Tuesday, April 1, 2008
"I am a wartime President." - George W. Bush to Tim Russert before the 2004 Presidential contest.
Four years later and he's still very much a wartime president – it is in fact the most honest thing that can be said about his presidency. The next man or woman who swears the oath of office will inherit W.'s legacy and with it his mantel of Wartime President – none will relish and revel in it the way W. has and does.
Former presidents Abraham Lincoln (suspension of habeas corpus) and Harry S. Truman (seizing privately held steel mills) legitimized extraordinary executive acts as necessitated by wartime emergencies – both caught flak for it and both were rebuked by the courts. Bush has used the undeclared war in Iraq and more nefariously the War on Terror to pull off the most audacious and cynical power grab in the history of the American Presidency.
I don't think it is hyperbole to say that he has managed to blast a lasting crack in what seemed the most solid of American values – the Constitutional system of checks and balances.
We have been taught and told that the War on Terror knows no single front and must be fought on all fronts at all times. The greatest weapon against terrorism, according to this President, is secrecy. Secret prisons, secret courts, secret wiretaps, secret renditions, secret violations of privacy and civil liberties.
Matthew C. Scallon
April 01, 2008 at 07:34 PM
From the "I know, I need an editor, too" department, you mean the 2004 Presidential race, of course. Unless, of course, we've fallen into the West Wing universe, and we can't get up.
April 01, 2008 at 08:08 PM
Matt, Thanks for the heads up. Correction made. (Nicole Lozare/KPBS)
Davesnot from Oceanside
April 02, 2008 at 04:56 AM
We had a choice on 9/11.. we could use the moment to come together.. to show how we could stick to our values.. to not let fear mongers control our country .. show the world that we were above taunting.. that we weren't going to feed the beast the terror it needed to continue to breed hate. The world could come together.. bond. But we didn't.. our ex-cheerleader from Yale turned president used the moment to settle a private, family grudge and solidify his state's oil future... and feed his evangelical support a crusade.. plunging the world back into the middle-ages of diplomacy and ripping open wounds that will fester a long, long time. And he thinks he's successful.. rah rah sis boom bah! yay team!
Green Forest and a Stream from Encinitas
April 02, 2008 at 09:56 PM
W failed all of us and his lasting legacy will haunt America for years. As a historian, it's hard not to believe that in 50 years, W will not only be viewed as one of the worst presidents in american history, but will have accelerated the fall of the American empire. Kind of like the Caligula of the united states. What made America was its recognition that the individual could compromise for the good of the country without being compromised of that individual's freedoms (expression, thought, privacy). Our decline is not so much measured by GDP or trade deficits, but by the erosion of our civil liberties in the face of "terrorism". it's a joke. The War on Terror is much worse than the War on Poverty and excedes the War on Drugs for stupidty. you can't wage war on a concept. you wage war on a country or group with the parameters of victory defined. We won the war against Sadam when we deposed him, but we can't possibly win a war in iraq or against terror no matter how long we fight. so pulling out troops now is not a surrender or defeat. it's a long overdue acknowledgement of victory. terrorists should be treated as organized crime was. infiltrated and brought down, one at a time.
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