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I get email: Bush memoir edition

November 11, 2010

You may be familiar with Kent Ashcraft of the “Dear Doctor Laura” parody fame.  He sends me emails occasionally and this one is about Bush’s latest book:


How hard is it to admit you have screwed up? I mean, we all do from time to time. And for a President of the United States, screwups are obvious and significant. Yet in his new memoir, President G.W. Bush declines to describe his invasion of Iraq as a mistake, despite the fact that most of the world (and most Americans) see it as such. He says he would do the same thing again. Bush would surely be regarded better by history if he honestly acknowledged this monumental error.

Since he has chosen to bring up this subject, I feel entitled to comment on it. I can’t know exactly what his motivations were for starting such a destructive process as invading Iraq, but I do know what he said publicly to justify it. He presented the American people with four reasons, all of which were bad reasons, hoping we could make those add up to one good reason. Logically it doesn’t work that way, but he got away with it. The reasons he presented:

Saddam was an evil dictator. True, I suppose – the world is full of them. But invading a sovereign nation to exact regime change is a pretty big deal, both ethically and in terms of American lives lost and resources spent. Even assuming that the US is the world’s police force, it’s hard to justify such action unless genocide is in progress, as it was in Kosovo in the 90s. In 2003, Iraq was basically stable and its citizens were safe for the most part. We had no business presuming to “destroy it in order to save it.”

Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Oops. There was never any reason to believe he did, only that he might have. And as it turned out, he didn’t.

Saddam had ties to al-Qaeda. No reason to believe that even he might have, unless you thought all Muslims had a corporate mind. Saddam was a secular leader who was reviled by Islamists.

Saddam was in violation of UN directives. Possibly. But enforcing UN directives is the role of the UN, not the United States.

This is the very portrait of a historical screwup. Few people would argue with that. So why can’t Bush just come out and admit it? I for one would have a lot more respect for him if he did.

Miss him yet? Of all the lamentable experiences of his misbegotten, calamitous presidency, Bush does have one regret though.  It was when some entertainer called him a dirty name.

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  1. Ray M
    November 11, 2010 at 11:51 | #1

    It was when some entertainer called him a dirty name

    It wasn’t even that – the man simply said that Bush doesn’t like black people.

    But hey, I can see how that’s -so- much worse than being directly responsible for tens of thousands of deaths.

  2. November 11, 2010 at 22:16 | #2

    Sad, sad, indeed. Is it too much to hope, at least, he enjoyed his presidency?

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