Skip to main content

So Farewell Then... George W. Bush

The list of lasts for George W. Bush is diminishing steadily and we are now down to four days before he leaves office.

His final press conference was of a piece with his conduct in office- no regrets and no explanations. However in in his valedictory he continues to demonstrate just how unfit a President he has been.

His comment on upholding the moral authority of the United States was surely designed to do no more than raise a cynical laugh: this was after all the President who presided over Abu Graib and Guantanamo, who prosecuted an illegal war and who- more than any single one of his predecessors- governed in a politicised and highly partisan manner.

I notice Andrew Roberts has written that he believes that George W. Bush was a "Good President". Frankly it seems to me that this is just another of journalistic contrariness: taking a position in order to make the story.

The fact is that, at home just as much as abroad, the popularity of this President could not be lower. His policy mis-steps, on the "War on Terror", on Iraq, on the Economy, have left the United States massively weaker: in hock to its strategic enemies and reviled for its arrogance and perhaps paradoxically for its weakness.

The Bushies were a narrow and exclusive group of like minded individuals whose approach to policy was the opposite of intellectual: it was faith based position taking and the consequence of this was a failure to deconstruct their failures until it was already too late. Instead of listening to the widest views, the Bushies talked only to the hard line right wing ideologues of the neo-Conservatives and in the end they made both the Administration and the Republican Party into prisoners of the extreme religious right.

Barack Obama inherits a legacy of division and of failure. The economic crisis he faces will brook no delay. Yet the scale of the problems are so large and the potential for politicking so tempting that it is hard to see how the American Constitution will be able to deliver effective decision making between the different branches of government, even if Obama has the right policies (and it is not clear that he has). "No drama" Obama will need every ounce of his legendary patience to get even the smallest changes underway.

Nevertheless on January 20th we can at least breathe a sigh of relief that at least George W. Bush is no more. Whatever the future brings we can, for a brief instant at least, hope that the 44th President will repair the vile legacy of the 43rd.


Newmania said…
I don't agree here ,I am not a fan of Bush especially but I am quite certain the universal and easy abuse is misplaced or at least overdone
To me it seems quite quite obvious that it could have been a lot worse.
I have written in his defence on Liberal Con and posted on my blog ( a rare event )
Newmania said…
AA said…
I agree with you Newmania

I especially like your line about Bush, ...and is infinitely the intellectual superior of his childish detractors.

My main beef with Bush is that he seemed to go a bit soft in his last term. There should have been more of an effort to capture/kill the enemy leadership, development of more new weapons like the killer drones and a few more spectacular victories/defeats. The wars that are looked back upon with nostalgia always have these three crucial elements.

The enemy have been difficult though, always calling for jihad, jihad and as soon as anyone gives them jihad like Isreal is now in Gaza they're crying for mercy like a bunch of weeping schoolgirls.... and people like Cicero start feeling sorry for them and start complaining about Abu Graib and Guantanamo with nary a word about how Hamas, Hezbullah and the Taliban treat their prisoners.
Cicero said…
I think you are both dead wrong. The "whataboutism" concerning Hamas, Hizbullah is particularly stupid: OF COURSE we are better than them but that means we must always behave better than them. I think Gitmo and Abu Graib are utterly criminal because they undermine the self evident moral superiority of Western Democracy over Islamo-Fascist death cults.
AA said…
Conditions at Gitmo and Abu Graib do not equate to stooping to the level of the enemy. The Red Cross has access to prisoners held in American facilities while the enemy routinely torture their prisoners to death. Yet it’s not actually “whataboutism” in the sense of, ‘they do it so why can’t we?’ It’s that too many people patronisingly hold others to a lower standard to what we now consider to be basic humanity thus condoning evil. It’s more “whataboutism” in the sense of, ‘if you accuse us of war crimes why do you never accuse them of war crimes?’

So with this behaving better than them thing would you seriously suggest, as an example, that Gaza’s deliberate bombardment of Israeli civilians is not a war crime yet it would be if Israelis just randomly dropped bombs on Gaza?

I propose that all crimes of violence should be investigated and their perpetrators punished regardless of the standards they or others set for them. The UN should be calling for the arrest and trial of the Hamas leadership instead of just demanding that everyone stop the violence. What we see today is real stupidity, not punishing people for acts of violence but rewarding them for stopping the violence – a recipe for endless violence.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Popular posts from this blog

Trump and Brexit are the Pearl Harbor and the Fall of Singapore in Russia's Hybrid war against the West.

In December 1941, Imperial Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor. After the subsequent declaration of war, within three days, the Japanese had sunk the British warships, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, and the rapid Japanese attack led to the surrender of Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941 and the fall of Singapore only two months after Pearl Harbor. These were the opening blows in the long war of the Pacific that cost over 30,000,000 lives and was only ended with the detonations above Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"History doesn't often repeat itself, but it rhymes" is an aphorism attributed to Mark Twain, and in a way it seems quite appropriate when we survey the current scene. 

In 1941, Imperial Japan, knowing its own weakness, chose a non-conventional form of war, the surprise attack. Since the end of his first Presidential term, Vladimir Putin, knowing Russia's weakness, has also chosen non-conventional ways to promote his domestic powe…

The American National nightmare becomes a global nightmare

It is a basic contention of this blog that Donald J Trump is not fit for office.

A crooked real estate developer with a dubious past and highly questionable finances. he has systematically lied his way into financial or other advantage. His personal qualities include vulgarity, sexual assault allegations and fraudulent statements on almost every subject. 

He lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.

He has, of course, been under criminal investigation practically since before he took the oath of office. The indictment of some of closest advisers is just the beginning. His track record suggests that in due course there is no action he will not take, whether illegal or unconstitutional in order to derail his own inevitable impeachment and the indictments that must surely follow the successful investigation of Robert Mueller into his connections with Russia.

However, all of that is a matter for the American people. 

It is also a matter for the American people that Trump is cheating…

Cicero ReDux

By Special Request of Baroness Scott and Mark Valladares... Cicero's Songs returns: bigger, longer and uncut.
October 1st marked the half way point of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union.  Perhaps for many people such an anniversary is of passing interest at best.  Yet the conduct of the Estonian Presidency is reinforcing just how forward looking and innovative the most northerly of the Baltic States has become.
Estonia is a country that wants to live in the future, and with its openness and innovation, that future seems a lot closer than almost anywhere else in Europe
It is not that Estonia does not “do” the past: the picturesque cobbled streets of old Tallinn have tourist crowds a-plenty enjoying the mediaeval architecture in an Indian summer of sunshine and blue skies.  The real point is that Estonia refuses to be a prisoner of its past. Lennart Meri, Estonia’s President in the 1990s- who spent years of his childhood in Siberia- once told me that the country had to conc…