“George W. Bush is victim of a rush to judgment” is an opinion piece in the Washington Post dated 4/19/2013. Professor Knott also wrote the book “Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, The War on Terror, and His Critics “ which I have read and reported on here.
What I want to focus on here are some comments by a particular reader/commenter of the Washington Post article who goes by the moniker of “nacllcan.” There are 5000+ comments to this article, mostly quite negative to Bush 43, but read below what nacllcan has to say. You’ll see one side of a long series of arguments, but nacllcan captures well a strong defense of George W. Bush. To read this argument in context you will have to read through for yourself the comments surrounding nacllcan as I did.
The Washington Post claims, 47 percent of the public now approve of the Bush presidency. This rating is equal to President Obama’s current polling.
That, according to WP reporter Dan Balz, and a new Washington Post-ABC News, reporting on the front page of the paper.
Former president GW Bush was inarticulate. That made the country disdain and distrust not only his words but his actions, although his policies were generally correct and effective.
Now our president is articulate, which inclines the country to approve no[t] only of what he says, but of what he does. Alas, much of his actions and inactions are blunders.
The public is easily impressed by language which is why politicians stay in business saying much and achieving little. Obama’s forte is words and his failing is effective policies.
Five years after a wasted $830 billion stimulus the share of the eligible population holding a job is the lowest since 1979. Growth is feeble. Chronic unemployment is worse than during the Great Depression. For almost every net new job created, approximately four people dropped out of the work force. Obama’s ACA, which was to have bent the cost curve down, has bent it up. He runs bankrupt railroads, props up failed companies with taxpayer’s billions, while hampering the surging oil industry. Our “necessary war” and surge in Afghanistan is a debacle. Our position continues to deteriorate in Libya, Egypt and Syria, We are paralyzed visa vie Iran and North Korea. The war on terror is being fought by the White House denying itself the use of the world “Islamist” and by pretending al Qaeda and terrorism no longer exists.
What is comforting the country is a self confident president who ever says all the right things and makes all the right gestures, for example wiping away a little tear at Newtown, supported by an irresponsible PC media.
Words can win elections, but only effective policies can stop a nation’s decline. Ultimately the culprit is the stupid American public that has degenerated to paying good money for torn clothing, listening to rap and heavy metal at mind bending volume, and accepting feel good words in place of growth at home and winning abroad.
Strong and wrong” describes the opposition to Bush.
Consider the power position of America if Saddam were still in power, still defying the UN, still making the world believe in and afraid of his WMD, still with a powerful tank army within reach of the oil faucets, the West’s life blood, still making a monkey of the US? Our standing in the world would be nil, we would be viewed as a spent force that does not back up its words, that can be ignored, no longer a superpower to be feared or respected. Instead, Bush wrung Saddam’s neck, crushed in three weeks an army that had battled Iran for 8 years, replaced a fascist, anti US regime with a friendly, elected govt. And Bush did it with fewer KIA across 8 years than our dead in Normandy on one day in June 1944. As to treasure, both Afghanistan and Iraq cost only 3.5% of all federal spending between 2001 – 2011.
And domestically, President Bush’s budget deficits averaged 2%, while the 50-year average was 3% percent. Unemployment under him averaged 5.3%. He gave the country 6 years of continuous economic growth producing 8 million new jobs across a record 52 straight months of job creation. Under him our average labor-productivity gains exceeded everything since the 1970s. “Real after-tax income per capita increased by more than 11 percent. And from 2000 to 2007, real GDP grew by more than 17 percent, a gain of nearly $2.1 trillion.”
“Over the last 40 years and eight presidencies, only two presidents have kept spending below 20 percent of GDP in even a single year: George W. Bush did it in six of his eight fiscal years; Bill Clinton in four. Barack Obama has averaged 24 percent of GDP spending so far; and even his optimistic budget projections don’t have the U.S. getting close to 20 percent again.”
Bush suffered 9/11 on his watch and the Lehman Brothers collapse. Neither of those were his faults, and he took immediate and effective steps to successfully contain both.
Here is my reply again:
It is true that Bush inherited a surplus, yes, but as Peter Wehner has written, “by January 2001, when Bush was inaugurated, the budget surpluses were evaporating as the economy skidded toward recession (it officially began in March 2001). Combined with the devastating economic effects of 9/11, when we lost around 1 million jobs in a little over 90 days, the surplus went into deficit.”
That Bush “kept his war spending off the books” is another preposterous lie. Consider that WWI cost 52% of GDP, WWII in some years consumed over 30% of GDP, Korea 14% and VN 7.5%. Even if, by some trick Bush’s 1% cost for Iraq was 100% false and Iraq really cost 2% of GDP or 3% that would still be tiny and not sufficient to be responsible for our financial troubles. It is not that Iraq did not cost a lot of money, but relative to our $13.5 trillion GDP it was a minor expense.
There has been a concerted effort to make the Iraq war a disaster when it was a success. For example the nobel laureate Stiglitz claimed that caring for war’s wounded will constitute a serious long term financial drain on the country.
We emerged with 675,000 wounded from WWII. Even if only 15%, or 101,000 were seriously wounded requiring costly life long care the country managed that without a problem when it was half of today’s size and much poorer. And suppose half of all of our 30,000 Iraq wounded will require costly life long care, how can that significantly impair our long term finances when 101,000 did not, and especially now that an extensive Veteran hospital infrastructure already exist.
