Decision Points


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After a presidency that encompassed eight of the most tumultuous and politically savage years in recent memory, one could understand if George W. Bush was a more than a little disenchanted with the media, with politics, and with ideologues. And he surely is, to some extent, but that’s not the overwhelming impression that comes across after reading Decision Points, Bush’s account of some of the most important issues that have come to define his term in office. Rather, the message of the book is that the man from Midland retains a deep faith in his country and its people. To borrow a word more commonly associated with another president, George W. Bush remains as hopeful about America and its future as he was on the day he took office.

While Decision Points contains some autobiographical anecdotes, it’s not so much a memoir as a study in command. Bush takes us through the process that led him to formulate policy on nine big issues that marked his presidency: stem cell research, 9/11, preventing domestic terrorism, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, fighting AIDS in Africa, the surge and the financial crisis, among others. The narrative style is pure Bush and his editors at Crown Publishing are to be commended for not trying to make the president sound like someone he’s not. In his writing we find the folksy tone, the economy of words and an aversion to flowery language that defined his preferred oratorical style. It’s an easy, enjoyable, and very often a fascinating read. But if Bush uses plain language in Decision Points, there is nothing simple about his analysis. Rather, as the president walks the reader through each chain of events and the policy discussions that ensued, it’s clear that this man – so often derided as a simpleton by the Left – has a shrewd grasp of the subtleties of leadership.

Though defensive at times, Bush appears not so much interested in protecting his reputation as he is in giving readers an inside look at the competing political and patriotic agendas that all presidents are forced to consider while trying to lead the nation. Early on, he points to Harry Truman as a point of inspiration and guidance. “He did what he thought was right and he didn’t much care what the critics said,” Bush wrote. “When he left office in 1953, his approval ratings were in the twenties. Today he is viewed as one of America’s greatest presidents.”

The innate decency of the forty-third president of the United States shines through Decision Points. This is a man with immense respect for his nation, its citizens and, most of all, the men and women who serve it in uniform. In what is almost an aside, Bush reveals one of the ways he expressed his profound admiration and gratitude for America’s fallen warriors while in office. “I sent letters to the families of every service member who laid down his or her life in the war on terror,” he wrote. “By the end of my presidency, I had written to almost five thousand families.” Indeed, the very last words of the book are directed toward the men and women serving in the military. Wrapping up four pages of acknowledgments, Bush closes Decision Points with a paragraph thanking everyone in uniform, summing up thus:

Their achievements will rank alongside those of the greatest generations in history, and the highest honor of my life was to serve as their commander in chief.

Some of his ideological opponents come across better than expected in Bush’s recounting. Most surprisingly, Ted Kennedy is among this group. Bush describes a relationship in which he and the late Senator acknowledged their many differences, but agreed to work together on issues they could agree on, most notably No Child Left Behind and on crafting an immigration bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t fare as well. Bush is careful to avoid direct criticism of anyone, but an easy read between the lines lets you know that he found some people tiresome and Reid is clearly high on this list. He recounts, for example, how he worked with Kennedy and was within a couple of votes of getting an immigration bill passed. But, the Senate was due to adjourn for the Fourth of July break. Both Kennedy and Bush called Reid to ask him to extend the session for a couple of days so they could get the bill through. Reid wouldn’t budge. “Given the importance of the legislation, I thought it would be worthwhile to allow them a little extra time for the bill to pass,” Bush wrote. “Apparently Harry Reid did not.”

Ex-Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco doesn’t fare too well either. As the situation in New Orleans spiraled out of control following Hurricane Katrina, the president struggled with the decision to send troops to restore order and help the victims. On the one hand, he could order federal troops in unilaterally, so long as they were unarmed. Given the looting and violence that gripped the Crescent City, as well as his devotion to protect the lives to those serving in the military, he was hesitant to do so. But, he could legally send armed troops into New Orleans if the Governor of Louisiana requested them. Blanco seemed paralyzed by the crisis. The president related the following exchange that occurred in the Air Force One conference room on September 2, 2005, four days after Katrina hit:

I told her it was clear that state and local response forces had been overwhelmed. “Governor,” I pressed, “you need to authorize the federal government to take charge of the response.”

She told me that she needed twenty four hours to think it over.

“We don’t have twenty-four hours,” I snapped. “We’ve waited too long already.”

The governor refused to answer.

Bush doesn’t waste much time or effort talking about the vicious, maniacal attacks that ultra-leftist billionaire George Soros financed as part of his obsession to remove the president from power. But one anecdote is particularly revealing about the way that Soros thinks and functions. The president and U2 lead singer Bono struck up an unlikely friendship, owing to Bush’s efforts to battle AIDS in Africa. Soros, who had provided funding to some of Bono’s causes, was not pleased. Bush related the financer’s rebuke to the singer: “You’ve sold out for a plate of lentils,” Soros told Bono.

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  • Chezwick_Mac

    No mention of Bush's greatest failings, which were…

    1) his unwillingness to reign in federal spending

    2) his constant invocations of Islam as a "religion of peace" after 9-11

    Interestingly, the Left had no problem whatsoever with either of these.

    • PhillipGaley

      And, this Bush had that one woman executed (Just now, I forget her name.) — who had killed some one, or participated in mayhem or something, but who had become a Christian, and showed as much—but with this insult to decency: when asked about what she had said in her interview, Bush scrunched his face in a pinched appearance, and making the mockery complete, raised his voice, quavering out: "Please don't kill me."; it being a foundation of jurisprudence for the English speaking Peoples that, we first consider and do not put an innocent mind—albeit, now changed—to death.
      The most which might have been done, would better in removing sentence of death, to life-time incarceration, . . .
      Bush's derisive response was most revealing in showing how that, the nations of the earth are in HIS hand, and HE sets the basest of men over them, . . . a horrid president, . . .

      • USMCSniper

        Oh shut your Bush Derangement piehole and go worship your Black Messiah.

    • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

      You are correct! Yet there is much more:
      http://www.resonoelusono.com/ShameOnBush.htm

    • marat1

      Believe me, when George and Laura went to bed at night, he was not referring to Islam as a "Religion of Peace in his discussions with her." More like "The Religion of Piece(s); Mostly, Body Parts." Bush, in fact, went wayyyyyy further than anyone else on the political horizon in PUBLICLY referring to "Islamic Fascism"–which it IS…and he was naturally heavily criticized by those "politically demented" politicians and Islamic groups. A Simple Fact: what was SO refreshing in George Bush was his near inability to HIDE his true feelings. At heart, I suspect he despises Islam. But he's from Texas, gracious….but read between the lines. His "religion of Peace" spiel right after 9-11 was an attempt to enlist whatever moderate elements might exist among Muslims. As it is, years later the term "Islamic moderate" may well largely be an oxymoron. There couldn't be a greater gap between two people than Bush and Obama.

      • Chezwick_Mac

        MARAT: "There couldn't be a greater gap between two people than Bush and Obama."

        RESPONSE: I couldn't agree more. Bush was a principled leader who made mistakes, Obama is unscrupulous, incessantly blames his problems on others (principally Bush), and is at heart an anti-American.

        But Obama's glaring defects don't exonerate Bush from his own mistakes. It would have been one thing to declare that our war was "not on all Muslims", which would have been a fair and accurate statement, but for Bush to repeatedly invoke Islam as a "religion of peace" and to do little to nothing in eight years to clarify the ideological component in the war except to refer to the enemy as "evil doers"…was a tragic mistake.

        As for what Bush said to Laura in the privacy of their bedroom, yours is pure speculation. You MIGHT be right, you might not. But Laura wearing a head-scarf on a visit to the Middle East, George holding the hand of Saudi King Abdullah in Crawford, and his obsequious quoting of the Quran ("killing one person is like killing all of humanity")…all of these were hardly the actions of a man with any real understanding of the importance of symbolism and the nature of our adversaries.

  • proxywar

    "For anyone who doesn’t understand how decisions are made shouldn’t criticize the decisions that are made."

    That is a authoritarian statement. I would like you to rethink this stance of yours.

    • bdouglasaf1980

      Good point.

      • Tank major

        It´s a statement made with authority. There´s a difference.

  • Rifleman

    The democrat mayor of New Orleans and the democrat governor of Louisiana waited until too late to act and the msm blamed President Bush for their incompetence.

    Soros and the rest of the left just wanted a political issue, they couldn't care less for the Africans. Naive celebrities like Bono and Geldof seemed genuinely surprised their friends on the left wouldn't give any credit to President Bush for spending all that taxpayer money to save so many Africans.

    If the left could successfully paint him as an extreme right winger, like they did, they can and will do it to anyone.

    Though I didn't like his (and the GOP congress') increases in social spending, and think he should have increased defense spending more, I think history will be far kinder to President Bush than to most of his critics.

    • Triple_AAA

      And all the good he did means nothing coming from a man who claimed "Islam is peace"…I would have admired the man alot more had he dropped a nuke on Afghanistan instead of starting 2 wars to win hearts and minds.

      • buzzard

        Why exactly would anyone drop a nuke of Afghanistan? I mean, would anyone notice a difference from before and after?

        You don't nuke a barren wasteland. You use nukes on targets of importance. Essentially none exist in Afghanistan, and given the political price (internationally and domestically) there is no cause whatsoever to do it.

        • Triple_AAA

          OH wow, you must have written the rulebook on the use of nukes…

        • Rifleman

          Absolutely right. There aren't any targets there big enough, or well enough protected to waste a nuke.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            Then why the hell are we even over there anyway?

          • Rifleman

            To keep the taliban/aq from taking over again and turning it back into a country that exports terrorism.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            To keep the taliban/aq from taking over again and turning it back into a country that exports terrorism.

            The reality is we are not at war with terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic, one of many tactics that our enemy employs against us. Instead, we are at war with Islam, and if you understood the first thing about Islam you’d understand that it is impossible to win the hearts and minds of Muhammadans and also to impose democracy upon them.

            You’d also understand that the governments that we helped to create in Afghanistan and Iraq are not democracies but both Sharia states instead, and Sharia obligates Muhammadans to wage jihad for the spread of Islam. Hence, if you think the governments in Afghanistan and Iraq will remain loyal friends and allies after the USA finally leaves the scene, then I have a bridge for sale I need to sell you.

            Although Bush campaigned against nation building missions in 2000, like the stealth liberal he actually was and still is, that is exactly what he did at the first opportunity. Hence, thanks to Bush ever since 9/11 the USA has been pursuing two silly fantasy based nation-building missions based on political correct myths and grossly naïve assumptions.

            Indeed, if we had targeted and eliminated the Taliban, the war would have been over a long time ago, but that’s is not what we are doing. Instead, we are trying to win hearts and minds of Muhammadans while propping up two Sharia states.

            Haven’t you been listening to that unhinged loon Admiral Mike Mullen, who is the chairman of the Joint Chief’s of Staff? He wants to educate Muhammadans so that they want misunderstand their Korans anymore. Indeed, his first priority is not victory in Afghanistan. Instead, it is to impose multiculturalism and diversity on the military so that blacks and other minorities will receive preferential treatment when it comes to promotions.

            The only time that nation building has ever worked in history was after WWII when both Shintoism/Imperialism in Japan and Nazism in Germany were completely eradicated. In the case of Afghanistan and Iraq, we can’t even accurately identify who the enemy is much less defeat it.

            Hence, unlike you I don’t want to continue to piss in the wind by continuing to pursue silly fantasy based nation-building missions because we can’t win, instead I want to pursue victory.

            Indeed, unlike the blame America first unhinged Left and the anarcho-kook Paulians, which are equally as unhinged, I want to transition to a strategy that isn’t fantasy based so that we can win. Meanwhile, you still haven’t figured out that Bush was grossly incompetent, much less a liberal!

            Finally, Afghanistan was never a country that exported terrorism simply because it is and always has been a medieval backwards backwater that was incapable of exporting terrorism. Hell, there are no roads, electricity, plumbing, and running water in most of the country and they have to use pack animals to plow fields. Hence, a country like Afghanistan doesn’t represent an existential threat to a superpower like the USA because it simply can’t. Moreover, check again, none of the 9/11 perpetrators were Afghanis.

