Why does America seem so unsafe all the sudden?
In the long and cringe-inducing history of political gaffes, misspeaking and verbal stumbling, former President George W. Bush committed an unfortunate doozy last week.
“The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq…I mean, of Ukraine,” the former President said during public remarks about the conflict in Ukraine.
Bush seemed to immediately realize his mistake, what members of the press would immediately rush to label, “a momentous truth”.
“Iraq, too,” Bush said under his breath, before pivoting in his signature style to the easy humor he is known for. “Anyway, 75!” Bush said, blaming his lapse on age.
“Bush’s gaffe is historic in all that it reveals about wars, nations and certain kind of political leaders in the world,” wrote Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee for The Wire on May 22, 2022. “It was rather effortless, to begin with, how Bush slipped into mentioning Iraq while speaking about Ukraine, as a victim-country of war. Bush revealed that the ghosts in his head seem quite active at 75. The ghosts of war haunt you, especially the wars that you waged against others, wars that were ‘unjustified and brutal’.
“Why Arabs aren’t laughing at George W. Bush’s gaffe on Ukraine and Iraq,” agreed Tamara Qiblawi for CNN.
“It took 20 years for George W. Bush to finally confess,” quipped Wajahat Ali, columnist for the Daily Beast on Twitter.
MSNBC’s Mehdi Hassan called the lapse, “one of the biggest Freudian Slips of all time.”
“I’m not laughing,” Hassan added. “And I’m guessing nor are the families of the thousands of American troops and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died in that war.”
The gaffe heard ‘round the world, along with a mountain of articles explaining the concept of a “Freudian Slip,” coincided with another reminder of the wars of America’s past, this one much more chilling.
ISIS, that mortal enemy of the U.S., a group even other terrorist groups fear, was recently implicated in plot to assassinate the former President in his home in Dallas.
“ISIS Plotting To Assassinate George W. Bush In Dallas,” reported Forbes on May 24, 2022, in an exclusive.
“Two confidential informants and surveillance of the alleged plotter’s WhatsApp account reveal plans to smuggle assassins into the U.S. to murder the former president, according to a search warrant application discovered by Forbes,” reported the outlet of the plot.
According to Forbes, the would-be assassins went, “so far as to travel to Dallas in November to take video around the former President’s home and recruiting a team of compatriots he hoped to smuggle into the country over the Mexican border, according to an FBI search-warrant application filed March 23 and unsealed this week in the Southern District of Ohio.”
According to the FBI court filing, one of the accused conspirators claimed to be affiliated with, “the resistance,” which killed American soldiers between 2003 and 2006 using improvised explosive devices and roadside bomb attacks.
“President Bush has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities,” said Bush’s office in a statement.
This episode, coinciding as it does with two mass shootings in a single week, has only served to highlight a growing sense of lawlessness and fear. Gun control is the political subject on the most minds in the wake of the two attacks.
While sensible gun control measures are certainly needed- raising the minimum age required to buy a firearm to 21, for one thing- other measures must be taken to protect the nation from lawlessness and violence.
Progressives can’t afford to commit what some in the media have described as the “Fox News Fallacy”.
The Fox News Fallacy is as follows: Just because you don’t like someone, doesn’t mean they’re wrong.
Progressives have a tendency to dismiss, out of hand, anything being reported or repeated on Fox News. Fox News is hardly the Gospel Truth; but it isn’t completely false or baseless either and dismissing it as such gives progressives a giant blind spot.
Conservatives frequently counter arguments for gun control with arguments for more robust mental health care, addiction and crisis counseling and social services.
This might be the watershed moment to do both.
We might also do well to quell the massive influx of illegal drugs, guns and human trafficking pouring over the U.S. southern border. Addressing same must not be conflated with immigration, border enforcement or any other culture war flashpoint between left and right.
There is a humanitarian crisis of violence, drugs, guns and worse happening at the border. While addressing it has not been politically expedient, and might never be, the amount of deadly fentanyl, and the number accidental overdose “clusters” happening in the U.S. alone, is enough to warrant some sort of law enforcement action aimed at slowing the tide of death and destruction.
Ghost guns, untraceable, unregistered firearms with the serial numbers filed off- of the type plaguing Chicago- are coming from somewhere. And as inconvenient as progressives might find it, they didn’t come from legally-operated gun stores in the U.S.
There hasn’t been a rash of thefts from legally registered gun owners in America; no rash of robberies cleaning out local gun stores.
The only way these measures happen is with the one thing in shortest supply: Bipartisanship.
Without cooperation between Republicans and Democrats, right and left, conservative and progressive, nothing will change.
And things might even get worse.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)