Category Archives: Bush Administration

Jeb Bush fumbles and stumbles his way through the week

Someone please explain this to me… Jeb Bush? What the hell?

Jeb Bush is a career politician. He has been planning on running for president for years, if not decades. He has been studying. He has advisers. He knew he was going to get the question about Iraq. This was a no-brainer. This was an easy softball down the middle of the plate from someone who throws nothing but softballs to conservatives – Megan Kelly.

I don’t believe for one minute that he misheard the question. But let’s go with that. Let’s assume that Jeb Bush misheard Megan Kelly’s question. Remember, the question was whether he would have gone into Iraq knowing what we know now. So, Jeb Bush calls into Sean Hannity’s radio show the next day. This is another friendly environment. No reason to be nervous. There’s no reason for the misspeak. As a matter fact, because this is radio show, you could have a script in front of you and read from it. Sean Hannity gives him the benefit of the doubt and asks him the exact same question again. Jeb Bush’s brain dead answer, “I don’t know what that decision would’ve been. That’s a hypothetical.”

This has little or nothing to do with the legacy of George W. Bush. Instead, this was a hypothetical question which anyone running for president should’ve anticipated. What Jeb Bush did was worse than fumble the ball. He basically got nervous and messed in his pants – multiple times. The only answer to the Iraq question has to be no. I would not have ordered the invasion. Then you can put whatever spin you want on that answer. Why? We now know every single premise that was put forth to go into Iraq was wrong. We know they were all wrong. Iraq was not developing nuclear weapons. We know that the aluminum tubes were not to be used for centrifuges, but instead were going to be used for missiles. Iraq had but was not currently developing chemical weapons. We also know that Iraq was not working with Al Qaeda. The three premises for the war were wrong. We know that now in 2015. We have the clarity of 20/20 hindsight.

I don’t blame Jeb Bush or any politician for an on the spot error. When you’re in these television or radio interviews, some of the questions can come out of left field. Yet, this was not a question from left field. This was a question that he should have planned for and he should have had a pat answer ready. Even if you give him the benefit of doubt that he screwed up on Fox News with Megan Kelly, what’s the excuse for calling in to Sean Hannity’s show only to do the equivalent of Roberto Durrant’s, “No Mas” (in the title fight versus Sugar Ray Leonard) and then cop out and say it was hypothetical? Of course it’s a hypothetical question.

Here’s how many thoughtful conservative should’ve answered that question – Megan, of course, this is a hypothetical question in which we can use our perfect 20/20 hindsight. We now know there were no weapons of mass destruction. We know there was no meeting in Prague. We know that the aluminum tubes were going to be used for missiles and not centrifuges. We know that there were no mobile chemical weapon stations. Therefore, there was no reason to invade Iraq. Using our perfect vision, we should have continued the UN inspections and expanded the no-fly zones in both northern and southern Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a wildcard. We needed to keep him boxed in.

The good news for Jeb Bush is that he fumbled the ball very early in this campaign. The bad news is no one is going to let him forget it.

Obama Derangement Syndrome: Iranian Episode

uranium nuclear

If you haven’t noticed, our country has split up into two separate tribesIdiots and Morons. Each tribe has approximately 30-40% of the population. (There’s a separate group that doesn’t belong either tribe that seems to always keep its head stuck firmly in the sand. I really won’t cover or discuss the Independents.) The great thing about this tribal system is that you can take any subject, any subject, and within a few seconds you know where another American stands on every issue because we all root for our tribe. If an American is against abortion, that must mean they don’t believe in climate change… Because that’s the way our tribes work. This tribalism is so sad and so stupid. This brings us to Iran.

One of the stupidest and craziest things about our tribalism is that we are against things without even thinking about it. The best example is an Iranian nuclear deal. Let’s review – during the Bush Administration, for multiple different reasons, we decided that we were not going to directly negotiate with Iran. During the Bush Administration, Iran had somewhere around 200-300 centrifuges. During nuclear negotiations in which we never specifically took part, because at the time we didn’t talk to our enemies, we took the stance that Iran could not have one centrifuge. To us, at the time, this was a nonnegotiable position. So, Iran took the position that we were being unreasonable and continued to acquire centrifuges and nuclear materia. Now, it is widely believed that Iran has over 18,000 centrifuges. (Read more about uranium enrichment.) So, what to do?

Really, and practically, there are three options. First, we can continue on the path set out by George W. Bush. We can continue to try not to negotiate with Iran. We could let the other members of the UN Security Council try to hammer out a deal that we are not part of. (Read the Iranian nuclear timeline.)

The other thing we can do is to take the posture that this is a national security issue. Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is a direct national threat to the United States and our allies under the Bush doctrine. We could and should launch a preemptive military strike to degrade or destroy Iran’s capabilities to develop a nuclear weapon.

The final option is to try to figure out a way to negotiate a settlement in which Iran gives up the ability to make a nuclear weapon in some verifiable manner. On one hand, we get unfettered access to inspect Iran to make sure that it is meeting whatever criteria we agree upon. On the other hand, if Iran complies with these inspections, we began to ease sanctions and we began to invite Iran back into the international community.

If you’re not from one of the tribes, when you sit back and look at your three options, you really only have one option. The first option has been tried and has failed. So I think we can all agree that doing nothing and not negotiating with our “enemies” is clearly the wrong way to go about things. In my opinion, the second option needs to stay on the table, but is not something I think we need to implement now. Instead, we should wait. We should wait until the third option doesn’t work. To me this is the only course of action to make sense. Also, I might add that inspections worked in Iraq. We have irrefutable evidence that inspections did work.

What are your thoughts?

Bush Legacy Is Still Fresh

Address to the Nation on Immigration. Oval.

Over the last several days I’ve had the pleasure of several people coming up to me and asking what I thought about President Obama and Syria. Almost everybody I talk to questions whether the president was telling the truth, not because they inherently distrust Barack Obama, but because they had a fresh memory of George W. Bush and his war machine. As I was watching John Kerry present before the Senate Armed Services Committee, I had flashbacks of Colin Powell presenting in front of the UN. The problem is that we don’t know what the actual data show. We have no way of knowing whether Barack Obama is twisting the information to suit his own needs.

Timothy Egan has more on the Bush Burden:

He’s there in every corner of Congress where a microphone fronts a politician, there in Russia and the British Parliament and the Vatican. You may think George W. Bush is at home in his bathtub, painting pictures of his toenails, but in fact he’s the biggest presence in the debate over what to do in Syria.

His legacy is paralysis, hypocrisy and uncertainty practiced in varying degrees by those who want to learn from history and those who deny it. Let’s grant some validity to the waffling, though none of it is coming from the architects of the worst global fiasco in a generation.

Time should not soften what President George W. Bush, and his apologists, did in an eight-year war costing the United States more than a trillion dollars, 4,400 American soldiers dead and the displacement of two million Iraqis. The years should not gauze over how the world was conned into an awful conflict. History should hold him accountable for the current muddy debate over what to do in the face of a state-sanctioned mass killer.

Blame Bush? Of course, President Obama has to lead; it’s his superpower now, his armies to move, his stage. But the prior president gave every world leader, every member of Congress a reason to keep the dogs of war on a leash. The isolationists in the Republican Party are a direct result of the Bush foreign policy. A war-weary public that can turn an eye from children being gassed — or express doubt that it happened — is another poisoned fruit of the Bush years. And for the nearly 200 members of both houses of Congress who voted on the Iraq war in 2002 and are still in office and facing a vote this month, Bush shadows them like Scrooge’s ghost.