UQ Wire: Harvey Wasserman - Bush The War Flop
Bush The War Flop
by Harvey Wasserman
September 11, 2005
Today marks four years that George W. Bush has been a complete flop as a “War President,” the worst Commander in Chief in US History.
On September 11, 2001, Bush’s incompetence---at very least---allowed Osama bin Laden’s attacks on America to happen. Imagine the howl from the bloviating right wing if those disasters had happened on Bill Clinton or Al Gore or John Kerry’s watch.
Since then, Bush’s four-year mis-management of military operations has been every bit as incompetent, dishonorable and gratuitously destructive as his performance in New Orleans. One can only shudder at what comes next.
At a speech just before Katrina, Bush had the astonishing gall to compare his war leadership to that of Franklin Roosevelt. In fact, if Bush had been in office instead of Roosevelt in 1941, we’d all be speaking German and Japanese.
Lets do the math: On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, killing nearly as many Americans as bin Laden killed on 9/11/01. The Pacific fleet was crippled, and Japan appeared as unbeatable in Asia as did the Nazis in Europe.
Confined to a wheelchair, FDR miraculously rallied America’s “Arsenal of Democracy” for history’s most massive and effective counter-attack. He held together a very touchy alliance between Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, staffed the American military machine with some of history’s great generals, and effectively turned the tide. By the time he died in April, 1945, Roosevelt had overseen history’s largest amphibious invasion, at Normandy. With that assault he began the definitive destruction of the real Axis of Evil. By August, the Japanese had surrendered, less than four years after their misbegotten attack.
Bush, of course, is busy trying to destroy one of FDR’s crowning domestic achievements, the Social Security System. But even that nearly pales before Bush’s catastrophic military command.
Bush’s attack on Iraq in response to 9/11 is the strategic and moral equivalent of attacking Brazil after Pearl Harbor. There were, Bush might reason, some Japanese nationals living in Brazil. And all that coffee…
But FDR built a military machine from scratch and used it effectively to defeat the Nazi devil. The US emerged from World War 2 as the best loved nation on earth.
Bush has taken history’s largest, most thoroughly over-funded military and run it into the ground. Like FEMA in New Orleans, he’s mis-used the armed forces to degrade the American soul at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and in the streets of Baghdad, where he worsens a hopeless, endless civil war. He’s also played bait-and-switch with thousands of American reserves and National Guard whose lives and health have been devastated.
And after four full years of Bushwahr, Osama bin Laden still runs free. By all accounts he is more powerful than ever, his terror network overflowing with recruits sent him by Bush’s arrogant incompetence.
What would history say about FDR if, four years after Pearl Harbor, Hitler was still running a growing worldwide network of Nazi saboteurs while American military commanders shrugged their shoulders and forged ahead with an attack on the Amazon.
From New Orleans to Baghdad, the US has never suffered from more delusional or less competent leadership.
Bush’s calculation in attacking Iraq was partly to guarantee that he could run for re-election as a “war president.” Iraq also allowed Karl Rove to brand John Kerry an indecisive “flip-flopper” on the war. By contrast, Bush has been decisive…and a pure flop.
Only two other US Commanders have done comparable damage. In March, 1965, Lyndon Johnson made the horrific decision to escalate the war in Vietnam. In many ways, our nation has never recovered.
Then Richard Nixon, despite his “secret plan” to end it, prolonged that senseless disaster another seven years before the last American advisors escaped in disgrace from an embassy rooftop in downtown Saigon.
Ultimately, under leadership like that of George Bush, American troops are likely to suffer a similar fate when they finally flee Baghdad.
LBJ ducked a run for re-election, leaving office in disgrace. Richard Nixon became America’s first Commander in Chief to resign early.
After four years of ghastly failure, Bush should follow Nixon’s footsteps. He could retire to the toxic swamp he has created in downtown New Orleans. Or to a shelter in Baghdad, where he rains senseless death and destruction.
In any case, this tragic four-year anniversary reminds us that George W. Bush reigns supreme as America’s ultimate military flop.
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