Monday, January 19, 2009

George Bush’s Regrets

In an interview several days ago President George Bush was asked if he had any regrets on his actions over the past eight years. He could think of only a few such as making a speech in front of a sign that said "Mission Accomplished." I do not know why he regrets such a minor thing. After all he did accomplish his stated mission in invading Iraq. The President’s purpose was to protect us from Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction (nuclear bombs), bring about regime change, and punish Iraq for its involvement in the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States.

If I remember correctly, we achieved all three of those objectives rather quickly. In just a few days our armed forces conquered Iraq and eventually we saw Saddam hung by the neck till dead. Not long afterward we realized America was no longer under the threat of Iraq’s nuclear arsenal. And, we certainly have brought sufficient punishment to the population there that they will think twice before getting involved in another attack on America.

Unfortunately, George Bush was not satisfied with victory and his original goals morphed into something else which most of us have not yet figured out. I am not so sure Bush figured it out either. And so the war dragged on with no end in sight. From my perspective, what Bush should regret is going to war in the first place. Too bad he can’t see his tragic blunder in that decision.


Bramblyspam said...

I find it hard to believe that you still apparently believe that Iraq had anything whatsoever to do with the September 11 attacks. There was no connection between Saddam and al Qaeda. Of the hijackers themselves, fifteen came from Saudi Arabia. Not a single one came from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan or any other regime that we regard as "sponsoring terrorism".

Bush and his administration had many reasons to attack Iraq (none of them valid in my view). They settled on the WMD issue only because it was the one issue that everyone could rally around. Perhaps the main reason for the war is because a lot of people in the Bush administration believe that we're in a war of civilizations with radical islamists, and it's fundamentally impossible for the islamic world to live in peace with the west.

According to this worldview, the entire arab/islamic world is the enemy, not just Saddam. Saddam was merely the first best target - never mind that his regime was secular and quite tolerant of religious diversity (his second in command was christian). Indeed, Saddam was just the sort of despot that bin Laden and the islamists have pledged to overthrow, but the clash-of-civilizations folks typically can't even tell the difference between a shiite, a sunni, and a corrupt secular tyrant. They just see evil muslims.

The true believers in the Bush administration will never admit to being wrong on Iraq. In their view, we were faced by a mortal enemy who would kill us if left alone, so the only option was to fight. They may take issue with how the war has been conducted, but they'll never question the decision to go to war in the first place. Whether there were WMD is irrelevant to them, since they see evil muslims as an existential threat whether they have WMD or not.

I don't know to what extent Bush was involved in the nitty gritty decisionmaking, but he's not as stupid as he's made out to be, and one of his great virtues is that he's fiercely loyal. Given that Bush has "stayed the course" on Iraq throughout his presidency, I've become convinced that he actively shares these views.

Lyndon G. Furst said...


Please read my original column again. I did not say I believed Iraq had anything to do with 9/11, only that Bush did. Yours is one of the better explanations I have seen.

If I had your e-mail I would send you a longer essay on this topic I wrote some time ago.

I enjoy your responses to my blog.

Bramblyspam said...

Aha, pardon my confusion then. I was pretty sure you knew better.

I guess I should let you know who I am, yes? This is LB, Gwen mentioned that I should start posting here. I use this name in a variety of places, but I guess you aren't familiar with it.

I'm glad you like my responses, I enjoy writing them.