Saturday, April 21, 2007

Too Early?

Maybe it is too early to discuss whether Bush is the worst US president ever, but the board has been a little quiet lately, so I will throw it up here. I say "yes" and here are some reasons.

-Using 9-11 to mislead people into invading Iraq.
-Using other means to mislead people into supporting the Iraq invasion (yellowcake, Feith's office, his Poland "we found them(WMD's)" statement).
-Performing too little preparation work for the Iraq occupation.
-Failing to establish police services during the early occupation (failing to create a "free society" as Sharansky might say).
-Failing to put sufficient military forces in Afghanistan.
-Failing to persuade other countries to put more military forces in Afghanistan.
-Failing to fire Rumsfeld and Gonzales for far too long (his PR person's "no wrongdoing" statement).
-Implying that people who criticize him are not patriotic.
-Using the extra-territorial status of Gitmo and secret prisons to avoid proper judicial controls (habeas corpus, access to representation).
-Apparently using torture frequently and lying about it.
-Failing to build more oil independence (his PR person's early "That's a big no." statement).
-Hiring people who intimidate scientists and distort science reports.

5 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

This is a tough title to award. When I see/hear people suggest that W is the worst president ever, I often see /hear people respond "What about Teapot Dome, or the Trail of Tears, or the Whiskey Ring?" or any number of other historical follies or crimes perpetrated by past administrations. Although the "scandalous" behavior behind Teapot Dome is now standard procedure in DC, the Trail of Tears was pretty horrible, as was our annexation of 1/3 of Mexico, as was our support for brutal Latin American murderers, as was a whole lot of other stuff.

Still, from my perspective, this is a pretty fucking horrible administration.

9:15 PM  
Blogger hurtleg said...

This is such a rediculous question to ask WHILE HE'S STILL IN OFFICE!!

As for your points:

Using 9-11 to mislead people into invading Iraq.
--did not mislead anyone. Intelligence turning out to be wrong is not a lie.

-Using other means to mislead people into supporting the Iraq invasion (yellowcake, Feith's office, his Poland "we found them(WMD's)" statement).

--same as above, still not a lie. In any organization as large as the intelligence there will be dissenting views. The vast majority believed Sadam had WMD. Of course the dissenters look brilliant in retrospect. Hindsight is 20/20 to use a cliche. Intelligence is an uncertain endevor, a president has to make a decision based on the bese information they have at the time.
-Performing too little preparation work for the Iraq occupation.
--may be valid. The prewar planning assumed that the Iraqs local governments/police would not collapse. Turns out they did. Probably should have planned for worst case.
-Failing to establish police services during the early occupation (failing to create a "free society" as Sharansky might say).
--same as above, plus some of the tensions were probably inevitable. Should have planned better for it.
-Failing to put sufficient military forces in Afghanistan.
--Sufficient for what? Afghanistan is in the best shape it has been in 30 years. Far from perfect, but certainly not a disaster. Warring tribes and groups like the taliban hiding in the hills has been going on for hundreds of years.
-Failing to persuade other countries to put more military forces in Afghanistan.
--Not Bush's fault Europe has disarmed. Happened a long time ago.
-Failing to fire Rumsfeld and Gonzales for far too long (his PR person's "no wrongdoing" statement).
--not sure what statement you are refering too. As for Rumsfeld, Iraq was showing a lot of progress until Feb. 2006. That's when Zarqawi blew up the golden mosque. Things got worse in '06 and the US didn't react fast enough. Rumsfeld was fired in Nov '06, 8 months from when things started to turn. I also have to say 20 years from now no one will even remember who Alberto Gonzales was.
-Implying that people who criticize him are not patriotic.
--I'm not sure Bush really did this, he was making his point and pushing for what he believed what was right.
-Using the extra-territorial status of Gitmo and secret prisons to avoid proper judicial controls (habeas corpus, access to representation).
--why would terrorists (non-US citizens) get Habeas corpus. I have no problem with this program. I don't know what else you do with terrorist that are captured. I don't think the Geneva Convention should apply either, terrorists certainly don't follow it.
-Apparently using torture frequently and lying about it.
--makes me uncomfortable, but seems to have been effective (Khalid Sheik Muhommad)
-Failing to build more oil independence (his PR person's early "That's a big no." statement).
--done more than you realize. Pushed for more nuclear energy. Has put money into research for alternative energy sources. There is no easy answer and no quick solution. Have to be careful not to disrupt the entire economy for only marginal gains. There is no silver bullet.
-Hiring people who intimidate scientists and distort science reports
--I think people who believe in global warming are just as bad. If you want to study areas that might disprove globabl warming it is almost impossible to get government grants.

