Where Did Bush Go Wrong?

A depressing look back on eight years of arrogance, power lust, and incompetence

President Bush recently hit the lowest job approval rating of his term, barely higher than Richard Nixon's during Watergate, and 28 percent of Americans think he's the worst ever. But his poor performance review has yet to inspire a frenzy of self-scrutiny.

He brings to mind Russia's Czar Nicholas II, who when told he needed to regain the confidence of his people, suggested that the people needed to regain his. In 2004, asked to name his biggest mistake, Bush couldn't come up with one. Watching his final news conference Monday, you might conclude that he has not spent the intervening years pondering the question.

Asked again where he had gone wrong, the president did offer a few minor regrets: that "Mission Accomplished" banner, pushing Social Security reform in 2005, and flying over New Orleans instead of landing there after Hurricane Katrina. Abu Ghraib and the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he confessed, were a "disappointment."

But really, Bush undervalues his negative achievements—even leaving out the current recession, which in all fairness is due largely to factors beyond his control. As he contemplates his memoirs, he might make use of the following cheat sheet to keep track of his biggest and most inexcusable failures:

Iraq. Bush insisted on fighting a war that didn't need to be fought, on the assumption it would be easy, for purposes that could have been achieved without getting more than 4,200 Americans killed and 30,000 wounded, not to mention squandering upward of a trillion dollars.

The problem is not that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction (as UN weapons inspectors in Iraq were on their way to confirming before the war began). It's that even if he did, they would have been militarily worthless, because using them would have guaranteed his immediate annihilation—which explains why Hussein didn't use chemical weapons in the first Gulf War. WMD or not, he was a danger we could easily contain.

Afghanistan. The president was right to go after the Taliban. But the Iraq invasion meant shortchanging the war we had to fight. "We're simply in a world of limited resources, and those resources are in Iraq," a senior administration official attests in David Sanger's new book, The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power—acknowledging an obvious truth the administration has always denied.

Results: Last year was our bloodiest yet in Afghanistan; Hamid Karzai's government controls only a third of the country; we are being forced to increase our troop presence; and al-Qaida is thriving just over the Pakistan border. Oh, one more thing: Osama bin Laden has yet to be taken, dead or alive.

The Budget. Bush represented the alleged party of small government, yet under him, federal outlays exploded. During his presidency, spending was up by 70 percent, more than double the increase under Bill Clinton. When Bush arrived, the federal government was running surpluses. Since then—not counting the horrendously expensive financial bailout—the national debt has nearly doubled. You can't blame Congress for all this: Bush was the first president in 176 years to go an entire term without vetoing a single piece of legislation.

Executive power. Conservatives are supposed to believe in strict limits on government power, but Bush pushed incessantly to expand the prerogatives of the president. He asserted the right to ignore laws banning torture and restricting wiretapping. The Supreme Court found that his imprisonment of captives at Guantanamo Bay violated the Constitution by denying them the right to challenge their detention in court.

Jack Goldsmith, a conservative legal scholar who held high positions in Bush's Justice and Defense departments, has faulted Bush for "his administration's strange and unattractive views of presidential power." What is needed, he wrote in The Terror Presidency, are leaders "with a commitment to the consent of the governed, who have checks and balances stitched into their breasts." Which Bush was not.

All these blunders were not accidental. They were the product of this administration's peculiar combination of arrogance, power lust, and incompetence.

Those qualities have not abated. Bush leaves us with the rule of law in shreds, the budget out of control, two interminable wars, and the public yearning for change. But to him, it's all good.

COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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  • nobody u no and big fan of joe||

    he weht wrong getting high on corporatist capitalist bdsm money binging.

  • ||

    An article ripping President Bush?

    Perhaps you guys should change the magazine name to "Renegade Iconoclasts".

  • ||

    I don't see it as much power-lust as he was scared shitless we'd get hit again on his watch, guaranteeing the ranking of worst ever.

  • ktc2||

    Wow! A Chapman article that isn't moronic!

  • ||

    Bush is a lying sack of Cr@!#. Period. A liar, a war criminal and general lowlife! Good Riddance to Dictator Bush and his Regime. Is it January 20th yet?

    http://www.anonweb.pro.tc

  • TMOF||

    Wow! A lame poster that refers to Chapman as ... choose your pejorative. How original, how astute!

