichols has noted that "Out of the 580,400 soldiers who served in the first Gulf War, 11,000 are now dead! By the year 2000, there were 325,000 on Permanent Medical Disability. This astounding number of 'Disabled Vets' means that a decade later, 56% of those soldiers who served have some form of permanent medical problems." This can be compared to disability rates for wars without depleted uranium of 10% (Viet Nam) and 5% for other Twentieth Century wars. Obviously, the United States Military is getting very proficient at "friendly fire" where our soldiers and sailors are being wounded in grostesque numbers.
But it gets worse.
Truthout's James Denver has reported the concerns of Dr. Chris Busby, the British radiation expert, Fellow of the University of Liverpool in the Faculty of Medicine and UK representative on the European Committee on Radiation Risk:
Axisoflogic.com has a series of excellent articles beginning with an interview with a geoscientist Leuren Moret, and including links to Life Magazine's essay on birth defects of children born to returning soldiers from both Gulf Wars, as well as both a military and a survivor's perspective. There is also more detail on the nature of the weaponry itself which is essential reading for everyone! Note also the link to Iliya Pesic's paper entitled “Depleted Uranium — Ethics of the Silver Bullet”.
There is a tendency to want to dismiss the material in the above links as a case of just too much to deal with. The idea is upon encountering a truly horrific situation to simply deem the material unduly alarmist and thus try to deny any semblance to truth -- or a need to do anything about it. But even if most of the allegations are overly biased or taken to extremes, the reality remains that there is really some horrible results from the use of depleted uranium in war. Any war! In all respects -- and make no mistake about it -- depleted uranium is a weapon of mass destruction. The fact that it has been routinely used in the last fifteen years does not make it any less horrific.
[The irony, of course, is that in order to prevent Iraq from using weapons of mass destruction -- weapons which had long ago been destroyed -- the United States and England are routinely using weapons of mass destruction on the Iraqi -- not to mention the residents of Afghanistan, Bosnia, Portsmouth, Georgia, Iowa, et al. And all the while, the veterans of the "winning side" are finding out why they are not supposed to ask what their country can do for them as compensation for their sacrifices.]
(11/4/06) In closing, we might recall the words of Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. :
BTW, "President Bush has said that the public's decision to re-elect him was a ratification of his approach toward Iraq and that there was no reason to hold anyone accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath." One would have to suspect that George spends a lot of time washing his hands.
 Simon Robinson, "Nowhere to Hide," Time Magazine, July 5, 2004.
 The Washington Post, January 16, 2005.
 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., "The Runaway Presidency", originally published in November 1973, reprinted by The Atlantic Monthly, October 2006. *
*Mr. Schlesinger's choice of his title should not -- because of the date of the original publication -- be construed to apply to President George W. Bush, the President best known for avoiding (i.e. running away, going AWOL) from his military obligations. There does seem, however, to be a strange irony at work here.
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