An open letter to Atchue

By on October 2, 2003

Mr. Atchue,

First I would like to let you know I have read all of your editorials published in “The Chronicle” with great interest.

In your first editorial you criticized Professor Duffy for “Bush bashing” in his remarks at the freshman induction ceremony. I did not hear his speech but read Professor Duffy’s written reaction published in “The Chronicle” and heard him on WQAQ one afternoon explaining what he intended to do in his speech. Professor Duffy stated that his intent was not to “bash Bush” in his speech but hoped to convey to the freshmen the importance of taking in information on your own and questioning what is going on in the world around us. Do you consider any questioning of the policies of the Bush Administration as “Bush bashing?”

While discussing a recent debate between the Democrats vying for the Presidential nomination you said, “The debate quickly turned into a competition for who could bash Bush the hardest.” I watched this debate and saw this to be more of a questioning of Bush’s policies. Would that not be the logical path for these candidates to take when their goal is to take the Presidency back?

You cite Senator Joseph Lieberman calling Bush “the most fiscally irresponsible President in the history of the United States of America,” would that not be an appropriate title for a man who has run up the largest deficit in the history of the country, not created a single new job in almost three years while losing more than three million jobs and let the most offensive corporate criminals get away with their crimes with little more than a slap on the wrist as punishment.

In the same editorial you mentioned Senator Bob Graham, another Democrat vying for the nomination. He called Osama bin Laden Osama been forgotten during the debate. Graham, formerly a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, has said many times that he feels that a great deal of our intelligence gathering personnel was diverted from finding Osama bin Laden to trying to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Graham believes if Bush had not pushed for war in Iraq then bin Laden would probably have been found by now. What Graham said during the debate might be construed as an attack if the statement had not come from a man who probably knows as much about the intelligence we have as Bush knows.

Another point you made in your article about the Democrat’s debate was the criticism about the progress that has been made in Iraq. You state that just because no weapons of mass destruction have been found yet does not mean that there were never any. This administration knows well that Saddam had weapons since many members of this administration, especially Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, were also in the Reagan White House when the US gave Saddam those weapons. The case for war was made primarily on the basis of Saddam being an immediate threat with his weapons of mass destruction. Neither Saddam being a threat nor his “stock pile” of weapons of mass destruction has been proven to be true. If that does not make members of the Bush Administration liars I do not know what does.

You said in your editorial titled “Two Years of Change After 9/11″ that “If you start incorrectly thinking that the Patriot Act somehow takes away civil liberties, remember 9/11.” Personally I know myself and many others who oppose this expansion of government powers all remember 9/11 as vividly as those who are willing to give John Ashcroft the right to find out what library books you check out and what websites you visit, remember that terrible day. Many states and cities across this country have begun to pass laws against the Patriot Act and members of the House and Senate, both Democrat and Republican, have begun to question the act they passed in the weeks after 9/11.

The Bush Administration and its foot soldiers in the media (Fox News and talk radio especially) have used 9/11 to spread fear among Americans and to stomp out pockets of criticism towards any policies of this administration. Instead of using that terrible event in that way myself and many others would choose to remember those who innocently lost their lives that day and to learn about why people would want to do such a thing to Americans. As the lone superpower in this world we can change the way people think about us through means that do not involve war. The only long-term changes I can see from 9/11 on Americans are the amount of mindless patriotic sheep the attacks have created. The new definition of patriotism of waving the flag and not questioning the current administration is a hazard to a nation whose greatest strength, I believe, is our ability to openly discuss and disagree with the actions and policies of our government.

You say Bush is “still a justifiably popular President” and that might be the case but in the latest CNN poll his approval rating is 52%, nearing pre-9/11 levels. When his father ran for re-election most people felt he was a lock to win re-election. This was the case after a war in Iraq but what ultimately lead to his defeat were a staggering economy and a young governor from Arkansas who showed Americans a clear vision for leadership and change from the policies of Reagan and the first Bush. Democrats are now equally excited about Dr. Howard Dean and another Arkansasan, General Wesley Clark, have recently entered the race and will surely equal or better Bush on military issues, since he actually served in the military.

The economy is still down, we are still losing men in an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq and several Democrats are beginning to show the promise that a young governor from Arkansas showed in 1992. Hopefully whichever candidate challenges Bush next year and, hopefully, wins will be able to repair the damage Bush’s policies have caused at home and abroad.

All of your editorials were interesting and well written but as evidenced by the contents of this letter I disagree with you on many topics. I wish you the best of luck and hope you continue writing for “The Chronicle” but I will be here to present a differing point of view from yours. All I hope is that you read my articles with as much interest and as open mindedly as I read yours. I did not write this to be mean spirited and I hope you do not take it that way.

Thank you for your time,

Michael Tobin


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