Looking back at Mr. Bush’s record, one would be awed with the quantity and qualities of the mistakes and misjudgment.
During 1999 and 2000 campaign, Mr. Bush promised to bring honor and dignity to the White House. He was of course referring to Mr. Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal. The way that Mr. Bush came to the White House was anything but with dignity and honor. From all indications and independent studies, Mr. Bush lost Florida to Al Gore, but had it not been because of illegal intervention of the Supreme Court, Mr. Bush would not have been the President. He owes his presidency to the five conservative justices.
While President, instead of concentrating on the affairs of the county Mr. Bush took long vacations and in particular in summer of 2001 and failed to read the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) which would inform the President of any likely threat against the US. In August of 2001 the national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice and the President, ignored one of such PDBs, which clearly warned the White House of Osama Bin Laden’s attack on America. On September 11, 2001 Osama Bin Ladin did attack America and as the result 2,850 people lost their lives. The economy took a dive, and the life as we know it changed for good as new restrictions and monitoring programs were put in place.
This was undoubtedly the most outrageous act against the US in the recent history. There were ample warnings and signs about likelihood of such attack, but none were taken seriously so to thwart the attack. No one was ever reprimanded, demoted, fired, or punished for such a major gaff. Condoleezza Rice later became the Secretary of State rather than being fired and tried for gross negligence. The outrageous act was that Mr. Bush resisted and refused to initiate any investigation as to why and how the attack took place. He only agreed to the investigation after so much of hard press from the families of the victims. The committee conducted somewhat superficial investigation and prepared a report which the White House redacted 28 pages of the report dealing with Saudi Arabia. The integrity of the report was substantially tarnished.
To this date the country is still suffering the aftermath of September 11. The site of the World Trade Center is still a big empty hole in the ground and nothing has been done to rebuild on the site, not even a memorial.
When Mr. Bush was asked about Kenneth Lay, he responded “Kenneth who?” The loss to the financial market and investors was in billions of dollars.
Then came Enron’s fiasco. Mr. Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, an energy company in Texas, was very close friend of Mr. Bush who called him “Kenny Boy” and helped Mr. Bush to become the governor of Texas and to be re-elected. During 1999 and 2000 campaign, Enron donated and raised over $260,000 for Mr. Bush’s campaign and let Mr. Bush use the corporate jet for this campaign travel.
When Mr. Bush won the White House, Mr. Lay had unlimited access to the White House and was able to form the energy policy of the administration and in fact the country. He made several visits to the White House and was one of the members of the energy committee meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney to draft the energy policy.
Enron managed through its lies and deception cover its losses and portray a successful company to the investors who bought its shares at high prices not knowing that the company was losing money and in effect was bankrupt. When the truth came out, thousands of employees lost their jobs and their pensions. Many investors lost their investment in the company and the stock market suffered the wrath as the investors lost confidence in the stock market. When Mr. Bush was asked about Kenneth Lay, he responded “Kenneth who?” The loss to the financial market and investors was in billions of dollars.
Mr. Bush decided to attack Afghanistan as Osama Bin Ladin had camped in Afghanistan and the Talabans were helping and harboring him and his supporters. The invasion of Afghanistan was matter of days if not hours and the government of Talaban collapsed. The Mullahs fled to the mountains along with Osama and his supporters. A puppet leader by name of Hamid Karzai was installed as the President of Afghanistan. Mr. Karzai does not have power to even control Cobol, the capital, let alone the entire country. The country in effect is controlled by the warlords. Now of course the Talabans are back in power in many areas of the country and Afghanistan is going back to square one.
President Bush did not wait long and on March 20, 2003 attacked Iraq and turning the country into rubbles causing death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
While the war in Afghanistan was going on, the White House decided to open a second front by invading Iraq, arguing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was present and clear danger to the US and its allies. Many claims were made about the level of Hussein’s activities in amassing weapons of mass destruction both biological and chemical plus nuclear weapons. Bogus stories and evidence were cooked up to prove the case. Finally the Congress granted the right to the President to initiate war after exhaustion of all other avenues, ie. diplomacy, negotiation, etc.
