Yesterday marked the moment when the death toll for American soldiers in Iraq surpassed a 1,000 dead. This figure doesn’t count the severely injured and maimed, the deaths of American civilians, and the deaths of untold innocent Iraqi citizens.
Bush supporters seem willing to forgive all of this death and destruction. They are willing to overlook the fact that Saddam had nothing to do with 9-11 (and therefore revenge against Iraq is not justified, even if one is the vengeful type). They are willing to ignore the countless violations of human rights at Abu Ghraib, the systematic and presidentially-sanctioned humiliation and torture of prisoners of war. They are willing to close their eyes to the creeping, chilling loss of rights and freedoms here in their own country.
Even if they acknowledge these realities they insist that Bush deserves reelection because despite all this other “propaganda” he will still lower our taxes.
My jaw drops.
Bush lowered taxes, yes. He euphemistically called his tax changes “tax relief,” as if taxes were like gas or indigestion. Unlike indigestion, though, our taxes actually do provide benefits: schools, roads, public health measures, and of course, the military. But cutting taxes means cutting these government programs (or running a record $422 billion deficit).
Bush lowered, taxes, yes, but for whom? His “tax relief” disproportionately benefited only the very wealthy, the richest 1 to 2 percent of all Americans. I don’t know about you, but none of my friends or family are in the top 1 percent. Bush, on the other hand, has a lot of friends and family in this group. “The haves and have-mores,” Bush calls these wealthy supporters, who are getting back tens of thousands–and in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars, while I get back $300. Now that’s what I call compassionate conservatism.