  • The Burning Bush||

    Where'd 'e go wrong? Quitting his job as a Yale cheerleader.

  • Leftitititit||

    Need. . . clean . . .pants . . .

  • ||

    I say Iraq was a good decision, the middle east needed an enema, Iraq was the entry point. Now there is a better than fair chance a democracy will survive in the midst of the most oppressive and dysfunctional part of the world. Having worked in Saudi Arabia as an electronics instructor, I met and socialized with many people. You have no clue as to how the good people reason things. Imagine how power crazed people with no accountability will behave, wait look at the Congressional House'es new rules, that must be good fascism. Hey Chapman get your 'brownshirt' out of moth balls.
    Mr. Bush was never a small gov. man. Conservatives are, Mr. Bush never claimed to be conservative just a republican.
    As far as the bloodiest year for the Military in the past 35 years was 1979, more service men and women died in the service than in any year this decade. How can that be? Because Carter cut funding for the Military, and all those people died in accidents on deployments or training. You comment on the men and women in the military like Hamas counts on their so called people. If you kill them through neglect its ok but wont let anyone else do it. You are shallow.

  • TMOF||

    Brian . . . I dont buy one word you say. Back that "1979 as deadliest year" crap with a link, or some factual evidence. Oh,and your enema comment is beyond ludicrous ... methinks you may be trolling. If not, then, well ...

  • ktc2||

    Was watching a stand up comedian the other day. Can't remember which one. He was commenting on how the bible was lifted from other cultures stories like the great flood from Gilgamesh and speaking through a bush stolen from Dick Cheney.

  • ||

    Perhaps you guys should change the magazine name to "Renegade Iconoclasts".

    Uh...take a hit from the alcohol inhaler thing?

  • Reinmoose the troll||

    you shills at reason are so pro obama you never write anything bad about him its always about bush and how he messed up well guess what he saved all your wussy asses lolololoL!!!1!

  • ||

    Wait a minute, I thought the crew of the Lincoln put up that banner - now Bush is saying it was one of his biggest mistakes?

    There he goes, taking one for the team again, just like when he refused to defend the "sixteen words," even though he was totally right.

  • reinkefj||

    I'm a little L libertarian. FMPOV you should have included the TSA as a Bush failure. On so many levels, this was a disaster.

    Strategically: (1) Bruce Schneier http://www.schneier.com describes it as "security theater". Accomplishes nothing but give us the illusion of security at a terrible cost. (2) Creates Yet Another Gooferment bureaucracy that will never go away. (3) Gives the Democrats more jobs and voters on the public dole. (4) Violates the Fourth Amendment. (5) Gives the "police" another tool to harrass people.


    Tactically: (1) It elbows out the Israeli El Al experience (i.e., seal that door); (2) We used to arm pilots. (3) It should be the airlines' job; not the government's. (4) It imposes a huge cost in time lost on the traveling public. (5) Kills foreign tourism. (6) Is intrusive.


    Libertarianally (is that a word?): (1) Conditions the People to be subservient to their Gooferment. (2) Indoctrinates the sheeple that the Gooferment will keep them safe. (3) Shores up the illusion that steal money from "taxpayers" to fund this nonsense is OK.

    So, I'd cite the TSA as a failure!

  • ||

    I won't say the worst El Presidente ever but close. Iraq was a waste. What's worse is that little 'o'bama has listened to his Generales who took Bush down this path of waste of our nation's finest blood and treasure all to prove the relevance of the US Army. An organization whose leadership was hell bent on proving they could occupy and raise a group of neanderthals to a level of government in the west. Well, 6 years later, an economy in the dumps and terrorism raging in Afghanistan and wonders of wonders, Pakistan, we are still in Iraq, el generale odierno is looking for new ways to reword 'combat' or even reflag US Combat troops in order to bypass the intent and wording of the SOFA so that we can stay even longer than planned doing an end run around the SOFA and the promises little 'o'bama ran on. We are looking like a third world banana republic more an more. Its is getting embarrassing now.
    As one of the those newly termed 'advisors' I don't feel real proud of the new Iraqi nation or what we've done.
    Rid the world of tribal islam and there will be peace.

