Walt’s Brilliant Take Down of the Bush Presidency Whitewash

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bush decision points.jpgHarvard University’s big think realist and Foreign Policy blogger Stephen Walt has published a brilliant take-down of George W. Bush’s just-released-today memoir, Decision Points.
Walt’s article is titled “Delusion Points” — and goes through key moment by key moment major league GW Bush decision disasters and what they did to undermine America’s brand and global power position. Walt hits 14 points where he outlines the stakes for the US and the consequential errors of the Bush White House.
I would add Bush’s mugging of Secretary of State Colin Powell on North Korea policy as well as Bush’s appointment and tenacious support of John Bolton’s appointment as US Ambassador to the UN to the already long list of Walt’s Bushian screw-ups.
Walt starts his essay with this important preamble that gives some context to why Obama has had such a tough time escaping the gravitational pull of GW Bush’s policy black hole:

Two years into Barack Obama’s presidency, it has become a clich

Comments

60 comments on “Walt’s Brilliant Take Down of the Bush Presidency Whitewash

  1. Hublot Big bang says:

    It takes a minute to have a crush on someone, an hour to like someone and a day to love someone ? but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

    Reply

  2. DonS says:

    ” . . . always takes them to task”
    POA, your not following the narrative here.

    Reply

  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Interesting, Nadine, that whenever some sick asshole like Jameela oozes their way onto the blog, that one of us “anti-semites” always takes them to task. On the contrary, when some insipid little maggot like Marcus slimes his way into the discourse, you usually have nothing but praise for them.
    Hey, BTW, you don’t know where I can purchase a kidney, do you? Surely you must have a good connection within the crowd you undoubtedly run in.

    Reply

  4. nadine says:

    POS, Jameela agrees with you about everything, so she’s obviously YOUR doppleganger.
    Except about the Jews being jinn instead of human, that seems to be her novel contribution to the ever-rising levels of TWN anti-Semitism.
    I hope Steve is happy.

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Actually, Nadine, I’m hard pressed to imagine that anyone could play your doppleganger anymore successfully than Jameela. She most assuredly resembles YOU far more than me. Yes, of course your ideologies are polar, but the blatant bigotry and hatred expressed by you and Jameela are equally as repulsive and perverse, and one certainly is no bigger a scourge on mankind than the other. We would have been well served if neither of you had festered to “adulthood”, (if one can call it that). One hopes that someday mankind will lance the boil of bigoted malice that you and Jameela so unabashedly exhibit.

    Reply

  6. Neo Controll says:

    It is an open question as to whether Nadine is actually posting as Jameela. It’s quite plausible given her MO

    Reply

  7. nadine says:

    Oh look, POA has some new, like-minded company to enjoy on the thread. He must like that. Jameela will be fine company for him. She hates the Jews even more than he does.

    Reply

  8. DakotabornKansan says:

    Why does O sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?
    “Damn right!”
    Bush’s admission a “smoking gun?”
    The American Civil Liberties Union is calling for a special prosecutor to investigate whether former president George W. Bush violated federal statutes prohibiting torture:

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Compare Yoo

    Reply

  10. John Waring says:

    Dan,
    Thank you for your post in response to mine.

    Reply

  11. DakotabornKansan says:

    John Yoo, a pathetic guardian of law

    Reply

  12. DonS says:

    While we are reminiscing on the wonderful
    Bush years and the cast of sickos he put on stage, slightly off topic, on cue comes a NYT op ed . . . co-authored by Bolton and Yoo. As if that information isn’t enough to tell you all you need to know about their attempt to derail the START treaty, reflect on their anachronistic ‘argument’ about ‘the importance of America

    Reply

  13. Don Bacon says:

    Do Iraq’s Women Miss Saddam?
    Women could walk freely throughout the streets of the capital, wearing whatever they pleased. A high percentage of women had full-time jobs, women in government were given a year of maternity leave and public day care centers were set up. The country had one of the best education systems in the Arab world and women were well represented in most faculties.
    While one would hardly go so far as to describe those times as ‘the good ole’ days’, for many women Iraq under Saddam Hussein had its perks.
    Today the situation is quite different. While the fall of Saddam Hussein has led to many overall improvements in personal freedoms and civil rights, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and subsequent courtship of socially conservative Islamic political groups has created quite a different picture for women.
    Women no longer have many of the civil rights they were afforded under Saddam Hussein’s regime. Sharia law has been written into Iraq’s constitution, women have been barred from certain aspects of public life in many parts of the country, women’s freedom of movement has been severely curtailed, sex trafficking, prostitution, abductions and assassinations of women have all risen and women in government no longer get a year of maternity leave – that has been cut to six months.
    — by Houzan Mahmoud, the representative abroad of Organisations of Women’s Freedom in Iraq.

    Reply

  14. DakotabornKansan says:

    Blind Squirrels, Mules, and Asses

    Reply

  15. Dirk says:

    Steve,
    Well at least his new book will allow him to dramatically expand the offerings at his new Bush institute/”Library”…
    Let’s see he’s got:
    My Pet Goat, The 9/11 Report, A Shoe Catalog and now Decision Points.

    Reply

  16. DonS says:

    “An irony of this situation is that there is no doubt that he would have “doubled down” again, had he been allowed by law to stay in office, to ensure the success of the democratic polity in Iraq.”
    Drew, your statement leaves me speechless in it’s antidemocratic breadth, on so many levels; not to mention it’s blindness. Tell me you’re joking. But I expect POA is right, like Vietnam, the dead enders will blame the “loss” of Iraq on anyone and everyone they can.
    By the way, Don Bacon is a “B”; I’m and “S”

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    “As someone who often disagrees with Steve Clemons I must say that I have never doubted his capability for rational, objective thought based on his intelligence, his extensive knowledge and his unique political and social experiences, none of which I particularly share, which probably accounts for our differing views.”
    Nor do I doubt Steve’s _capability_. But his capability of doing much better gives him even less excuse for falling all over himself over a colleague’s dashed-off, regurgitated, kneejerk op-ed piece. At minimum, Steve can wait for a piece where the colleague is at least trying hard before declaring it “brilliant”.

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    “The Republic of Iraq under Hussein was undemocratic, with some persecutions, but the majority of its people, including females, had civil rights.
    The Iraq war killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. ” (Don Bacon)
    This has to be the silliest thing I’ve ever heard you say. Nobody in Saddam’s Iraq had any civil rights that Saddam or the rest of his totalitarian government had to respect. His average “peace-time” kill rate was about 30,000 a year. Saddam put over 300,000 Iraqis into mass graves and caused millions to go into exile. Even the Sunnis had no rights; still less the powerless and oppressed Kurds and Shia.
    Saying people had civil rights under Saddam is like saying citizens of the USSR had civil rights under Stalin because the USSR had a constitution that respected human rights. Which it did, on paper. In practice, there was what Alexander Solzhenitsyn called “a great sewer” sucking millions of prisoners to the gulags in Siberia or to their deaths. Stalin was Saddam’s hero and role model, in case you didn’t know.
    You’re a good example of the Left’s warped human rights accounting: the Left cares deeply, passionately! about human rights, as long as the US or Israel can be accused of violating them. In this case, the US or Israel don’t have to violate anything themselves; they just have to be in the area. That’s good enough. Nobody claims the US killed most of the dead in the Iraq War; it was the insurgents, al Qaeda, or the Shia militias. What the hey, close enough.
    But the Left could not care less about any casualties caused by non-Westerners, especially if they’re Muslims. Mustn’t be Islamophobic! Dead under Saddam? Dead in Darfur? Dead in Iran? Who cares? They don’t.

    Reply

  19. kotzabasis says:

    Dakota…
    You are forgetting or not knowing that a main characteristic of squirrels is that they are endowed with excellent vision and they can see through the splendidly crafted verbal arguments, of Left liberals like you and Kervick, their intellectual vacuity and moral bankruptcy.

