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Reply to Daniel Pipes on President Bush

Reader comment on item: The Afghan War's Dismal End; Blame Bush Too

Submitted by Joe Willingham (United States), May 29, 2014 at 19:20

Daniels Pipes is way off the mark. For one thing Bush didn't initiate the war in Afghanistan. We were attacked on our own soil by people operating from Afghanistan and the Afghan government refused to turn over the perpetrators. 'there was no controversy over responding to the attack, any more than there was after Pearl Harbor. Under Bush the Taliban was overthrown and Al Qaeda knocked way back. It is during the years that Obama has been in office that the situation has deteriorated. Obama has managed the situation in Afghanistan the way he manages whatever is on his plate - poorly. Given that the real villain in Afghanistan is our dear ally Pakistan keeping our gains in Afghanistan is devilishly difficult. That is why we need to elect capable people to serve as
commander-in-chief, and not hack politicians who have never accomplished anything.

As for Iraq Bush didn't start that conflict. Saddam didn't live up to the terms of the armistice after the first Gulf war. He continued to make trouble for us and our allies. Again, the decision to invade Iraq was bi-partisan. The Democrats supported it, but when the going got tough they turned against it in a crass pursuit of political gain. About fifty countries supported the US, many of them sending troops. As for Bush "lying" about Saddam having WMDs, US, French, British and Russian intelligence all thought he did. He used chemical weapons is his war against Iran, and gave every indication that he wanted to get nuclear weapons.

It took Bush too long to quit mucking around and put a capable general in charge, but when he finally did we won the conflict. I am convinced that the situation in Iraq has deteriorated recently because the Iraqi government has decided that Obama can't be relied on, and have made a rational decision to look elsewhere, namely to Iran, for a strategic partner.

As for Bush's failure to achieve democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq he hasn't altogether failed. Both of those countries have governments elected more of less freely. The problem is that democracy without the willingness to compromise and respect the rule of law is not a good thing. It's what the classical liberal thinkers called "the tyranny of thethe majority".

But democracy or whatever form of government is not the main point, and I suspect even Bush was aware of that. The point of our foreign policy is, or at least was until Obama came into office,
to protect the security of the United States and to maintain minimal order in the world so that various bad actors are kept in check and the possiblity of human progress is kept alive.

Reagan set the standard for foreign policy. He was bold, he went for victory, but he brought down the evil empire without firing a shot. When it came time to negotiate with the Soviet Union he did, despite objections from some right-wingers.

The good news is that world has made tremendous progress in the last fifty years. As more and more countries have adopted capitalism and learned to use modern technology the problem of hunger in many parts of the globe has been replaced by an epidemic of obesity. Several libertarian writers have detailed this progress. We need to stay number one in military and every other form of strength and remain "the last best hope of mankind".

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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