Coward Old Universe…

by Jeremy G.

Posts Tagged ‘Bush’

Bush’s Lost Gamble

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on December 4, 2008

Many are already drawing the lessons from the Bush Era. In my opinion, history, only, will provide the best assessment of the Bush presidency. In the short run, though, odds are against Bush because of the situation in Afghanistan and the failure to manage the Iraqi issue, but also because he opted, at the very beginning, for a strategy that would have never allowed him to emerge as a popular or be perceived as a responsible leader.

Historian Niall Ferguson, discussing the “problem of conjecture,” puts it best:

… preemption is doomed to be unpopular. Its success can never be proven. And its failure is far more costly than the consequences of mere negligence. Were another major terrorist attack to happen now – which can never be ruled out – President Bush would surely overtake Richard Nixon, and perhaps all other previous occupants in the White House, in the unpopularity stakes. With one voice, the world’s media would declare that administration’s policy had worsened the very disease it purported to cure.

Thankfully, no terrorist attack on U.S. soil has occurred since 9-11 or since Ferguson wrote those lines. Paradoxically, it seems though that, “with one voice,” most analysts have already declared that Bush will go down as the worse president in history. That might be true, but the fact of the matter is that only history will make the final call.

P.S.: If you do acquire the book, do read Kagan and Ikenberry’s pieces. More on that later.

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Posted in George W. Bush | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Eight years is a long time

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on September 11, 2008

Jon Stewart recently made a parallel, on his show Friday, between George W. Bush’s acceptance speech in 2000 and John McCain’s acceptance speech last week. Beyond the legitimate debate regarding the similarities between the two candidates that I mentioned here, I was struck by the extent to which eight years in the White House can physically change a man.

This was Bush in 2000:

This is him today:

Denial is one thing. And inexcusable policy mistakes have been committed. But I still have a hard time believing those who depict Bush as an unaffected, cold man.

Posted in Bush, George W. Bush | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Giuliani’s right, Mr.Olbermann

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on October 16, 2007

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In an unusual display of hyprocrisy and intellectual dishonesty in his show Countdown, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC tried to belittle former New York Mayor Ruldolph Giuliani after the latter claimed that 23 terror attacks had been prevented since 9-11.  “Not even the White House claims that,” laughed Olbermann.  Little did he know that he was quite wrong.

Giuliani‘s performance was assessed by a non-partisan think tank, FactCheck.org, here and hereGiuliani ‘s statements were systematically analyzed and some were criticized, but not those remarks.  The same holds true in this article, published in Slate.

In fact, in my own research, relying upon the testimonies of Intelligence Officials in front of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I find that there have been 21 failed attacks against US soil up to 2006.  And that does not include the June 2007 plot against the JFK airport in New York.

Olbermann committed a big gaffe, and will never have to explain himself.  That’s how the system works, and I accept that, all the more so as Bill O’Reilly probably makes similar errors, but for the other side’s account.  The only take-home lesson, for me at least, is that I’ll have a hard time listening to someone telling me that Fox News is completely illegitimate and biased: although the latter might be true, the former is difficult to admit when one observes Olbermann‘s display of dishonesty.

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Posted in 2008 Elections, US Foreign Policy | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The War on Giuliani has already started

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on June 25, 2007

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It took quite some time for Democrats to figure out who their worse nightmare was.  Although they are ahead according to the pollsGiuliani is the candidate they dread, and they should.  But regrettably, we’re not in for a fair fight…

Matt Taibbi’s op-ed” in Rolling Stone is a good instance of how “below the belt” this fight is going to be.  Taibbi tries to trash Giuliani for the former mayor’s snappy answer to Congressman Ron Paul during the last Republican Debate – the latter made a dubious argument in favor of isolationism, linking the 9-11 attacks to America’s involvement in the Middle East:

Though a controversial statement for a Republican politician to make, it was hardly refutable from a factual standpoint — after all, Osama bin Laden himself cited America’s treatment of Iraq in his 1996 declaration of war.

Hardly refutable?  Does this mean that because Ben Laden does not appreciate American involvement in the Middle East, the U.S. should consider disengaging from the region?  The propensity to advocate isolationism when every honest observer knows that American isolationist periods corresponds to the darkest hours of World history is, in fact, dubious to say the least.

Fred Kaplan‘s attack is more surprising, given the fact that the Slate journalist is usually more inspired.  Kaplan asserts that the only reason Giuliani left the Iraq Study Group was not politics, but a financial one.  According to Kaplan, the former mayor missed two meetings before being given by James Baker, the head of the ISG, an ultimatum:

On April 12, 2006, he was giving a keynote address at an economics conference in South Korea for a fee of $200,000. On May 18, he was giving a speech on leadership in Atlanta for $100,000.

So it’s only about the money?  How about accepting the fact that beyond the “bi-partisan” marketing statement the Group used to its advantage, both chairmen, Baker and Hamilton, shared a very similar view of international relations, leading to a report as biased as the ideological arguments that led to war in the first place…  But anyone pleading for a fairer debate, emphasizing that the reasons for intervening in Iraq in the first place should be taken into considerations beyond the very poor planning on the part of the Bush Administration, does not seem to be given fair attention, it seems, these days.

So… Where does that leave us?  Why this war, now, when the Democrats are leading?  Here’s a two-fold answer: 1) Polls don’t matter this early in the race; 2) Every reason explaining why one – from mainstream America – might hate Republicans (abortion and religion being on top of the list) are not applicable to Giuliani.  Here’s an interesting point of view about the abortion issue:  Why Pro-Choice Is a Bad Choice for Democrats.  I very much disagree with the statement in favor of a pro-choice candidate, but this op-ed just tells me that should Giuliani win the Republican nomination, the Democrats are in big trouble.  

Giuliani might just win by a landslide in 2008 if Democrats continue to deny reality about the significance of U.S. involvement in the world.  A need for redefinition of this involvement is obvious.  But without a clear alternative, the Democrats won’t be able to fool anyone.

Posted in 2008 Elections | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »