Former President George W. Bush should be humbled and repentant from the shame of quite possibly the worst foreign policy record of this nation’s history, for all the crimes his administration committed, for all those who died and those who suffer to this day from his catastrophic decisions. However, it would appear that Bush has the astonishing nerve to criticize President Obama’s foreign policy decisions and the steps that he has taken to stem the utter chaos that the Bush Administration unleashed in the Middle East.
At a dinner for the Jewish Republican Coalition, Bush expressed disapproval of the Iranian nuclear deal and Obama’s decision to lift the sanctions that have been crippling the Iranian economy and middle class. He even had the gall to echo Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in saying that “pulling out of Iraq was a strategic blunder”. It was a telling parallel, as Graham, a possible presidential candidate, is one of the most bellicose war-hawks among the Republican field, and one whose utter ignorance and lack of any sort of comprehension of the nuances of diplomacy, statecraft, and international relations mirrors that wielded by Bush himself. Of course, the withdrawal from Iraq was under the terms of a Status of Forces Agreement that had been negotiated by the Bush Administration.
Bush played the fear-mongering card as well, pandering to enormously wealthy Jews like Sheldon Adelson for their campaign money, which his brother Jeb will require for his presidential run. He had the gall to say “You think the Middle East is chaotic now? Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren. That’s how Americans should view the deal.” Yes, Mr. Bush. Thanks to your administration’s criminally inept invasion of Iraq, the destruction and suffering playing out across the Middle East will certainly last through the next generation. The hubris of thinking America could topple a decades old totalitarian regime and build a stable democracy in three months has led us to this point.
Bush then went on to tout his own “accomplishments”, singling out the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a terrorist who murdered a Wall Street reporter and helped engineer the 9/11 attacks, but he failed to remind the crowd that Mohammed was then water-boarded 183 times and subjected to numerous other tortures including rectal hydration, along with 206 others, in one of the darkest and most shameful episodes of horrific brutality ever committed by the US government. That is the legacy that Bush will be remembered for- incompetency and barbarism.
President Obama, on the other hand, will be remembered as the pragmatic peacemaker- one who was unafraid to use strength when the situation called for it, but didn’t charge headlong into dangerous situations either, always looking for a diplomatic solution. The nuclear deal with Iran, the re-establishment of relations with Iran and successful diplomatic negotiations are major steps working to undo the years of damage to our international credibility and trust that George Bush’s administration wreaked with their cowboy diplomacy. Bush has absolutely no right to throw stones at any one after the crimes he and his people are responsible for, the price for which multiple nations will pay for years to come.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.