Would someone please calm the religious zealots so that we all could observe a moment of richly deserved silence for Terri Schiavo — along with the hundreds and thousands of lives lost or threatened by some of the dangerously boneheaded policies of the Bush Administration? As the Bush record attests, the president is no stranger to erring, but he usually does not do so on the side of life.

Death Penalty

In six years as governor of Texas, Bush signed the most death warrants (152) in state history.

War Detainees

Last week, Pentagon officials acknowledged that 27 detainees died in U.S. Army detention centers in Iraq and Afghanistan, victims of murder, negligent homicide and assault.

Iraq War

On the Sunday that Bush signed emergency legislation to keep Terri Schiavo alive, one American was killed and 10 others were wounded in Iraq. More than 1,500 American soldiers and 100,000 Iraqi men, women and children have died in the name of “Life, Liberty and Freedom.”

Minnesota School Shooting

American Indians complained that Bush remained silent for four days before making public comments about the high school shooting on Red Lake Reservation. Worse yet, Bush still plans to get rid of funding for two major programs geared to preventing classroom violence, including Bill Clinton’s initiative to hire more police officers at schools.

Abstinence-Only Education

The Bush administration is spending

$131 million preaching the virtues of abstinence-only sex education and ignoring the effectiveness of condoms in combatting HIV/AIDS. Human Rights Watch warns: “Exporting these programs to countries facing even more serious HIV/AIDS epidemics will only make the situation worse around the world.” By portraying sex outside of heterosexual marriage as psychologically and physically harmful, these programs also discriminate against gay and lesbian youth.

Mentally Retarded

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Texas executed six retarded defendants since 1982, two of them under Governor Bush’s watch.

Death Denial

“I just want you to know that when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.”

—George Bush, June 18, 2002

Legal Torture

With an assist from then–White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, Bush may well believe that Taliban fighters are not protected under the Geneva Convention. Gonzales, in a 2002 memo to Bush, described the restrictions set forth in the Geneva Convention as “obsolete” and “quaint.” Some say that Gonzales’ legal advice opened the door to the abuses that occurred at Guantanamo Bay and in Abu Ghraib.

Gun Control

While campaigning for the presidency, Bush supported instant background checks to help keep guns from being sold to the wrong people. He did not mention that Texas, under a law he signed in 1995, failed to conduct background checks and issued concealed weapon’s permits to 407 people with criminal convictions.

Death Row

In a sign that political forces can be stronger than death wishes, Bush announced plans to comply with a World Court edict and grant hearings to 51 Mexican nationals on death rows in eight states, most of them in Texas.

LA Weekly