Category Archives: George Bush

Barack Obama MisUnderestimated the ISIS Threat

The headline reads Obama faces backlash after blaming intel  community for missing ISIS.

This of course takes me back to the George W. Bush administration and the oft quoted “Bush lied – babies died”  mantra of the radical left. The  thrust of this profound bumper sticker foreign policy statement was that Bush lied us into the Iraq war and his lies caused countless deaths and disarray in the international community. This bumper sticker foreign policy was a significant contributor for the election of Barack H. Obama to the presidency and the furtherance of his own brand of profound bumper sticker foreign policy (leading from behind anyone?).

The Bush defense? Actually George W. Bush never put up much of a defense of his policies, and has been for the most part silent since leaving office in 2009. His defenders however, point out that virtually the entire intelligence community; foreign and domestic,  was unanimous in its assessment that the Hussein regime in Iraq was in possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and was a gathering threat for further WMD use beyond what he, Hussein, did in the past during the Iraq/Iran war.

So the Bush defense against the “Bush lied – babies died”  mantra boiled down to: Bush may have been mistaken, but did not lie. The left railed against this defense, but now we see the same defense raised on behalf of Barack Obama and his “surprise” at the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. In fact, the president himself uses this defense on his own behalf.

Now let’s all board the Way Back machine and travel to that ancient time of September 2012 and look at this headline; Why is Obama skipping more than half of his daily intelligence meetings? But why should we trust a report from 2 years ago from a former Bush speech writer? Lets get a more recent update from the Government Accountability Institute at: which shows our Democrat Party Marketing Manager as having attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings. Such behavior in a Commander in Chief is unconscionable and deadly … as in contributing to the deaths of who knows how many around the world. Are apologies to President George W. Bush forthcoming?

It should surprise no one that this president is surprised by anything, especially concerning foreign policy, if he has indeed skipped a significant percentage of his daily intelligence meetings. As I wrote recently in A Constitutional Amendment,

Our current President, the President of the Democrat Party and Marketing Manager of the Democrat Party has his primary focus on his particular political party and agenda. He can’t possibly be focusing even a sizable minority of his time and energies on being the President of the United States of America. It’s just not reasonable to believe he is doing so.

So if the “Bush lied – babies died”  mantra holds against George W. Bush, could not a similar mantra be applied to Barack Obama … “Obama lied – nations died, are dying or are in danger of dying (Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Libya, Yemen … )”

Don Johnson – September 2014


George W. Bush is victim of a rush to judgment

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

The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte & Barack Obama

There are two essays I’ve found this morning that are especially fascinating to read in context with one another, and I encourage you to read them now before I make comment on the two taken together:

The first is from historian Victor Davis Hanson titled Iraq – Agony, Ordeal, and  Recovery.

The second is from political scientist Abraham H. Miller titled The Eighteenth Brumarie of Barack Obama

Dr. Hanson’s essay is a critique of the Iraq war from it’s inception following 9/11/2001 to its conclusion with the complete withdrawal of US troops in 2011. This critique follows the path of war from it’s popular beginning led by a popular president George W. Bush.

Hanson points to the now forgotten Bush administration’s winning

overwhelming bipartisan support in obtaining House and Senate resolutions in October 2002 (unlike Clinton for the Balkan war or Obama for the Libyan bombing). It spent a year trying to persuade the UN (unlike Clinton in 1999, who just bombed without even going to the UN).’ 

. . .

Hanson continues:

“Nation-building” was not just some neocon wide-eyed dream (although for some it may well have been that). More likely, it was the last choice to ensure that military force led to something better, a sort of repeat of post-Milosevic Serbia rather than post-Gulf War Iraq. The result was that 70% of the American people and almost the entire liberal media were on board.  They would not have been had (a) the Bush administration failed the year before in Afghanistan; (b) not gotten congressional approval; (c) not gone to the UN; (d) promised to leave as soon as removing Saddam or vowed to install a pro-Western strongman; (e) not had allies; or (f) talked of acquiring Iraqi oil.

. . .

Hanson then chronicles the collapse of that support as things got tough in Iraq and the Islamic insurgency gathered strength. 

From 2004-7, the Bush administration did not reply to or defend itself against its critics, as the media bought into “Bush lied, thousands died” and canonized Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, and Code Pink.

. . .

That Barack Obama in 2009 simply embraced the entire Petraeus plan (after advocating as an early presidential candidate in 2007 to get all combat troops out by March 2008) and mostly expanded the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols (from Guantanamo and renditions to drones and the Patriot Act [and torture I might add, if the circumstances presented themselves]) without a murmur from the Left suggests that their prior opposition was in large part partisan, not principled, and should have been countered in that context.

