President Bush’s legacy

The debate over how history will judge George W. Bush

The left is ruthless in its criticism of President Bush, said Donald Lambro in, but history will look more kindly on his legacy. From Sept. 11, 2001, forward, Bush was a wartime leader. He "toppled two terrorist regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq" and "planted democracies in the middle of the world's worst terrorist breeding grounds." But before anything else people will remember him for keeping us "safe" from another attack.

Talk about revisionist history, said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post. Bush and his fans love to brag that he has kept America safe—in an interview with ABC News' Charlie Gibson, Bush says he never backed off in what he called a "war against ideological thugs." But those thugs are still out there, "plotting new attacks," and the reason they've had time to rebuild is that Bush got distracted in Iraq.

That's not the half of it, said Matthew Yglesias in The American Prospect. Bush had the gall to tell Gibson that his "biggest regret" was that he got bad intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction—not that he misled the country into an unnecessary war that has killed more Americans than 9/11 and is costing us $100 billion a year. "That—not bad intelligence—is something to regret."

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The Left will never agree with Bush's record in Iraq and in the war on terror, said Mona Charen in National Review Online. But an honest assessment of his legacy should consider all the good he has done—especially all the "time, energy, and money" he has devoted to fighting AIDS and other diseases in Africa. It's just "mean-spirited" to deny Bush credit for his role in a fight even liberals think is worth fighting.

You have to admit, said Joel Stein in the Los Angeles Times, there's a long list of reasons why Bush's approval ratings are lower than Richard Nixon's when he resigned—"the unnecessary wars, the curtailing of civil liberties, the economic collapse." If Bush wants to make us love him again, he'd better act fast. Otherwise, he's headed for the "trash heap of history."

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