As history will judge: The true legacy of G.W. Bush | AspenTimes.com

As history will judge: The true legacy of G.W. Bush

Gary Hubbell

The Bush administration is imploding around itself, with the resignations of Alberto Gonzales, Tony Snow, Karl Rove and a host of other top officials. Embarrassingly tawdry sex scandals amongst his faithful Republican foot soldiers, who cloaked themselves in the mantle of family values to the majority party in the early 2000s, are sinking an already listing ship. In the present day, it’s not looking good for George W. Bush, who enjoys some of the lowest popularity ratings ever recorded for a modern president.But take heart, fellow conservatives, history will judge him in a different light! George W. Bush is the first American president to recognize the threat of global terrorism, and he will be seen in hindsight as a brilliant strategist who took the fight to the radical Islamists, and his prosecution of the war in Iraq will be seen as the bold, decisive step that served notice to Muslim terrorists around the world that America will stand up and fight against Islamofascism! Winning the Global War on Terrorism will be the lasting legacy of George W. Bush!Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. I don’t care whether you’re conservative or liberal, the historical legacy of George W. Bush is going to be that of an arrogant, stubborn man who was blinded by ideology and cost America an enormous amount of blood and treasure, international goodwill and prestige, and who almost broke the back of a strong, proud military. His commanders and planners made terrible mistakes of planning and judgment, letting precious opportunities slip away in the name of risk aversion. In the process, he guaranteed that we will continue to suffer terrorist attacks for decades to come.When 19 terrorists attacked our country on Sept. 11, 2001, Bush’s attack on Afghanistan, the Taliban and the al-Qaida terrorists they hosted was entirely appropriate. We stomped the crap out of the Taliban and had the Arab terrorists on the run. On the eve of clinching a decisive victory by inserting a force of 800 Army Rangers to cut off Osama bin Laden’s escape and bring his head home on a platter, Gen. Tommy Franks, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush decided it was too risky and instead relied on a bunch of illiterate Afghan tribesmen to do the job. Bin Laden’s bribe was bigger than the Americans’ bribe, and they let him slip away.So what did we do? We attacked Iraq instead. The U.S. Army transferred the 5th Special Forces Group, fluent in Arabic and making good headway in Afghanistan, to Iraq, and replaced them with a unit trained for South American jungles and fluent in Spanish.I think we can all agree that Saddam Hussein was a terrible despot and tyrant. He was hanged for, among other things, ordering the execution of 130 Shiites, whose village had fomented a coup attempt against him – after George Bush the First hung them out to dry in the aftermath of the first Gulf War. In perspective, that’s about how many Iraqis are murdered in an average two days since Iraq was liberated by George Bush the Second. The argument could be made that the government the Iraqis got from Saddam Hussein was exactly what they deserved, and democracy is a concept beyond their comprehension. The war on Iraq was poorly organized, pitifully undermanned, and had no reconstruction plan.But Iraq was not the wellspring of terrorism as described by George Bush. Excluding the carnage in Iraq, can anyone tell me of a major terrorist attack funded or organized by Iraqis? Saudi Arabia is the source of fanatical terrorism. Sixteen of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens. Osama bin Laden grew up in Saudi Arabia, with close ties to the royal family. Wealthy Saudis have funded thousands of fundamentalist madrassa schools across the Middle East, spewing forth an evil indoctrination of hate, murder and jihad. In response, we see pictures of George W. Bush holding hands with the Saudi crown prince, who visited the Bush ranch in Texas. In a sickening aside, Bush denied the science of global warming. He refused to mandate better fuel economy for U.S. automakers. He gave away tax breaks for businessmen to buy gas-guzzling SUVs. I guess the intent is to keep feeding the Saudi Arabian beast. Meanwhile, our military, staffed with dedicated, well-trained, professional soldiers, is strained to the breaking point. Not only have we spent half a trillion dollars in Iraq (just think what we could have done with that money if we had spent it on alternative energy sources!), we have left ourselves unable to respond to the growing nuclear threat in Iran, which has been emboldened by the power vacuum created by the chaos in Iraq. Oh, and one more thing – Iraq is now ruled by a Shiite majority that is unwilling to give any concessions to the despised Sunni minority, and Iran is ecstatic about the opportunity to install a religious Shiite regime in Iraq.There were 500 million tons of munitions stockpiled in Iraq prior to the war. I spoke with one soldier who took part in the initial offensive. He said they came upon a school with every room stuffed to the ceiling with RPG rounds, mortar rounds, grenades, artillery shells and every conceivable type of ammunition. With hostile forces just ahead of them, they had to press the attack, and no one was available to safeguard the munitions. They came back a few days later and everything had been removed. In the Muslim world, family honor is paramount to any other concept. Democracy is far down the list. If you kill a man, all his male relatives are honorbound and dutybound to avenge his death. As we mow down the Iraqi insurgents, we instantly create a spreading cancer of terrorists newly converted to the cause. They have the weapons (we can’t find 190,000 machine guns and Glock pistols that we gave to the new Iraqi military), the motivation and the means to create havoc worldwide as they spread throughout the Middle East and across the planet. They will conduct terrorist attacks for decades to come. George Bush is right about one thing: We’re in this fight for the long haul, but his pitiful leadership only made the situation much, much worse. The Taliban is reorganizing in Afghanistan, and thousands of foreign terrorists slipped away into Pakistan and other parts unknown. Osama bin Laden is still alive, and George Bush holds hands with the Saudi royal family. In my humble opinion, I don’t think history is going to be very kind to George W. Bush.