Over the last several days I’ve had the pleasure of several people coming up to me and asking what I thought about President Obama and Syria. Almost everybody I talk to questions whether the president was telling the truth, not because they inherently distrust Barack Obama, but because they had a fresh memory of George W. Bush and his war machine. As I was watching John Kerry present before the Senate Armed Services Committee, I had flashbacks of Colin Powell presenting in front of the UN. The problem is that we don’t know what the actual data show. We have no way of knowing whether Barack Obama is twisting the information to suit his own needs.
Timothy Egan has more on the Bush Burden:
He’s there in every corner of Congress where a microphone fronts a politician, there in Russia and the British Parliament and the Vatican. You may think George W. Bush is at home in his bathtub, painting pictures of his toenails, but in fact he’s the biggest presence in the debate over what to do in Syria.
His legacy is paralysis, hypocrisy and uncertainty practiced in varying degrees by those who want to learn from history and those who deny it. Let’s grant some validity to the waffling, though none of it is coming from the architects of the worst global fiasco in a generation.
Time should not soften what President George W. Bush, and his apologists, did in an eight-year war costing the United States more than a trillion dollars, 4,400 American soldiers dead and the displacement of two million Iraqis. The years should not gauze over how the world was conned into an awful conflict. History should hold him accountable for the current muddy debate over what to do in the face of a state-sanctioned mass killer.
Blame Bush? Of course, President Obama has to lead; it’s his superpower now, his armies to move, his stage. But the prior president gave every world leader, every member of Congress a reason to keep the dogs of war on a leash. The isolationists in the Republican Party are a direct result of the Bush foreign policy. A war-weary public that can turn an eye from children being gassed — or express doubt that it happened — is another poisoned fruit of the Bush years. And for the nearly 200 members of both houses of Congress who voted on the Iraq war in 2002 and are still in office and facing a vote this month, Bush shadows them like Scrooge’s ghost.