  • ||

    Nah Joe, just some dank Anacostia chronic me and Gillespie picked up.

  • ||

    The Budget. Bush represented the alleged party of small government

    WHO KEEPS ALLEGING THIS?
    Would you please stop?
    There is not one shred of evidence that this is, was, or ever will have anything to do with GOP policy in any way shape or form.

  • Reinmoose||

    I'm with Warren here. Let the Republicans go, Steve. It's much easier to breathe after you do.

  • ||

    WHO KEEPS ALLEGING THIS?

    Congressional Republicans and Republican pundits keep alleging it.

  • ||

    Republicans are for small government like Eliot Spitzer is for the abolishing of prostitution. It's all talk. Fucking steamrollers.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Mr. Bush never claimed to be conservative just a republican.

    All that "compassionate conservatism" stuff must be a false memory.

  • ||

    Jesse, the qualifier proves that he was never happy with straight conservatism.

  • Elemenope||

    Jesse, the qualifier proves that he was never happy with straight conservatism.\

    Would that be conservatism without rainbows and pink shirts?

    Just what the hell is "straight conservatism"?

  • ||

    How does that go again? "I do not think that word means what you think it does"?

    There is a great discourse on meanings, and the personalization thereof, in Tom Stoppard's "Travesties" as I recall. I'm going to have to re-read that.

  • ||

    In fact, the word compassionate should have set off alarms in the heads of fiscal conservatives. He may as well have said Big Spending conservative.

  • ||

    Just what the hell is "straight conservatism"?

    A narrow stance?

  • ||

    I knew straight was the wrong word.

  • MNG||

    "Just what the hell is "straight conservatism"?"

    Just throw those GOP convention invites addressed "Log Cabin Republicans" in the circular file.

  • Kyle||

    I think his admission of mistakes is most telling.

    He regrets not finding weapons of mass destruction.... What the hell? How about regretting steamrolling intelligence?

    He regrets the mission accomplished banner? How about regretting the war itself? So telling that he regrets the propaganda more than the policy.

  • Reinmoose||

    A narrow stance?

    Bravo!

  • tarran||

    I never thought the Lincoln put that banner together.

    I doubt they
    a) acquired the facilities to print the banner since my days as an officer aboard her,

    b) doubt a CO would want to blow his money on a banner like that when it could be spent on supplies for a steel beach picnic or something.

    Nah. I bet that banner was paid for by an activity outside the ship and flown in expressly for the president's visit, either in the back of the S-3 that carried Bush out there, or perhaps on a COD flying out of San Diego once the ship was within range.

    Then, when it started looking like a dumb idea, Bush blamed a subordinate because he was a piece of shit who was incapable of admitting a fuck-up.

  • ||

    Bush regrets the release of the Abu Ghraib photos.

    He couldn't give a shit about what went on there. He just regrets the fact that the world found out, and it made him look bad.

  • ||

    In 2004, asked to name his biggest mistake, Bush couldn't come up with one.

    This isn't fair. In 2004, in the context of a close campaign, Bush was asked to publicly rag on himself and his leadership, and struggled to find a way to politic his way out of the question.

    This is a difficult task and often a Catch-22 for good, self-aware communicators in a job interview.

    Obligatory disclaimer: Bush sucks. A lot.

  • B||

    I noticed on your little blurb about Iraq that you are no longer claiming, like you did long after you were obviously wrong, that the surge in Iraq didn't work and that the war there is lost. I seem to remember multiple posts on this site claiming any news of the surge working was mere propaganda.

  • BakedPenguin||

    [Bush] couldn't give a shit about what went on [at Abu Ghraib]. He just regrets the fact that the world found out, and it made him look bad.

    QFMFT.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I noticed on your little blurb about Iraq that you are no longer claiming, like you did long after you were obviously wrong, that the surge in Iraq didn't work and that the war there is lost.

    The Surge didn't work. Paying off 10,000 guys to stop shooting at us and start shooting at someone else is what worked. Far as the war there being lost, pls link k thx.

  • ||

    The ethnic cleansing of Baghdad was stopped - you know, the purpose of the Baghdad Security Plan, aka the surge?

    Um, no, not so much. In fact, the process of cleansing the mixed neighborhoods was taken to completion, right under our noses, as the surge was going one.

