Thursday, February 17, 2005

How History Will Remember President Bush

A country losing touch with its own history is like an old man losing his glasses, a distressing sight, at once vulnerable, unsure, and easily disoriented.
George Walden, British Conservative politician

If you want to know history will treat Bush, I suspect all we have to do is read this passage from the book "Grant and Twain" by Mark Perry. Thanks to B2 who pointed this out to me.

I have no doubt when or if Colin Powell or Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez and the myriad other generals publish their notes they too will admit to the lies and shames perpetrated to get us into Iraq. Unless, of course, you are Marine Corps Lt Gen James Mattis, who said, “Actually, it's quite a lot of fun to fight; you know, it's a hell of a hoot. I like brawling; it's fun to shoot some people."

The following is from the book "Grant and Twain":
He [Grant] wrote bluntly and plainly about the fighting his role in the fighting, and his own political misgivings on America’s policy toward Mexico. He called the conflict a political war carried out by a particular political party for its own profit. He stated, again plainly and bluntly, that the United States sent its troops to the border of Mexico to provoke a fight, and while he made it clear that he opposed the war, it was also clear why he would never have made this opposition public.

"Experience provides that the man who obstructs a war in which his nation is engaged, no matter whether right or wrong occupies no enviable place in life or history. Better for him, individually, to advocate war, pestilence, and famine, than to act as obstructionist to a war already begun.” Grant’s writing is emotional but reasoned, and he relies on principle and common sense. But there is no doubt, and Grant left no doubt, of where he stood.

In private, his views on the war with Mexico were more outspoken and more controversial. As he once told a friend: “I do not think there was ever a more wicked war than that waged by the United States on Mexico. I thought so at the time, when I was a youngster, only I had not moral courage enough to resign: I had taken an oath to serve eight years, unless sooner discharged, and I considered my supreme duty was to my flag. I had a horror of the Mexican War, and I always believed it was on our part most unjust.

Every time history repeats itself the price goes up.


Sotosoroto said...

There will always be those who oppose the war of the day. There will always be those who are fighting that war who oppose it.

But there will also be a multitude of people who approve of the war. In any governmental system, if the leaders want to go to war but the masses don't, there'll be a revolution. Usually the leaders are smart enough to realize this and won't go to war unless they have at lease a significant chunk of the population behind them. The War of 1812 was a near thing, but even if half the country is against you, half the country is with you.

Bush will be remembered as a President who had high goals and *did* things to achieve them. Unlike Clinton, who just lobbed a few bombs at Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan but didn't accomplish anything toward spreading freedom; and who got us all worked up about Social Security crashing soon, but did nothing to fix it; and...

The Misanthrope said...

Au Contraire Sotosoroto, Clinton left the country with a budget surplus, which does a lot to help Society Security, the country and with jobs. Could Clinton have done more against terrorism, probably. However, he must get kudos for not attacking a country that had NOTHING to do with our 9/11 attack. Terrorists by nature are difficult to reach. On one level, Rumsfeld is correct the army needs to be reformed to go after terrorist groups, but also capable and equipped to fight a conventional war.

Also, it is not our duty to spread democracy around the world, doing so makes us no different than any other ideologue trying to force their beliefs on us.

Sotosoroto said...

In Clinton's 1997 State of the Union address, he told us that social security was on the brink of disaster. Instead of trying to fix the problem, he waited around and got lucky with an over-inflated stock market that temporarily bumped up the government's income. In 2000, it started to collapse, but Clinton was already on his way out the door by then...

Attacking Iraq has never had anything to do with 9/11, as far as I'm concerned. Or at least not directly. Actually, when we were massing forces in Kuwait and Qatar and wherever, I was kinda hoping we'd attack Saudi Arabia. The fact that we have oppressive governments as "friends" is doing nothing for our status in the world.

If you don't think it's our duty to spread democracy and freedom to the world, I suppose that back in 1861, you'd have argued that the North should just let the South do what they want and keep slaves? After all, who were the northerners to force their beliefs on the southerners?

The Misanthrope said...

What Clinton said about Social Security was true and he did something about it. What Bush is doing is saying it's a crisis, but refusing to raise taxes to correct the problem and promoting private accounts, which in and of themselves is not a bad idea, but adding additional debt to a budget that is causing serious financial problems with our currency is a horrendous idea. However, Bush said he would allow the idea of a payroll tax to be on the table.

Your comment about the Civil War is just silly.

Sotosoroto said...

If you don't see the moral parallels between the US Civil War and the Iraq War, it is you who is silly, not me.

To achieve freedom in the world, sometimes you have to resort to war.

The Misanthrope said...

Sotosoroto, I apologize for stating the comment was silly. That was out of line with how I normally discuss and debate issues. please accept my apology.

I personally don't see the connection. I see our Civil War as a fight to preserve the union and to stop slavery.

Sotosoroto said...

Apology accepted.

What is slavery but the oppression of one person at the hands of another? Their civil and political liberties are entirely removed.

In a country such as Burma or pre-war Iraq, the vast majority of the population is/was similarly lacking those very same civil and political liberties. They are/were being oppressed. It's not called slavery because it doesn't have that whole "person as property" issue, but it amounts to a very similar life for the person being oppressed.

The Misanthrope said...

I can buy that point. But, our fight, the Civil War, was resolved within the country, not by an outside force, such as France or England.

I don't believe we should be isolationists, but we cannot also be the world's police.