It seems that neo-historians are already at work rewriting the past 7 years and putting more lipstick on the Bush appearance. In “Tough Calls, Good Call” in Tuesday, January 22, 2008’s edition of the Wall Street Journal (Opinion page), J.D. Crouch II and Robert Joseph have taken a stab at justifying the Bush years. They point to what others would label failures, misjudgements, or plain disasters.
They begin by pointing out that about 1 year ago, George Bush, against most all advice, raised the stakes in Iraq and introduced us to the “serge”. They claim George did this because he did not want the US to “lose” in Iraq. (It will be a long time before anyone knows the true outcome of this Bush escapade into Iraq and “win/lose” are emotive terms and used for political purposes.) Crouch and Joseph propose that this time it is “mission accomplished”. (We can debate that point at another time.) They then offer that the surge decision, although tough, was somewhat easier because George had made so many tough ones before. They suggest dumping the ABM treaty, restarting Star Wars, and then deploying new missiles in the face of Russian opposition was a tough call.
But this has not been enough, reason these Chicken Hawks. They recommend deploying a third site for these anti-missile missiles in Europe. Then arm them with “multiple kill vehicles” so that the Iranians and North Koreans can be defended against. Crouch and Joseph then want the US to beef up the Navy assets and while we are at it, let’s improve our long range missiles. (What war are thinking about fighting?) And lastly, and not to overlook a new frontier, they want the US to arm space. (I wonder whether they think al Qaeda will get there first?)
All this because George Bush (read Dick Cheney) had the insight to make the tough calls early on. If you had been asleep for 20 years and just awoke, you would think the cold war had never ended. What are they thinking?
1. Iraq is a mess and a terribly costly one. Some estimate have it going from $1 trillion to $2 trillion while our homeland gradually decays. The 4000 lives and even greater number of severly wounded service men and women simply are not worth the Iraq escapade.
2. Star Wars remains unproven technology with no value towards an enemy employing asymmetrical tactics like al Qaeda. Star Wars should not be expected to work, either, against a conventional military threats presently due to technology limitations. From a dollars and cents perspective, investing in soft deplomacy and rebuilding our economic strength would be much more cost effective and likely to make the US more effective internationally, and all Americans better off ay home.
3. China and India represent the largest threats to our economic strength and continuing to do everything possible to anger the Russians (a possible ally) is backward’s thinking. Both China and India can be managed more effectively through economic competition accompanied by a sensible foreign policy.
4. Crouch and Joseph are the first of many who will hail Bush as a national hero and propose we build the future upon his magnificent accomplishments. We must see these neo-historians for what they are, chicken hawks who have not progressed from the cold war. We should remember Bush for who he was… no Kyoto Protocol, Terri Schaivo, invading Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, forget the Geneva Convention, a holiday for due process, and good-bye to habeas corpus.
5. We should also watch which 2008 Presidential candidates salute Crouch and Joseph’s words. The words “four more years” will mean just this type of failed presidency.