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President Bush Says Farewell January 16, 2009

Posted by neoavatara in Economy, Politics, World Politics.
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George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, made his farewell address last night. In the speech, he defended his actions, stating that he always had the country’s best interest at heart.  He said there were mistakes, but ultimately his only goal was to keep America safe after 9/11.

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The Bush haters would detest Mr. Bush even if he found a cure for cancer.  To them, there is no reprieve, no answer for what they consider 8 years of mistakes.  Frankly, I say ignore them.

Mr. Bush’s presidency was littered with disaster, tragedy, and tumult.  And much of it came out of the blue.  The presidency, historically and otherwise, will be defined by the events of September 11, 2001.  People forget that before that day, Mr. Bush planned on being a domestic oriented president.  His focus was education and business reform.  Everything changed that fateful day.  But liberals are easy to blame; but what would Al Gore have done differently?  Would he have not attacked Afghanistan?  Would he have put 200,000 troops into that God forsaken country, so terrorists could have killed our young people there instead of Iraq?  People like Tom Friedman and Paul Krugman easily blame Bush for not asking for sacrifice at that time, and asking the public to confront terrorists by moving toward green technologies, accept higher taxes, and build infrastructure.  Do these people not remember the trauma that New York City, and the nation as a whole, suffered?  It is nonsensical to believe that Mr. Gore would have done much differently early on in response to 9/11.

The great question of the presidency will be Iraq.  Almost unanimously, media types and historians are declaring it a mistake and a failure.  In hindsight, I too would not invade Iraq; in fact, I had serious doubts about the war at the start.   That said, declaring Iraq a failure at this point is almost a knee-jerk reaction.  Yes, I know 4,000 American servicemen died.  I know hundred thousand or more Iraqis died.  And it was a war of choice, not necessity.  But those of us living today have no idea the future effect of a democratic Iraq is.  No historian does, no media pundit does.  And if they tell you otherwise, they are fools.  I admit, as of now, the after effects of the Iraq invasion are likely to be negative; but that doesn’t mean anything at this point.  History will answer that question.  But Bush leaves the Iraq war, which looked lost 2 years ago, now winnable.  The surge, despite all critics, was a clear success.  Obama has little to do in Iraq than follow the Bush plan, and pullout in 2 years or less.

Afghanistan was always a long term proposals.  Those who say we are losing there don’t understand the battlefield.  This is a battle that will take a generation.  Building a country out of pit of dust takes time.  American and NATO troops must be ready to be there for decades, not years.  Pakistan is a bigger problem.  How do you handle terrorists in a sovereign country’s land, when said country cannot control their own territory?  Obama has proposed putting American troops on the ground.  If you think Iraq was bloody, wait to you have troops in Pakistan.

Economically, only history will state how much of the current crisis is Bush’s fault.  There were clear mistakes the Bush administration made.  They should have been much more forceful on reforming Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac.  They should have used regulatory practices better, with the SEC missing in action the last couple years.  But much of the genesis of the current credit crisis was started in the 1990s, with loosening of mortgage regulations.  And the credit freeze was not an americocentric problem, as we see worldwide issues involved.  Whether Bush was the villain or just a spectator in this crisis will take time to understand.

Ultimately, I am not a Bush apologist.  He made a multitude of mistakes.  For all the reasons to go into Iraq, he took his eye off the ball around 2004; a surge in 2005 would have saved many lives, instead of waiting until 2007.  He should have put more troops into both Iraq and Afghanistan early on; he may have killed or captured Osama Bin Laden at Tora Bora if he had.  Bush didn’t understand the political and public dimension of interrogation, torture, and Gitmo, which hurt American credibility.  He should have opened more dialogue to Iran, Syria, and North Korea, although the latter is on a path to some kind of armistice.  On the domestic front, the Prescription Drug plan is a boondoggle that created him m0re headaches than it was worth.  No Child Left Behind was always a mess, largely because it was too federally oriented (problem of working with Teddy Kennedy).  The recent bailout was big government at its worst; throwing money at a problem, with no idea how the money would be spent. And the response to Katrina was pathetic, though still not all his fault.