          • Rifleman

            We’ve been through this before, and we agree more than we disagree. I would prefer your way to the dp/left way (if we can even call roll over, play dead, a way), but I think Bush’s way (actually it’s a pre-existing military strategy and plan(s)-elements of which go back to the late 80’s, before saddam ever invaded Kuwait) would win with less disruption and fewer casualties for us and them. It would also hasten the only real long term solution, the reformation of islam and change within islamic culture. The jihadis certainly fear that, or they wouldn’t spend so much time and effort trying to prevent it.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            It would also hasten the only real long term solution, the reformation of islam and change within islamic culture.

            I hate to rain on your naive parade again, but for many reasons, such as the words of the Koran are divine and thus are immutable, the doors to ijtihad have been locked closed for over a thousand years, the freedom of conscience in Islam is forbidden under the pain of death, there is no formal hierarchal clerical system similar to the Catholic papacy in Islam, Islam is not a religion, but instead a militant theo-political totalitarian ideology, etc., Islam is impossible to be reformed, and even if it could be reformed, that process would still take several centuries to accomplish as it did in Christianity to completely manifest.

            So when you say that the reformation of Islam is the long-term solution, you are indulging in naive wishful thinking and making many false assumptions at the same time. No, unfortunately Islam will not be reformed in the nick of time to save Western civilization simply because it is impossible. Hell, Islam isn’t even a religion; technically it’s a militant theo-political totalitarian ideology instead.

            Hence, quit assuming Islam is a religion. If you quit assuming Islam is a religion, you’ll quit assuming that Islam can be reformed. Islam is much more closely related to past discredited totalitarian ideologies such as Fascism, Nazism, and Communism than it is to faith-based religions, and just like the aforementioned totalitarian ideologies, it is impossible to be reformed.

            The long term solution lies in Western civilization outlawing Islam and banning and reversing Muhammadan immigration, confiscating their oil wealth and oil assets, because if we don’t do it they will use it to wage jihad against us per the tenets of Islam forever, and then isolating the Islamic world.

            Because Islam is incapable of producing anything on its own except bloodshed, misery, and mayhem, without access to Western knowledge and Western technology, Islamic civilization will simply revert into a state of abject poverty and backwardness. Indeed, if you study the history of Islam, the only time when Muhammadans didn’t wage jihad is when they were too weak to fulfill their obligation to wage jihad for the spread of Islam, which is the fundamental purpose and main goal of Islam.

            Hence, the West should seek to render the Dar al Islam into a state of abject poverty via isolation, and then let the Muhammadans stew in their own Islamic paradises for a few generations until the militant theo-political totalitarian ideology of Islam becomes discredited in the minds of the overwhelming masses.

            Another one of your thinking flaws is you are assuming that Islam is a religion like other faith-based religions. Hence, you are naively assuming that since it is a faith-based religion like other faith-based religions, Islam can be reformed. However, in stark contrast to faith-based religions, Islam is a militant theo-political totalitarian ideology that seeks to subjugate the world via the imposition of Sharia. Islam only masquerades as being a faith-based religion to infiltrate the societies it targets and intends to eventually subjugate and subsume.

            For instance, what faith-based religions punish blasphemers under the pain of death? What faith-based religions punish apostates under the pain of death? Only Islam forbids the freedom of conscience in stark contrast with faith-based religions. Indeed, Islam is antithetical and adversarial to all faith-based religions and tries to dominate, subjugate, and eventually obliterate all faith-based religions and such an ideology is impossible to be reformed. It must be discredited instead.

            In any event, any other solution would involve a genocidal civilizational war that I’m not quite so sure we could win.

          • Rifleman

            "Another one of your thinking flaws is you are assuming that Islam is a religion like other faith-based religions. Hence, you are naively assuming that since it is a faith-based religion like other faith-based religions, Islam can be reformed." —-You're thinking is a bunch of nonsense.

            You're 'solution' would make "genocidal civilizational war" a near certainty, and is a self fulfilling prophecy. Saying you're going to contain, much less isolate, and impoverish around 1.5 billion people and doing it are two different things. Assuming you can, how are you going to keep our 'allies,' much less the chicoms and russians out? Talk about naive…

          • Rifleman

            I don’t expect the governments of Iraq, Afghanistan, or for that matter in any muslim country to be something I’d want to live under, but leaving a power vacuum was proven a real bad idea often enough in the 20th century. Apparently someone took President Bush aside and enlightened him. What’s there now is certainly better than what was (in Iraq as well), and I’ll settle for leaving countries we have to go into democratic, relatively stable, able to defend themselves from jihadis, and not training, arming, leading, or exporting terrorists. PC insanity aside, our culture influences theirs a lot more than theirs does ours. We’d be stupid not to use that advantage.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            I don’t expect the governments of Iraq, Afghanistan, or for that matter in any muslim country to be something I’d want to live under, but leaving a power vacuum was proven a real bad idea often enough in the 20th century.

            Actually, leaving a power vacuum inside Dar al Islam is a good thing. Why? Because Muhammadans killing each other inside Dar al Islam is good for us (Dar al Harb) and bad for them (Dar al Islam). Haven’t you ever heard of divide and conquer? We should seek out other cracks and fissures within Dar al Islam and exploit them to our advantage. The existential jihad between the Northern Alliance and the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 would have been another one we should have sought to exploit instead of doing what we did. Very apparently you don’t understand the nature of this clash of civilizations.

            Apparently someone took President Bush aside and enlightened him. What’s there now is certainly better than what was (in Iraq as well), and I’ll settle for leaving countries we have to go into democratic, relatively stable, able to defend themselves from jihadis, and not training, arming, leading, or exporting terrorists.

            Actually, you are indulging in romantic PC multicultural dreams and very wishful thinking fantasies when you assume that when we leave Iraq it will be better off than it was before the invasion. Thanks to Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, a Muhammadan who managed to penetrate the Bush State Department, the constitutions of Iraq and Afghanistan have been enshrined with Sharia as the highest legal authority of law.

            Hence, for all intents and purposes, the so-called democratic governments of Iraq and Afghanistan are in reality Sharia states. Now, correct me if I’m wrong but the last time I checked, the only freedom that Sharia allows is the freedom for Muhammadans to become more devout slaves of Allah. Sharia also obligates Muhammadans to wage jihad against unbelievers for the spread of Islam. Therefore, if you naively believe that Iraq and Afghanistan will not rejoin the global jihad as soon as we leave and instead remain loyal friends and allies of the USA and Western civilization, like I said I have a bridge I need to sell you.

            Face it, your idol, GWB, who was really a stealth liberal, was one of the most incompetent presidents in US history. You just haven’t figured that one out yet, but in time believe me you will.

            PC insanity aside, our culture influences theirs a lot more than theirs does ours. We’d be stupid not to use that advantage.

            Actually, you are blinded by PC multiculturalism and as a result naive and gullible as GWB was and still is.

          • Rifleman

            Nation building has certainly worked in South Korea, and would have likely worked in Vietnam if we hadn’t violated our own treaties to leave them twisting in the breeze. We’ll likely regret (some of us do already) not helping the Russians keep the commies from regaining power.

            All 19 9/11 terrorists received training from aq and/or the Taliban, and obl was headquartered in Afghanistan. Afghanistan certainly was exporting terrorism, had been since the collapse of the soviet union, and not just against the USA. 9/11 proved what they can do, and that’s nothing to what they’ll do if they get WMD. Backward and undeveloped they may be, but they can buy whatever they want with their opium.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            Nation building has certainly worked in South Korea,

            Correct me if I’m wrong but S. Korea was never communist. They were trying to impose communism on the South, but we stopped them. While Iraq, on the other hand, has been Islamic for approximately 1350 years. That’s your first flaw.

            Another flaw is you are assuming that Islam is a religion like any other faith-based religion and Muhammadans are like adherents of other faith-based religions, and you couldn’t be anymore naïve.

            It is impossible to win the hearts and minds of Muhammadans simply because they are obligated per the texts and tenets of Islam to hate our kafir infidel guts no matter what we do for them. It is also impossible to impose democracy on Muhammadans, because Islam is the state, as Islam contrary to what you naively assume isn’t a faith-based religion like any other.

            In addition, democracy is the rule of the people instead of Allah and thus is seen by Muhammadans as an abomination that must be destroyed, as all Muhammadans are in reality the slaves of Allah.

            Furthermore, Muhammadans only adhere to Sharia law because it emanates directly from God, which means that it is divine and thus perfectly just and infallible, whereas manmade law, on the other hand, is unjust and fallible by definition because it emanates from man and thus is not divine.

            All 19 9/11 terrorists received training from aq and/or the Taliban, and obl was headquartered in Afghanistan. Afghanistan certainly was exporting terrorism, had been since the collapse of the soviet union, and not just against the USA

            Actually, the 9/11 terrorist attacks had been in the planning stages long before OBL ever matriculated to Afghanistan. Moreover, like I already said there weren’t any Afghani Taliban that took part in those attacks.

            As a matter of fact, Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, wasn’t even aware of the impending 9/11 terrorist attacks beforehand, and indeed when he met with OBL subsequently to ask him about the attacks, OBL lied about it to his face and denied he was behind it.

            In addition, your assertion that Afghanistan had been exporting terrorism since the collapse of the Soviet Union is utterly absurd as well, as the Taliban are the products of the Pakistani ISI and the Saudis, since the Taliban are the graduate Talibs (students) of the thousands of Saudi funded madrassas inside Pakistan.

            Subsequent to the Afghani-Soviet jihad, the Northern Alliance united to take over and rule Afghanistan as a Sharia state. However, the Pakistani ISI and the Saudis wanted to make Afghanistan a vassal state of Pakistan to bolster their perpetual jihad against the infidel state of India.

            The Taliban wasn’t exporting terrorism simply because it was in the midst of waging jihad against the Northern Alliance (who were also Sharia compliant and who also successfully exploited GWB’s naivety, by the way) for the control of Afghanistan. In fact, the Taliban was entirely dependent upon the Pakistani ISI and Saudis for money, support, and weapons. OBL, for his part, merely simply offered to aid the Taliban in their jihad against the Northern Alliance in return for refuge. Indeed, it was impossible for the Taliban to export terrorism because they were and still are far too backwards, too primitive, and too poor.

            Backward and undeveloped they may be, but they can buy whatever they want with their opium.

            The fact that going on 10 years after the invasion of Afghanistan the Taliban is still growing opium is proof positive how mentally bankrupt this fantasy based war has been.

          • Rifleman

            South Korea was undemocratic, undeveloped, and unmechanized agrarian country. Through our sustained help and their hard work they are developed, democratic, prosperous, and a glaring example of the difference between us and our enemies. It took decades, scores of thousands of American lives, and hundreds of billions of dollars, but I think it was well worth it. If we would have let the prk collapse in the 90s instead of helping to prop lil kim up, we'd likely not be there now, and probably wouldn't have to go back for centuries, if ever. That's nation building, and over the long haul it's cheaper in lives and treasure than letting Aholes hit you and your allies periodically. That's exceptionally dumb in the WMD age.

            You seem fixated on hearts and minds. We've never had the hearts and minds of most of the South Koreans born after the Korean War, yet the result is still what it is, a relatively stable country that would rather build and buy than conquer, loot, and destroy.

            “In addition, democracy is the rule of the people instead of Allah and thus is seen by Muhammadans as an abomination that must be destroyed” —Yet a sizable percentage, if not a majority of them want it, and the jihadis are willing to go to extreme lengths (even for them), to stop it. That tells me something. So does a Muslim father trying to warn us his son was a threat to us.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            South Korea was undemocratic, undeveloped, and unmechanized agrarian country.

            So what? S. Korea wasn’t communist or Islamic. Hence, the S. Korean people were eager to embrace democracy and modernism because they readily saw the benefits. Muhammadans, on the other hand, see democracy as an abomination, as it is the rule of man and not the rule of Allah. Islam is an ideology of submission. In fact, the word Islam in Arabic means to submit and all Muhammadans are required to submit to the will of Allah, i.e., become the slaves of Allah.

            Furthermore, Muhammadans only adhere to Sharia law because it emanates directly from God, which means that it is divine and thus perfectly just and infallible, whereas manmade law, on the other hand, is unjust and fallible by definition because it emanates from man and thus is not divine.

            The reality is both fantasy based nation-building missions in Afghanistan and Iraq have already failed because as I have already explained to you, the constitutions of both respective countries have been enshrined with Islamic Sharia as the highest legal authority of law. Which means that both so-called democratic governments are, for all intents and purposes, in reality Sharia states. Very apparently you are far more loss than I first originally assumed.

            You seem fixated on hearts and minds

            No, not me, Admiral Mullen and General Petraeus are both totally obsessed and fixated with winning hearts and minds. Hell, they even made the rules of engagement suicidal for our troops in the name of winning hearts and minds. However, it is literally impossible for us to win the hearts and minds of Muhammadans since they are obligated to hate our and all non-Muhammadan’s guts. Nevertheless, the fact that we are still over there pissing in the wind propping up Sharia states while trying to win Muhammadans hearts and minds, when it is literally impossible, is more than proof that our nation building mission couldn’t be anymore fantasy based.

            Yet a sizable percentage, if not a majority of them want it, and the jihadis are willing to go to extreme lengths (even for them), to stop it. That tells me something. So does a Muslim father trying to warn us his son was a threat to us.

            Yeah right, it does tell me something also. Indeed, it tells me that you are as clueless, lost, and oblivious with respect to Islam and Muhammadans as GWB was and still is. In other words, it is the blind leading the blind and you are a hopeless lost cause.

            Anyway, like I said, if you believe that Afghanistan and Iraq will somehow miraculously remain loyal friends and allies with the USA and the West, instead of rejoining the global jihad that you are totally oblivious to like they already have, then I have a bridge I need to sell you.

            Oh yeah, good luck reforming Islam while you are at it, but excuse me if I won’t hold my breath.

          • Rifleman

            You clearly don't know Korean history, they didn't truly become democratic until the 80s, and democracy was as alien to the Orient as it is to the Hundu Kush. Their only advantage was that they had already advanced beyond tribalism.

            Good luck killing a billion people without starting a nuclear war.

          • Rifleman

            Obl was well traveled, but on 9/11 he and his headquarters were well established in Afghanistan and he,along with many of his top cadre, were intermarried with the taliban. The relationship was symbiotic, however out of the loop omar was. You might notice they and other jihadi groups gravitate to undeveloped countries with corrupt, weak, or nonexistent governments, which is a big reason why stabilizing and developing such countries is so important.

            Before the taliban took over Southern Afghanistan, various factions (Mostly in the South and East), were sending fighters and some cadre to the Southern Republics of the former soviet union, like Chechnya, as well as Kosovo and Kashmir to the South, to recruit and train locals, commit acts of terrorism and wage war. Both the Iranians and ISI were involved, and it probably made it easier on the taliban when they moved in. Just because they weren't concentrating on us yet, doesn't mean they weren't exporting terrorism. The factions that made up the Northern Alliance were mostly fighting each other before allying to fight the taliban. Again, defeating or running an enemy off is not enough. Leaving a power vacuum just invites them or others of the same mentality to fill it as soon as you're gone.

            I don't expect to fill it with something perfect, we certainly don't have that ourselves, and won't until the second coming. But in the WMD age, it had better be something good enough.

            They've been growing opium in those mountains for thousands of years, it will take a lot more than 10 to change that, if it ever is. I can still get untaxed Apple Brandy and Corn Whiskey From the Appalachians (and the price of sugar had more to do with its' decline than revenuers), and I bet Pot is still Kentucky's number one cash crop. My point was that they can buy and employ WMD no matter how backward and otherwise poor they are.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            The South Koreans were never communists or Muhammadans. Thus, they readily saw the benefits of democracy and modernity. The Afghanis and Iraqis, on the other hand, are Muhammadans that believe that Western society and modernity are decadent, and only observe Sharia law. Hence, while the South Koreans were eager to embrace democracy and modernity in order to join the West, the Muhammadans of Afghanistan and Iraq, for all intents and purposes, have already rejoined the global jihad, as they are voting against the West, the USA, and Israel in the UN in perfect lock step with the OIC. Hence, you can continue turning a blind eye to reality by continuing to believe that Islam is a Religion of Peace™ being hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists like your idol GWB, but reality will become more and more pronounced as time goes on even to the point that eventually you won’t be able to deny it any longer.

          • Rifleman

            No, the Koreans clearly did not see the benefits of democracy, or they would have had it decades before they did. That's reality, and that's history.

            You're either delusional or confusing me with someone else. I've never called islam "the religion of peace" in anything other than obvious sarcasm, for example, “The religion of peace just blew up a children's hospital.” I've never idolized anyone (that happens to be a sin in my religion), though I've love and/or respect for many, including President Bush. By making stupid assumptions and obviously false statements about my position you seem to be arguing a lot with yourself.

            I notice you didn't respond to my other post to even attempt to explain how we could accomplish what you proposed. You either haven't even begun to think it through, or are in your own little static fantasy world.

            I've recently had very similar conversations with both an old Army buddy and a high school buddy that served in the Navy. Neither one could come up with a logical scenario that didn't fail miserably and end up with American cities hit with WMD, or didn't fail spectacularly by quickly devolving into a multi-sided nuclear war.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            The reality is your familiarity and knowledge of Islam, Islamic society, and Islamic history are just as infantile and fantasy based as GWB’s, a person you claim you don’t idolize, even when it is very obvious that you do. Hence, give me one good reason why I should continue giving myself brain damage further debating someone who is completely mentally incompetent? Nevertheless, I hate to rain on your clueless parade, but both Sharia states in Afghanistan and Iraq will inevitably rejoin the global jihad that you are totally oblivious of just as soon as we finally exit them if we don’t go bankrupt first. In other words, your idol that you love and admire is responsible for the two biggest strategic blunders in US history, yet you are too mentally incompetent to realize it.

            Bush also doubled the size, scope, and power of the federal government in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks like the stealth Leftists on steroids he really was, and today the inevitable result is we aren’t any safer from Islamic terrorist attacks, because like the stealth Leftists he was, he completely ignored the root causes of the 9/11 terrorists attacks, which was multiculturalism and mass Muhammadan immigration. Hence, today we not only are generating deficits in excess of a trillion dollars annually, we are just as vulnerable as we were prior to 9/11 and a hell of a lot poorer thanks to GWB.

            In other words, your idol GWB was one of the worse Presidents to ever have the honor to serve. No wonder you idolize and love him. May that Leftwing loser burn in hell!

          • Rifleman

            There you go again, arguing with yourself. “Infantile and fantasy based” is thinking the USA can successfully quarantine a fifth of the world's population in a swath from the west coast of Africa to the East Indies (and you speak of “strategic blunders?”). I neither demonize nor idolize President Bush, and thinking he must be one or the other is pretty “clueless.”

            Don't blame me for your unfortunate brain damage and don't mistake me for anyone that gives a rat's *ss what you think or do. You don't even bother to think out the implications of what you suggest.

          • Rifleman

            Did you post from Intensedebate? I'm posting from FPM and had to break mine up. I'd like to get around that pain in the neck.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            Yes.

      • bdouglasaf1980

        Well let an old ICBM tech in here. A good nuke placed initially into the Taliban's lap would have solved the problem of Afghanistan quickly with no loss of American lives.

        Let the tribes clean up and start whatever crap government they will after cleanup. Threaten another bomb any time they come back and try anything again.
        Democracy building does not work in a country where violence solves most threats.

        • Jim C.

          Do you think the Taliban all sit around together in the same city?

      • Rifleman

        II disagree. The President of the USA declaring the enemy to be Islam in general (regardless of whether it is) would mean war with about a third of the planet at once.

        No doubt you’d tell ‘em to pound sand, but India, Russia, and the chicoms are all downwind from Afghanistan, which has nothing worth wasting a nuke on anyway.

        Saddam refused to uphold his end of the cease-fire agreement, and the taliban willingly harbored a terrorist group waging a terror war on the USA and murdered over 3000 of our civilians. We didn’t start any wars, and in fact we waited at least a decade too long to fight back.

        • Triple_AAA

          Being at war with a third of the planet shouldn't scare us, remember Communism and the Cold War? President Reagan made a clear stand against that evil why couldn't Bush? If we can't win their hearts and minds, then the nuclear option becomes the only real option.

          • Rifleman

            Because uniting a large balkanized enemy is unwise. This isn't a cold war it's a hot one, and widening it beyond our military's ability to wage it conventionally is equally unwise.

          • Triple_AAA

            "Uniting a large balkanized enemy"… If you study the history of Islam, you would understand that it is hardly "Balkanized". The enemy we are facing has for centuries been united in the cause of killing the infidels.

            "This isn't a cold war, it's a hot one"… That's not what I meant, during the Cold War we did fight against the Communists in Korea and Vietnam, losing well over 100,000 American soldiers.

            "Widening it beyond our military's ability to wage it conventionally"… I am not calling for conventional war, I believe our conventional role in the Middle East ought to involve the protection of Israel and in securing our shipping routes, I would propose using a combination of tactical nuclear weapons and covert operations to destroy terrorist sites if necessary.

            The only way to really win against our Muslim enemies is to prevent the spread of Islam, especially into Western countries. This is where immigration policy plays a crucial role.

          • Rifleman

            They're obviously not united, or we wouldn't have bases over there to protect some from the others.

            The Cold War didn't start with Korea or Vietnam, and though there are similarities, they are outweighed by the differences.

            While I agree that this is primarily a special ops war, and not just against people calling themselves aq/taliban (their leadership and training cadre are the prime targets), we must also reduce the supporting governments and safe havens of the terrorists, and that requires conventional forces and country teams. If we don't at least leave behind a government strong enough to stand against them, they'll flow right back into the vacuum and we'll be somewhere behind square one.

            The risks and costs of using nukes far outweigh their utility, even if you could employ them decisively against terrorist groups. We can put any size of conventional bomb within 10 feet of a target and defeat them and their desire for us to incur gratuitous civilian casualties at the same time.

          • Rifleman

            Good dialogue BTW, thanks for taking the time.

  • stephencuz

    Went to his book signing in Florida this past weekend. The one statement he made that I found noteworthy is this. While in Africa speaking to a group of children suffering with AIDS he said he spoke about how God is good. To his surprise the children responded immediately with "All the time." He admonished all of us there that we should remember this came from some of the most downtrodden souls there are and yet they see God as being good ~ All the time. Perhaps, he said, we would do well to listen to the children. I for one will take this to heart. I didn’t agree with everything he did but he did everything for the right reasons.

    • Sylvia

      Totally agree, stephencuz. This man has a great heart, and a high intelligence, aeb his curiousity in his readings and learnings from MANY world leaders – religious, political, and simply human. Many of us saw up close and personal how he suffered for, and with, the troops that he took responsibility for sending into harms way.

      • PhillipGaley

        "A geat heart"? No, he didn't: this Bush had that one woman executed (Just now, I forget her name.) — who had killed some one, or participated in mayhem or something, but who had become a Christian, and showed as much—but with this insult to decency: when asked about what she had said in her interview, Bush scrunched his face in a pinched appearance, and making the mockery complete, raised his voice, quavering out: "Please don't kill me."

        • PhillipGaley

          His: "Pu-u-l-l-e-e-eaz-z-ze don't ki-i-i-l-l-l me-e-e."; it being a foundation of jurisprudence for the English speaking Peoples that, we first consider and do not put an innocent mind—albeit, now changed—to death.
          The most which might have been done, would better in removing sentence of death, to life-time incarceration, . . .
          Bush's derisive response was most revealing in again showing another example how that, as is written: the nations of the earth are in HIS hand, and HE sets the basest of men over them, . . . as I think, he was a horrid president, . . .

        • Rifleman

          Mayhem or something? She invaded a home and killed a couple with a Maddock. Better late than never with finding Jesus, but she still had to pay the price for murder.

        • Dave

          Do a little research. Texas doe not allow the governor to commute a death sentence without prior approval of the parole board, which refused to give permission. The woman in question was sentenced to death for the ax murder of a person. Being a Christian doesn’t relieve one of the need to pay a penalty in this life for crimes. Christ did not stop the execution of the thief on the cross next to him, even though he forgave him.

    • bdouglasaf1980

      He may have THOUGHT he was doing everything for the right reasons. He may have THOUGHT they were for the greater good. Is that enough to give him credit for? Only in the sense that he is at least a man of integrity as far as his word goes.

      He did not use sound judgement in many decisions. He was stuck in his ideology. This caused him to make grave mistakes that costs this country major losses of republicans and brought about the obama regime.

  • John123987

    It seems that here at Frontpage we will never forgive the former President for saying the the terrorist hijacked Islam or that Islam is a religion of peace. He once said that history would approve of his presedency, maybe one day Frontpage will too.

    Besides, just imagine if Gore had won the 2000 election. Then we would've been really in trouble.

  • Jim C.

    Though he doesn't say it, I think it's pretty clear George W. Bush would never have gone into Iraq knowing what he knows now. Of course, he knew a lot of it then, too–so depending on where you stand that may or may not be "excusable."

    Mr. Bush's eventual marginalization of Cheney, his belated but wise acceptance of Don Rumsfeld's resignation showed a man finally in charge and willing to accept reality in the blundered Middle Eastern wars. Of course, the damage had been done, but Gates and Petraeus helped Bush salvage the mission and give it a sense of true purpose.

    For his no-bid contract, billions-of-taxpayer-dollars "misplacing," former company Halliburton, for his secret energy meetings divvying up Iraq War fields BEFORE 9/11, to his strong advocacy for torture, Dick Cheney should be in a Dutch prison. There really is no way around it. For allowing Dick Cheney to control the executive branch in his first term, Mr. Bush should be ashamed of himself.

    • USMCSniper

      I see that by your Bush Derangement comments that you would rather have had either the ecopsychotic Gore or the twcie a giggilo traitor John Kerry as President. Carefule what you wish for and are glad you have the Black Messiah in the Oval Office now!

    • Democracy First

      More likely he would have gone into iraq regardless, but with a much bigger footprint to ward off sectarian violence (even that instigated by Iran and Syria).

  • ObamaYoMoma

    This isn’t going to be very popular, but here goes anyway:

    Bush wrote. “When he left office in 1953, his approval ratings were in the twenties. Today he is viewed as one of America’s greatest presidents.”

    I can promise you that will not be the case when it comes to Bush. Once Americans realize that the two fantasy based nation-building missions in Afghanistan and Iraq were the two biggest strategic blunders in American history, and they will in a matter of time, Bush won’t be viewed as one of America’s greatest presidents, instead he will take his place along side Jimmy Carter and Barracks Hussein Obama as among the worse presidents in history.

    Bush reveals one of the ways he expressed his profound admiration and gratitude for America’s fallen warriors while in office. “I sent letters to the families of every service member who laid down his or her life in the war on terror…

    Did he apologize to the parents for wasting their children’s lives for nothing too? Indeed, if Bush hadn’t been a useful idiot dupe and understood that Islam isn’t a so-called Religion of Peace™ but instead a militant theo-political totalitarian ideology that only masquerades as being a religion, he probably never would have created the two worse strategic blunders in American history, which is exactly what the two fantasy-based nation building missions amounted to once you understand what Islam really is. He also wouldn’t have made a ton of other strategic blunders he made as well. Indeed, thanks in large part to Bush; millions of Americans today including sadly many so-called Republicans to this day still completely misunderstand what Islam really is.

    Most surprisingly, Ted Kennedy is among this group.

    It is not surprising to me that Bush was able to work well with liberals like Ted Kennedy because Bush himself is a liberal, which is why he was able to work so well with Ted Kennedy and other liberals in passing No Child Left Behind and in putting together the so-called comprehensive immigration reform package, which was really a very underhanded way to pass amnesty. Not to mention that creating the massive Department of Homeland Security and the mega National Intelligence Directorate were also exercises in big government liberalism. Thank God they failed on comprehensive immigration reform though, because the left today would enjoy a permanent majority and America, as we once knew it, would be history.

    His focus was on protecting the nation, protecting our troops and minimizing the threat of terrorism – period. In his way, Bush was as single-minded about pursuing a goal as any president in history.

    That may have been his focus all right, but had he not been a political correct liberal and useful idiot dupe, he would have made sure to learn what Islam really is, and if he had, he would have banned and reversed Muhammadan immigration and sealed the borders to protect the homeland, instead of doubling the size of the federal government like the big government liberal he was in order to continue accommodating Muhammadans immigration like an unhinged multicultural fool, as zero Muhammadans in America equals zero Islamic terrorist attacks. In any event, the next time you have to fly and get your junk patted down, remember that it is because Bush misunderstood Islam and was a multicultural liberal fool.

    Further, had Bush understood Islam, he wouldn’t have occupied two Muhammadan countries to pursue two silly fantasy based nation-building missions to win the hearts and minds of Muhammadans, because Muhammadans are obligated to hate our non-Muhammadan guts no matter what, because poverty and despair have nothing whatsoever to do with Islamic terrorism, and because Islam is a militant theo-political totalitarian ideology that masquerades as being a religion, and thus imposing democracy on Muhammadans inevitably would be nothing but an exercise in futility, which will become more and more apparent just as soon as the US finally leaves Afghanistan and Iraq, when both countries inevitably will rejoin the global jihad much stronger than otherwise thanks to the US and courtesy of George W. Bush, and when that inevitably happens, and it will, I want to see the look on the faces of the parents of the soldiers that bravely but unwittingly gave their lives fighting for freedom in an incredibly misguided and hopeless mission. Is that previous sentence not incredibly long or what? Damn! I can’t believe I wrote that.

    • watchful

      Shut up!

  • ObamaYoMoma

    while Tony Blair’s loyalty inspired him.

    What can I say, liberal birds of a feather flock together.

    to taking out the Taliban in Afghanistan,

    Taking out the Taliban to occupy Afghanistan to pursue a silly fantasy based nation-building mission will one day be recognized as one of the biggest strategic blunders in American history. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against targeting OBL and AQ in retaliation for 9/11, but that’s not what Bush did. I also didn’t have anything against the ouster of Saddam, but occupying Iraq subsequently to pursue a fantasy based nation-building mission to win the hearts and minds of Muhammadans was about as inept as it gets.

    They were concerned that an overwhelming American force would appear like an army of occupation to Iraqis and the Muslim world, rather than an army of liberation.

    Actually, this provides a good view of just how misguided and delusional their thinking was and unfortunately still is. In other words, it reveals that like classic liberals they were self-haters who blamed American foreign policy for Islamic terrorist attacks. Had they not failed to understand Islam so miserably in the first place, they would have understood that anytime any Islamic land is occupied under any circumstances, it becomes incumbent upon the entire Muhammadan ummah to wage jihad to oust the occupiers.

    Thus, after Saddam was captured and after Iraq had been scoured for WMD, we should have left Iraq ASAP, hoping at the same time that the vacuum left behind would have led to a jihad between the Sunni and the Shi’a that would have sucked in both the Saudis and the Iranians. Then if Bush had half a brain, while both countries were totally focused on killing each other and totally preoccupied at the same time, we should have acted quickly to oust both the Iranian Mullahs and the House of Saud, and in one fell swoop the biggest financers of jihad in the world would have been eliminated. Too bad Bush was a political correct liberal who didn’t have the first clue.

    They believed that a minimal American presence was essential if Iraqis were to establish self-governance.

    Then why did they create the Coalitional Provisional Authority and then wait for a fricking year? Again, we should have used maximum troops levels and made sure we killed Saddam initially, quickly scoured the country for WMD, and then gotten the hell out ASAP. Likewise, why did we jump into the middle of a jihad between the Northern Alliance and the Taliban to occupy an Islamic country instead of targeting and eradicating OBL and AQ only?

    For a while, that strategy worked.

    What planet do you live on Richard? According to whom?

    The surge in troops and the leadership of General Petraeus culminated in a stunning victory, one that members of all parties now acknowledge.

    Anyway, I hate to say this because it is clear that General David Petraeus is a patriot, but a very political correct, liberal, and misguided one, nevertheless, the so-called victory in Iraq is a mirage, and the mission in Afghanistan is also a lost cause, because Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, a Muhammadan infiltrator that managed to penetrate the Bush State Department, enshrined Sharia in both the constitutions of Afghanistan and Iraq, which in essence made both governments, for all intents and purposes, Sharia states. Hence, if anyone believes that the Sharia states of Afghanistan and Iraq are going to remain loyal friends and allies to America and the West once we finally exit and leave the scene, then I have a bridge for sale I need to sell them.

    The free people of Iraq, if no one else, recognize the debt of gratitude that they owe to America and its stalwart men and women in uniform.

    I’m sorry Richard but if you understood Sharia, you would know that the only freedom Sharia allows Muhammadans is the freedom to become more devout slaves of Allah. Not to mention also that Muhammadans are obligated to hate all non-Muhammadans, including Americans no matter what we did for them.

  • watchful

    Obviously we should have elected you because you seem to have ESP. It's always helpful to know ahead of time how things will turn out and obviously you seem to think you can do that.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Like I said, if you believe Sharia states will somehow become loyal allies and friends of the USA and the West, then I have a bridge I need to sell you. In Iraq, thanks to Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, a Muhammadan who managed to penetrate the Bush State Department, both constitutions in Afghanistan and Iraq were enshrined with Sharia Law as the highest legal authority, making both Afghanistan and Iraq for all intents and purposes Sharia states.

      Now I don’t know what you know about Sharia, but it institutionalizes systematic persecution and often-violent oppression of females and non-Muslims. Sharia also incorporates draconian punishments such as torture, floggings, stonings, amputations, and beheadings, while restricting the freedom of conscience, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of religion. By the way, Sharia also obligates Muhammadans to wage jihad against unbelievers for the spread of Islam. Anyway, I can make you a great deal on one of those bridges I have for sale.

      In addition, for all intents and purposes both Afghanistan and Iraq have already rejoined the global jihad, as both countries vote in the UN in perfect lock step with the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and against the US and the West. Not to mention that both countries also eagerly vilify and demonize Israel every chance they get. Meanwhile, while in Iraq Christians are often violently oppressed and murdered, in Afghanistan Muhammadans are prosecuted and sentence to death for blasphemy or apostasy. As a matter of fact, the only freedom that Sharia allows is the freedom for Muhammadans to become more devout slaves of Allah. It sounds to me like you must have bought into some of Bush’s garbage.

  • http://mypage.direct.ca/l/lbouchar/ SeaMystic

    I miss Bush!

  • waterwillows

    I liked Bush as a President. He cared about America and was a decent man in respect to other nations.
    I don't see that time will show that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were errors. Rather they were the last call to sensiability, which was not heeded. The west has long endured the muslim complaint of "it is not our fault, we have no freedom, like you do".
    They have now been given a chance to write their own history anew. Freed from the cruel dictatorship of tyrants. What they now choose to do, is up to them.

    A people and a nation can not be condemned unless they have had an opportunity to make better choices. The west is not held in compliance with aiding the repression of a choice. Though it is understood, one can only make choice possible. One can not do the choosing for them. Bush removed blood guilt from America. That is a good thing. And it will be known in time to have been a good thing.

  • qsome

    good article! i think it is a interesting approach President Bush took in his book.
    president's manage our affairs, not run our lives.i think it is good to criticize every President and praise them when they do something right. what we have not done with Presidents Bush presidency is to talk about what he did right. that has contributed to the hate campaign against him. if you cherry pick the events in a presidents term then you are not interested in the truth. you are only looking to support your beliefs.
    i voted for President Bush both times. like them or not he is a man with ideas. the democrats are void of a original idea and have been for along time.

  • Wesley69

    Have the book. Look forward to reading it. Have seen the interviews on TV. Whether you liked him or not, President Bush was a leader. To be truthful, I wish he was helming the ship of state now, instead of the Ensign we have now.