web analytics
July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 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, where this first appeared. 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
Yeshiva boys learn Torah together at Beit Midrash Derech Chaim.  Due to their participation in a pre-army intelligence program, the IDF requires their identities to remain secret.
Exclusive: First IDF Cyber-Defense Program Opens at Yeshiva
Latest Indepth Stories
Terms of Surrender

Dear Pres. Obama, A “deal” in which one side makes all the concessions is, of course, a “surrender.”

Michael Oren, Israel's Former Ambassador to the United States

ALLY is a terrific read because Oren has a mission: Defending&protecting the Jewish State of Israel.

George Soros: No friend of Israel

George Soros: “European anti-Semitism is the result of the policies of Israel and the United States”

President Obama

Sources say seemingly irreconcilable differences between the 2 main parties, Washington and Tehran.

Instead of accepting reality, the President is trying to hold on to an illusion.

Those who suggest further capitulation to Iran are wrongly harming the interests of the West.

Few Arab Israelis found anything positive in the decision of its MKS to join any Gaza flotilla.

US Jews prefer to be like their non-Jewish liberal friends complaining about “settlements” and Bibi

New Israel Fund & its supporters must be countered; Israel’s in the midst of an unprecedented storm

PM Netanyahu this week identified ISIS and Iran as Israel’s primary threat. It is a planetary threat that carries the promise of peace.

Haym Solomon, overlooked hero of the Revolutionary War, was America’s “Funding Father.”

Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive

There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN

Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

More Articles from Jonathan S. Tobin
President Barack Obama

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

Tobin-012315

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.

Z STREET will have the ability to compel IRS officials to testify as to their practices and produce all records.

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: