President George W. Bush, today, Carlisle, Penn., Army War College, magical-thinking tour: While there’s room for honest and healthy debate about the
President George W. Bush, today, Carlisle, Penn., Army War College, magical-thinking tour:
While there’s room for honest and healthy debate about the decisions I’ve made — and there’s plenty of debate — there can be no debate about the results in keeping America safe.
He’s right, just not in the way he means. Hundreds of billions disappeared into the corruption pits of Iraq and Afghanistan, and we have a tottering war in central Asia, an Iraq where the new government forces us to withdraw in a few years and the populace embraces a man who throws his shoes at the president who thinks he’s a liberator. We have a reputation as an outlaw nation that kidnaps people and tortures them, and it’s deserved. We have a reputation as a nation that abrogates unto itself the right to preventively invade nations that displeases us, and it’s deserved.
Bush wants to say that he kept us safe because there hasn’t been another terrorist attack domestically, even if there’ve been thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan and Turkey and Spain and Holland and Britain and Israel and Lebanon and so forth. What a thing to offer as a final judgment! I suppose he’s never heard the Chris Rock routine about boasting over the fact that you paid your child support on time. But even still — we don’t know what al-Qaeda’s operational timetable is. I hope to God Bush *has *stopped terrorist attacks. But al-Qaeda waited eight long years between the two World Trade Center attacks, and who knows what it did, or didn’t, plan in the U.S. between 2001 and today. If he really did prevent these attacks, let’s see the actual evidence. A man who cries WMD deserves no benefit of any doubt.
I can think of exactly one way Bush’s policies actively strengthened this country’s defenses. The Army and Marines who’ve returned from Iraq and Afghanistan are today more experienced with stability operations and counterinsurgency than at any time in their history. And that’s in large part because of the mistakes he and his secretary of defense made, which left the Army and the Marine Corps to address as best as they possibly could.
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