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Commentary Last Updated: Oct 1st, 2008 - 00:38:34

Failure on all fronts is Bush legacy
By Linda S. Heard
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Oct 1, 2008, 00:22

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Americans should be admired for their patience and fortitude. In a matter of fewer than eight years, the misguided policies and ineptitude of their not so great leader have damaged their country�s reputation and their pockets, perhaps irreparably.

Who could possibly have imagined that in such a short period a massive federal budget surplus of $128 billion would be frittered away to be replaced with a $357 billion deficit? And who can blame Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota for predicting Bush �will be remembered as the most fiscally irresponsible president in our nation�s history�?

Who would have believed when Bush moved into the White House that, eight years later, the mighty dollar would be turned into funny money to the extent that Egyptian landlords are now demanding Euros instead?

Not so long ago, even the most reputed financial seer would have been ridiculed if he or she had divined the fire sale of Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual or the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.

Bear Stearns managed to survive the crash of 1929, Washington Mutual has been in business since 1889 and Lehman Brothers was founded even earlier in 1847. Is it mere coincidence that three �rock solid� institutions should collapse on Bush�s watch?

Those who bought into the American Dream and admired America�s status as the wealthiest country in the world were shocked at the poverty prevalent in the state of Louisiana, laid bare by Hurricane Katrina, and at the contemptuous way Americans were left to fend for themselves or herded into stadiums to face squalor.

And now they are horrified by tent cities and soup kitchens that have sprung up all over the country to house and feed the growing numbers of homeless, who are victims of house repossessions along with burgeoning food and fuel prices. The �lucky ones� are sleeping in their cars.

Should we suppose that Americans have short memories or are blessed with a more forgiving nature than the rest of us mere mortals? Now taxpayers are expected to cough up $700 billion just to keep the people who got them into this mess afloat (and prevent the global economy from collapsing like a house of cards with unimaginable consequences for the rest of us).

Yes, there is anger in certain quarters but whereas in most other countries, whether democracies or otherwise, people would be out in the streets en masse, Americans appear to be taking blows on the chin without much complaint.

Even more surprising, slightly less than a third of all Americans actually approve of the president�s job performance overall, while polls show that Bush clone John McClain is neck-and-neck with his rival.

Bush has obscenely plunged billions into wars of choice and rewarded the super-rich with massive tax cuts even as 28.6 million now require food stamps to feed their families.


Americans were manipulated and lied to over Iraq, sacrificed 4,173 of their sons and daughters, and have paid $557 billion for the pleasure. They have been duped to believe the so-called surge has produced a peaceful Iraq when, in reality, cash payments to former insurgents to switch foes and turn against so-called Al Qaida was the key to a decrease in violence. The irony is today Iraq is enjoying a budget surplus.

They were told their �nation�s finest� were in Afghanistan as part of their �War on Terror,� but how many know that in spite of their efforts the Taliban are winning? Moreover, the US is hated around the world more than it�s ever been in its history and if the �War on Terror� was meant to make Americans safer, it has failed dismally.

But there�s worse. Bush & Co. have not only managed to consolidate old enemies, they have managed to turn powerful friends into potential foes. Their backing of Georgia that instigated aggression against the people of South Ossetia has alienated Moscow and reduced America�s clout in the UN Security Council.

Their attempts to bring down Hugo Chavez has pushed Venezuela into the arms of Russia and spurred its nuclear ambitions.

America�s relationship with its ally nuclear Pakistan is at risk due to the US military�s repeated violations of Pakistan�s sovereignty.

They have even failed to bring nuclear North Korea on side. Instead, Pyongyang is strengthening its �self-defensive capability� due to what it calls a hostile US policy and it may begin reprocessing nuclear material within two months.

As for Bush�s promise to bring into being a Palestinian state before he leaves office, there�s only one thing to be said. But this is a family publication, so I�ll refrain from saying it.

We can only hope that the era of arrogance, mendacity, aggression, broken promises, fiscal recklessness and mismanagement will soon end. If it doesn�t because Americans, whether purposefully or blindly, choose more of the same then the blame is entirely theirs. That�s the thing about democracies. �We the people� ultimately get the leaders we deserve.

Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at

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