Bush casts a long shadow

Bush casts a long shadow
Bush casts a long shadow
Associated Press

Karl Rove argued this afternoon that President Obama has created a “longing” for a “decisive” George W. Bush. I’m reasonably certain Rove wasn’t kidding.

He might as well have been. Bush excelled in being “decisive,” which is admirable just so long as we ignore whether those decisions had merit. The problem for the failed former president, however, is that Americans care less about whether a leader makes decisions quickly based on instinct and care about whether a leader makes the right decisions. Pausing to reflect and think through decisions based on evidence is not a bad idea.

In Bush’s case, the Republican had a unique ability to decisively make the wrong call in every possible instance that really mattered. He was “decisive” when he chose to ignore warnings about Osama bin Laden in August 2001; he was “decisive” when he brushed off concerns as Hurricane Katrina barreled down on New Orleans; he was “decisive” when he pursued one misguided economic policy after another; and he was “decisive” when he launched a catastrophic war in Iraq based on lies and ideological ambitions.

Why anyone would be “longing” for spectacular failures, resulting from gut decisions made by an incompetent man unprepared for the presidency, is a bit of a mystery.

Indeed, when it comes to U.S. foreign policy, in Syria and elsewhere, current events are still directly influenced by Bush’s extraordinary dishonesty, corruption, and mismanagement. The New York Times’ Timothy Egan reports today on the former president’s “legacy” and its capacity to undermine American interests even now.

Time should not soften what President George W. Bush, and his apologists, did in an eight-year war costing the United States more than a trillion dollars, 4,400 American soldiers dead and the displacement of two million Iraqis. The years should not gauze over how the world was conned into an awful conflict. History should hold him accountable for the current muddy debate over what to do in the face of a state-sanctioned mass killer. […]

This is cowardice on a grand scale. Having set in motion a doctrine that touches all corners of the earth and influences every leader with a say in how to approach tyrants who slaughter innocents, Bush retreats to his bathtub to paint.

The fact that Karl Rove and his allies even feel justified speaking in public about these issues is evidence of extraordinary chutzpah.

Indeed, many of those responsible for Iraq – Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Dan Senor, Paul Wolfowitz, Ari Fleischer, and others – seem to keep popping up on my television, as if they have some expertise that Americans should find valuable.

They do not.

If you missed this segment from the show the other night, I hope you’ll take a minute to check it out. I’ll just quote Rachel’s wrap up:

“If you’re an architect or a conspirator or one of the primary actors in the Iraq war, and arguably the grandest and most craven foreign policy disaster in American history, your opinion is no longer required on matters of war and peace. Please enjoy painting portraits of dogs or something. Printing portraits of yourself in the bathroom, trying to get clean. Please enjoy the forgiving company of your family, your loved ones, and your God.

“But we as a country never ever need to hear from you about war ever again. You can go now.”

Rove’s talent seems to be bilking billionaires to finance his failed election strategies. Maybe he should leave foreign policy analysis to others.