Don’t Forget the real legacy of George Bush

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THE RECORD STRAIGHT DEPT.
Just in case anyone might get the idea that since this site has published denigrating articles on President Obama, this somehow means support of the conservative right, check out this truthful overview of the legacy of Bush the Younger. Just remember — the self-styled globalists control both parties. The rhetoric changes but not the policies.
Jim

Don’t Forget the real legacy of George Bush
By LAWRENCE BROWN
Cape Cod Times
May 10, 2013

No sooner had the living presidents assembled to open the Bush library in Texas than conservative pundits started getting all mushy about what a good guy George was and how those eight years weren’t really so bad. Republican strategists have realized that even retired from office, Bush is still holding them back.

The opening of the Bush library and the cheerful bantering among chief executives was the perfect moment, since Bush’s name had come up, to sand down his image and repaint him in happier colors, which is precisely what right-wing commentators proceeded to do.
And it worked. Today, ex-President Bush’s popularity hovers at 47 percent. Remember, after signing a $700 billion bank bailout, Bush left office with his popularity under 30 percent.
Ex-President Jimmy Carter has run the legs off his younger staff in humanitarian pursuits; Bill Clinton has been doing the same thing. What has Junior been doing? Making oil paintings of his feet in the tub.

Helium balloons may rise of their own accord. All others must be lifted by hot air and a cynical reliance on our itty-bitty spans of attention. Listen in on tea party activist Judson Phillips, to the Washington Independent: “… For better or worse … America’s got a really short attention span. If you go past a few days, people forget about it.”
What are we forgetting? Did Bush keep us safe from terrorism? There were warnings. Bush even got a briefing while enjoying one of his 1,020 days of vacation. “Bin Laden determined to strike in USA,” with specific warnings about airplanes.

“All right,” said Bush to his CIA briefer, according to The Week magazine. “You’ve covered your ass.”
Within the month, we sustained the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 Americans. In all, there would be 64 attacks on American diplomatic targets during the eight years of Bush’s presidency.

A comparison between Clinton’s presidency and George W. Bush’s is useful. George led an exemplary personal life during his eight years as president. And the pressures on him were enormous. The same cannot be said of Clinton. I still remember my seventh-graders asking about the cigar and the blue dress, and shamefully having to tell them to ask their parents.

But our peacetime economy boomed under Clinton — and he left office with a modest budget surplus. Then Bush, as Doonesbury put it, “installed a fox in every henhouse” and our economy crashed under his watch. That’s how America judged it — and elected a Democrat in 2008.

In 2004, U.N. inspector Hans Blix checked over 700 sites in Iraq and found no weapons of mass destruction. We went in anyway, sure the Iraqis would greet us as liberators, sure that the sale of Iraqi oil would pay for our efforts there. We intended to set up a supply-side economy and a democratic government. “Mission Accomplished” read the aircraft carrier’s banner when Bush flew the 39 miles out from the California coast. Eight years later, hostilities had still not concluded.

The decision to invade Iraq will cost us between $4 trillion and $6 trillion after figuring in the long-term cost of caring for our wounded. The U.S. Army Surgeon General’s Office reports more than 44,000 moderate to severe brain injuries and more than 1,500 amputees. More than 4,000 American soldiers are dead.

And in Iraq, between 400,000 and 655,000 were killed by 2006, a continuing motivation and inspiration for global jihadis.

In retrospect, the invasion of Iraq was even more catastrophic than its critics predicted — and it was unnecessary. Bush and Vice President Cheney would later admit Iraq had no part in the 9/11 attacks. The al-Qaida connection to Iraq existed only after the fall of Saddam Hussein. There were no weapons of mass destruction. We were not greeted as liberators. Iraq proved incapable of paying for our invasion and occupation. The greatest beneficiary of our wasted lives and treasure? Iran.
Let’s not forget that when George W. Bush left office, America was diminished in almost every respect: less solvent, less prosperous, less safe, less free, less respected around the world. If Republican strategists cannot repudiate George Bush, let’s not let them cloud our memories about what a disaster both he and his party visited on our country. The same policies — advanced by new champions — will do it again.

Lawrence Brown of Hyannis teaches humanities at Cape Cod Academy in Osterville.

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