By Eustace C. Jackson.
May 1, 2016.
In March of 1861, with the clouds of civil war quickly gathering and the nation as combustible as a tinderbox, outgoing President James Buchanan confessed to incoming President Abraham Lincoln, our first ever Republican president, to paraphrase, “if you are coming in as happy as I am leaving this office, then you must be a very happy man indeed”!
Bachelor President Buchanan, our 15th, is widely considered to be one of the worst presidents in American history. Fast forward 140 odd years and our 43rd president, the great “Decider”, President G. W. Bush has forcefully inserted himself into that conversation (worst president ever).
By all accounts and by any measure of success or failure, GW had a very turbulent two-term presidency, to put it mildly. And mostly of his own doing. A retrospection of GW’s reign doesn’t yield much of any nostalgia. It is somewhat challenging to identify anything good and beneficial GW did very well. It seemed some of his deeds were simply less bad than others. To list them would be to showcase a chronicle of an embarrassment of embarrassing riches. But list we must – are you kidding Eustace?
Where to start? Hmmm. How about from his tepid and flat-footed response to hurricane Katrina, to his vain glorification of “Brownie”, his grossly incompetent FEMA crony. Or his infamously spontaneous decision to nominate his personal attorney, Harriet Miers, a relatively unknown, unaccomplished and certainly unqualified candidate to a lifetime position on the highest court in the land, claiming in part that he knew how she (Miers) would decide and vote on cases, thereby declaring her an intellectual zombie. Or from his validation of Putin after having peeked into his (Putin’s) eyes and discerning his soul, to his labelling and isolation of Iran, allowing her an unfettered and tranquil space to increase of their centrifuges from a mere 150 to a whopping 19,000+. From his half-assed commitment to the quest to capture or kill Osama bin-Laden, resorting to sending ill-trained and compromisable Afghan soldiers, rather than our finest, to bin-Laden’s known Tora Bora hideout, to h is rush to a warrantless and premeditated war in Iraq. From his ill-advised and ill-fated attempt to privatize Social Security, to his botched attempt at immigration reform. Girls and boys, we could go on ad nauseum ad infinitum, but the aforementioned will suffice for now. The one issue however that dominates the assessment of GW’s reign is the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The before, the during and the after.
Concerning President George W. Bush’s performance regarding 9/11, the signature event/issue of his presidency, Eustace would like to begin at an event that occurred thirteen years ago today.
On Mayday of 2003, the POTUS and Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Services, George Walker Bush, landed on USS Abraham Lincoln, an imposing aircraft carrier, aboard a Lockheed S-3B Viper fighter jet, the first sitting POTUS to be in an arrested landing on an aircraft carrier, aboard a fixed wing aircraft. Fully clad in fighter jet pilot gear, double-padded at the crotch (don’t ask Eustace why), he had come to the coast of San Diego to commend his military for a job well done because, according to him, the major combat operations in the Iraq war, were over. Behind him, blazoned on the upper deck of the majestic carrier was a humongous banner that screamed two controversial words: “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”! Unfortunately, it turned out the combat operations were only just kinda revving up to begin. The overwhelming majority of our 4,487 casualties and 32,000+ wounded warriors and the $800+ billion in costs, occurred after “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”! And we’re sorta still f ighting t=hat war now 13 years after “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”! Keith Olbermann was faithfully keeping count before he was shooed off of MSNBC! GW was later to admit that “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” was a colossal blunder and that he was ill-advised to make such a premature declaration.
That indeed was a significant misstep and was a continuation of the series of cataclysmic decisions GW made in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.