We have been shamelessly lied to by ideologues and the media that is committed to projecting Iraq as a debacle when it was a vital victory won at low cost to the nation.
The American Left shot itself in the stomach in Iraq and will suffer for it across this century. It will prove to have deligitimized itself in the way Progressives, by supporting Stalin and his purge trials in the 1930s delegitimzed the American left through the 20th century, until the fall of the Wall.
They openly sided with the most ferocious national socialist tyranny this side of the 38 parallel. They protested by the millions in favor of the mass murdering Saddam whose sport teams trembled for their lives when they returned from int’l competitions in defeat. They demanded the US cede a battlefield to an Islamist insurgency that sought to terrorize 5.5 million Iraqis who had elected a govt at the risk of their lives.
Progressives showed that they will twist their principles, abandon US values, and stand with tyrants and mass murderers against their domestic enemies in America. Just as their grandfathers adored Stalin and Mao, the left revealed itself still soft on fanatics, police states and national socialists.
These are the same people who for generations chanted better Red than Dead, who called the US a war monger and the USSR , peace loving, who went into mourning at the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Now they have become moralists because Bush, without UN permission, which is to say without the permission of thugs and despots, replaced a fascist police state with an elected govt in the most strategic spot on earth. Let’s remember than when the US landed on Normandy most of Europe was pro Nazi. Even in France, two thirds of the population were pro Vichy or indifferent whether the Nazis won or the US/UK/Canada were thrown back into the channel. Incidentally, that first day on Normandy cost more US dead than KIAs in all of 8 years in Iraq.
Our dead on the first day on D day were around 3,000. Our KIAs, killed in action, as against victims of accidents, suicide, sickness, friendly fire in Iraq, were around 3,000.
But even if your numbers were right, 2,500 corpses on just one day in 1944, as against 4,400 dead across eight years, what does that say about the relative costliness of those conflicts?
That you challenge those numbers shows your stupidity and ignorance. You want to believe we were bled white in Iraq, yet you know we lose over 40,000 dead on the highways every year.
Incidentally, in some years WWII cost 32% of GDP. WWI cost over 50%, Korea 14%, Vietnam, over 7%. Yet you want to believe that Iraq which, together with Afghanistan only took 3.5% of federal spending between 2001 and 2011, is bankrupting us.
You have swallowed hogwash but are convinced I am inventing history.
As to those dictators, you went crazy when we ousted the worst of them who was in reach of the oil fields. Are you saying you wanted us to regime change all of them?
We supported dictators when that was in our interest, especially during the Cold War when we were fighting for the future of the world and needed strategically important countries like Spain and South Africa, and in Latin America. But when an opportunity presented itself and especially, once the Wall came down, we shoehorned, South Africa, Latin America, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and South Korea into true democracies.
You don’t really have facts or logic, only slogans and insults and the cant of a hopped up ideologue.
Not the 9/11 commission, not any future historian, no one sensible, only imbeciles pickled in partisan hate, blame Bush for 9/11. Blameworthy were his predecessors who never effectively replied to the bombing of the two African embassies, the attack on the USS Cole, the assaults on the Khobar Towers, on our peacekeepers in Mogadishu, on our sleeping Marines in Beirut, etc.
That encouraged OBL to think the US lacked the will and moxie to defend herself. Bush understood that it was necessary to get ahead of that mindset that believed that the US was a muscle bound giant, ready to be nudged into the grave, beside the Soviet Union.
Thus Bush chose to wring the neck of Iraq’s mass murdering tyrant. Saddam Hussein was the most contumacious of America’s enemies, the champion of US haters everywhere. He had for 12 years been breaking his commitments to the UN, played footsies with the inspectors, proved the US could be disregarded. He had buried 200,000 Shia and 100,000 Kurds in mass graves according to the UN and HRW.
By replacing the Baath police state with a friendly elected govt, in the most strategic spot on earth, and in three weeks smashing an army, within reach of the oil fields, that had withstood Iran for 8 years, and then crusing an Islamist insurgency that deemed democracy and freedom of speech hateful to God, the entire anti American world suffered a blow to its solar plexus. Both secular and pious Arabs discovered that the US was not a spent force but was willing to fight for its interests and its principles, and win.
Millions, Obama among them, protested the ejection of Saddam. They demanded the US withdraw and abandon an infant govt, elected by 5.5 million Iraqis at the risk of their lives, to Islamists who crashed exploding cars into civilian crowds. Not since the Nazis had hanged democrats from meathooks had US principles been so starkly challenged. Progressives sided with fascists and they still think they hold the moral high ground.
From 9/11 to the Madrid to London to Boston it is clear that Islamist terror is not a one man operation. It did not begin and won’t end with one man. It is a mindset across the Arab and Muslim world that understands might, and becomes aggresive when it smells weakness.
Iraq had a violently anti US govt under Saddam, who tried to seize the Gulf’s oil faucets, our life’s blood. Now it has a friendly Shia govt under Maliki.
You deplore that we supported the friendly Shah govt against Iranians rallying to the anti US Mossadeq. Now you object to the US supporting a friendly govt because it represents the majority.
There’s probably more, but at 5000+ comments I’m not sure I need to proceed further.
Perhaps the 47 percent (and rising?) of the public now approving of the Bush presidency reflects the thinking of nacllcan that resides in many of us in the general public.
Well spoken nacllcan, well spoken indeed!
Don Johnson – April 2013