What If We Were Wrong About George W. Bush?

Image 73Today we think we know everything, we decided Bush ruined the economy; going into Iraq was the biggest military blunder the United States ever made. Adding the new Medicare entitlement, issuing TARP they were all things that we see now as a failure. After all one of the biggest drivers of the long term National debt are the Bush tax cuts. What if the way we look at things today is in fact proven wrong in history.

Lets start with Iraq; common knowledge now says going to war to remove Saddam Hussein was a complete waste of American and Iraqi lives, it took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan; a war that could have ended perhaps 10 years earlier if properly fought. But what if in history that time of invading Iraq was what made Muslim countries realize they didnt have to live under a dictator, they too could have free lives. Women could have equal rights with men. This could have been the catalyst for the Arab Spring; toppling the dictator in Egypt. And as we are seeing unfold the uprising of the Syrian people. Right now its an ugly mess that no one knows what to do about. Egypt seems like it could turn into an extreme state; Libya is a mess and mass slaughter is going on in Syria. But, what if, this is how freedom works. Perhaps in 50 years the Middle East will all be free democratic societies? They say the people of Iran are very similar to the people of America. Imagine a Middle East with no wars, no conflicts; all because they make their decisions democratically and all voices are heard. Imagine if the start of all this came from George W. Bush’s idea to topple Saddam and give the Iraqi’s freedom and democracy. In 50 years Afghanistan could also be a free prospering democracy with a thriving economy and justice for all, especially women. And, in turn, if the Palestinians’  also opted for freedom rather than war and terrorism and the long standing grudge with Israel was over. Imagine a future where education and tolerance were taught instead of hatred and violence. And what if this happened because of the invasion of Iraq.

As far as the economic meltdown in 2008; and the lackluster job growth during the 00’s we now know a few more things. One is that all of the economic success of the Clinton administration was due the the tech bubble which burst as W. was coming into office. The glory days of 4% GDP were really a myth. That left W. in a big hole when he entered office. At the end of his term in office the bank failures and economic collapse were largely due to the over leveraged mortgage market. But, it was actually Bill Clinton that signed the infamous law that let the speculators and Wall Street take the gambles they did. It was  Clinton, not Bush, who deregulated the mortgage market such that allowed for its collapse. Whereas Bush is the one that takes complete blame for the second Great Depression we are still going through, what if it actually wasnt his fault or his doing? So, one of his biggest legacy failures might not have been caused by him.

The overspending and creating a new entitlement with Medicare today is seen as a failure; in the future it could be seen as the beginning of universal healthcare for all in the United States of America. What president Obama has initiated as his healthcare plan could be viewed as a continuation of that plan, what all other industrialized wealthy countries have: Universal Healthcare. Bush’s actions could be seen as a step in the right direction.

What we must admit now is that we dont know what the future holds. All of the ‘what if’s’ I just stated could turn out to be completely wrong; but perhaps they could be proven to be completely right. Look 50, 100 years into the future, Mr. Bush could be seen as a visionary who promoted a free society. His work in helping with AIDS was remarkable. We do have to realize that we dont know now what the future will hold. What we must acknowledge is that today’s thinking could be proved wrong.

We might have been completely wrong about George W. Bush and his legacy in history. Or not.

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3 thoughts on “What If We Were Wrong About George W. Bush?

  1. So many issues we are faced with today are an accumulation of decisions and policies that, taken individually, could easily be reversed or rectified. We tend to look for quick, easy answers that are easy to understand, hopefully suit our own political positions, and fit neatly into a TV program segment or Facebook post or Tweet, but none of these can hope to unravel events that span a timeline of decades and the geography of the entire globe. If we continue to focus on the quick wins, from politicians who can’t see past the next partisan fight or the next election, to corporations that can’t see past next quarter’s profits we will continue to go from crisis to crisis. We must learn to take a step back and look at the wider and longer views (both backwards and forward) if we are to understand how we got to where we are today. The wider view shows a nation that has fallen far in many of the aspects on which it prided itself decades ago, and for which it was admired by much of the world: education, quality of life, healthcare, income inequality, intergenerational mobility, child well-being and more. While patriotism and pride in one’s country are wonderful things, we must move beyond the stance that self-criticism is unpatriotic, step outside the “USA!” bubble, and understand that the nation we are today has taken decades of policies, countless politicians from both parties, as well as events beyond our control, to create.

  2. Well written ~ Do have to think beyond a few years I agree. A famous quote says George Washington was the only president who didn’t blame his predecessor.

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