    Reply

  20. Don Bacon says:

    Thanks to the US, Iran has gained China, Turkey and Iraq as strong allies.
    Taking advantage of western sanctions, Chinese companies have invested a staggering $120 billion in Iran’s energy sector over the past five years. Already Iran is China

    Reply

  21. David says:

    Obama definitely needs to double-down on his promised positives. It is a very, very deep hole that Bush/Cheney dug, both at home and abroad. And Obama needs to start listening to the folk who can help him effectively double down. Stephen Walt is one of those people. David Gergen is not.

    Reply

  22. Dan Kervick says:

    “We got an empowered Iran. Our war helped our adversary. Saddam had Iran in check.”
    I don’t think this is true, John. Iran is not appreciably more powerful now than it was before the war. The alliances with Hizbollah and Hamas existed before the war. Hizbollah is a little stronger now but Hamas is a little weaker. Iran remains surrounded by a US military presence – an even tighter noose than existed before. The US now has thousands of troops and a sort of military-intelligence aircraft carrier of an “embassy” in Baghdad. The accession of Iraq’s majority Shiite population to political power means that Iraq and Iran are no longer in a state of open hostility. But the countries are not pursuing a joint economic or security agenda. So there is certainly no Iranian “hegemony” or anything close to it.
    I really want to resist this “the war was bad for the US because it empowered Iran” line that is so popular these days, and that both overestimates the gravity of the Iranian threat and underestimates the other costs of the war.
    The war was very bad for the US because it destroyed the US position as chief underwriter of an international system based on a commitment to territorial integrity and the sovereign equality of nations, and that abdication of our former role lead to a global cascade of lost confidence in American judgment and leadership, as well as some reactive formations specifically designed to contain and weaken us. We attacked a nation that hadn’t attacked us, in an utterly barbaric and reckless fashion, our military path dotted with lies and several instances of atrocious behavior along the way, and this has lead to a catastrophic evaporation of US soft power and cultural prestige in most places around the world.
    The whole business was an absurdly ill-advised Hail Mary pass by a great but somewhat declining power to seize upon an imagined “unipolar moment” to create a condition “perpetual global hegemony.” The lurid, graphic novel feel to some of these childish terms, so evident now, is a sign of how preposterous those ambitions always were, and a reminder of just what kind of gang of boobs were able to take over US foreign policy until Bush essentially cashiered them back to the think tanks and mashed potato circuits in 2006.
    Our demonstrated inability to properly govern our financial system has been an added blow to US prestige.
    It looked like Obama might be able to rebuild that prestige, and he clearly has somewhat as our reputation has rebounded in several spots. But his inability so far to extricate the US from the Middle East quagmires and reorient the ship of state in more important directions has left the US weighed down with some loudly clanking chains.
    The war was also extremely bad for thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqis who lost their lives, limbs, children, businesses, homes and historical artifacts in a needless and barbaric assault, unprovoked by any of the factors that civilized nations believe are just causes of war.
    While the rest of the world is rapidly and busily restructuring the global economic system, the US effort to play a major, defining role in defining the new order is bogged down and tied up with an expensive and wasteful portfolio of military and security commitments that cannot be sustained.

    Reply

  23. DakotabornKansan says:

    Squirrel Meets Squirrel…

    Reply

  24. John Waring says:

    What did we get for the trillion dollars, four thousand lives, and thirty thousand casualties we incurred going to war in Iraq?
    We got an empowered Iran. Our war helped our adversary. Saddam had Iran in check. We went to war and destroyed a favorable balance of power. What we got in exchange is a regional disequilibrium just this side of chaos. Let’s be clear here. This is the classic definition of strategic defeat, the first in our history. We went to war, expended blood and treasure, and got little or nothing in return. Vietnam was a tactical defeat; Iraq is a strategic defeat.
    George W. Bush frittered away American power with both hands.
    Read Thomas Ricks’ book: “Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq.”
    Cut the cant. The Iraq war did not do this country a damn bit of good.