I also have to bring up the dog that didn't bark. The economy is spectacularly successful. Low unemployment, low inflation, real wages are rising. The tax cuts worked. An extremely mild recession after the dot com bubble burst plus the shocks of 9/11 and Enron etc. The deficit is shrinking. Tax revenues are at an all time high, and are higher than the projections before the tax cut. The problem has been overspending (non-defense). This is an area I am not happy with Bush. Also, his Supreme Court nominees seem to be exactly what I would like to see and are highly qualified. I think the country will be better for decades because of this.

Also, I think Bush will look better farther down the line because he gets it. He sees the big multigenerational threat that is out there and has responded. Of course we can knitpick tactical decisions. That's true of every war. Roosevelt and Lincoln are both considered the best, but if you study the 1st year or two of their wars they would look incompetent also.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

To my liberal comrades on the site: it's not that Hurtleg's analysis is flawed, it's that he lives on an entirely different planet from you and me.

Sure, practically the entire scientific community of Planet Earth has come to grips with the reality of human caused climate change, but it's pretty ignorant of you to just assume that the same thing is happening on Planet "Mundelein"--the English cognate he uses to describe his home world, the true name of which is likely unpronounceable in any of our human dialects. Face it: you've never been there, you have no idea what's going on there, and the first you've ever heard of it is from me.

Likewise, the evidence I've been able to garner from my limited interactions with Hurtleg in the blogosphere strongly suggest that the linear nature of the time-space we experience on Earth is not applicable to "Mundelein." This helps explain his otherwise inscrutable habit of continually posting assertions that have already been respectably debunked in previous comments, and of never responding to those same comments before continuing to post based on recycled fallacious arguments. (Notice all the loaded temporal language I used there, like "already," "previous," and "never." Stop being such imperial sequentialists, and recognize the fact that other dimensions and universes don't necessarily follow the same rules as this one.)

It pains me somewhat to take my fellow KKRB liberals to task for utterly failing at something we should be very good at, which is recognizing and being inclusive of profound diversity, particularly when it means being respectful of opinions that are based on systems other than our precious earthly logic--but can't we all just get along?

9:49 PM  
Blogger hurtleg said...

Jeff has an in interesting point. I think we are living on different planets. Our group mirrors the greater divide in the country. Once you get outside of the city and read something other than Kos and the NY Times there are other views than the conventional wisdom.

Jeff seems to be questioning my posts on global warming mainly. I have questions on how accurate and reliable the science is. I have said it may turn out global warming is man made, I'm not convinced by the evidence today. This is something I only really starting thinking about recently. I'm still reading and weighing the information, I could change my mind in a month or two if I see enough to convince me.

I assume you were taking shots at my response to the Bush post also, but you give no specifics. I'm sure the liberal block has convinced itself that Bush lied us into war. I feel the same frustration at the Monday morning quarterbacking. Bush made a decision based on the best information at the time.

One subject Tim sighted was the yellowcake story. I think I posted on this before that Joe Wilson's story in the NY Times is not what he reported to the CIA. There is plenty of evidence that Sadam was trying to get uranium in Niger. He never got it, and Bush never claimed that he did, only that he tried. This is my example of Jeff's contention that bloggers are ignoring previous evidence 'proved' on the sight. Bush's 'lying' about yellowcake is an example of the left ignoring the evidence to have a better story about the 'evil' Bush.

Most of the disagreements we have are over the interpretation of the facts. I see bad intelligence as something that is regrettable and surprising, but not dishonost. The anti-war crowd has twisted this into a conspiracy (for what gain I have no idea).

8:54 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Nanu Nanu.

8:44 PM  

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