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g. w. bush and weapons of mass destruction...
by Ronald P. Phipps

The Center for Process Studies wants to share the passionate response of one of its members, Ron Phipps, to the tragedy of New Orleans. The one silver lining could be arousing the American people and even the administration to serious response to global weather change. The press is not doing much to make this happen. This piece connects the dots between human activity, especially that which is committed to profits from oil, its effects in the natural world, and the resulting human suffering.  -John Cobb 

Among the first acts of President G. W. Bush was to withdraw the U.S. from the historic international Kyoto Treaty, which sought to reduce the cumulative and dangerous impact upon the world of man-made greenhouse gases. He did so with an arrogant and ignorant dismissal of scientific data and theory. Leading British scientific authorities on global environmental changes have aptly called Global Warming a “terrorist weapon of mass destruction.” Due to the increasing temperature differentials among the atmosphere, sea and land, more frequent and more devastating hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, fires and floods were predicted by scientists around the world. 

As glaciers melt in the mountains of the Alps, China and Africa, and as hurricanes sweep the Gulf Coast and Florida, the arrogant Texas oil men that occupy the White House continue to question and dismiss the evidence of global warming. Their cavalier dismissal is sinful and immoral. The link of cause and effect must be drawn to shame this administration into action. The continual failure of this insular administration to look beyond its own retrogressive agenda should impel the American people to seek a new administration which will protect Americans not only from terrorist acts but from natural disasters caused by the continual degradation of the global environment. 

Bush dismissed the evidence of global warming and failed to act to reduce the possibility of the increase of intensity and frequency of hurricanes, which in 2004 MIT scientists predicted, based upon super computer models, would devastate the Gulf States in 2005. Bush made war on Iraq based upon fictitious weapons of mass destruction and Bush makes war on the U.S. economy by his ignorant and arrogant refusal to fight a factual weapon of mass destruction, i.e. global warming. Connect the dots to hold Bush-Cheney responsible for their dismissal of the well known scientific predictions of global warming’s devastating consequences, and their failure to take preventive action to protect over a million residents of New Orleans.

The human dimension of Bush’s indifference to environmental issues is tragic, horrendous and heartbreaking. Bush can drop bombs on Baghdad but cannot drop bread, clean water and medicine on the desperate people in New Orleans.  The death, disease and displacement of people in New Orleans represent not merely a natural disaster but a social disaster. The human tragedies in New Orleans reflect the economic polarization between poverty and privilege in that city and in this nation. The human beings who were not evacuated, as Mr. Bush was frozen by his indifference and inattentiveness after his long vacation in Crawford, were predominantly people of poverty, largely but not exclusively African Americans. The catastrophic tragedy of New Orleans is a graphic manifestation of the social injustice inherent in the extreme polarization of wealth in this country.  

America’s gluttonous consumptive patterns and the social infrastructure that has evolved to so disperse home, work, shopping and recreation underlie the fact that America, with less than 4% of the world’s population, contributes over 25% of the world’s greenhouse gases. But Bush’s refusal to take the threat of global warming seriously is a cardinal sin against the world’s people
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Mr. Bush went into Iraq to dominate Iraq’s vast oil reserves and keep them out of the hands of France, Russia and China, who did not support the embargo nor the preemptive invasion and occupation of a sovereign land under the pretext of preventing the utilization and development of weapons of mass destruction. But they provoked an energy crisis rather than achieving the domination of Iraq’s oil reserves. 

And where has Bush sent our National Guard? A few months ago the governors of the states of the union expressed their deep reservations regarding the deployment of the National Guard in Iraq. What, the governors asked, would happen if and when natural disasters occurred? 

Where is our National Guard? It is to an unprecedented degree engaged in occupation of a foreign and rebellious land rich in petroleum. It has been sent there by Bush-Cheney in order to sustain the national gluttony and the exaggerated social infrastructure made possible by America’s car culture which, in turn, is creating the enormous “surplus” of greenhouse gases that will inevitably wreak havoc upon the future weather and environmental conditions of the planet. 

While allowing the enormous “surplus” of greenhouse gases, the Bush-Cheney cabal is concurrently creating the enormous national debt and trade deficit exhibited by any nation in human history. The triple deficits, the national debt, the mounting trade deficit, the consumer debt, are deficits which the rest of the world, sooner rather than later, will refuse to finance.

The global environment of this planet and the currency of this country are both threatened with steep declines. Even Bush’s supreme supplicant, Tony Blair, has pleaded with the President to join global efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. Alas, even Blair’s repeated pleas to the Prince of Platitudes have been to no avail.  The Judeo-Christian tradition, to which Bush incessantly lays claim, sees the Earth as the handiwork of God, and accordingly, demands from us committed and attentive stewardship, not the adamant abusiveness demonstrated by this administration which in its hypocrisy usurped democracy’s and Christianity’s mantles. 

Will this national catastrophe shake this President from his callous indifference? Will he ever realize that the leadership he attributes to himself requires both before and after national disasters more than “too little too late.” We will see more clearly with time that the world is now merely in the inception, not the culmination, of these processes of global environmental degradation, whose economic and human costs are so tragic. 

The consequences of the indifference and ignorance of the Bush-Cheney cabal are now poignantly and tragically being felt by the people of America. Future consequences will have a much broader and indeed international reach.

The people of the Gulf States are the recipients of the empathy, care and generosity of millions of Americans and of the people of the whole world.  As recipients of this care and generosity our nation has a moral obligation to do its part to stem the global warming of the planet, as that warming threatens dire consequences for the world's family.