    Reply

  25. Don Bacon says:

    No worries on Obama, kotz, but Bush was a disaster. Maybe not down under, but up top he was.

    Reply

  26. kotzabasis says:

    All the intellectual

    Reply

  27. Dan Kervick says:

    We don’t know if there will even be an Obama era, WigWag. A presidency does not in itself constitute an era, especially if it’s only a one-term presidency. Obama still has the opportunity to transcend the horse-trading backstage infighting of the Washington scene, to define the challenges of the times in a much more compelling way than he has so far, and to lead bold national efforts to deal with those challenges. But he is running out of time. I like where he is going with the agenda of this Asian trip. But I still don’t know if he has a team in place that knows how to create news and command the narrative, and that can crack through the omnipresent pop brain bubble of Huffington Post-level concerns with more vital national issues such as Conan O’Brien’s new television show, George Bush’s book signing tour and Katy Perry’s tits.

    Reply

  28. Don Bacon says:

    drew: “30 percent of Iraq left Iraq”
    Horsepucky. As a matter of fact, under Hussein Shi’ites lived on the same streets as Sunnis, and intermarried. Females went to university and attained professional careers. Not possible now.

    Reply

  29. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Under Saddam, women enjoyed civil rights that were unheard of in almost virtually every other Middle Eastern nation with majority Muslim populations. Saddam also had Christians in his cabinet. In general, Iraqis fared pretty well under Saddam as long as they stayed away from political activism against the regime. You think maybe the hundreds of thousands of widows and orphans might kinda pine for the good ‘ol Saddam days?
    But we don’t expect you to know this stuff Drew, much less admit to it. Judging from your health care comments, brains, honesty, or character ain’t exactly what builds a foundation for your comments.
    Now if we were commenting on your ability to bray, you would probably fare much better in our expectations of your abilities.

    Reply

  30. Don Bacon says:

    Also, drew, Bush got the US into Iraq by lying, and that’s not nice. He and Blair set the whole thing up in early 2002 — it’s all documented. It had nothing to do with WMDs, or AQ, or yellowcake, or aluminum tubes — it was all BS, which is something Bush is good at plus he could easily get the other warmongers to go along with it, including many Dems.
    The whole thing cost about a trillion dollars, killed a lot of good people, and is generally regarded as the largest foreign policy mistake in US history. The US still has 50,000 troops there, with no signs of withdrawal. As a result of this exercise (plus Afghanistan, another Bush blunder) US military and veteran suicides ar at an all-time high.
    So much for your sycophantic inclination toward a non-successful president.

    Reply

  31. drew says:

    Hey, POA. Public service announcement. Evidently you are not
    educated.
    NEWSFLASH: calling people names is not a form of argument!

    Reply

  32. Drew says:

    Seriously, Don S? You’re saying Iraqis under Saddam had civil rights
    (and I guess, you imply, superior to their rights under law now).
    You’re saying that the reason 30 percent of Iraq left Iraq during
    Saddam was because … what? A surfeit of civil rights? Huh?
    Confused.

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Told ya. These assholes are as predictable as the tides.

    Reply

  34. Don Bacon says:

    drew: “Bush 43 is a successful president if Iraq is sustained as a democratic anchor in a despotic region.”
    The Republic of Iraq under Hussein was undemocratic, with some persecutions, but the majority of its people, including females, had civil rights.
    The Iraq war killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions.
    Right now, and it probably won’t change any time soon, the Republic of Iraq is a parliamentary republic closely aligned with (and some say, taking orders from) the Islamic Republic of Iran next door, under Sharia. Christians and Sunni Muslims are persecuted.
    Is that success?