President Bush did not wait long and on March 20, 2003 attacked Iraq and turning the country into rubbles causing death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Of course Hussein’s regime collapsed and he fled. Later on his sons were murdered by the US troops, and Saddam was found in a whole in the ground. Through a kangaroo trial Saddam was found guilty of crime against humanity and was later hanged.
Shortly after invasion in 2003 it became apparent that Saddam did not possess any weapons of mass destruction nor did he have any capabilities or intention to start such program. All claims made by the White House turned up to be false. Many of the claims were made knowing them to be false at the onset, but yet they were made so aggressively to persuade the public’s opinion towards the invasion.
While attacking and fighting in Iraq the US forces in Afghanistan were left alone to fight the Talaban and Osama forces in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan. Osama was cornered in Bora Bora, but the US troops were prevented from proceeding and the task of attack was assigned to the Pakistani soldiers who were sympathetic to Osama. As the result Osama fled.
Meanwhile US forces kept dying in Iraq to the tune of 4,300 so far and over 20,000 injured, mostly maimed for life.
Meanwhile US forces kept dying in Iraq to the tune of 4,300 so far and over 20,000 injured, mostly maimed for life. These figures do not included the ones who are traumatized and suffer from posttraumatic syndrome.
On August 29, 2006, despite several warnings by National Weather Service, the President continues with his daily activities which included celebration of Senator McCain’s birthday when Hurricane Katrina lands on New Orleans and all hell broke loose.
A major metropolitan city in the US suddenly becomes like one of the towns seen in Haiti or Bangladesh after being hit by storm. City was flooded with water as the result of levees breaching. Houses were floating and the City looked like a large lake. Dead bodies floating around, people are struggling to escape the flood by going on the roof of their homes or fleeing to the Superdome stadium.
There was no sign of any help from the Federal Government. It took days for the FEMA starting to take action. The effort was minimum and not effective. Coast Guard on its own initiatives started rescuing people and managed to take thousands of stranded people into safety. Tens of thousands of citizens fled the city and went to Texas and other neighboring states. Chaos, anger, and despair could be seen everywhere. People carrying the dead bodies of their loved on the shopping cart on the street. The scenes ere horrendous and troublesome, in particular, happening in the richest, most powerful, and most developed country on earth.
It was revealed that two more US attorneys were also fired without cause and 27 others were being considered for firing
To this date people of New Orleans are still suffering the effect of Katrina and the city has still not been able to bring back one third of its population. There is housing shortage, jobs are scarce and many areas are still deserted and deteriorating.
Mr. Bush praised FEMA director, Mr. Michael Brown by saying “heck of a job Browny.” Of course Mr. Michael Brown had to later resign due to heavy and angry criticism from the Public. Evidence has been produced to show that three days before Katrina landing on the US soil, Mr. Bush and Mr. Chertoff, Director of Homeland Security, were warned by the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service about the severity of the Katrina and the likelihood that the levees could break, but nothing was done to prevent it, just the same as when PDB warned Osama plans to attack USA and nothing was done about it.
In December 2006, about 7 US attorneys were fired without any justifications, despite the facts that all were Republicans and appointed by Mr. President Bush. It is unheard of having US attorneys fired in mid-term. The norm is that the outgoing administration will ask the us attorneys submit their resignations and the incoming administration will appoint its own US attorneys. Through Congressional hearing and investigation it was discovered that some of the attorneys were fired for investigating and brining charges against corrupt Republican politicians and some others were fired for failing to bring charges or indictment against Democratic politicians. The purpose was to bring early charges or indictment so to embarrass the Democrats so the Republican candidates could get the votes. Some of the US attorneys were pressured to bring charges and indictment against Democratic politicians despite lack of cause or evidence. It was revealed that two more US attorneys were also fired without cause and 27 others were being considered for firing.
Mr. Alberto Gonzales, attorney general, the most forgetful AG in the history of the US giving bogus legal opinion in interpretation of legal issues such as torture, firing the US attorneys, etc. could not recall who said or did what. He could not even recall where he was when all these important decisions were being made about firing the US attorneys who supposedly worked for him. His testimony at the Congress was the most embarrassing and pathetic testimony ever. Department of Justice is supposed to be a non-partisan and non-political department and defend the laws of the land and prosecute anyone who breaks the law, but instead it became the most partisan and political department in the history of the US. Mr. Gonzales eventually resigned under pressure from both Democratic and Republican Senators.
Over one million foreclosures only in 2008 and it is expected that another 2.5 millions homes to be lost to foreclosure.
While Iraq was invaded, hundreds of Iraqis were arrested and sent to prison which was used by Saddam before the invasion. Horrific photos leaked out showing some of the most barbaric treatment of these detainees at Abu Gharib prison. Degradation, humiliation, and torture were rampant. President Bush and his administration put a superficial face of condemning these inhuman treatment and denied that they knew anything about it and claimed that these acts were carried out by a few prison guards. Of course the facts became known and it showed a different picture. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was not only aware, but also approved the harsh treatment hoping to get some information. The White House was also aware. The world became outraged with the photos, US prestige and dignity suffered a big blow. Also the mistreatment of the detainees who were not charged, nor tried at all, sent a wrong, but very message to those who oppose the US and giving them the excuse to torture US military men when they are captured. It needs to be mentioned that some of the mistreatment tantamount to torture which is in violation of international law and subjects the White House to criminal prosecution by the international community.
Of course, Guantanamo prison camp should not be forgotten, where the detainees classified as enemy combatants are held indefinitely without any charge or trial. In the process many of them have been tortured and some water boarded. So far a few have died as the result of torture. Many of the detainees were kidnapped from other countries and were brought to the Guantanamo prison. So far a few hundred have been released after many years of imprisonment and harsh treatment. There currently couple of hundreds detainees left and the Government does not know what to do with them. Most are in all likelihood innocent and have nothing to do with any terrorist activities. Some may have some connection and a few are members of Osama’s group who might have actually something to do with the 9/11 attack. Again Guantanamo torture chamber has damaged the US standing in the international community. Thanks to the Bush Administration the US has lost its right to object to criticize other countries for violation of human rights. Under Mr. Bush’s watch, the US has become a torture country.
As if all these were not enough, then came the financial crisis and burst of housing bubble. Mr. Bush was bragging that under his administration more Americans than ever before became homeowners. He was right. He can now also brag that under his administration more Americans than ever before have lost their homes. Over one million foreclosures only in 2008 and it is expected that another 2.5 millions homes to be lost to foreclosure. People who could barely afford to buy groceries were allowed to buy homes with teaser interest rates and later on subject to losing their homes. The value of houses all over the country has fallen and trillions of dollars in home equities and wealth were lost.
The Wall Street suffered its worse financial crisis in recent memories. Some of the giants such as Lehman Brothers went under and the rest begged for government bailout. All taking placed under watchful eyes of Bush Administration who feverishly promoted free market and no regulation. Banks and other financial institutions were allowed to develop financing programs and sell high-risk mortgages as secured investment.
It is estimated that by the time these two wars are over the taxpayers would have paid up to $3 trillion ($3,000,000,000,000).
Banks have basically stopped lending money, so no homes can be purchased, companies cannot expand their business operations and public cannot buy cars. The US auto factories due to lack of sales which became about as the result of banks refusal to lend money, are on the verge of filing for bankruptcy and literally begged the Federal government to bail them out.
To add fuel to the fire, the unemployment rate has risen substantially and as the last report only in the month of December 2008, 500,000 jobs were lost in the US and for the entire 2008 over 2.5 million jobs were lost. Many have given up to look for jobs. Mr. Bush bragged that he created 3 million jobs during his administration. What he forgot to mention was that Mr. Clinton created 21 million jobs during the same eight years. We need 126,000 new jobs every month to catch up with the population growth, which is 1,512,000 jobs per year and for the past eight years it adds up to 12,096,000 jobs. Mr. Bush is short by 9,096,000 jobs. This does not include replenishing the jobs lost, so not much of an achievement!!