Bush’s greatest successes?  First, despite what haters may say about interrogation and Guantanamo, Bush reformed the intelligence agencies into a modern force. Under Clinton, the C.I.A. and homeland security could not even discuss people or groups.  The cohesion of intelligence is not able to respond atleast reasonably to threats.  The U.S. is much safer today than it was 8 years ago.  On foreign affairs, Bush improved relations with China after a rocky beginning with the spy plane incident.  Bush completely altered the relationship with India, bringing them into the group of American allies.  This will be a buffer against China, and increase American influence through out Asia.  The nuclear cooperation deal with India will also further relations with the world’s largest democracy and one of the fastest growing economies.  In Africa, Bush did more for the continent than any American President ever.  He saved, in conservative analysis, 5 million lives there.  He is beloved on the continent.  Bush furthered free trade as much as possible, although couldn’t get agreements passed with Columbia and others.  And Bush’s legacy in the judicial system will stand for a generation, as Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, both in their fifities, will likely sit on the bench for 3 or more decades.

The last question we must ask is, if Bush was the failure that liberals point him out to be, why is Mr. Obama following his lead on so many critical issues?  Robert Gates remains as Secretary of Defense, and David Petraeus remains in charge of the Central Command.  Obama is following the Bush plan in Iraq and Afghanistan; he is making no major changes.  He may be willing to talk to low level people in Hamas and Iran, but ultimately it looks like he is not going to make any real headway.  On Pakistan, Obama is more hawkish than Bush.  On the domestic front, Tim Geithner is likely to be the Treasury Secretary.  He is a man who was integral to the Bush Bailout plan last year.  Obama’s actions are a defense, not repudiation, of much of the Bush legacy.

In the final analysis, couple points.  First, presidents are rarely truly understood on their last day.  Bill Clinton was very popular, but now historians are questioning how much he got wrong, especially in regards to the credit crisis and terrorism.  George Bush 41 left at a low point, but now many claim he was right on both the economy and foreign policy.  Reagan is a hero, an icon, one that even Obama wants to emulate.  Carter was a disaster, and has now been redeemed.  We don’t know, or can we, what the real final analysis of the Bush administration will be in the pages of history.

I know many, especially the Bush haters, will attack me as an apologist, an idealogue, with a blind eye to the truth.  So be it.  I have always called it as I see it, and will continue to do so.  Hate, anger, they should have little or no place in the public dialogue.  You don’t agree with someone, debate them on policy and move on.  That is the line I will hold going forward with President Obama; and I hope that I act better toward my next president  than the liberals have during the past presidency.

43rd and 44th Presidents of the United States

43rd and 44th Presidents of the United States

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Comments»

1. Ghazala Khan - January 16, 2009

Hello,

I hope you are fine and carrying on the great work you have been doing for the Internet surfers. I am Ghazala Khan from The Pakistani Spectator (TPS), We at TPS throw a candid look on everything happening in and for Pakistan in the world. We are trying to contribute our humble share in the webosphere. Our aim is to foster peace, progress and harmony with passion.

regards.

Ghazala Khan
The Pakistani Spectator
http://www.pakspectator.com

2. Dum and Dummer Bush Live Movie - January 17, 2009

Good bye, farewell, do not let the door hit you on the way out and you exit you position that you failed in every way possible. This country is in the shape that it is in because you lied, cheated, and failed miserably in every facet of the job. America is lucky we are only in a depression and a war that will never end because you could have destroyed us all.

Please go to the ranch and take your crazy wife with you.

Signed,
Good Riddance!

3. HeadintheSand - January 17, 2009

President Bush is the BEST EVER! Everything he did was awesome. People never gave him the chance to cure cancer. He tried to reform Social Security so we could have private accounts in the stock market, which is a really good idea. Its not his fault Iraqi’s are ungrateful for the “freedom” he bestowed upon them even if it did come with a side of explosions, bombs, bullets, death and carnage. Its not his fault he never allocated the money needed to fund No Child Left Behind in a single one of his federal budgets. Its not his fault he castrated the SEC and other financial regulatory institutions. Its not his fault he hired a former horse trainer to head FEMA. All Africans – even the Sudanese – love him. All Americans should love him too – because he kept us safe (except for the anthrax… but shhh no one remembers that). Above all Bush was a smart and realistic president that put aside ideological platforms and did what was in the best interest of all Americans. THE END. (Thats my story and I’m sticking to it.)


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