    Reply

  35. drew says:

    On sycophancy:
    I’m not sure why we’re gushing here for Walt: his ‘analysis’ has
    the rigor and elegance of a NY Post analysis of your average
    Giants loss. Only it’s more predictable and less interesting.
    (Everyone knows how to do everything better, when they don’t
    actually do anything.)
    This blog exists in a social and professional network of course,
    and hence the sycophancy: the praise without reason or
    argument or context or justification. Just, “Walt: He’s so great!”
    It’s good business.
    Cool. But as an American and a 19th century Unitarian at that, I
    guess I’ll hold out for a single paragraph of justifying, rational
    text (since there is no actual justifying behavior or record that
    Walt can thrown on the table to shut us up) before I join the
    circus riot of the anti-Bushies (“How dare he write a book!),
    asserting their disgust at his completion of a very modest
    memoir.

    Reply

  36. drew says:

    Wow. A genial old retired guy with bad knees still sends the
    talking sorts into paroxysms — and now because he is getting
    credit for being a gentleman and minding his tongue in respect
    of his successor.
    Bush 43 is a successful president if Iraq is sustained as a
    democratic anchor in a despotic region. He is a failure if it is
    not. An irony of this situation is that there is no doubt that he
    would have “doubled down” again, had he been allowed by law to
    stay in office, to ensure the success of the democratic polity in
    Iraq.
    But of course, and perhaps this is the source of his good cheer,
    our system requires some other genius to live with the
    consequences of the ongoing difficult decisions now. Having
    declared Iraq a failure, I guess the current president can now
    ensure that it is a failure, if he wishes, but it’s a different game
    when you have the bat in your hands and everyone is watching,
    isn’t it?

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The human costs to the Iraqi people are seldom heard. Not to mention that the entire world will continue to bear the real, undeclared costs of Bush

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  38. DakotabornKansan says:

    Splashing at a 10-league canvas with brushes of comet’s hair

    Reply

  39. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The Bush era is over”
    Have you told Obama yet, or are you waiting for him to figure it out on his own?

    Reply

  40. samuelburke says:

    the Ron Paul revolution is underway, no room for neocons.
    the empire is broke…God save the empire.

    Reply

  41. WigWag says:

    The question is, is the Obama era over?

    Reply

  42. Dan Kervick says:

    The Bush era is over.

    Reply

  43. John Waring says:

    As several great posts here have pointed out, we can take Stephen Walt’s template and apply it quite handily to the Obama administration. That it fits the present administration so snugly I should think would be a cause for their concern. Right. When cows fly.

    Reply

  44. Maw of America says:

    “We’ve seen’em all a thousand times before.” (Nadine)
    Yes, but it doesn’t make them any less true.

    Reply

  45. Don Bacon says:

    WigWag: “What’s your criteria for brilliance, Steve, something you agree with?”
    nadine: “in Steve’s line of work, it is important to ingratiate yourself with the right people”
    As someone who often disagrees with Steve Clemons I must say that I have never doubted his capability for rational, objective thought based on his intelligence, his extensive knowledge and his unique political and social experiences, none of which I particularly share, which probably accounts for our differing views.
    Now as I’ve stated in the past, differing views are fine. Clearly and intelligently stated that provide the basis for rational, interesting and informative discourse. Some people might even modify their views, I suppose that I have.
    These discussions, when they cling to the parameters I’ve just described, are a worthy exercise in citizenship. On the other hand when they are used to impart derogatory motivations, as above, they are less useful, particularly when such charges are directed against the guy that pays the rent.

    Reply

  46. nadine says:

    “What’s your criteria for brilliance, Steve, something you agree with?” (Wigwag)
    If written by the right person, lol. Now, we understand that in Steve’s line of work, it is important to ingratiate yourself with the right people. One hand washes the other, and all that. But, as Disraeli once helpfully explained, only for monarchs should one lay it on with a trowel.

