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Monday, June 23, 2008

GWB Next On Rushmore?

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It is never easy to figure out how a still-serving President will be judged by history. Some President's who were unpopular during their time in office are treated better by history than they were by their contemporaries. Harry Truman comes to mind. Some unpopular Presidents get as dissed by history as by those unfortunate enough to have lived through their administrations. Jimmy Carter pops into my mind most quickly here.

Considering the loathing hoisted upon George W. Bush by the Left and the media and the general dissatisfaction that his own base often feels about it might make one think he'll wind up in the dog house with Carter. But maybe not. This column suggests that GWB may turn out to be misunderestimated after all:

George W Bush will be remembered for his responses to 9/11 in Afghanistan and Iraq, but since neither of those conflicts has yet ended in victory or defeat, it is far too early categorically to assume - as left-wingers, anti-war campaigners and almost all media commentators already do - that his historical reputation will be permanently down in the doldrums next to poor old Warren Harding's.

I suspect that historians of the future will instead see Bush's decision to insist upon a "surge" of reinforcements being sent into Iraq, combined with a complete change of anti-insurgency tactics as configured by General Petraeus, as the moment when the conflict was turned around there, in the West's favour.

No one - least of all Bush himself - denies that mistakes were made in the early days after the (unexpectedly early) fall of Baghdad, and historians will quite rightly examine them. But once the decades have put the stirring events of those years into their proper historical context, four great facts will emerge that will place Bush in a far better light than he currently enjoys.

The overthrow and execution of a foul tyrant, Saddam Hussein; the liberation of the Afghan people from the Taliban; the smashing of the terrorist networks of al-Qa'eda in that country and elsewhere and, finally, the protection of the American people from any further atrocities on US soil since 9/11, is a legacy of which to be proud.
Success works wonders in burying failure. That holds true for no President more than Abraham Lincoln. The first years of the Civil War were marked by numerous military disasters, incompetent Generals, assaults on civil liberties etc. The ultimate success of Lincoln's actions however have left all the not inconsiderable catastrophes as not much more than footnotes in the minds of people today.

Bush will probably be helped, too by the utter derangement of many of his political adversaries.
History will also shine an unforgiving light on those ludicrous conspiracy theories that claim that the Iraq War was fought for any other reason than to implement the 14UN resolutions that Saddam that had been flouting for 13 years.

The CIA and MI6 believed, like almost every other intelligence agency in the world, that Saddam had WMD, and the "Harmony" documents seized and translated since the fall of his regime make it abundantly clear that he was also supporting almost every anti-Western terrorist organisation imaginable.

Historians will appreciate how any War Against Terror that allowed Saddam to remain in place would have been an absurd travesty.

When the rise of al-Qa'eda is considered by historians like Philip Bobbitt and William Shawcross, it will be President Clinton's repeated refusal to act effectively in the 1990s, rather than President Bush's tough response after 9/11, that will be held up as culpable.
If the Surge continues to succeed in the coming months as it has been doing recently and Iraq turns out to be a stable democracy and therefore a stabilizing force in a very unstable part of the world, all the Bush Derangement Syndrome the Moonbats care to indulge in might not stop Bush from ending up with a lot more respect than he is getting today.

Barking Moonbat Early Warning System is intrigued by the possibility as well

A Newt One is dusting off Rushmore to make room.

Sister Toldja makes a number of good points, as well

Sublime Bloviations also notes

Brian at Liberty Pundit does, as well

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