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Shouldn't Have Said It

Entry 889, on 2008-11-14 at 20:43:27 (Rating 3, Politics)

I read a short article today describing an interview with George Bush which listed some of the things he wished he hadn't said during his presidency. Of course anyone in the world spotlight as much as him was bound to make a few mistakes, but I think the particular examples he listed were quite revealing of his state of mind at the time.

First he listed two remarks he would like now to take back. They were: "Bring 'em on" (when talking about the threat posed by insurgents in a post-Saddam Iraq) and "dead or alive" (which was made after the 2001 terror attacks, and especially indicating his enthusiasm for capturing Osama bin Laden).

Well the insurgents did appear and they are still there. Progress is being made in Iraq but there is no real end in sight there, and in Afghanistan there have been more casualties this year than in any previous. So maybe "bring 'em on" was a bit overconfident considering the situation now!

And capturing Osama bin Laden dead or alive. Yes, not a lot of success there so far. The terrorist leader has made the US look like a bunch of incompetents really. Maybe there was a bit of overconfidence involved there as well.

So many people felt a certain disquiet at the sanguine but brutal attitude shown by Bush when announcing his intentions regarding any group he had issues with. Its understandable that he would call for retaliation against al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks but whether that justified a full invasion of Afghanistan is debatable. And there was little justification at all for the invasion of Iraq.

I think these actions have caused the respect for the US to decline greatly in many parts of the world. If Obama lives up to his hype there is a good chance that trust and respect might be regained but its going to take a lot of work.

Bush was a bit more defensive regarding another comment he made after the initial phase of the war in Iraq. The famous "Mission Accomplished" sign has attracted a lot of ridicule. Maybe he saw forcing Saddam Hussein out of power as the mission but it was really just a start of a much bigger one which is still ongoing many years later. Again, his successor will be working hard to fix the mess.

I could have come up with a lot of amusing "Bushisms" where he used the wrong word, or messed up a speech, but the comments above are far more relevant to the current state of the world, I believe.

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