POLITICS

Bush Boycott? Yeah Right!

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both say that President Bush should boycott the opening ceremonies of the upcoming Summer Olympics in Beijing, to protest China’s abysmal human rights record. A resolution is working its way through the House of Representatives calling for the same thing. Bush probably won’t boycott, and even if he does it will be a hollow gesture given his own policies.

The idea of George W. Bush taking a moral stand against human suffering is laughable. After all, he’s the guy who stood by and did nothing while the victims of our nation’s worst natural disaster (Hurricane Katrina) lay trapped amid filth and fear in the flooded ruins of a historic American city (New Orleans). And, of course, there’s the Iraq War which has brought out the worst in the Bush Administration.

Less than two weeks ago the State Department (with full support of the President) renewed the contract for Blackwater Worldwide, the private “security” company which has wounded and killed numerous Iraqi civilians while escorting U.S. diplomats. The contract was extended even though the FBI is investigating a Blackwater shooting (labeled a “massacre” by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki) that left 17 Iraqis (including women and children) dead last September. Bush insists that Blackwater is not accountable to U.S. law, Iraqi law, International Law or American military law. So, no matter what atrocities they commit, they can never be prosecuted.

A few weeks before issuing Blackwater a shiny new free pass, President Bush vetoed a bill that would have barred the CIA from using torture techniques such as water boarding (simulated drowning). According to the president, torture is “one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror.” Of course Mr. Bush never uses the word “torture.” He prefers “enhanced interrogation methods.” But you know what Shakespeare said: “a rose by any other name…”

Of course we could go on. These are just a few recent examples of the moral failures that would dilute the impact of President Bush boycotting the opening of the Beijing Olympics. Still, despite everything that is wrong with his administration, Mr. Bush does represent the United States, so if he skipped the opening that would make a statement. Don’t hold your breath.

Even if President Bush actually wanted to confront China over human rights issues (which he does not), he probably won’t because China’s holding a lot of paper on us. Where did Bush find $600 billion to finance the Iraq War? A big chunk of it was borrowed from China.

Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge says the chaos that has followed the Torch Relay is a “crisis” for the Olympic movement. Oh, like they didn’t see this coming? Please! Grassroots rage over China’s oppression of Tibet (and the Western nations’ timid response to that oppression) has been boiling around the globe for years. China is a