    Reply

  47. Don Bacon says:

    from USN&WR, 2008:
    History News Network

    Reply

  48. samuelburke says:

    The Brilliant Mr Walt strikes again…first it was the israeli lobby
    both in small case letters, which was the shot heard round the
    world…and now he continues to confound the fascist right by
    lambasting them every chance he gets.
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/
    below is a clip and paste from col pat lang.
    Israel knows that the ties are “unbreakable.”
    “The episode recalled a similar case in March, when Israel
    announced plans for 1,600 Jewish units in another contested
    area of the city while Mr. Biden was visiting Jerusalem. Mr.
    Biden was embarrassed and Mr. Obama infuriated. Mr.
    Netanyahu was said to have been surprised by the
    announcement.
    Israeli officials pledged to keep closer tabs on the progress of
    building plans in Jerusalem.” NY Times
    ——————————————-
    What a joke! How contemptuously the Israelis treat us! How
    richly we deserve it. Biden says that the ties between Israel
    and the US are “unbreakable.” Perhaps he should go live
    there. pl

    Reply

  49. nadine says:

    So Walt didn’t read Bush’s book, and wrote an piece that did nothing but regurgitate on auto-pilot the Left’s usual list of complaints about Bush. We’ve seen’em all a thousand times before. The whole thing looks to be written on auto-pilot; it probably took Walt half an hour to dash it off, off the top of his head.
    And Steve Clemons gushes about this waste of time and bandwidth as a “Walt’s Brilliant Take Down of the Bush Presidency Whitewash”? Nothing was taken down — how could it be, when nothing was reviewed? Gushing like this over such a trifle looks ridiculous.

    Reply

  50. WigWag says:

    “Walt’s Brilliant Take Down of the Bush Presidency Whitewash” (Steve Clemons)
    Brilliant? Do you really think that Walt’s insipid little blog post was brilliant? What’s your criteria for brilliance, Steve, something you agree with?
    War and Peace was brilliant. Moby Dick was brilliant. Tne Federalist Papers were brilliant, so were the Gettyburgh Address and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.
    In your book does Walt’s small little essay really qualify as “brilliant?”
    Do you think “Dancing with the Stars” is brilliant or “American Idol?”
    Geez.

    Reply

  51. Don Bacon says:

    The Repubs are about to take the Dems to school.
    NPR:
    Obama’s Team To Face Rep. Issa’s Oversight Surge
    If Obama Administration officials had any doubts about how they’ll spend much of the next two years, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is pretty much painting a vivid picture for them.
    They will spend much of them in Capitol Hill hearing rooms at witness tables looking up at him and his colleagues and trying to keep their composure as they respond to what are sure to be barbed questions, mostly from Republican lawmakers.
    http://tinyurl.com/2dsf2fa

    Reply

  52. DakotabornKansan says:

    George W. Bush the Post Turtle
    Molly Ivins likened George W. Bush to a Post Turtle:
    An old rancher is talking about politics with a young man from the city. He compares a politician to a “post turtle.” The young man doesn’t understand and asks him what a post turtle is.
    The old man says, “When you’re driving down a country road and you see a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a post turtle. You know he didn’t get up there by himself. He doesn’t belong there; he can’t get anything done while he’s up there; and you just want to help the poor, dumb thing down.”
    Ivins said,

    Reply

  53. Maw of America says:

    This all boils down to one word (or lack of it):
    ACCOUNTABILITY
    Every time Obama talks about moving forward and ignoring things like torture, the OLC, Wall Street, etc., he pushes his own constituents to question his willingness to confront those who have so damaged this country. We have a very strong sense of justice and ignoring the sins of the Bush Administration is a slap in the face of justice-seeking Americans.

    Reply

  54. DonS says:

    I know this is a post on the crimes of the decider but, you know, the emerging acessory to crimes by Obama are mounting; and you’ve got to look backwards sometimes to get things right in a democracy. Unless, of course, your the Obama Admin. Following up on Don B’s note on the DOJ letting the statute of limitations run on the torture tapes, is a good post at FDL detailing just how duplicitous and, at this point, complicit Obama’s DOJ is in perpetuating what should be the massive scandal of torture. Actually, it is a scandal most places in the world. Just not in the US.
    “So, just how inattentive and asleep at the wheel does the government think the American media and citizenry are, to brazenly engage in the simultaneous duplicity of relying on the Durham investigation in Geneva for the UN UPR On Human Rights at the same moment it was using the Durham investigation to bleed out the statute of limitation on the primary jurisdiction of the investigation at home? Well, they think the media and people are completely asleep and, sadly, they are quite correct.”
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/11/09/durham-torture-tape-case-dies-us-duplicity-in-geneva-the-press-snoozes/
    So, extrapolating from Walt’s point #6, “Making ‘waterboarding’ a household word”, according to the DOJ (and the media), ‘never happened’, or if it did we’re going to make sure it can’t be properly investigated and properly prosecuted. Suck on that.