    The surge was a miserable failure. Fortuately, the uniformed military was able to react to unexpected opportunities on the ground quite impressively.

  • ||

    B,

    All we've demonstrated is that with great loss of life and treasue we can keep the US backed regime clinging to power.

    When an elected Iraqi government that respects human rightsa is in power 6 measly months after the US troops leave, we can begin talking about the success of the Iraq invasion and the surge.

    Until then, STFU. I'm not that fuckin' impressed with our accomplisment.

  • ||

    Pre-surge: Iraq close to collapse, insurgents on offensive in Baghdad and the south.

    Post-surge: Iraq pretty stable, insurgents thrown back and showing few signs of recovery.

    joe on surge: It failed! Because I moved the goalposts! The surge was supposed to integrate the Baghdad school system, and it didn't!

    This is, really, of a piece with joe's Orwellian rewriting of history, in which Bush adopted Obama's Iraq policy, rather than the other way around.

  • Elemenope||

    It failed! Because I moved the goalposts!

    Goalposts? Were there ever even any goalposts? I'm not even clear on why we fought the war, never mind the strategy at issue.

  • wayne||

    What's worse is that little 'o'bama has listened to his Generales who took Bush down this path of waste of our nation's finest blood and treasure all to prove the relevance of the US Army.



    This is total crap. The Generals did not want to invade Iraq, that was totally a "NeoCon" idea (wolfowitz, et al).

    You ought to remember (and apparently not care) that Powell was the most vociferous voice against the war in Iraq. You oought to remember that more than one top general was fired over his opinion of the war.

  • ||

    RC is pretending that the purpose of the surge had nothing to do with preventing ethnic cleansing in Baghdad - despite its official name being "The Baghdad Security Plan," and its stated purpose being to stop sectarian cleansing in Baghdad, yet I'm "moving the goalposts," becasue I'm not pretending that it was intended to supply weapons and money to militias in Anbar.

    I guess the states purpose of the surge, like the purpose for the entire war, must now go down the memory hole.

  • ||

    This is, really, of a piece with joe's Orwellian rewriting of history, in which Bush adopted Obama's Iraq policy, rather than the other way around.

    Obama supported withdrawal from Iraq regardless of conditions, on a hard timeline. Bush supported permanent occupation of Iraq. Bush has now been forced to accept withdrawal from Iraq, regardless of conditions, on a hard timeline. Obama continues to support withdrawal from Iraq, regardless of conditions, on a hard timeline..

    You're right, RC. Remembering the stated purpose of the surge and noting that it wasn't accomplished is "of a piece" with noting that Bush has been forced to capitulate on the permanent occupation of Iraq; that is, they both indisputably true, despite some rather pathetic attempts to spin those facts away by a tiny fringe of morons whose pride far outstrips their honesty.

  • wayne||

    Joe,

    The Baghdad Security Plan's purpose was to establish security in Baghdad, and it has mostly succeeded. I was there in 06 and 07; left in June, 08. The surge worked. Period.

    It remains to be seen whether Iraq can hold on to its gains, and whether "Democracy" will take hold. My bet is that Democracy will not take hold, but "security" will.

    I know you hate Bush and "the war", and that's cool, but arguing in the face of reality seems a bit pointless.

    I still love you, Joe. You are good and tireless debater; you should have been a lawyer defending clearly guilty people, or prosecuting clearly innocent one.

  • Bugbear||

    Know who has a lower approval rating than Bush? Congress. Know who's rating is lower than Congress? The Media. Where is your frenzy of self-examination, Chapman?

  • ||

    "You oought to remember that more than one top general was fired over his opinion of the war."

    Not even one was.

  • Kolohe||

    This is total crap. The Generals did not want to invade Iraq, that was totally a "NeoCon" idea (wolfowitz, et al).

    You ought to remember (and apparently not care) that Powell was the most vociferous voice against the war in Iraq. You oought to remember that more than one top general was fired over his opinion of the war.

    Shinseki was fired ostensibly because he said he needed 500K people and wolfowitz et al said only 30K was needed. (and there was a more specific proximate cause that I can't remember off the top of my head.)

