Obama and Bush Victories

When they went around the Obama table on Thursday to say what they were thankful for, Jules Crittenden (note to any helpful editors: he’s a man) wonders if the man who carved the turkey mentioned George W. Bush. He thinks he ought to have.

In fact, given the evolution of Obama’s war policies, he thinks he might have. Writing at the Weekly Standard, he counts the ways.

“It’s a good moment to mull the gifts George W. Bush has left for the incoming president. Bush has made the world a better place, and if Obama wants to do the same, he will take the good things Bush has done and move forward with them.”

“First and foremost, Saddam Hussein-a state sponsor of terrorism, a producer of weapons of mass destruction, a warmonger, and a genocidal maniac-is gone. The threat he posed was a nagging concern to Bill Clinton, but Clinton, lacking the political will or perhaps a good excuse, was content to consider Saddam trapped in a box. ... The Baathist regime is no more. Thank you, George W. Bush.

He continues that, because of Obama’s predecessor: “It will be possible for Obama to draw down the U.S. troop presence in Iraq without a precipitous, premature withdrawal that could plunge the region into genocidal chaos and leave Iran the de facto regional power. ...
Thank you, George W. Bush.”

“The very concept of democracy in the region received a major boost when Arabs saw millions of Iraqis voting while under threat of death. This evolution is playing out in fits and starts in Lebanon and even the Palestinian territories, where voters have learned that the democratic process only begins with a vote. ... Thank you, George W. Bush.”

“George Bush has put a bow on his gift. The U.S. military’s leading counterinsurgency warrior-philosopher, General David Petraeus, who resolved the initial mistakes of the Iraq occupation, now commands U.S. forces in the entire region, including Afghanistan. ... Obama goes into battle without having to search for his Grant. ... Thank you, George W. Bush.”

oCrittenden does acknowledge that “George W. Bush did not solve all the problems of the world’s most troubled and dangerous region. But, for all his shortcomings, he has moved them forward and established the United States as the dominant agent for change in the Middle East.”

But he suggests Obama is coming around to Bush’s view of the situation.

“In foreign policy, possibly embarrassed by the eagerness with which the world’s most vile regimes have welcomed his election, Obama is backing off his many promises to sit down with dictators,” writes Crittenden. “His antiwar base is already outraged that he may not make closing the hated ‘Crusader gulag’ at Guantánamo Bay his first act of national liberation from the Bush era. He is even reportedly considering allowing the CIA some leeway in interrogation techniques.”

Hmmm ... more from a rival magazine later today ...

— Tom Hoopes