The last time George Bush stood before Congress, it was just days after the September 11th attacks. On that evening,he declared in no uncertain terms his so-called war on terror. Now, nearly five months later, he has pledged to pushthat war still farther beyond Afghanistan to a dozen countries that he said harbor so-called terrorist camps. Healso warned of an “axis of evil nations” like North Korea, Iran and Iraq, and said the United States would not allowthem to threaten the world with weapons of mass destruction. Towards these ends, he asked Congress to increasePentagon spending by nearly $50 billion. It would be, Bush boasted, the largest increase in military spending in twodecades.
At the same time, the President also proposed doubling spending on so-called Homeland Security measures. This, hereferred to as his second big priority. It includes intelligence gathering, border security, and local emergencyresponse programs. The measures are expected to cost the nation almost $40 billion.
As for domestic issues what Bush called the “final great priority of [his] budget” the President spoke, onceagain in military terms, of making war on the recession to bring “economic security” to the country. He askedCongress to back his education, free trade, and corporate tax break policies, as well as to embrace his welfare,health care, and environmental initiatives. With the address dominated by talk of war and “terrorism,” however, heoffered few details on the policies.
Today, on “Democracy Now!,” we have convened our own kind of congress to respond to the President’s address. Call ita shadow congress, with members like Howard Zinn, Blanche Wiesen Cook, Adolph Reed, Sonali Kolhathar and Ralph Nader.
- Howard Zinn, radical historian, activist, and author of ??A People’s History of the United States.
- Blanche Wiesen Cook, Distinguished Professor of History and Women’s Studies at the John Jay College andthe Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Author of multiple books, including ??The DeclassifiedEisenhower and ??Eleanor Roosevelt: A Biography.
- Adolph Reed, Jr., Professor of Political Science at the New School University and an active member of theLabor Party. Some of his books include: ??WEB Du Bois and American Political Thought and ??Class Notes: Posingas Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Political Scene.
- Sonali Kolhathar, spokesperson for the Afghan Women’s Mission, which works closely with the RevolutionaryAssociation of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA).
- Ralph Nader, Green Party Presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000. He is currently on tour for his mostrecent book, ??Crashing the Party: Taking on the Corporate Government in an Age of Surrender.