    Was this 500K request an honorable way of saying that the war was a bad idea through a version of reductio ad absurdum? Or was his view that the mission could be done, but it would indeed require 500K. It's difficult to tell; there's some evidence for both cases - and it's possibly a mixture of both (i.e. 'this is a bad idea, but your the boss, and I'll do it, but I need these resources')

    And Powell's main problem is that he was *not* a 'vocifierous' critic of the war; any objections he had he kept to himself until after he left the Sec State job at the start of Bush's second term. (To be fair, short of resigning, there was very little he could have done; a public disagreement with the president while still working for him is not really an 'honorable' thing either. Otoh, if he had such reservations, he should have resigned)

  • Kolohe||

    (insert close blcokquote tag at end of 2nd paragraph)

  • ||

    wayne,

    The purpose of the Baghdad Security Plan was to stop the ethnic cleansing and sectarian warfare in Baghdad. It did not succeed - the ethnic cleansing was not stopped, but continiued until every mixed neighborhood in that city was cleansed, a process that continued throughout the surge, and ended only when the cleansers' goal was achieved.

    It is good that other factors, including but not primarily the actions of American trooops, brought about improvements in the security situation in that country, but one need only overlay a map of terrror attacks in Baghdad on top of a map of mixed neighborhoods to see that it was the completion of the clenasing campaign that caused the drop in sectarian violence.

    blah blah blah Bush h8terz. It is you who is arguing agains the facts.

  • wayne||

    Kolohe,

    Powell was a critic of the war WITHIN the administration. That is why the Noecons hated him. Nobody in any administration can openly criticize (in any meaningful way) the official policy of their administration and remain in their job. Powell probably believed that he was more useful as Secretary of State than as a private citizen.

    It is the job of military officers to execute their orders. Shinseki was doing his job.

    Laying the blame for Iraq at the feet of "the Generals" is either stupid or dishonest.

  • ||

    Blaming "the generals" for launching the war is like blaming "the intelligence services."

    Bush had to bully, manipulate, and purge both in order to get what he wanted from them.

  • wayne||

    Joe,

    OK.

    The surge failed.

  • wayne||

    Blaming "the generals" for launching the war is like blaming "the intelligence services."

    Bush had to bully, manipulate, and purge both in order to get what he wanted from them.



    Wow, I agree with Joe, except that I think it was the Neocon cabal around Bush who did the bullying, etc.

  • ||

    "Shinseki was fired..."

    No he was not.

    He retired exactly as scheduled over a year in advance, which is fairly common knowledge, as is the fact that he supported the invasion and was only critical of the number of troops sent.

    In fact, although much has been made of the tensions between Rummy and Shinseki over Iraq, for mainly political ends, they clashed mush more on earlier issues, like the Crusader and the size of the Army, to a much larger degree.

  • Alan Colmes||

    Since the election have you noticed how Hannity has suddenly focused on talking about smaller and limited government?

    Where was all that talk over the past 8 years? What a douche.

  • TofuSushi||

    Joe is right. Fire all of the American Generals and the world will be safer.

    After Obama gets in charge then everything will be fine and we can stop firing people.

  • ||

    Actually, wayne, I think you came closer to the mark than I at 2:10.

    Also, Augustus is right. They didn't fire Shinseki; they sidelined him and rebuked him publicly, but they didn't fire him.

  • ||

    The article says that Bush did not veto any piece of legislation ... I recall that he did veto some stem cell research, right?

    --
    David

  • TofuSushi||

    Glad you agree joe.

    Now on to the firings, we only have a few days left.

  • ChrisO||

    In the years to come, I believe that the budget and Bush's domestic "agenda" will do far more harm to the USA than any part of his foreign policy did.

    We'll be out of Iraq in a few years, and probably out of Afghanistan a few years after that. Once we're out, no one will give a shit about all of the heated debate going on in this thread. But Bush's expanded federal budgets and police-state regulations will harm us for generations to come.

    The bedrock principle of American conservative has always been limited government and fiscal responsibility. The failure of Republican presidents to adopt or implement any spending cuts casts doubt on their status as conservatives.

  • Kolohe||

    Laying the blame for Iraq at the feet of "the Generals" is either stupid or dishonest.

    I agree with this; I misunderstood your point.