Dr. Hanson, being the good historian he is, offers historical and cultural context in his analysis along with the political landscape.

It is here that I offer my own view that the American left and the Democrat Party fueled and used that collapse of support in order to demonize Bush and regain and consolidate political power; you remember Rahm Emanuel’s infamous directive “never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

And the strategy succeeded with a very left wing, inexperienced, and at the time unknown, Barack Obama ascending to the presidency in 2009, with reelection in 2012 in spite of a very poor economic performance under his first term.

Now shift to Professor Miller’s essay The Eighteenth Brumarie of Barack Obama in which he draws analogies between Louis Bonaparte, the nephew of  Napoleon Bonaparte, and Barack Obama. To wit …

Louis Bonaparte’s presence on the stage of history was a farce. By culture he was a foreigner. By political inclination he was a pretender, a man who was all things to all people, and a man who was carried into political life by plying the outcasts of society with sausages. Then, as Marx so aptly put it, he plied them with sausages anew. Bonaparte represented no class interest and no transcendent interest except his own.

.  . .

Bonaparte ruled by creating dependency on the state, by expanding the machinery of government. The organs of the state, the bureaucracy, and their ever-growing tentacles expanding into private life were Bonaparte’s substitution for a class or transcendent interest.

Miller continues with the analogy:

This situation was ripe for exploitation by the foreigner, the pretender, who was all things to all people. To some scholars of this period, this was a description of what would later become known as fascism. The template for Hitler, Mussolini, and Peron is to be found in an examination of the reign of Louis Bonaparte.

So too, in a sense, is the presidency of Barack Obama.

. . .

How is it that a sitting president presiding over a damaged economy with high unemployment and no sign of recovery can get reelected? In part, the answer is that he has expanded access to the federal trough, made people dependent on the largess of the government, and caused them to be fearful that the “nasty” opposition is going to terminate the government programs upon which they are increasingly dependent.

And more from Miller:

Peron, like Hugo Chavez, raided the private retirement funds of individuals and coerced them into government social security in order to pay for a government increasingly burdened with debt from pandering to the social periphery. There is a move now in leftist Democratic circles to have the Obama administration implement similar policies.

. . .

And so, we are in the era of another purveyor of an alien culture, a pretender who is all things to all people, and a demagogue who is hoisted on the shield of the social periphery that is constantly plied with sausages and then sausages anew. Welcome to the Eighteenth Brumaire of Barack Obama.

The strength that men like Hanson and Miller bring to the table is their long view of history, and the actors who have played roles similar to the actors of today. Thinkers like Hanson and Miller teach us to resist the mold of “that was then … but this is now”, and “that was there … but this is here.” History may or may not repeat itself, but as it says  in Ecclesiastes 1:9: What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” 

Is this enough to give you pause and reason to dig deeper? Or are these just the ranting’s of right wing zealots?

Don Johnson – March 2013

Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, The War on Terror, and His Critics … A Book Review

In a previous essay “The Big Three: Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney–I’ve Read Them All” , I ended as follows:

In reading the first draft of the history of this era, I choose to read the history through the eyes of those who were in the arena. Other histories have been and are being written, but so often they are written by professionals with political or journalistic biases looking though glasses tinted one way or another. One day a truly objective accounting will be written, perhaps by someone of the stature of a Jay Winik. I hope I am alive to read such an account.

Well, in this book by Stephen F. Knott, a professor of national security affairs at the United States Naval War College, perhaps we are seeing the first of such accounts of the Bush 43 Presidency. I’ve just completed my first reading of this book and am pleased to recommend it, especially to those who have been so virulent in their criticism of Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld in their conduct of events following 9/11/2001.

In this book, Professor Knott examines the actions of Mr. Bush in the context of the  Constitutional powers placed in the Executive branch by the founders, and also compares Mr. Bush’s actions with those of previous presidents, some of whom are favorites of the fiercest critics of Bush; presidents such as Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy. If you read this book you will find that the afore mentioned presidents were far more aggressive (and abusive?) in their war power actions than was Bush.

Professor Knott is very critical of the supposed objectivity of many professional historians and journalists and their misuse of their positions in order to score political points. Perhaps this book will reign in some of that professional abuse.

This being a new book, there are not yet multitudes of reviews. Here are a few I’ve found you may be interested in perusing:

My own view? I’ve admired President George W. Bush and consider him to be in the top tier of American Presidents.

Don Johnson  — June 2012