    Reply

  55. Don Bacon says:

    Check your travel plans Steve, Obama says that assassination of Americans abroad is “consistent with the law.” Today in federal court, government attorney Douglas Letter argued against a lawsuit brought by both the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) that the U.S. executive power had the right to kill an American citizen abroad, without review by the judiciary. In his argument to drop the suit, brought on behalf of the father of

    Reply

  56. Don Bacon says:

    Obama recently let the statute of limitations run out on prosecuting the destruction of the torture tapes. That was just before he tripped over to India to tell those folks how sweet they are to take our jobs and expand our trade deficit, while giving them new technology and slamming Obama’s “partner” Pakistan.
    Obama has not yet been able to escape the pull of his own lack of character, plus — unlike what he assured us in the campaign — he ain’t too bright either.
    But hey, the devil made him do it.

    Reply

  57. DonS says:

    And exactly from where, or who, will the needed advice and strategy come from when Obama continues to blame anyone with a progressive idea as the problem, not part of the solution? “Looking forward, not backwards” is the essence of ratifying the Bush atrocities. Trying to make nice with those out to destroy you is capitulating to failed policies, destructive policies. And ultimately it’s the trail of same old same old that tells the story.
    Even Steve’s plea for Obama to “double down, break out” must be getting a bit tiring for him to make.

    Reply

  58. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…he needs to double down and break out. That might give America another chance at restoring its global leverage and purpose”
    This kind of optimistic sugar coating of Obama’s character and leadership abilities, that denies two years of history, is inexplicable to me. What exactly has this posturing political coward done to warrant such fantasy based optimism?
    It shouldn’t be Stephen Walt stepping up to the plate and cutting Bush’s revisionist gonads off at their roots, it should be our President and his party. Instead, he is every bit the dangerous sower of global hatred that his predecesser was, expanding our military footprint, and exhibiting the same kind of disdain for accountability before the law, both domestic and international. Yet here we see Steve advancing the unrealistic premise that this cowardly piece of shit will actually “double down and break out” from a path that he has spent two years pursuing.
    Ain’t gonna happen. With the House becoming a virtual insane asylum with a shortage of straightjackets and orderlies, Obama will become just another screamer in the rubber room. There is no way he will resist a Boehner mind-meld.
    “explain……what the new national strategy is…”
    There is a “new national strategy”? What are you smoking, Dan?

    Reply

  59. Dan Kervick says:

    “… he needs to double down and break out.”
    To do that he will need to do more to explain to ordinary Americans – and not just people who read lengthy national security strategy documents – what the new national strategy is, and why it requires some strong breaks with the policies of the first decade of the century.

    Reply

  60. Don Bacon says:

    The idea that Obama had no choice but to continue the Bush policies which he previously foreswore is wrong.
    Nobody forced Obama to retain the same military chiefs and slavishly follow their dictates, while expanding Afghanistan into Pakistan and possibly Inda and the -Stans. Think Harry Truman.
    Nobody forced Obama to dump diplomacy and back off a settlement of the Iran nuclear dilemma by rejecting the Turkey/Brazil solution.
    Nobody forced Obama to retain Wall Street insiders in top financial positions, where the common citizens had no standing.
    Nobody forced Obama to follow the Bush human and civil rights failures, which he has done.
    Nobody forced Obama to back off his promises for an open government with citizen exposure to proposed laws, and instead be stuck with back-room corporate-written deals on healthcare and other matters.
    And that’s just a start.

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