web analytics
September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Was Bush Wrong About Everything?


Has there ever been a lamer duck than George W. Bush? How he went from winning a clear majority of the 2004 popular vote to his current dismal showing is a topic that will fascinate future historians.

The answers will assuredly revolve around Hurricane Katrina, the war in Iraq, and the financial meltdown that has panicked Wall Street. Yet, even as Bush gets swept into the proverbial dustbin of history, it would be a mistake to succumb to the temptation of viewing everything he did as wrong.

But this is exactly the angle that has been adopted by the Democrats as they appear to be coasting to victory.

In the partisan debate for the Jewish vote, the Democrats argued that the Bush administration has been harmful to the Jewish state. (This despite the fact that most Jewish voters understood the administration to be quite friendly to Israel.)

Part of this has to do with the stale debate about the decision to go to war in Iraq. There’s no question the demise of Saddam Hussein and the weakening of Iraq helped Iran. Tehran’s nuclear potential now poses the No. 1 threat to both Israel and the region in general.

That’s a fair point, though it must be said almost no one in the pro-Israel community on either side of the aisle was unhappy about the fall of Saddam, given his history of attacks on Israel and support for terrorism. But Iran’s growing strength is frightening, and the decision to invade Iraq must be considered to have contributed to it.

Having said that, however, had Saddam had been allowed to stay in power, his menacing of the region would have continued and Iran’s nuclear program would still have grown to the existential threat that it is today.

Even more significant to the Democrats’ strategy in wooing Jewish voters was the charge put forth during the campaign that Bush’s decision to back away from Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy should also be considered a mistake.

They argued that Bush’s refusal to continue Bill Clinton’s hands-on engagement with the faltering peace talks led to years of violence and the current impasse. This point, heralded by no less a personage than Joe Biden, is not only an indictment of Bush’s place in history, but a chilling prescription for foreign policy in the next four years.

As such, it could not be more wrong.

Whatever else one may say about George W. Bush’s time in the White House, his negative view of Bill Clinton’s mad dash for a Nobel Peace Prize was spot-on. Clinton’s feckless advocacy of the Oslo process, even after it was clear the scheme would lead to disaster, is spoken of today as a noble failure by his admirers.

But the truth is, the Clinton administration was itself at fault for spending years coddling then-Palestinian Authority leader Yasir Arafat. It was Clinton (who made Arafat his most-frequent foreign guest at the White House) who indulged Arafat’s demands and lied to both the public and Congress about the Palestinian’s ties to terror and unwillingness to abide by the peace accords that he, Arafat, had signed.

Clinton’s sponsorship of the July 2000 Camp David conference resulted in a sweeping Israeli peace proposal from then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The answer from Arafat was a decisive “no.” His dismissal of Israel’s offer was topped a couple of months later by the launch of a Palestinian terror offensive that would take the lives of more than a thousand Israelis and far more Palestinians.

The idea that Bush could have prevented this war or lessened its impact is ridiculous, since it started on Clinton’s watch, not his. More to the point, it was Bush, acting against the advice of Secretary of State Colin Powell, whose actions directly contributed to squelching the intifada.

In 2002, as the violence grew in intensity, Bush broke with precedent by refusing to stick to the Clintonesque policy of urging “restraint on both sides.” Despite Powell’s objections, Bush gave Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a green light to send in the Israel Defense Forces to clean out Arafat’s terror bases in the West Bank. He also backed the building of the separation fence that effectively ended the suicide-bombing campaign.

About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Was Bush Wrong About Everything?

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
IDF during a night operation. (file photo)
BREAKING: IDF Soldier Seriously Wounded in Shootout with Terrorists During Jenin Arrest Operation
Latest Indepth Stories
Broken Telephone

A nuclear Khomenist Tehran will be a threat to Western democracies and to Jerusalem in particular

Major Monster, "Shirley Temper" looking at the cameraman.

The MONSTERS of Nebi Saleh know well the damning, visceral impact of powerful, deceitful imagery.

Proud Members of Jewish Voice for Peace

Jewish Voice for Peace openly supports BDS movement against ALL of Israel & ending the Jewish State.

Israel Football Game in Jerusalem; Alex Swieca, Quarterback

In recent years, there has been a big push to grow and develop American Football here in Israel.

Unlike Judaism & Christianity which honors “truth,” Islam pursues “Taqiyya,” strategic lying

Yashar Lachayal’s mission is to learn what IDF soldiers’ need and get it to them when they need it.

Corbyn leading the Britain’s Labour Party polls, describes Hamas & Hizbullah as England’s “friends.”

The convicted murderer was released from Israeli prison with more than two dozen other sociopaths

JCF is a donor/supporter of The New Israel Fund which supports BDS & wants IDF soldiers prosecuted

The ‘Peace Industry’ promotes its adherents; weak leaders, both military & political, is the result

The conundrum for US Labor Zionists: Lobbying for Iran deal while Israel’s Left lobby’s against it.

What does the Torah want from our small nation described as “they who struggle with God & with men”?

Mr. Nadler’s support for the deal is a naked political gift to a president who has defied logic in his quest to reinvent international affairs according to his ideological inclinations.

In practical terms, the proclamation surely makes a compelling argument:

More Articles from Jonathan S. Tobin
Tobin-073115

Hillary should THANK Trump; By dominating the news he’s overshadowed the implosion of her campaign

President Barack Obama

Obama thought he could replace the Saudis with Iran as the new ME lynchpin without paying a price

The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps

Anti-Semitism has returned to the mainstream of European society and Israel has become its focus.

One of the key talking points by apologists for Hamas in the current conflict is that it isn’t fair that Israelis under fire have bomb shelters while Palestinians in Gaza don’t have any. Among other factors, the lack of shelters accounts in part for the differences in casualty figures between the two peoples. But somehow […]

How will all this end? Hamas seems to think it will be Netanyahu who will blink first.

Nothing short of a stroke that will decapitate the leadership of this group will convince the Arabs that Hamas has made a mistake.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/was-bush-wrong-about-everything/2008/11/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: