Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Stop Him Before He Kills Again

I know what your thinking. . . if I am talking about George W. Bush and killing, I must be talking about the 3,732 troops that have died in Iraq to protect the president’s ego, or the tens of thousands of Iraqis that had to die for the same cause. Or, perhaps I am talking about the 1,800 to 2,600 that died due to the president’s blatant and callous negligence in the run up to and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (which struck the Gulf Coast two years ago today). Or, maybe I’m looking ahead to all the children who will perish because they have no access to affordable healthcare thanks to the Boy King’s stance on SCHIP.

Good reasons to stop GB43, all—but not the one I’m going to tell you about today. In the face of the thousands killed that I mention above, what I write about here will seem like a small thing, but every life is precious, and when one is wasted in the service nothing more important than cold, hard cash, well, you kind of want to trigger some warrantless surveillance with your detailed fantasies of just retribution.

A New Mexico police officer who was part of President Bush’s motorcade was killed when his motorcycle crashed near the Albuquerque airport. Officer Germaine Casey—a 40-year-old father of two—was riding ahead of the president’s car in a motorcade traveling at what I keep reading was “breakneck” speed.

A rather poor choice of words when you think of it.

Why was the president traveling at breakneck speed? Was there some national emergency? Was he rushing back to Washington? Or maybe he had to get out of New Mexico posthaste due to some threat to his security—could that be the reason behind his need for speed?

No—none of that. George Bush was speeding from a fundraising appearance for Republican New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici on his way to another fundraising appearance in Bellevue, WA, for Republican Rep. Dave Reichert.

Partisan politics. Raising greenbacks for his enablers. Nothing more.

This is not to say that Officer Casey didn’t die in service to his country—he volunteered to protect the president, and, on its face, that is an honorable calling. That the president chose to use his office for partisan gain, however, is anything but honorable.

And this is not the first time this has happened. Just last November, Honolulu officer Steve Favela was killed when his bike skidded out of control while traveling as part of the presidential motorcade on its way to a photo-op breakfast with troops at Hickam AFB (Bush made the stop on his way back from a trip to Indonesia and Vietnam—yes, Vietnam—but that’s another story).

Three other officers who were part of the president’s motorcade were injured during that 14-hour stopover. And, in April of 2006, another New Mexico officer was seriously injured when his bike crashed during another Bush visit. You just have to ask—what for?

Sure, presidents have a right to get out and see the country, and sure, presidents need protecting when they do. And, Bush would not be the first inhabitant of the Oval Office to use his position in the service of his party. But, when his motorcade starts to take casualties for such service—especially when this president has done so little in the service of his country—I think it’s time for the country to reevaluate.

Should a sitting president do this sort of traveling, and, when he does so for photo-ops and fundraisers, should he be traveling with so much and traveling so fast?

This president has repeatedly marshaled the resources of his office—Air Force One, the Secret Service, the armored limo, the motorcades—for purely political appearances. All, of course, at US taxpayer expense. It is disgusting enough that we have to pay with our hard-earned dollars to support George Bush’s partisan lifestyle, but is there any justification for someone paying with his life?

(cross-posted from guy2k)

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