A lot of water has gone under the national bridge since George W. Bush & Co. took over in January 2001. I thought I might take a moment to list the things I think they did right, and what they've done wrong.
Without any further la de da, to the list:
What they Did Right:
- They toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
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What they Did Wrong:
- They developed what has matured into a disasterous national energy policy. They did so in secret meetings with energy company executives that to this day remain secret. Meanwhile oil company profits have achieved breathtaking record highs.
- They cut taxes by nearly $2 trillion, in ways that disproportionately favored the already wealthy, resulting in exploding annual deficits and further widening an already widening wealth gap between working Americans and the top 1% of earners.
- They got the intel on Iraq's WMD completely wrong, (intentionally and otherwise,) in order to justify the first unprovoked invasion of another sovereign nation in America's history.
- As a result no nation on earth any longer believes US intelligence claims on their face.
- They had bin Laden and the bulk of his al Qaida fighters pinned down and cornered in the Afghan mountains, only to let them get away.
- They recklessly dismissed advice from their own military experts on the number of troops that would be needed to pacify post-invasion Iraq.
- As a direct result they had neither the number of troops required, nor even plans to maintainin law and order in a post-Saddam Iraq.
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- As a result they were unable to stem looting and general lawlessness for weeks after the fall of Saddam's regime.
- Failed to either recognize — or simply decided to ignore — the thousand-year old blood feud between Iraq's Shiite/Sunni communities.
- Failed to recognize or adjust their post-Saddam strategy to address what military commanders on the ground warned was an the early stages of what has become a robust and deadly Sunni insurgency.
- In the early days of the US occupation they cavalierly dismissed Iraq's army and national police, sending them home without pay, without hope, without jobs, but with their weapons.
- Snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by robbing military and financial recourses from finishing the job in Afghanistan in order to support a growingly troubled occupation in Iraq.
- Sent troops to war with the Army they wished they had, rather than the Army they had.
- Failed to provide troops with enough vehicle or body armor.
- Provided no-bid contracts worth billions of dollars to private companies, like Halliburton, then failed to assure those companies provided the level, quality and quantity of services they promised to provide.
- As a result most of the civil reconstruction, such as providing dependable electricity, clean water, schools and policing services to Iraqis, remain either woefully behind schedule and over-budget, or, if completed, are were so poorly done they are nearly useless.
- Because they failed to heed the warnings of their own generals before the war, the US Army and Marine Corp are now exhausted by four years of repeated redeployments to Iraq. The Army has even had to lower it's standards allowing for the first time high school drop outs and those with criminal records to enlist.
- Because they underestimated the number of troops and resources that would be required to pacify a post-Saddam Iraq, they have had to lean heavily on Reserve and National Guard units for both additional troops and equipment. As it has left almost every National Guard and reserve unit in the US critically short of both soldiers and gear to respond to a national emergency.
- They added America, for the first time, to the list of nations accused of employing torture.
- From their first day in office this administration dismissed reports of global warming as “bad science,” or “junk science,” while muzzling government scientists whose scientific studies dared to report otherwise. Even though global warming has now been proven beyond any reasonable doubt, and it's early effects clear to most, the administration continues to oppose mandatory greenhouse gas emissions.
- They doubled our national debt from just under $5 trillion to over nearly $9 trillion. Every dime of the nearly all the $9 billion a month Iraq war bill is borrowed money, most of it borrowed from China.
- Which is one reason why the administration has no leverage when it comes to forcing the Chinese to revalue their currency upward to help balance the very unbalanced trade deficit between our two countries, which this year alone will top...
- They put Harriet Miers up for seat on the US Supreme Court, a woman whose only discernible qualification for that job was her unquestioning service and obedience to George W. Bush.
- They made Alberto Gonzales Attorney General of the United States, a man whose only discernible qualification for that job was his unquestioning service and obedience to George W. Bush.
- Alberto Gonzales, who as White House Counsel, gave the president a green light for torture, went on to politicized the Department of Justice. Among his acts, dismissing US Attorney's who either refused to pursue politically motivated investigations or who insisted on pursuing cases that risked exposing yet more corruption within Republican ranks.
- They have repeatedly placed Christian religious beliefs ahead of hard science in areas of contraception, the environment and in schools.
- They manipulated public fear of terrorism to justify spying on American citizens in ways that, just a decade ago, would have landed them in prison. They claim that, in order to protect America's traditional freedoms, they must violate some of those very freedoms, particularly the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.
- They failed to either anticipate or prepare for the casualties the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would impose on military and veteran hospitals and services. (re: Walter Reed)
- They politicized intelligence when, among other such offenses, they exposed CIA undercover agent, Valarie Plame, in an attempt to discredit reports from her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, that contradicted the administration's claim that Saddam had tried to by uranium from Niger.
- They put the US taxpayer on the hook to pay for a Medicare drug benefit program, but prohibited Medicare from negotiating bulk drug discounts with pharmaceutical companies.
- Since they came to office the number of Americans who cannot afford health insurance climbed to nearly 50 million.
- They passed education reforms — “No Child Left Behind,” -- then refused to sufficiently fund the program while insisting states meet the program's benchmarks, regardless.
- New Orleans.
Whew! That was an exhausting trip down memory lane. What amazes me is how, in the face of so many documented failures, there remains a pool of conservative support for these guys. I remember when the term "Republican" was synonymous with "organized, effective and fiscally responsible." Where did those Republicans go? And where did this bunch of big borrowers, bigger spenders, gang-that-can't-shoot-straight, come from?
Anyway, the list above is just the failures we know about. You have to know it's just the tip of the provervial iceberg. One congressional Democrat was anonimously quoted last week reflecting that, “We've only had the subpoena power for six weeks and every tree we've barked up so far has had a cat in it. Imagine what we'll discover over the next six months.”
Yes, and there in lays the explanation for another failure – the failure of Republicans to hold virtually any meaningful oversight hearings during the six years they were in control. Because they knew, as we now are learning, that if they turned over one administration rock the amount of slime they'd expose would force them to turn over more rocks... under which they'd expose god-knows-what. With the war already costing them political support back home, the last thing congressional Republicans needed were oversight hearings too.
Hopefully Democrats will insist on doing just that. Because, as I said in an earlier post, this administration is either so incompetent, misguided, downright evil, or all the above, that the only thing congress can do to avoid more damage during the next two years is to grab hold of the parking brake and refuse to let go until these bad news bears gone and back shitting in their own woods.
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