  • TofuSushi||

    But Bush's expanded federal budgets and police-state regulations will harm us for generations to come.

    Obama is here to fix the police state problem. Bush's spending on the poor was much too low. Obama will fix that too.

  • ||

    Hey, totally-not-SIV, which cabinet post do you think Bill Ayers is going to get?

    Looking at his profession and training, he'd seem to be best suited for Secretary of Education - but I understand he's also done some work at the Pentagon.

  • TofuSushi||

    joe, I was hoping for Secretary of Defence or the worst Chief of all Federal Security.

    Education would be good too.

  • ||

    "My bet is that Democracy will not take hold, but 'security' will."

    That's my bet as well. I fear that via the imperialistic slaughter of countless Iraqis and the practical destruction of the country, all the country will have gained is another brutal strongman in charge. There is an argument to be made that a nation as artificial and ethnically torn as Iraq required a dictator to stay together. At any rate I think it's clear that democracy isn't a thing you can impose on people at a time of your choosing.

  • TofuSushi||

    That's my bet as well. I fear that via the imperialistic slaughter of countless Iraqis and the practical destruction of the country, all the country will have gained is another brutal strongman in charge. There is an argument to be made that a nation as artificial and ethnically torn as Iraq required a dictator to stay together. At any rate I think it's clear that democracy isn't a thing you can impose on people at a time of your choosing.

    That is outragious. As soon as Obama is in charge of America they will stop fighting because they will not be afraid of us any more. Just you see.

  • ||

    Education would be good too.

    I agree.

    Maybe with a GED, you could become a more adept troll.

  • ChrisO||

    Obama is here to fix the police state problem. Bush's spending on the poor was much too low. Obama will fix that too.

    Whatever they're putting in that coffee you're drinking, I want some.

  • ||

    This blog joins the hundreds of others I have read from various sources in the USA lamenting the dismal legacy of the Bush years and trying to quantify the damage caused. They all share with you an almost unbelievable lack of insight, which is demonstrated by Americans in general.

    You all seem to think that Bush is the cause of your current problems. I say he is the symptom. The cause is "We the people".

    The American people have lost the plot in a big way and all your hypocritical posturing about liberty, democracy, free markets, the rule of law blah blah blah... is just so much hot air. We now know that when push comes to shove you don't really mean any of it.

    As a deeply disillusioned friend of the USA and without the slightest hint of cynicism, I wish you all good luck.

  • Ben1||


    Where did Bush go wrong?



    Very nearly everywhere he went, and very nearly everything he touched.

    Religious nutcase. Attacker of countries not attacking us. Blatant liar. Violator of multiple constitutional rights. Violator of his presidential oath. Invader of privacy. Scofflaw. Verbal incompetent. Waster of US soldier's lives. Murderer of tens of thousands of residents of another sovereign country. Torturer. CRIMINAL.

    Worst. President. Ever.

    He did *everything* wrong. Invaded a country that he should not have. Invaded a country he should have, at MOST, bombed for a few days. Spent the lives of thousands of ultra-valuable US soldiers and citizens for NOTHING.

    Bush jr. is a total, unrelenting piece of shit, and I am ASHAMED that my countrymen re-elected him after his complete and utter failure to lead. I am ASHAMED that my congress did not impeach his sorry, oath-violating, smarmy, self-righteous self.

    He represents the very worst outcome our political system can produce; where any two idiots outvote the informed, and the mass of the population cannot by the optimistic view be characterized as informed, our system will elect an ignorant country bumpkin just as easily as it will a fine statesman. As we have just had demonstrated for us. Twice in a row.

  • Bulbman||

    Those who prefer thoughtful analysis to the ravings of victims of Bush Derangement Syndrome should take a look as this article in The Daily Telegraph by a British historian.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/4241865/History-will-show-that-George-W-Bush-was-right.html

    Here are some excerpts:
    At the time of 9/11, which will forever rightly be regarded as the defining moment of the presidency, history will look in vain for anyone predicting that the Americans murdered that day would be the very last ones to die at the hands of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in the US from that day to this.

