Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How will History Remember George W. Bush?

I am frequently asked, "How do you think history will treat George W. Bush"? My answer has evolved slightly over the course of his presidency.
My first impression was that he would be just another liberal republican and hardly warrant a blip on the radar of history. Then came September 11, 2001. President George W. Bush rose to the occasion magnificently. In less than four weeks he attacked the Taliban in Afghanistan. That government, for lack of a better word was toppled in fairly short order, although insurgent fighting continues six years later.
The next country to run afoul of Mr. Bush's righteous ire was Iraq. In my opinion, he acquiesced to the democrat, I'm-afraid-of-war, party and delayed the invasion for too long, more than a year. The invasion of Iraq, once begun was very successful, especially when measured against other like size invasions. Invasions of this type historically cost tens of thousands of soldiers lives. The invasion and toppling of the Saddam Hussein dictatorship took less than two months, a remarkable feat by any objective standard, considering Iraq possessed the fifth largest army in the world.
While the fighting since then has not been mistake free or a cake walk, it has been very successful. In six years we have lost less than six thousand soldiers and marines to combat violence. We have had a very small number of prisoners taken, thank God, since we all know what happens to captives of those animals.
The combat related death rate in Iraq is 3.92 deaths per 1,000 person-years. Compare that to the civilian US rate of 8.42 per 1,000 in 2003 and you will see that living in the USA is twice as deadly as fighting in Iraq. Not because Iraq is not dangerous, but because our troops are that good and that careful.
Add to this Mr. Bush's ability to squelch his ego sufficiently that he can listen to and learn from the military experts on the ground. He appointed General Patraeus leader of the effort, agreed to the 'surge' concept which has undeniably lead us to the point of victory.
My last evolution in Mr. Bush's historical placement is due to Senator Obamas likely assention to the office of President of the United States in January 2009. From everything I can see, hear and read about Mr. Obama's plans for the prosecution of the war on terror, such as they are, I perceive that he has no stomach for said war. That indeed, he intends to quit as repidly as he can with out appearing too cowardly. Of course such a pullout will embolden what remains of al Qaeda and Iran, and will likely spell the doom for Iraq's fledgling democracy.
In the aftermath of September 11, 2001 not one of us thought we could go seven years without another attack but President Bush has seen us through safely. If Mr. Obama surrenders the war on terror to the enemy and we get hit again during his term he will get a double whammy of criticism, and rightly so.
History will compare George Bush on his own merits, which should stand him in good stead, but he has the added advantage of being followed by what will no doubt be a dismal failure, Barrack Hussain Obama.
Added together, this is a recipe for Mr. Bush ranking rather high on the list for successful American Presidents.

Stumble Upon Toolbar