Was George W. Bush really the “worst president ever”? Immediately following his departure from office, historians ranked Dubya as the 36th best (or seventh from the worst) president in US history. Though that’s far from a laudable ranking, I still think that 36th out of 44 is a bit overgenerous. Certainly, incompetence is a difficult quality to measure—there are so many factors to consider. Nevertheless, if we take the global scope of Dubya’s bungling into consideration, I think it is safe to say that no president has ever impacted so many people so negatively as George W. Bush.
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Was George W. Bush really the “worst president ever” (Horton, 2008)? Immediately following his departure from office, historians ranked Dubya as the 36th best (or seventh from the worst) president in US history (Metzler, 2009). Though that’s far from a laudable ranking, I still think that 36th out of 44 is a bit overgenerous. Certainly, incompetence is a difficult quality to measure—there are so many factors to consider. Nevertheless, if we take the global scope of Dubya’s bungling into consideration, I think it is safe to say that no president has ever impacted so many people so negatively as George W. Bush.
Among other things, Dubya trashed the Constitution, trampled international law, derailed science, and mangled the global economy with a near maniacal zeal. Sort of like a kid who, when entrusted with the care of his family’s home, returns the favor by burning down the house.
In the pages that follow, I have assembled a number of essays that were inspired by Dubya’s tenure in the White House. Readers may note that the arguments return repeatedly to a number of key themes—particularly themes relating to fundamental Constitutional issues. I suppose an administration that succeeds in spite, rather than in support of the US Constitution is likely to embrace a similar recipe for “success” throughout. It is a great relief to know that those days are finally behind us.
But now we have a big mess to tidy up.
Adieu Dubya. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Exhibit 04: Dubya Stands for “War is the Answer”
According to Hillary Clinton (Moore, 2006) and many others, George W. Bush (a.k.a. “Dubya”) is arguably the worst resident of the White House in US history. All Americans bear some responsibility for permitting such a hapless fool to occupy the White House and, among a myriad of other misdeeds, prosecute an illegal war in Iraq. Consequently, all responsible Americans must do everything in their power to prevent Dubya from causing additional global disasters.
George W. Bush may have a problem admitting mistakes (Meyer, 2004), but there’s plenty of evidence that he’s far from infallible (Dean, 2004; Ivins and Dubose, 2004; O’Farrell, 2003). In spite of that, I don’t think Dubya should be criticized for refusing to admit that the war in Iraq was a mistake, because it wasn’t. Dubya—and especially Dick Cheney—developed a painstaking plan to plunder Iraq’s oil reserves (Clarke, 2004; Suskind, 2004a; Woodward, 2004). All things considered, they have achieved their objectives masterfully (Connelly and Pilger, 2003; Corn, 2004).
The war in Iraq only looks like a mistake if you take Dubya’s official justification for war seriously (Ritter, 2003; Suskind, 2004a). That is, Dubya urged the world to wage war on Iraq because, he claimed, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (Rampton and Stauber, 2003; Safire, 2003). Dubya made no bones about the scope of the threat posed by Hussein: "Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud" (DNC, 2004). Consequently, if Dubya had truly been after weapons of mass destruction instead of oil, he’d be in a tough spot:
War + No WMDs = Mistake
The truth is Dubya knew from the beginning that Hussein posed no real threat (Clarke, 2004; Joseph, 2003; Krugman, 2003a; Moore, 2003, 2004; Rampton and Stauber, 2003; Ritter, 2003). Both Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice went on record only months prior to the 2003 war in Iraq, stating that UN weapons inspections had eradicated Iraq’s offensive military capabilities (Connelly and Pilger, 2003). Also, Dubya was compelled to invent an aluminum tube scare (DNC, 2004) to circumvent CIA reports detailing little or no threat from Iraq.
Thus, it did not take the Duelfer Report (Drash, 2004) to establish that Dubya’s WMD rationale was a crock. The French, Germans, and Russians knew it. So did the UN Security Council—as did millions of protestors who demonstrated against the war all over the world. Unswayed by widespread pre-war opposition, Dubya did what any bare knuckle politician would do: he bribed and bullied a feeble Coalition of the Willing to support his bonehead war. Yet, subsequent to Dubya’s infamous “mission accomplished” address (Bash, 2003)7, Tony Blair (Assinder, 2004) and Aleksander Kwasniewski (Times Staff, 2004) have each expressed misgivings about their role in Dubya’s coalition. Finally, at this late date, practically everyone in the world is willing to admit that US aggression in Iraq has been a huge mistake. Everyone that is, except for Dubya and those cronies of his who are reaping enormous profits from the conflict (Beelman, 2003; Kerr, 2003; Krugman, 2003b; Marre, 2003).
Okay, so Dubya and his rich pals got their war in Iraq. Apart from reassigning control of Iraqi oil reserves to US corporations, what’s been accomplished? Since transferring primary military attention from Afghanistan (a hotbed of anti-US terror) to Iraq (no connection to 9/11 or al Qaeda), the US has steadily lost ground in the war on terror (Clarke, 2004; Herbert, 2004b). Dubya claims that the world is better off without Saddam in power, but which is worse: an anti-American tyrant whose military capabilities had steadily diminished under UN scrutiny (Drash, 2004), or:
1. Escalating post-war chaos in Iraq
2. Osama hatching new plots from secret hideaways in Afghanistan
3. Enhanced nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea
I think it’s safe to conclude that the world is far less secure since Dubya decided it was high noon at the Bagdad Corral.