Mr. Bush started his administration with recession, by shoving down the throats of the public a tax cut and rebate that the public was not interested in and as the result raided and emptied the treasury which had several hundred billions in surplus when President Clinton left office. Then when 9/11 occurred, the Federal government did not have money to fight the economic jolt of 9/11 and had to borrow money and increasing the national debt.
Invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq was not cheap and so far has cost the taxpayers almost a trillion dollars. It is estimated that by the time these two wars are over the taxpayers would have paid up to $3 trillion ($3,000,000,000,000). All the money would be borrowed which means adding to the national debt.
Loss of one million lives, waste of hundreds of billions of dollars and destruction of a civilization did not justify such freedom, not mentioning loss of over 4300 US lives and mayhem of another 20,000 US troops.
Mr. Bush has consistently tried to make his tax cuts permanent and ask for more tax cuts even though the US is engaged in two wars. Another milestone that Mr. Bush can be proud of is, that he is the only president that has managed to more than double the national debt during his presidency. When Mr. Bush took over the White House, the national debt was $5 trillion. Now it is over $10 Trillion. It took 42 presidents, from Washington to Clinton, to create $5 trillion national debt, but Mr. Bush managed to match them single handedly.
In his last press conference, Mr. Bush defended his Administration record and stated that he was pleased and proud of his record and achievements. He only admitted to mistakes such as prematurely claiming mission accomplished referring to the banner on the aircraft carrier. He also admitted some of his rhetoric were not appropriate. He did not admit any mistakes; i) in invading Iraq, but finding it disappointing not finding weapons of mass destruction, ii) wrongful firing of the US attorneys, iii) torturing of detainees, iv) secretly wire tapping the US citizen which is clearly against the law, v) failing to monitor the financial market, vi) failing to take Katrina seriously prior to its arrival, vii) failing to provide adequate supplies and services for the victims of Katrina, viii) failing to pass laws to protect the environment and take serious action to fight global warming, ix) failing to pass an energy policy securing American’s future energy requirement, x) failing to effectively fighting the Talabans and Al Quaeda, xi) failing to treat the detainees humanely and protecting and preserving US prestige and honor in the international community, xii) failing to pass economic incentives so to lower the poverty in the US and increase middle-class, xiii) failing to pass health related laws so to afford more people with health insurance coverage rather than increasing the number of uninsured, xiv) failing to create jobs, rather than allowing jobs flee the country, xv) failing to control Israel which unjustly bombarded Lebanon in 2006 and the Gaza in 2008-2009 causing death of thousands of innocent civilians and massive destruction of infrastructures increasing the Arab world’s rage against the US, xvi) failing to join the Kyoto treaty to effectively fighting the global warming.
Mr. Bush’s foreign policy failures could bring harms to the country as it was witnessed on September 11, 2001. When Mr. Bush took office, US was generally liked and respected throughout the world, but at time of his departure, Mr. Bush managed to make US one of the most hated and disrespected country in the world.
It has been argued by some of president Bush supporters that if in the next few decades, if Iraq becomes a democratic country, then Mr. Bush will be vindicated. The problem with this argument is that even if tomorrow Iraq becomes the most democratic county on the face of the planet, Mr. Bush’s action was still wrong. It is estimated that over one million Iraqis lost their lives and over 2 millions are refugees, the country is ruined, the looting that took place right after invasion, destroyed some of the most valuable art effects in the world. The conflict between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds is the fire to burn for years to come. Loss of one million lives, waste of hundreds of billions of dollars and destruction of a civilization did not justify such freedom, not mentioning loss of over 4300 US lives and mayhem of another 20,000 US troops. If Mr. Bush has freedom of Iraqis at heart, he could have supported the oppositions in Iraq and let them overthrow Saddam which would have been less costly endeavor both in human casualties and monetarily.
Mr. Bush said during his last press conference that history will judge him. He is absolutely right, but if he is expecting a favorable judgment, then he is living in a fantasyland.