Posts Tagged ‘katrina’


Bush legacy

December 5, 2008

Now that he’s on his way out, how do you think president George W. Bush will be remembered? Here’s a few of my ideas.

  • The Iraq war. It was unnecessary, it’s justification was either deceptive or incompetent, it was poorly executed, and there was an utter failure to deal with the aftermath. It also represents a major change in foreign policy: “preemptive” war. It will for a long time be regarded as the greatest foreign policy blunder in the history of the United States.
  • The contentious 2000 election.
  • 9/11. Because he was president when it happened.
  • The huge economic crisis that began in 2008. The extent to which he will actually be blamed for it isn’t clear to me, but all future discussions of the recession will include his name, as he was president when it came down.
  • Torture. Rendition. Secret prisons. Abu Ghraib. “Detainee abuse.” All that stuff.
  • Illegal wiretapping of American citizens.
  • Hurricane Katrina. Again, I doubt whether historians will place the blame for New Orleans solely on the federal government or the Bush administration. But one thing is sure: the president’s “heckuva job” tone-deafness has become one of the iconic moments of the incident.
  • Record budget deficits and record debt.
  • Embarrassing inarticulateness. “Bushisms.”

George W. Bush will not be thought of as a good president. Those who believe he’ll be remembered well are delusional. By the time eyewitnesses such as myself have passed on, this list may be distilled down to one item: the Iraq war. It’s possible, though, that the current economic crisis may rival it in historic importance. Let’s hope not.