If I Were 12 Years Old

May 5, 2008

If I were 12 years old, as President, would I decide to attack a country like Iraq? Would I ask about the consequences, whether they actually had WMD’s? Would I ask what it had to do with Saudi Arabians attacking our country? Would I ask if Hussein were friendly with our attackers?

When President Clinton and the CIA told me that there was an imminent attack being planned by Al Qaida, that it might involve commercial airliners, would I have told my national security advisor, Ms. Rice, not to worry about it? Would I, perhaps, ask why these Al Qaida guys are so “mad” at us?

Would I ask the advice of my General Chief of Staff in charge of all of my armed forces what to do or would I ask my political advisors Carl Rove and Dick Cheney who were afraid to serve in the armed forces? Would I listen to my Secretary of State, considered an expert in foreign policy, and a decorated general or Mr. Wolfowitz, a dishonest banker?

Would I have ignored my Central Intelligence Agency’s pleas for wire taps on known Al Qaida agents before 9/11? Knowing that the oil companies were the virtual source for 99% of all terrorist funding, would I have done all that is possible to raise the price of oil or would I have begged my advisors (Rove and Cheney?) to come up with a comprehensive energy policy to keep our own money out of the hands of terrorists?

Would I have paid Haliburton, Mobil Oil, Bechtel billions of dollars to not produce oil, not build schools, roads and utilities? Would I have sent almost 200,000 carpetbaggers with my warm regards to take over the businesses of the middle class Iraqis? Would I continue to pay all of these people, including the murderous Blackwater International, to ensure that millions of dollars in oil can be stolen and sold on the black market by both American and Iraqi thieves?

Would I have disgraced myself during time of natural disaster like the floods in Louisiana and Mississippi? Would I have fired James Lee Witt, knowing that his genius had made FEMA into a successful tool to fight such disasters? Would I have searched long and hard to find the most dishonest and incompetent vendors to handle housing, construction and reconstruction of levees and cities?

Would I have deregulated every business and industry possible to ensure an economic downturn, a recession for all but my favorite military industrial giants?? Would I have lowered taxes at a time in which I had declared war on a sovereign nation? Would I have done it with most of the countries of the world warning that I would be foolishly destabilizing the entire Middle East?

Would I have blamed all of this on those cowardly Democrats? Of course, at twelve, I too would not have served in the legitimate military, I would have known nothing of combat, casualties, of economics or domestic policy. I would have read the Constitution by then, knowing that it is wrong to force telephone companies to wire tap all phones in America as well as all computers. I could have figured that out.

What would I have said if I were advised to go to war in Iraq so that we could obtain cheap oil? I might have thought seriously about that! However, wouldn’t I have listened to Admiral Zinni and used the Clinton contingency plan to attack Iraq with its 300-400,000 troops, heavier air cover and its short occupation leading to a longer small contingency presence? Wouldn’t I ask my troops to guard the borders from insurgents instead of looking for WMD’s that my own generals say aren’t there?

Wouldn’t I talk to my father who might explain to me what war was really like or how complicated “oil” is- how wars and national disasters raise the price, how when we attack countries, we can’t kill civilians because we are not really defending ourselves- it’s their country!!! My father might explain that the trillions of dollars that I planned to export out of the country might seriously deflate our dollar. What’s more, he might explain that the money could be better spent here on education, the infrastructure, police, firemen, medical research, social security benefits, even healthcare.

What I wouldn’t do is hear my father’s good advice, ignore it and blame the bad decision on a heavenly father. Wouldn’t that be an insult to both fathers? Furthermore, as a 12- year old, uncertain of my own belief in exactly what God does, I certainly would not and did not try to tell everyone else what to believe.

In the end, I, like many others, have to apologize for calling Mr. Bush an adolescent. To insult someone at this sensitive age is callous, so I withdraw the insult. I will wait until the President reaches this stage and beyond before I criticize his striking lack of emotional development.

Allen Finkelstein, D.O.