    The decisions taken by Mr Bush in the immediate aftermath of that ghastly moment will be pored over by historians for the rest of our lifetimes. One thing they will doubtless conclude is that the measures he took to lock down America's borders, scrutinise travellers to and from the United States, eavesdrop upon terrorist suspects, work closely with international intelligence agencies and take the war to the enemy has foiled dozens, perhaps scores of would-be murderous attacks on America. There are Americans alive today who would not be if it had not been for the passing of the Patriot Act. There are 3,000 people who would have died in the August 2005 airline conspiracy if it had not been for the superb inter-agency co-operation demanded by Bush after 9/11.


    [T]he cold light of history will absolve Bush of the worst conspiracy-theory accusation: that he knew there were no WMDs in Iraq. History will show that, in common with the rest of his administration, the British Government, Saddam's own generals, the French, Chinese, Israeli and Russian intelligence agencies, and of course SIS and the CIA, everyone assumed that a murderous dictator does not voluntarily destroy the WMD arsenal he has used against his own people. And if he does, he does not then expel the UN weapons inspectorate looking for proof of it, as he did in 1998 and again in 2001.

    Mr Bush assumed that the Coalition forces would find mass graves, torture chambers, evidence for the gross abuse of the UN's food-for-oil programme, but also WMDs. He was right about each but the last, and history will place him in the mainstream of Western, Eastern and Arab thinking on the matter. ...

    When Abu Ghraib is mentioned, history will remind us that it was the Bush Administration that imprisoned those responsible for the horrors. When water-boarding is brought up, we will see that it was only used on three suspects, one of whom was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al-Qaeda's chief of operational planning, who divulged vast amounts of information that saved hundreds of innocent lives.

    Today [Iraq's] GDP is 30 per cent higher than under Saddam, and it is free of a brutal dictator and his rapist sons.

    The number of American troops killed during the eight years of the War against Terror has been fewer than those slain capturing two islands in the Second World War.... As for civilians, there have been fewer Iraqis killed since the invasion than in 20 conflicts since the Second World War.

    Iraq has been a victory for the US-led coalition, a fact that the Bush-haters will have to deal with when perspective finally - perhaps years from now - lends objectivity to this fine man's record.

  • ||

    I am no great Bush fan. I am a bit embarrased at his lack of eloquence. I think invading Iraq was a mistake; it is certainly a mistake I would not have made.

    But, after all of that, I still think he has been maligned. Though invading Iraq was a mistake, it still had some good outcomes: Saddam was brought to justice, and the Iraqi people were liberated from one of the most brutal dictators in the late twentieth century. The Hussein sociopaths were rooted out and killed. Iraq has been given the chance at Democratic rule, though they might not take advantage of that gift. The war against the west, declared by Al Qaida and other murderous groups was taken to them... finally!

  • ||

    Wayne, by your own account invading Iraq wasn't a mistake. So far the results have been mostly good. See my post above.

    The US has a alliance of some sort with just about every Muslim country except Syria and Iran. Bush has done as well in dealing with Pakistan as anybody could. Bush has forged strong ties with India and Japan. Eastern Europeans love us. Most of sub-Saharan Africa is pro-American. Bush has an 86% approval rating in Ghana!

    So much for the liberal claim that Bush is an arrogant unilateralist who has turned the world against us.

    Nearly everybody likes us except for European leftists, for whom anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are a religion. OK, the Muslim Street doesn't like us, but the Muslim Street thinks Adolf Hitler was a cool guy and that Jews make matzohs out of the blood of Arab children. Turning that around is a long range project, but the liberation of Iraq is surely a good start.

    Right there is a struggle going on in the world between liberal democracy on the one side and the alliance between American and European leftists and Islamofascism on the others.

    In the light of this the Bushophobia of the likes of Steve Chapman is sophomoric and self-indulgent. It reminds me of nothing so much as the so-called libertarians who refused to take sides in the Cold War.

  • ||

    Does more than 70% of this country suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome, Bulbman?

    What a delusional apology for Bush and his many, many crimes. Just how long does one get to fuck up the world because he happened to have been president at the time of 9/11? I'm sure those 3000 dead souls are thrilled that their deaths are being used as an excuse for illegal wars, torture, and as a get-out-of-blame-free card for every horrific mistake that followed that day.

    I sincerely hope none of these 25%ers still defending Bush weren't the same exact people who would have had Bill Clinton hanged for his alleged corruption. Because that would be ridiculous.

