The Outgoing President Bush: Not As Wrong As First Thought
At least according to the incoming President Obama. Charles Krauthammer explains, but I just have the bullet points here to get you to "Read the Whole Thing"(tm). All lines below are quotes from the article.
- Vindication is being expressed not in words but in deeds — the tacit endorsement conveyed by the Obama continuity-we-can-believe-in transition.
- It is the repeated pledge to conduct a withdrawal from Iraq that does not destabilize its new democracy and that, as Vice President-elect Joe Biden said just this week in Baghdad, adheres to the Bush-negotiated status-of-forces agreement that envisions a U.S. withdrawal over three years, not the 16-month timetable on which Obama campaigned.
- It is the great care Obama is taking in not preemptively abandoning the anti-terror infrastructure that the Bush administration leaves behind.
- [On interrogation techniques] Obama still disagrees with Cheney’s view of the acceptability of some of these techniques. But citing as sage the advice offered by "the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history" (according to Joe Biden) — advice paraphrased by Obama as "we shouldn’t be making judgments on the basis of incomplete information or campaign rhetoric" — is a startlingly early sign of a newly respectful consideration of the Bush-Cheney legacy.
Which is why Obama is consciously creating a gulf between what he now dismissively calls "campaign rhetoric" and the policy choices he must make as president. Accordingly, Newsweek — Obama acolyte and scourge of everything Bush/Cheney — has on the eve of the Democratic restoration miraculously discovered the arguments for warrantless wiretaps, enhanced interrogation and detention without trial. Indeed, Newsweek’s neck-snapping cover declares, "Why Obama May Soon Find Virtue in Cheney’s Vision of Power."
Another "Now They Tell Us" moment in the mainstream media. All the anger and disdain thrown at Bush, figuratively here and by a certain Iraqi reporter there, is over ideas and policies that the incoming administration has show it’ll be slow to dismantle. Those policies have indeed kept up safe for the 7 years since 9/11.
No, the ends do not at all justify the means. But for some of us, these were just wars. For others, neither Afghanistan nor Iraq were just, and the reflexively anti-war crowd will continue to push Obama, as they did Bush, to just do whatever our enemies want so they won’t get angry with us. Or perhaps isolate them, which "worked" so well for the 70+ years of aggressive communism in the Soviet Union. That even failed miserably with Hussein’s Iraq, with our own "allies" funneling aid to them through the back door.
No, George W. Bush kept us safe, and, despite the rancor and alarmism, without shredding the Constitution or civil liberties. Obama played on the fears of his supporters long enough to get elected President, but the time has come for action, and before you judge the actions of his predecessor, see what his actions are. That will speak louder to the success or failure of George W. Bush than any pundit’s pen can write.
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