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Just Say No to Bush

For three years, America's president has pursued a unilateralist agenda, ignoring all evidence that contradicts his positions, and putting aside basic and longstanding American principles.

Take global warming. Here Bush is conspicuously absent without leave (AWOL in military jargon). Time and again, he questions the scientific evidence. (Of course, Bush's academic credentials were never very impressive.) Bush's position is more than wrong; it is an embarrassment. Indeed, when asked by Bush to look into the matter, America's National Academy of Sciences came to a resounding verdict (the only one they could honestly reach) that greenhouse gases are a menace. But America's automakers love their gas-guzzlers, and Bush's oil industry pals want no interference with their destruction of the planet's atmosphere. So no change in policy.

In Iraq, Bush again pursued a unilateralist agenda, saying that there was incontrovertible evidence of a link with Al Queda, and that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Even before the invasion, there was overwhelming evidence that Bush was lying. Detection technology made it clear that Iraq did not have nuclear weapons, as chief UN inspector Hans Blix pointed out. It's possible that Bush read those reports, but that they were beyond his comprehension. It is also possible that he did not believe what he read. Whatever the case, American policy was not based on evidence.

Since the Cold War's end, America is the world's sole superpower. Yet it has failed to exercise the kind of leadership needed to create a new world order based on principles like fairness. Europe and the rest of the world are aware of this; but they don't vote in American elections. Even so, the rest of the world is not powerless. Instead, the rest of the world should just say no.