  • wayne||

    Tony,

    So, do you side with Saddam? Do you wish he was still in power?

    Do you want the detainees released en masse from Gitmo? How many detainees were tortured, and what were their names?

    The war in Iraq was not illegal. It was a mistake, but it was not illegal. You seem to be the delusional one here.

  • ||

    FWIW I think that some on the right suffered from Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Clinton shouldn't have been impeached for lying about sex. Lying about sex is in the male chromosome!

    Clinton passed NAFTA and welfare reform and balanced the budget. Actually those achievements were the product of Clinton combined with a Republican Congress. Let's hope that the Republicans regain Congress. Obama plus a Republican Congress would I think be a good team.

  • ||

    Wayne is right. The war in Iraq wasn't illegal. Congress voted overwhelmingly for it. About 50 countries sent troops to fight alongside the US, including Japan and many European countries.

    Saddam continually violated the terms of the 1991 cease fire. 16 Security Council resolutions declared Saddam in violation. Bush II didn't start a war with Iraq. The 1991 war never really ended.

  • Craig||

    All these blunders were not accidental. They were the product of this administration's peculiar combination of arrogance, power lust, and incompetence.

    And now we're about to find out how much worse things can get under an administration that combines arrogance, power lust, and competence....

  • Craig||

    16 Security Council resolutions declared Saddam in violation.

    Funny then (unless you're a dead Iraqi or American) that the UN didn't vote to support the invasion, huh?

  • Trevor||

    Wait: This ying-yang tramples the Constitution for 8 years and all you can come up with are a few short paragraphs? And this author is supposed to be a scholar or something? Come on, any Kindergarten kid could have written this worthless article.

    Why don't you do something truly scholarly, like for instance, take a look at the Declaration of Independence and go through all of the reasons why we declared our Independence from the King of England, and rephrase each of those reasons taking into account the failures of the Bush administration. Some of them would be easy and the comparison could be direct, some would take some real thought and scholarly research/writing. THAT would be an interesting article.

    "A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."

  • ||

    For a fair assessment of Bush's presidency read this short article by the brilliant libertarian economist Thomas Sowell.

    http://townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2009/01/16/the_bush_legacy

  • ||

    Lets say I was on the Joint Chiefs soon after 9/11. I asked my military planers to come up with a unique strategy to fight the global war on terror. Lets say someone came to me with a strategy that initally involved invading an Arab country. Some pretext would have to be devised though. WMD's would be a good pretex to invade an Arab country. Once we invaded that country our presence would be a magnet to draw every American hating terrorist and wanna be terrorist out of the woodwork an engage us in a holly war. We initally put our most incompetent generals in charge to make it think the foreign terrorist have a chance at winning. Then at the right moment we spring the trap, put our our most capable general in asymetrical warfare in charge and annilate the terrorists. I would have said, "that is a brilliant strategy". However, the only way it would work is if nobody realized that is our plan.

    It's food for thought. The bottom line is we won the war in Iraq an in the process we drew Al Quida out into the open and anniliated them.

  • ||

    President Bush created a climate, which made someone like Barack Obama not only palatable, but seemingly as important to the electorate as air and water.

    Bush managed to make a country merely interested in big government, obsessed with it.

    That is where he went wrong. And that is worse than any war, Katrina or bailout. Good riddance.

  • ||

    "The president was right to go after the Taliban."

    If I remember right, the US demanded that Sudan kick Bin Laden out, so he left for Afghanistan. After 9-11 the US demanded Bin Laden's extradition, the Taliban told the US to recongnize them and follow some sort of judicial process for extradition. I have no idea if the Taliban where just BS-ing, but a judicial possibility should have been pursued. It is not 100% clear there was any link between the Taliban government and Bin Laden.

    It is easy to criticise Pres Bush if you depend on an IRA+house for your retirement. If you depend on a government pension/SS things were just dandy. Airport Security screeners in particular did much better than they could have hoped for without Pres Bush.

    As to Social Security reform, he did it. The US gov now owns all major US banks, the worlds largest insurer, most mortgages, heaps of commercial loans, and soon will own the autos. Sounds like a dandy portfolio to me.

  • Jon||

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  • caibutou||

    thanks

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