Less Than A Year!!!

Just one more year! Good riddance to George W Bush

Is he the worst President in US history? Mr Bush faces stiff competition from the likes of James Buchanan, who watched as America slipped towards civil war, or Warren Harding with his corrupt administration, or Herbert Hoover, who failed to halt the slide into the Great Depression, or, more recently, Richard Nixon, the only President to be forced to resign. But in terms of dogmatism, incompetence, ignorance and divisiveness, Mr Bush surely compares with any of the above.

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 


What will you all do?

First librarian in the White House (that cookie-baking bushitler First Chimpylady).

Who will you turn your back on at ALA 2009?

Blake didn't say anything about the First Lady. It's her husband that's 175 pounds of unwanted trash.

Shouldn't you be painting Hitler mustaches on Hillary campaign posters?

I think any celebration is premature until we are confident that the next occupant of the White House will be willing to do the following:

- Transform our presence in Iraq from a military occupier to reconstruction bankroller. This includes giving up any idea of enduring/permanent bases and withdrawing our military forces without abandoning our equipment.
- Pledge to invade no more countries until we wrap up Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Roll back every executive power grab this President has done.
- Unambiguously repudiate torture, so called "enhanced interrogations" and secret and/or extralegal prisons.
- Rescind the executive order on presidential records giving former presidents and relatives eternal veto power over the release of records.
- Be willing to govern the country for the country and not simply for his or her faction.

On the subject of Iraq, the primaries have already filtered out the people who have consistently advocated withdrawal AND who have voted against Iraq funding (Kucinich and Paul).

On the subject of starting new wars, we have Clinton voting to declare Iran's military a terrorist organization, surely a prelude to war. We have Obama on record as saying he'd be willing to invade Pakistan. This at least would be fighting in the right direction, but still ill advised unless Pakistan starts fighting us openly in Afghanistan or elsewhere. On the Republican side, all except Ron Paul seem united in attacking Iran and completing the work of the Project for the New American Century.

Clinton and Obama say they're against excessive executive power, but they've been missing in action on FISA votes so far. Hopefully they can pop into DC on Monday and vote with Senator Dodd. All Republicans except Paul agree with the President that the office STILL doesn't have enough power and needs more.

I won't go into every issue and I have hope that Obama would make a better president than George W Bush, but I think its far from clear that any of the candidates on either side are really interested in putting a quick end to the aggrandizement of the office that GWB has managed in the past eight years. I'm just saying we need to focus on actions, not people.

On the other hand, I'm usually wrong when predicting a dark future. Perhaps it will prove so this time as well. Although I did turn out to be right in not hailing November 2006 as a watershed for liberty.

"No doubt another may also think for me; but it is not therefore desirable that he should do so.." - Thoreau

In case you didn't know President Bush recieved more that half of the popular vote (not to mention the requisite electoral college votes) to win the election.

While I certainly don't agree with all of his policies, and truthfully I tend to agree more with Daniel than our president, we are at a remarkable stable place right now. It may not seem such, but if you will look back and see us on the precipice before World War I and World War II, we are remarkably more stable than any other nation on the planet right now. (I am in the UK as I write this)

I am not a fan of the protracted conflict in Iraq, and I agree it certainly could have been managed better, howver one can always judge in hindsight. I've also attempted to sign up to serve as a nurse without much success simply based on the screws and plates I've had stuck in me over the years as the doctors did a bit of bodywork. It is much harder to get a waiver than to simply sign up.

Iraq needs to be self governing, and I believe the administration has made that clear from the start. It is only a matter of time before it is. Recall if you will we still have military bases in Germany and Italy and that war ended before most of your parent's were born.

Our Nation is older than any in Europe, older than Iran, certainly older than Irag. We are older than the Communists in Cuba and the Canadians. We must be doing somethig right, and by removing the opression the citizens of Iraq faced we can allow them to set up a governemnt on their own terms. Democracy is the de facto standard of government - can you find a system more fair? A constitution that enumerates the rights reserved to the people - as the UDHR does- is the only method of assuring the rights of all persons.

Librarians, try to keep your personal views in check, it only makes you look liked idiots when you launch pesonal attacks against the person for whom most of the the country voted. You may not like it but it will soon change. (Oddly enough most political campaigns are using change as a slogan, as if there was another option. I'd be very happy with 8 more years of GWB - I know what to expect.)

Matt, before I get into any critical remarks I wanted to salute your charity and courage for trying to sign up for nursing duty in Iraq. I wish they'd take you because if you can handle Haiti, I'm sure there is somewhere they could use you in Iraq.

Now, on to responding to your comments:

"Iraq needs to be self governing, and I believe the administration has made that clear from the start. It is only a matter of time before it is. Recall if you will we still have military bases in Germany and Italy and that war ended before most of your parent's were born."

I can't think of anyone on the anti-occupation side who doesn't think Iraq should be self governing. Our dispute is over how to get there, not whether. I think our current occupation blocks the road to self-governance in several important ways:

  • It prevents Iraq from offering amnesty to former opponents, a proven method of dialing down guerrilla conflicts.
  • It prevents Iraq from exercising it sovereignty by insisting on immunity for civilian security contractors.
  • An open ended commitment removes incentives for the government in power to achieve national reconciliation. They know we will always protect the Green Zone for them.
  • Continued military occupation is against the wishes of a 2/3 majority of Iraqis in poll after poll. If Iraq had anything like actual sovereignty of its people, we'd be gone already.

Your comment about bases still being in Japan and Europe misses an extremely important point. The bases in Japan and Europe weren't needed to keep the populations in check. Neither Japan nor Germany offered significant resistance after WWII. That's documented in US Army documents on the occupations of Japan and Germany. The bases in those countries and other countries were explicitly to protect those countries from the conventional forces of the Soviet Union.

By contrast, given the hatred of the occupation by everyone except the Kurds (who are starting to tire, BTW), our bases in Iraq will be used for in-country action for years to come. We may want them for an external enemy, but we likely won't get that chance.

Next, I'd like to deal with your comment:

"Our Nation is older than any in Europe, older than Iran, certainly older than Irag."

I am working under the assumption you mean form of government, since the United States was settled by Europe.

Even here, I believe you're wrong. Britain's current form of constitutional monarchy with parliamentary government was functioning after 1688. A few details have changed along the way, but the outlines seem the same to me.

Switzerland's current constitution is younger than ours (1848), but it has been a recognized confederacy since 1648.

The Grimaldi family has reigned in Monaco for 700 years.

Of course, age isn't the best indicator of rightness of system. The Ottoman Empire endured over a millennium and the Roman's did their bread and circuses thing for over 500 years. I don't think either of us want to go back to that just because they had a long run.

Finally I think your post implies that if you hate President Bush, you're not in favor of democracy. I don't get the connection. He won elections, but tens of millions of people didn't vote for him. As long as they don't take up arms against the government, they have a right to register continuing disapproval. If they didn't that would be akin to the democratic centralism favored by Lenin -- once a group decision was made, no one has a right to question it.

All of us librarians love democracy, that's why we can be counted on being so noisy.

"No doubt another may also think for me; but it is not therefore desirable that he should do so.." - Thoreau