Much like the crass and tasteless foot-stomping triumphalism we were subjected to on the day after the election of Barack Obama, the preponderance of media elites and left-bloggers have this week begun writing their snide, polemic send-offs for President George Bush in advance of next weeks inauguration. It is, of course, to be expected. If we’ve learned nothing else of the “Bush Lied, People Died” drones over the last few years, we know how much they treasure their favorite assassination target.
The hyperbole is, if I may likewise indulge, so over the top as to cause one to ponder either the sanity or the honesty of some of these would-be pundits and historians, if not both. From the uber hip “Worst. President. Ever.” epithets, to cries of war criminal, science killer, and even mass murderer, the frothy left is taking their final gibbering, wild-eyed romp of mayhem across the web and screen. After all, decorum will, on Tuesday, become the word of the day, as every Joe the Plumber, blogger, or media personality who thereafter challenges or questions the mighty Obama can expect to be heartily attacked for their audacity (another personality attribute which is soon to fall into ironic disfavor).
But if I might, I’d like to cut in to this frenetic political lap dance with a bit of my own, perhaps less aroused, but at least as self-important, commentary.
President Bush had a task set before him on September 11, 2001. Something had failed. Our agencies weren’t working together properly, perhaps. Intelligence breakdown. Security breakdown. The enemy had brought terror and death among us. From that day forward the President’s agenda would by necessity revolve around and be set against the backdrop of foreign policy and terrorism. It is neither high drama nor dudgeon to name this era the post-911 world, so significant were the events of that day.
Into this new world we, as a singular nation, followed our leader, President George W. Bush. Upon his shoulders the weight of our hopes and fears rested, and by his stride our march across the new history would be defined.
Over time that singular sense of purpose became diffuse. From one people at war we became a fractured people once more. The mere rise of dissent to war should not be seen to be itself a great tragedy. Dissent is an exercise of freedom as surely as support, and that there would be both and in numbers should surprise no one. No, the tragic aftermath of the fracturing of support was in the mainstreaming of wild-eyed leftist conspiracy theories. So pandered to by the media, overrun as it is with aged and not-quite-over-it sixties relics, were these new enthusiasts for both fear and loathing, that it is today taken for granted in many circles, here and abroad, that the lame teen-angst style refrain “Bush Lied, People Died” is a sound commentary on policy. It cannot be overlooked that the President’s failure to aggressively confront his domestic adversaries was at least as effective in installing the meme as the left-wing’s media stooges.
President Bush did indeed take this nation to war in Iraq, and rightly so, as history will judge. His vindication has, of course, been apparent for years, and the ample evidence of his stated motives for engaging that war widely available, but nevertheless we must wait for history. The sword of time must at last cleave from popular understanding the tumor of the left’s disinformation campaign; and when it does the light of truth at last unfettered will show the charlatans in their true form: the ugly, if not sinister, twisted face of unreasoning hate. It is in the face of that hate, and the knowledge that only time would remove it, that President Bush labored on, making the right decisions against the din of manic outcry.
It would be absurd to claim that his legacy was perfect. Indeed, his platform of compassionate conservatism, a designation insultingly exclusive of the rest of conservatism, has been roundly discredited. Mistakes, too, have been made in the execution of this war. No not the ridiculous and meritless, bleatingly and breathlessly repeated charges of having nixed the constitution or instituted a police state one gets from the juvenile left-wing pundits and commentators who are so inexplicably included in adult discussions. No, genuine mistakes in strategy, timing, and execution. But the administration corrected, changed course, and brought Iraq into a position to take over the green zone of late.
Abroad, we have suffered in both image and prestige. That is to say, among the liberal nations of Western Europe. Our great Asian ally, India, operates in a state of extreme pro-Americanism. Said the largest democracy’s president to our own, “let me say, thank you very much. The people of India deeply love you.”
President Bush is a man who takes no moment at home against his critics to garishly brag about how he feels Africa’s pain, that great and suffering continent. And yet he so clearly does, and the people there love him for it. George Bush is now a common name for newborn children in Darfur. The tarnish on our international face will fade, too, both in the face of history and with the liberal media turned from rabid to docile by their desire to quietly repeat whatever Barack Obama instructs them to say.
In all, and through all, one crystalline fact must never go unreported. America remains safe from further reign of terror. The policies of George Bush made us safe, and some of them will continue to make us safe as Obama increasingly seems intent on keeping them.
The task before George W. Bush was clear. Fight the necessary war, face our enemies with strength and courage in their own lands, and create a secure future for this nation. We will recover from the Democrat-driven financial crisis and the other ills that domestically ail, and we’ll do it under the blanket of security and freedom that our armed forces have courageously been providing for us. A job they’ve been able to execute so well not just by dint of their magnificent valor, but by virtue of the guiding leadership of a courageous commander-in-chief.
We are not in a state of perfection, and George Bush has made his errors, as any of us souls wandering in the wilderness outside the garden will. But he led us through and made America safe for the future. To that, Mr. President, I can only say MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Farewell, Mr. President, and God bless you.
This blog was originally published at AOL Political Machine, where the majority of my readers and fellow writers are of the leftward persuasion. I chose my title just for their adorable little outrage buttons. I hope you can enjoy their spittle-covered computer screens as much as I am. – Caleb Howe
UPDATE: Along these same lines, don’t miss Monica Crowley’s Bush tribute.